Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hull * Ilkley Moor * Scarborough

I’ve been on a few day trips recently, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing them. Day trips are so short, so it’s tough to get a full blog post on each trip, so I shmooshed (Daniella word) them all together. I loved it when I walked around Rother Valley, and I wanted to fit in a few more trips before I leave. It’s too easy to get around here with the train that’s able to go everywhere. Depending on where you go, it can be pretty cheap too. It’s so expensive to travel within Canada, and it’s so vast that day trips aren’t always ideal. It’s been so great to take advantage of the ease of travel here. Day trips are a great way to break up the week if you’re in school. When you go in the middle of the week, it’s not as busy either! I went to Hull, Ilkley Moor, and Scarborough, and they were all widely different trips.

Hull

The reason for going to Hull was for The Deep Aquarium there. It is a huge building, and it flows really well. I’ve been to so many museums where you don’t know where you’re supposed to go or what the order of the rooms is. The Deep was perfect. They had some awesome animals there. They did have a wall of skeletons from ancient fish which scared me because I’m terrified of skeletons in museums. They also have a room about the extreme deep parts of the ocean where the creepy fish live, and it was, well, creepy! There’s an elevator that goes through the major tank, but we took the stairs which has viewing windows at every floor, so it’s the same effect. We didn’t spend much time around Hull itself, but it’s a rather quaint waterside town. They had some major construction going on in the city centre, but I’m sure it will be beautiful when it’s done.

Ilkley Moor

If you’re into hiking, I would definitely suggest going to Ilkley Moor. Similar to Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, this is a pretty hilly hike. It was another struggle, but I made it to the top once again! The weird part is that you walk up a hill from town to get to the bottom of the hill and then you walk up the hill! Needless to say, it was exhausting. On top of that, Matt wanted to go to a particular pub, and we ended up walking down the hill and then back up to get to the pub!

The walk back up to the pub was so worth it just for the pints we had! It’s called The Cow and Calf, and it’s set right in the hills. It’s a classy place, but it’s considered a “walker’s pub,” so people expect you to come in all wind swept and sweaty. But I mean, check out that view from the window.

Scarborough

The only place I actually requested was to go to the seaside. Matt chose Scarborough, and it was wonderful. It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, but it wasn’t raining. We did a big walk to a different beach where the aquarium was. For the record, this is the day I got the bad chaffing blisters that I mentioned in my lessons learned. Other than that, the seaside was beautiful. We stopped to have a “greasy chip butty” which is a Yorkshire tradition.

Once we got to the beach, we found Sea Life, so we decided to check it out. The tickets were pricey, but I say it’s worth it. We didn’t plan to go originally, but order your tickets online to save a few pounds. Anyway, this was amazing. They had so much to see with talks or feedings every half hour. We spent about three and a half hours walking around and getting to the talks. We saw about four different ones. Sea Life is all about preservation of animals, so their talks are dedicated to what we do that impacts the animals and how to avoid that. It was eye-opening.


My favourite part of the day was mini-golf. The Sea Life ticket included a round of mini-golf on their pirate adventure course, and we ended up playing another round. The decorations were elaborate, and it was really fun. I love mini-golf even though I’m horrible at it. Although, I did beat Matt the second time around. After this, we played around in an arcade/casino place, and it was goofy, silly fun. We had some fresh fish and chips and made our way back to the train station. It was another long and wonderful day.

I’ve been inspired by my own travels. I want to do a few more day trips in Canada. Beach days are always fun in the summer, and it’s great to get a group of people together to do it. We’ll see what I can pull together. What’s the best day trip you’ve done?

-Daniella

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lessons Learned: Becoming an Adult Version Part Two

Well, I feel like writing this blog post is coming to you on the perfect day. After months of a backed-up inbox, I have now brought my emails down to the magical number of zero. Not going to lie, it feels pretty good. I have a few weeks left overseas which includes a lot of travelling, but I’ve realized how much I’ve grown since I’ve been here. And, of course, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned as an adult. I wrote a previous version where I was 83 days into my time away from home. I’m now over 200 days in, and I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much more in the months since my last post. I’m near the end of my time away from home, but I can feel myself shift into a more adult frame of mind. This is what brought me to that.

1.       Friendships will change.

You get older, you finish school, and people move away and get married and have their own lives. The things you used to base friendships on no longer apply to friendships. You’re going to have to renegotiate what being friends means. Maybe it can’t be baking nights, but it can be postcards in the mail. It can’t be Starbucks and bookstore dates, but it can be weekly Skype sessions. It can’t be girls nights, but it can be you confidante on the other side of the ocean. The right friends will stay in your life, but it takes time to figure out how to be friends when lives are changing.

