Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Belated Valentine's

Since my Valentine's Day was rather low key this year (I spent it studying) I was overjoyed to get to spend almost an entire day with Jared while I was home before leaving for Cuba! Knowing how much I treasure my teddy bear he thought I might appreciate another. This became funny for two reasons. First, as can be seen in the photo below my beautiful sister received a similar bear about 15x the size! Second, because I took Trevor (the little bear) to Cuba with me and he got to go on an adventure of his own! When he wasn't on the bed when we went back to the hotel room I called the front desk, described him and 10 minutes later a knock on the door...Trevor! I think he got to see how laundry's done! 

My other belated valentine was waiting for me in Montreal when I returned! A letter from my first roommate ever  that immediately brought me to tears as I read it. Morgan is one special girl! Her homemade Valentine went straight to the fridge so I can see it every day!

I believe I am still waiting on another belated Valentine. Canada Post these days eh? Unless mom just is claiming she sent something...love you Mama Neuf :)

So although my February 14th was uneventful my Valentines are out there! Thinking of you all! 

Cuban Adventures with Emily and Carol!

Hola everybody!

This past week I was lucky enough to be taken on a wonderful trip with my Mama to Cuba for reading week! Wow I don't even know where to begin! I suppose I'll start from the very beginning. That's a very good place to start...right? (catch the sound of music reference)

So Thursday Feb 16th was utter madness. I had two midterms and an assignment to turn in and carried my bag around with me all day so that I could run from my last class to the train station! I was met in Toronto by the one and only Papa Neuf and then arrived safely home! I was able to see Jared for breakfast and an attempt at a hike, a wonderful belated Valentine's Day dinner and Midnight in Paris. I also shared a spectacular hour or so with mom and Ange getting a pedicure and was wished well by Grams and Gramps next door! It's always nice to be home!

The Cuban adventure began on Saturday morning by waiting around in the Toronto airport. I may have gotten through almost the entire first book of The Hunger Games before we even got to the beach! Eventually we arrived in Cuba, but we started out with a few bumps (in plans as well as in the roads!) We first arrived to a hotel with no electricity and then the next one had no hot water but it did have mangy cats! Thankfully that was only one night and then we were saved by our tour guide Noel. Opposite to our expectations mom and I were the only ones on the tour! Our next hotel was way up in the mountains and we had the entire place to ourselves! No fighting for pool chairs! During these three days we visited the birth place of Fidel Castro and the place where Christopher Columbus (or Christober Colon in Spanish) first landed in Cuba. We also saw two waterfalls and Cuba's national bird as well as many tropical plants at a botanical garden where we enjoyed fresh coffee too! We also made a quick stop at an orchid garden. One day was spent on a "safari" which ended at a gorgeous white sand beach where I read and swam while mom was attacked by sandflies. Another morning we spent horseback riding in the hills. Needless to say we learned so much about Cuban culture and ate lots of traditional Cuban food.

On our fourth day we arrived at Playa Costa Verde (the all inclusive resort) so mom (and me too) could finally relax. This is where the vacation really began! We spent our days sitting on the beach or by the pool. I played volleyball, we both read. Probably the highlight of the whole trip was swimming with dolphins. Mom and I went with a group to an "aquarium" which is really just a fenced in area of a bay. I was able to do three tricks with the dolphins. One where I grabbed onto their fins and they pulled me around the pool, another where I stood straight up in their air on the dolphins noses who were also straight up all the way out of the water and the third where I lay on my belly and then each push my legs so that I am raised out of the water as if I'm skiing! What an experience! Too bad mom botched the photos! ( It's okay mom I still love you! ) Afterwards in a group of 5 mom and I were both able to pet and get kisses from one of the dolphins. Even better yet was the dolphin show where I volunteered to do the trick again where the dolphins jump straight up out of the air with my feet on their noses. Afterwards I got raw fish slapped on my face so that I could get a kiss...yuck! But definitely worth it! Some other highlights were the shows at the resort in the evenings. They had an incredible synchronized swimming team perform one night, wonderful pianists and a string quartet. They also had a magician, a performance of Grease and a Cuban boy band perform! The food wasn't bad either! Mom and I enjoyed the Japanese a la carte restaurant where our chef was entertaining and the food was delicious! Mom even flipped some chicken into the air and caught it on a knife in her other hand. She's so talented! Ha! We also enjoyed the Italian restaurant and the buffet!  Unfortunately we had to head back to cold Canada on Saturday but it was so nice to be able to have lunch with some of the Neufeld family on Sunday and to quickly see Grams and Gramps T again (who absolutely spoil me! I had to take a whole extra bag for all the food they sent me with!) before heading back to even colder Montreal.

