Sunday, January 26, 2014

Paris // Settling

I've not been here a week and I already have enough tales to tell that I could monopolize the table conversation for an entire full course dinner. Which, to my friends and family, won't sound shocking because as they know I can be am an incorrigible chatterbox. That's not the point though so just roll with it for now guys.

Some of my friends got invited to a little soirée by a charming Parisian tour guide who plays in a bossa nova band, so they kindly brought me along. We ate cheese and drank wine, and then the bossa nova boys began playing for us. I couldn't believe my ears, or my eyes, or any of my senses really. There I was, my third night in Paris, in a little Parisian apartment with some rather 'hip' people (coming from art school this is my comfort zone), listening to these charming fellas play Brazilian music, and I was completely immersed in the moment. It was simply and absolutely surreal. A touch cliché and total affirmation that indeed, French men are charmers and are completely aware of it, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Apart from that, I moved into my apartment! It's a super adorable studio in a great area. Big windows, spacious, safe, fully functional kitchen and washroom, the whole lovely shebang. I've explored my neighbourhood and gotten myself settled a bit. I found the right store to go to for toilet paper (hallelujah) and coffee and other necessities. I invited my friends over for dinner last night and we had a really nice time. I made guacamole but forgot to buy hot sauce, so I tried putting in some actual hot pepper I had picked up. It was delicious and I may just never go back to using hot sauce. A fun little discovery totally unrelated to Paris but I thought I'd share anyway.

I'm so fortunate to have such a circle of people around me here. It wouldn't be the same without them and I'm so excited to expand it at school, meet new people from all over the place. It's going to be great! I also plan on being a bit of a tourist once I get my phone and banking stuff all sorted out on Monday (Oh ya, everything's closed Sundays, so my plan to be productive today is a total no-go. Oops.)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paris // Bonjour!

Well, I made it to my hotel in Paris in one piece! My trip went really smoothly, with only one minor mishap with my suitcase handle breaking off (after I got to the hotel though, so we'll actually call that a stroke of luck!). It was my first time flying and traveling alone so I was quite glad to not encounter any hiccups.

Two of my old friends, Tam & Joe from elementary school, also happen to be studying in Paris this semester (in other words this world is smaller than the leg room in an airplane seat) and so they met up with me at my hotel and we had a little 'reunion' in Paris! We explored my neighbourhood, popped into the coolest little shops, walked up to where my apartment is, checked out some cafés and boulangeries, bought some wine for 4Euros and went back to my hotel room to hang out and catch up some more. It was so nice of them to take the afternoon to greet me!

My first day in Paris wasn't as overwhelming as I feared, it wasn't as lonely as I feared, and it was just as beautiful as the optimistic side of me could have imagined. I think I've mostly tricked my mind out of being too jet lagged, even though I was up at 2-4AM (Paris time) rolling around in bed. I forced myself to sleep until about 8AM so we'll see how I do today!

Update: It is now noon here, 6AM Canada time. I've had 2 coffees and still, all I want to do is sleep. Looks like I spoke to soon about beating jet lag! Ouch!

Update 2: I went into Starbucks (Don't worry Mom - I spent my morning in a cute french cafe first!) to try and get some wifi on my ipod instead of coming back to my hotel room. I don't have a phone here so facebook is my only means of communication. Anyway, I had a middle aged french man ahead of me in line ask if he could take me for drinks. No thanks. But flattering anyway, and he asked in French so I'm going to just take that as a sign that I was lookin' all Parisian today. Score!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Paris // Pre-Paris YumYum Practice

My friend Mickie (who blogs here!) and I both needed some girl time preferably involving delicious food so she suggested Nadege, a little patisserie in downtown Toronto. I felt funny being there and eating 'french' food the week before I leave to Paris, but enjoyed it thoroughly nonetheless of course. I mean, yummy is yummy no matter where you are in the world, right? My goat cheese and fig croissant sandwich was to die for.

I also couldn't get over the sweet design of the place, the clean white and pink geometric details and wooden benches. I was digging it. I love being in well branded, well designed places. Especially now that I've been in art school for 3 years and I can identify specific choices and understand the intention behind peoples' designs, and thus appreciate it differently. I don't know, it sounds silly, but I think it's pretty fun!

Three days until Paris! They're a busy three, trying to see everyone and pack and gather my thoughts. Here goes!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

have courage

I was feeling quite frightened about my Paris trip one night and was talking to a good friend. Instead of telling me not to be scared, like most people might, he told me this:

"I think it's a good thing you're scared, because if you were completely comfortable, what's the point? What could you learn, how would you grow?"

In that moment I genuinely thought "Who are you where did your wisdom come from, could I please go spelunking around in your mind to see what other nuggets of incredible insight you've got in there?" but all I could phrase together was "Wow, you're right."

I've been reminding myself of his words every time I start to feel a note of fear creep up amidst my excitement. Courage means it's ok to be scared. Courage means you should embrace the fear as something to overcome. Courage means conquering your fears and doing things regardless of the anxiety it may cause you. So, have courage I shall! I'll even make it my new years 'mantra'.