2.       Always be open to learning new techniques.

For me, this has more to do with school. I always find that the concluding paragraph is the hardest to write in an essay because it’s dead last and you’re at the end but not really. This year, I started writing concluding paragraph after I write my opening, and it has CHANGED MY LIFE. So, what I have learned here is that you’re never done learning how to do something, so you need to be open to finding new ways to complete things that makes your life easier.

Taken from the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.
3.       Do your dishes (right away).

I remember reading some kind of meme that said something about the real walk of shame being when you walk down the hallway with armfuls of dishes you’ve been hoarding in your room. Well, I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve been there. During second semester, I got better about cleaning up after myself. Whether you eat in your room or eat in the kitchen area, it declutters the space meaning you have a cleaner head (that’s what I believe at least). I think this is important especially if you live with other people because there is nothing more annoying than not having the counter space to cook.

4.       Cheap coffee tastes like cheap coffee.

There are certain things that you HAVE to spend money on. I learned a few of them. One: coffee. You may think you’re so great saving money on coffee, but you will get sick of the terrible taste. Trust me. I came up with a great cheap coffee hack though – put a few tablespoons of hot chocolate mix in your mug and you have improved the taste by making a mocha. Chocolate is a saviour. Some other things to spend more money on: socks, pens, plungers, and cling film.

5.       You will learn new ways to support people when you’re away from them.

My friends have family seemed to have been through some tough stuff when I’ve been gone. It’s difficult to be away from people when you know you could help them. Just like the way you need to renegotiate friendships, you also need to renegotiate the ways in which you support people. For example, you can order them a little present for a pick me up, write them a nice message on Facebook, or write them a letter. Digital hugs aren’t as effective as the real ones, but the thought put into them will mean a lot to those who know how much they mean to you.

Scarborough seaside, England.
6.       Not everyone is a good friend.

This is a tough one that I seem to be learning over and over. Just because people invite you somewhere, it doesn’t mean they’re going to include you. Sometimes, friends are flaky. The thing is, that doesn’t make them not your friend. It just doesn’t make them a good one. It means you need to figure out what you can and can’t do with them. I’ve been struggling to connect with people here the way I do at home. Some of the things that have happened to me here would never happen with my friends at home, and I miss them even more. My problem is that I see the best in everyone, and I’m disappointed when people show their true side.

7.       Don’t wear skirts if you’re doing a lot of walking in the summer.

I almost don’t want to tell you about this, but if this doesn’t constitute a “real not ideal” moment, then nothing does. I went to the seaside last week, and I wore a skirt. It was not worth it. I did a lot of walking, and am now dealing with the worst chaffing blisters I have ever experienced. People think I’m being overdramatic until they see how big they are. It happens at the beginning of every shorts season, for me at least, but keep in mind that walking plus skirts plus warm weather is the worst possible mix.

I guess that’s about it for now. It’s interesting to look back at my last post to see what has changed since then. I can imagine myself looking back on this one way in the future and remembering these events. Today, I’m going to be writing a bunch of posts to have ready for you while I’m travelling. I was supposed to be in Amsterdam today and tomorrow, but I had to cancel that trip. I’ll be in Ireland at the end of the week, and I cannot wait! I’m meeting up with a friend from home, and then my family arrives on the weekend! I’ve got some amazing things coming up, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned as an adult?

-Daniella

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Edinburgh

You know, I was doing so well with keeping up with blog posts at the beginning of the year. I’m not going to make excuses for myself – I just suck sometimes. Anyway, I was in Edinburgh a few weeks ago! I went with a touring company called Don’t Be a Tourist that caters to students across England. I went to Bath with them in the fall, and I enjoyed the trip. Since I wanted to do more travelling, going to Edinburgh seemed like the perfect opportunity. It was a great adventure!

The bus ride was a long one. I woke up early and slept pretty much all the way there (as I always do). When we got there, I chose to separate from the people I went with and go explore the castle. I wish I had more time there. I did a walking tour, wandered around the Great Hall, saw the Crown Jewels, and watched part of a presentation about 17th century wars. The guy actually shot a musket from that time, and it was so loud! They weren’t made to be loud, but that’s how it turned out. I wish I had spent more time there. I honestly could have been there for hours.
 
The reason I had to cut my time short was because we had a scheduled walking tour. It was led by a guy in a kilt (yes, that stereotype is true). It was fascinating. Edinburgh has such a rich history. I spent more time getting myself lost and taking pictures of the buildings. I also watched a funny street performer before the group met up for dinner. After dinner, we did a Ghost Tour (it wasn’t actually scary though). We also did a pub crawl, but I genuinely couldn’t make it through because I crashed and crashed HARD so I went back to the hostel before I yelled at someone.