So now I'm back at 1900 Tupper, wearing my Arctic Parka and knee high boots to class and not too happy about it. However the month of March is almost here and contains lots to look forward to! Dad will soon be visiting and then Jared and Brad the weekend after. I hear Katie's 20th birthday is in there somewhere too! So it's not all bad to be back! Waiting (rather impatiently) for Kinsey to return from her extended break so the three of us can all really catch up and then relay all of our adventures to the rest of you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In Honour of Family Day

This weekend, in honour of Family Day (for all of you Ontarians), my family came to Montréal. After stopping in Ottawa to pick up three of my cousins, Elia, Abby, and Emily, they were en-route to 1900 Tupper! I had dinner waiting for them when they got here– we started with a mixed green salad with avocados, blackberries, cucumbers, tomato, and goat cheese with a dijon vinaigrette; and for dinner we had a delicious pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, baby shrimp, and goat cheese, in a rose sauce. Finally, after so enjoying Emily's mini apple pies last weekend, I decided to make them myself and I think it's safe to say they were a big hit! 

This morning, after being woken up by Reese at 6:45, I made Chai Tea Pancakes for breakfast. They're easy to make and simply divine, definitely a 1900 Tupper favourite! Today everyone has been out and about, enjoying the abnormally warm Montréal weather; and while the big girls shopped, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Reese and Emily. After swimming at the YMCA, we came home, popped a cheese pizza in the oven and got crafty. Tonight, before heading back to Ottawa, we're going to Reuben's Deli for their famous smoked meat sandwiches! YUM. 

Having my parents, cousins, and Sydney, Leah, and Reese here has been an absolute blast! I wish they could visit more often. This weekend is just the beginning of a very long-awaited Reading Week. I have some very exciting things planned, as do Katie and Emily, and I guarantee you'll hear all about them once we're back! Off to the books I go...but not really ;) 

Notice Reese sleeping on the bean-bag! 

Emily and Reese take on Montréal 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Honor of Emily

Emily has left 1900 Tupper for reading week. What will Kinsey and I do without her? The lucky girl is sojourning in Cuba where one finds azur waters and white sand (sigh...).

Meanwhile, I am forced to dig up archival videos to fill the void she has left in my heart and on our street.

If I had to describe Emily in three words, I would choose GROUND, BEEF [with chili powder], and BROCCOLI. Classic Emily meal, right there.

See below.

Em, I'm sorry, but I don't know if they'll have (edible) ground beef in Cuba. ;)

Bolivia Bound!

Emily and I got the chance tonight to talk briefly with our friend Jeremy who leaves tomorrow for Bolivia! Our friends Jer and Tim will be spending reading week serving in Bolivia with students from  their campus church group at Laurier. Check out their blog and follow the adventure yourselves! We hope you guys have a great trip, we're praying for you and we can't wait to hear stories once you're back!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photo of the Day

Sometimes a regular bowl just won't do.

Bring on the mixing bowl. Don't lie; you've done it too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Your Beloved Mansoor..."

Last night, Katie and I were sitting in our rooms studying away until I received a phone call from a florist! I answered the phone and confirmed that yes, our address was 1900 Tooper... Katie and I then met in the hallway to figure out who would be home tomorrow to get the flowers. Thinking they were from someone very special, Katie stood by as I demanded that the florist break their privacy policy and tell me who the flowers were from. The women caved and told me that the card was signed, "Your beloved Mansoor."

I might as well have been kicked in the stomach because I could not breathe. Katie had no idea what was going on until I managed to explain that they were from Mansoor. MANSOOR?!? This is too good to be true. At this point Katie's knees gave way and she hit the floor, only to leave me on the phone with this poor, confused florist. After bursting into laughter, I felt the need to inform the passive voice on the other end of the line that the man she spoke of was our landlord. I apologized and hung up the phone, standing with Katie in utter shock, picturing our Iranian landlord Mansoor Asgharenejad at our door for Valentines Day.

...Was he sending flowers to all his tenants?...Is he trying to convince us to stay next year?...Is he impressed at how clean our apartment was after coming to inspect the toilet?...There's no way. Now, although we constantly joke about him, we are all quite fond of Mansoor and his unannounced visits at 7am on Sunday mornings. Being the great landlord that he is, I sometimes feel the need to talk about him...

It is all too coincidental that just last week I was raving about Mansoor and how I wish he would make more frequent visits to 1900 Tooper, to Brad Bowen. Brad of course thinks we're all just obsessed with Mansoor and finds it hilarious. Therefore the only possible explanation for the beautiful bouquet and chocolates that arrived at my door today, is that Brad had the florist sign my valentine as the one and only Mansoor! We all had a good laugh and hopefully this post does the story justice! Brad, thank you so much, I wish I could be with you today! Happy Valentines everybody! Xo

No, this is not me. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tupper Pedestrians, Beware

When we're not studying, we're pranking.