With every 'to-do' I check off my list and with the help of this mantra, I am shaking off all the stress and negativity I was feeling towards the process of getting my passport/visa/apartment stuff sorted out. This leaves a whole lot of excess space for excitement, and lots of it! I have secured a place for me to live; a typically adorable little studio in central Paris with big windows and a teenie kitchen and a loft bed. I have my plane tickets, I have finally been approved for a student visa, and I have started collecting my friends' mailing addresses so I can write them postcards while I'm there.

I have also reeeaaaaally been feelin' the look of hyper detailed hand lettering lately. This was a (relatively) quick doodle of my mantra!
The rest of this week will be busy with goodbyes and packing, then come Monday, au revoir Canada!


** Disclaimer: my mantra does not apply to spider sightings, spiders in my proximity, or other various spider encounters. I cannot be held liable if I freak out and run out of the room and squeal and ask someone else to please remove the spider from the area by whatever means they feel comfortable with.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Society 6!

If anyone is interested, I have some of my work up on various prints/tshirts/phone cases/pillows/tote bags on Society 6! Check it out here! I think my Evolution // Hats piece looks pretty sweet on their products, if I do say so myself!

BONUS: For the next two days (until January 12th) you can get free shipping on anything in my shop, just head over to my shop through THIS LINK!

I hope everyone has had a nice first week of 2014! I leave for Paris in 10 days. Holy moly.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Paris // Pre-Paris Pains and Positivity

I woke up this morning with a wee little ache somewhere in my gut. Not the ache that comes with too much junk food and beer the night before, and not the ache that arises from certain biological blessings the world has laid upon womankind. Nope, none of those.

My peers, my friends, my favourite people, all go back to school this week. This means a lot of them leave the city to move back to their respective schools. Far away. This means a lot of goodbyes. Normally this is ok; every year it is bittersweet but usually I am going back to class too where I'll be reunited with other friends. I also know I'll be able to see everyone again at reading week. This year, this isn't the case. I've got a few weeks of... well, nothing really, and then I go away for 5 months and I don't see anyone until I get back in June.

Of course it's only 5 months and this premature nostalgia seems a little silly, because I mean, PARIS (need I say more?). It's going to be the adventure of a lifetime.

We all know how time is finicky, how it twists out of proportion when it looms ahead of you and you're scared, then how quickly it actually slips away from you when you're trying to live in the moment. My days of sitting in adorable french cafes and walking by the Seinne and exploring Paris are already numbered and I'm not even there yet.

I'll be back before anyone knows it.

For now though, the goodbyes are unpleasant and difficult. I'm bad with goodbyes, especially when I know they're temporary (most of them). I want to make them count. I'm one of those saps who wants everyone to know how important they are to me even when I'm not leaving somewhere for a long period of time. When the time comes though, I bite my tongue because it just seems silly to pour my heart out for a temporary separation. Especially because I don't know how other people feel about me necessarily.

There's also my family with whom I am extremely close. I am lucky though; I will be home just in time for my younger brother's grade 8 graduation, I will be present for two of my cousins' weddings this summer, and I know everyone will be here when I'm back. But I will miss them greatly. They are my daily dose of something happy and supportive; they are a big portion of the glue that holds me together. 

I don't mean to start off my Paris documentation on a negative note. I actually try to look at it this way: I am an incredibly lucky girl to have so many wonderful people I'll miss with all my heart. There's no one I'm hoping to "get away from", or that it'll be nice to "take a break from". I will miss them all, and that is a bittersweet good thing.

 Yes, there will be a few ouchies. A few rough goodbyes and I'll even admit to a few tears (but I'll only admit to a few!). I guess that comes with the territory of these sorts of adventures, of doing things for yourself, and of letting yourself sincerely love the people around you, and in all of these things there is insurmountable beauty that make it all a thousand times worth it.


Also, thank goodness for wifi and Skype... seriously.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Happy New Years everyone! Hope you've all had wonderful holidays and that you can look back on 2013 fondly, or at least look forward to all the possibilities of 2014.

In the year 2013 I...
- Welcomed the year in Costa Rica

- Went to New York with one of my best friends in February

- Participated in my first ever live painting show/art show - and my second!

- Worked my first "office job" over the summer (and loved it!)

- Spent a whole lot of time at concerts - celebrities and friends' bands alike! Sam Roberts, Kodaline, Of Monsters and Men, Running Violet, Invasions...
- Did the Colour Me Rad 5K!

- Seriously evolved as an artist/illustrator, both in style and conceptually

- Had a superhero/geek culture themed birthday party

- Made it officially past the half-point of my undergraduate degree (holy goats)

- Became friends with some of the most incredible people, and made amazing memories with old friends and new friends alike!

- Continued to learn to always do right by myself and not let anyone (or myself) bring me down

Well, I've started the New Year off on the right foot so far - and hopefully will continue to do so in Paris! I'm so nervous and excited to get my butt over there and just get started with that adventure. I feel impossibly lucky right about now and can't thank those in my life enough for providing me with such a great circle wherein to exist. I am full of adoration for you all. You are all one hell of a group of people to miss while I'm going to be away!

Happy New Year everyone!