The next morning, the group had an option to walk to Calton Hill. There are something beautiful buildings up there, but, most importantly, they have an uncompleted Parthenon. Way back when, the people wanted to build a replica, but it ended up being too expensive, so it is now known as Edinburgh’s Shame.


After that, I did the big trek up Arthur’s Seat. Now, if you’re in Edinburgh, you HAVE to do this. However, if you’re not of good fitness (like me), you’re going to struggle. But it was worth it. I made it to the top, and the views were stunning.
 
My advice for Arthur’s Seat is to take it slow and enjoy the views. This may have been the most physically demanding thing I have made my body do. I took it really slow and took breaks whenever it was possible. I’m glad I did. If your only goal is to get to the top, you’re going to miss out on some spectacular sights. The best part of this walk is that I made a friend. A really bubbly girl from Chicago asked me to take her picture, and we got to talking, walked down together, and spent the rest of the day hanging out. It was really special.


Afterwards, I spent a little more time around the city. I went into The Whisky Trail that’s on the Royal Mile to get my dad something, and it ended up being the most amazing experience. The guys working there were amazing, and they helped me out wonderfully, and they were actively engaged in conversation. There are so many places to get some Scottish whisky, but this place is well worth a visit.
 
All in all, it was a great trip. I love the old buildings and the history of the place. I wish I could have spent more time there. I would like to go again in the future for a few days at least. I would definitely suggest going if you’re in Scotland. Just make sure you bring a sweater – it actually snowed while I was there!

Let me know if you’ve ever been to Edinburgh and what you did there.

-Daniella

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Monthly Favourites- April 2016

This is coming to you late, but it's coming to you nonetheless. It's the end of the school year for me, and I'm in a whirlwind of papers and fitting in last minute trips to get the most of my last month here. I'm going to be honest with you - I'm not 100% sure what I did in April. A couple things have stood out to me, but other than that, April was relatively uneventful.

1. York



This trip happened at the end of March, but it was too late to make it onto my March favourites. However, it was absolutely amazing. I would go so far as to say this has been my favourite trip. I'm still very proud of myself for making the full trek up the York Minster. I wrote a full post about it in April, so check that out for more details.

2. Edinburgh



I went on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland a couple weeks ago. I'll be writing a full post about it coming soon! I really wish I had more time there, but it was gorgeous. It's similar to York with the history and old buildings, and I loved it. Plus, there's a castle there, and I have loved exploring castles.

3. The Deep



Last week, Matt and I went to The Deep Aquarium in Hull. We've been doing a lot of day trips, so I'll write a full post about those at some point in the next couple weeks. Matt loves tropical fish, so he's been wanting to take me here for a while. It was a great experience. We went on a weekday, so there were so many kids running around, and they were all just so cute. I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good aquarium visit.

4. Snooker World Championships

[source]

Before I came to England, I had no idea what Snooker was. Matt loves it, so I've slowly been learning how it works. It takes incredible skill to be able to be a good Snooker player, and it has been really fun to learn about the game. I'll admit, it's not for everyone. It has some boring moments, and I've definitely fallen asleep a couple times, but when there's a good match on, it gets exciting just like any other sport. Although, I did end up watching the first and second longest frames to ever be played at The Crucible. The World Championships started at the end of April and finished in May. One of the finalists was the first ever Asian player to make it into the finals, so I lucked out and saw some history being made. The winner was Mark Selby, and it was great to watch his victory in the end. 

5. Headphones



This may seem like an odd one, but these headphones have been my saviour this month. I wanted to end the year well, so I tried to focus. However, in a flat with thin walls, it's difficult to find focus when you can hear everyone's conversations or music or Netflix. I remembered that these headphones are noise-cancelling, so I plugged them in one of my devices and used them as earplugs when I was working. If you can work with music, even better. If not, I still suggest this technique. I forget what type of headphones these are, but I'm pretty sure I got them at The Source back in Canada.

So April was more eventful than I thought. The only other thing I could possibly put on this list is that I finished up my classes. However, I'm in the process of writing two papers, so school isn't actually over yet. As soon as I'm done those, that's when really cool things start happening. In May, I'll be visiting three countries, so I'll have some exciting posts lined up! Plus, I get to see my family again. I've been getting increasingly more sad as my time here is coming to a close. I'm stuck in a place where I want to go home and see my friends and be at home with my family, but I also don't want to leave my new home. It's a dilemma. That's my personal reflection for the day.

What did you do in April?

-Daniella