Do you have a favorite prank? We'd love to hear in the comments section. After all, April Fool's Day is fast approaching and we need ideas.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Vow

Tonight Emily and I had a much needed girls night. From the moment we woke up, we spent the day together and just got home from seeing The Vow. The movie was inspired by true events and Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum made the perfect couple. The story is one of patient and passionate love that had us in tears throughout, and long after it was over.

I vow to help you love life. 
To always hold you with tenderness,
And to have the patience that love demands.
To agree to disagree on red velvet cake.
To speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they're not. 
And to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.

I vow to fiercely love you and all your forms, now and forever.
I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. 
I vow to love you and no matter what challenges might carry us apart, 
We will always find a way back to each other. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walkin' on the Snowshine

...Running actually, in -14 with flurries! This morning Emily and I woke up and got all bundled up to run to our very favourite bakery: La Patisserie Belge. This bakery is down the road from my old residence on avenue du Parc and every Sunday morning last year, Emily, Katie and I would stop for fresh croissants on our way to church. We would get there right as the bakery would open, and watch them carry in trays and trays of Montreal-famous croissants. All warm and buttery. Yummm. Ofcourse, we had to document such an occasion, so here ya go!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Family Dinner

Last night I volunteered myself to make a family dinner for the three of us. Kinsey picked out a scrumptious recipe for me and I set out do a grocery shop! For dessert I decided to try out a recipe I discovered on Pinterest for apple pie baked in an apple!

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Apple Pie Time!

So yummy! 

And of course we just happened to have a Warm Apple Pie candle! How fitting! 

Try it yourself! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In This Moment Now

I'm currently heading to bed after a great little chat with Em. We can't believe that after this semester we will be half-way done our undergraduate degrees! It's crazy to think how fast time flies and even crazier to think that I've only known Katie and Emily for a year and a half! It feels like so much longer than that. I am so blessed to have met such incredible girls who love Jesus so much and who are truly two of the most fun-loving and thoughtful people you'll ever meet. What a privilege it is to call them my best friends.

I could not have asked for better roommates and sometimes I wish we could be the girls of 1900 Tupper forever! (Although that would be an awfully long time to deal with Mansoor...) These are the days that we will long for in the future and I know that we will look back on them with the fondest of memories. People always say that university is the time of your life, and Katie and Em, as cheesy as this sounds, I've had the time of my life with you! I love you guys!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Events of the Day

  • Beth Moore devotional
  • Painting my toenails this color
  • Taking notes on marketing research (creating, distributing, and analyzing surveys, in particular)
  • Feeding squirrels from the fire escape
  • Sampling green tea (this is big - rarely do I depart from my favorite: milky Earl Grey)
  • Listening to Tim McGraw Greatest Hits Volumes I-III
  • Making a big batch of spaghetti + Bolognese sauce (recipe source: me) for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch
  • Cheering for the Patriots (who are we kidding; I don't know a thing about football so it was an emotionless, arbitrary decision)

Saturday, February 4, 2012


She just said YES to a very important question! 

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McGill never ceases to surprise me, whether it be through its ridiculous ploys for money, hilarious match-making initiatives, or my personal favourite, emails from the Dean.

I have to say, I admire the amount of charity work students here do. There are countless bakesales and fundraising events taking place at any given time. The best fundraiser I’ve ever witnessed was during exams last semester, in the middle of December. It was by far one of the coldest day we'd had so far, but the fearless swim team danced around the main gates in nothing but their bathing suits. The girls sported their one-pieces with Uggs, and the boys donned very skimpy Speedos. Having to walk right past them, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wanted to take a picture to send to Katie but figured that would have been beyond creepy. Nonetheless, their perfectly sculpted bodies weren't hard on the eyes...

Secondly, I don’t know what it is about this school, but students are always looking for ways to "hook people up." Wheeew. Last year, you’ll remember we had Like-a-Little, a mild form of online stalking; and this year we have our very own Social Network for Singles! The website, and I quote, reads, “Meet students from around the world for friendship, dating, relationships, and marriage.” MARRIAGE?! I think we might be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves here. From the looks of the hundreds of profiles…I can't find anyone I’d even remotely like to meet. Except maybe "GetatmeMcgillgurls." He could have potential... Who knows, maybe we’ll have better luck at the next SSMU Speed Dating Soirée.

Finally, to save the best for last, below is an excerpt from the latest email from our Dean:
“This message is a reminder of some basic rules governing life in Montreal. Please remember to be considerate about noise levels in the neighbourhood. The fine for loud noises and drinking in public in Montreal will set you back $146 if you are not careful. In addition, please note that the fine for public urination is $316.”
Normally, one would like to think that as students at McGill we are capable of appropriate public conduct. Moreover, one would hope the Dean of Students has more pressing issues on his plate than to warn us about the consequences of public urination. Suffice to say, we all need reminders every now and then and I sure wouldn't want to get stuck with a $316 fine!

My question is, how many complaints prompted him to send that email to all 34,000 students in the first place? Are graduate students notified too, or is it just for us unruly undergrads?

Funnier still, this is an annual email. I have an identical one in my inbox from last year. Nothing like a proactive email from the Dean to start the New Year!

The "Twoilight" Saga

The toilet "squeaks" for itself.

Note: unless you like to squint, make the video full screen to read my witty captions. You'll have to move your mouse off the control bar; it will eventually disappear.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Education for the Nation

Well I am fresh from participating in a psychology study through McGill for extra credit for one of my courses. It was such a good experience that I felt the need to share it with you. I won't go into all the details but it was about how speech perception affects speech production. Anyways, when I had finished, the experiment was explained to me and I just thought it was the coolest thing.

This was a big deal for me because recently I've been contemplating applying to do a joint honours program. This would (to my understanding) require me to be involved in some sort of research, which I have been very apprehensive about. I had written research off as something I was not interested in and would not be good at.

However, today everything just sort of seemed to fall into place in my head. All of my courses seem to be encouraging careers, or at least involvement, in research and I have been frustrated by that in the past. But after participating in this study, my understanding of research was completely transformed. I suppose I already knew that even if I don't want a career in research it could still be relevant to what I want to do and that I could learn a lot from the experience, but today I actually came to believe it!

I've also started to tutor a grade 9 student in math. Last week he was complaining about how his homework doesn't relate to anything in the real world and I was so excited to inform him that in fact it does relate and if he continues with school, he can focus in more on things he really enjoys, but that it's important to have a general knowledge to get started!

So all this to say I am super excited about my education right now! I have so much learning to look forward to in the next few years! I realize I sound like a major nerd (which to some extent I am), but I am also writing this as a reminder to my future, in-the-middle-of-exams grumpy self!

As a side note, I had a wonderful Skype chat with Clo last weekend which reminded me of the children's CD she introduced me to called  Emilie Jolie. I will be listening to it non-stop over the next little while.

So, happy studying to my fellow students! Thirteen days until Reading Week!

Explanation: a "wug" is the mascot for the society of linguistics undergrads at McGill (SLUM), and is  commonly used in studies with young children to test if they know how to pluralize words. Thus it fits my current enthusiasm for linguistics, research, and learning!  

Bonne Fête, Kinsey!

Someone around here had a twentieth birthday on Monday. = Party time! Since our university student budgets did not permit a Nick & Socorra-type blow-out, we opted for something a little more low-key... In honor of Kinsey's birthday, we had a few friends over to drink tea and play games.

We just hung out and giggled! The game of Catchphrase is a favorite around here; somebody always says something hysterical. And who knew our birthday girl was so competitive...

The evening's baking was a joint effort. I whipped up my (practically world-)famous Blondie Bars, while Kinsey crafted carrot cake cupcakes with a divine cream cheese icing.

Not to mention the event was a good excuse to take some pictures with some of our favorite people!

Kinsey, we just love ya! Thanks for giving us an excuse to celebrate the lovely lady you are! Best wishes for the year to come.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Routine

I regret to inform you that Februany is only happening in the US. (They don't even have subsauce there so what's the point?) Lame. However, in lieu of my crushed subway dreams, I came home and whipped up a little shrimp stirfry! And it's Wednesday, which means Emily and I watch 90210 together! Poor Katie has been gone since 8:00 this morning and has a class until 9:00 tonight...What a trooper!


Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that at 7:00 am sharp this morning, Subway launched the greatest promotion in the history of fast food restaurants...wait for it...FebruANY. Just to clarify for those of you subway newbs, who don't get monthly emails, any FOOTLONG sub is $5. Instead of being frugal, you can now order Steak and Cheese with ease. Too good to be true? See for yourself!

I know that I, personally, am going to keep track of how many subs I eat this month and I dare you to compete with me. (Dad, this excludes you.) Obviously I was planning on starting today as I have been counting down the days until Februany 1st; however, as I cautiously confirmed the promotion after school today, a not-so-friendly sub girl informed me that only the classics are 5$... Duh. Honey, you can't fool me. I tried to explain to her but she looked like she was going to knife me any second. Considering how long the knife for slicing footlongs is, I decided it was in my best interest to back off.

Not to worry, I have exactly 28 more days to fulfill my Februany dreams.