USA Election 2016

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November 8, 2018. New York City.

The city was alive and the sun was shining. People proudly walked down the street wearing badges declaring “I Voted” and “I’m With Her”. The city was confident and excited about a Hillary victory. No other result made sense. But as evening fell and votes were tallied, the excitement and hope began to fade, before extinguishing completely.

On the morning of November 9 the city was in shock. As I walked down 23rd street I noticed people crying. On the bus, more of the same. As I walked past people they’d smile and nod, not a typical occurrence in the city. It was a though people needed to reassure one another that it’s going to be okay.

I saw a Broadway show in the afternoon, and at curtain the cast bowed, and tearfully thanked the audience for coming today, of all days. Later in the evening the protests began. Police filled the streets with riffles and riot gear, preparing for the worst.

On my way home I sat next to a 92 year old on the bus. She told me that she was devastated, that her heart broke for Hillary. She teared up as she talked about how qualified Hillary was, and how much she deserved to win. And how excited she’d been that she’d lived to see the first female president. Now, she said, that hope was dashed.

Photo: Iceland

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While driving solo along the southern coast of Iceland in September I decided to pull onto a side road and see where it led. After driving through a small seaside village the road stopped here. This beautiful little church stood on a hill, overlooking the ocean.

12 Days In New York City

I love New York, but boy was I ready to come home after 12 days in it. Had the last 7 of those days not been so stressful it might be another story. But the fact was that I barely had enough money to get me through the 6 intended days, so the additional 7 weren’t overly enjoyable as I tried not to use much public transit or eat out or really do anything that involved spending any money…

But, despite all that, it was still a lovely and much needed holiday!

I arrived in the city on a Wednesday at which time I wandered to Vi’s and collapsed on her couch. On Thursday made my way to Brooklyn to go see the Botanic Gardens. I’d seen someone post about it somewhere, and thought it might be worth a visit. The weather was great, the colours gorgeous, and it turns out there’s not admission cost on Thursdays.

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That evening I headed to Times Square to meet up with Vi. We were hoping to the lottery for a show, but missed it for both The Last Ship and Hedwig. Instead we got omlettes and watched Netflix.

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On Friday I headed down to Union Square where I spent a couple hours getting lost in the racks at The Strand. Paul Giamatti was there. We stood in the ‘Banned Books’ section together. It was pretty cool.

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I then went and wandered around the West Village and people-watched in Washington Square Park. It was chilly, but sunny, so I was happy.

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That night I headed back to Times Square to meet Vi. We lost the lottery for Idina Menzel’s show If/Then, but were able to grab ‘Lottery Loser’ tickers for only $5 more. I guess the show isn’t doing so well… I thought it was okay. I’m glad I saw it, but really it’s only selling points are Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp.

Speaking off, we did stage door, of course! I’ve seen them both before, but it’s always fun!

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On Saturday I met up with Carly, Sara, and Annie for an excellent 4 hour lunch. We’d never all gotten together as a group, so it was a lot of fun. Eventually Carly had to head to work and Annie to a housewarming party, so Sara and I met up Vi and went to dinner.

Vi and I saw ‘On The Town’. I liked it well enough. It’s a classic, so, you know. The dance numbers seemed a little drawn out, but the music was great.

On Sunday Vi and I went on a roadtrip to Baltimore. She rented a car and got tickets to see Next To Normal, I tagged along. Oh, and I can now say I’ve been to Delaware. Woo!

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On Monday it down-poured so we went to the movies to see ‘The Theory of Everything’. I also dragged Vi from shop to shop in search of a single magazine, as, you know, I do that. The weather cleared up later in the day though, so I went for a nice stroll around mid-town.

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On Tuesday I headed out at some ridiculously early hour only to reach the far end of West-nowhere (aka the Megabus stop) and learn that there were no buses. No one seemed to know why. So, my enormous backpack, suitcase and I hiked it over to Penn Station to see about a train. I got a ticket, all looked well, until it’s announced that all Toronto bound rail service will be suspended in Syracuse. Again, no one could say why. So I got a refund and started frantically texting everyone I knew for a place to stay. Annie was kind enough to offer her couch right away, so I made my way 160 blocks or so uptown to Washington Heights.

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I eventually came to learn about the horrendous storms in Buffalo and every 12 hours or so would get an update that train and bus service remained suspended. That week is a bit of a blur with regards to what happened when, and in what order. Again, I stayed in a lot. I mean I managed to watch the whole first season of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, so…

I did go for several nice walks around Washington Heights and Fort Tryon. One day I took the subway down to the Upper West Side to go to Barnes and Noble, and then took a very long city bus journey back to the George Washington Bridge (if you catch a bus within 2 hours (maybe 3 hours?) of catching the train they don’t charge you again- HEY OH!). Washington Heights was pretty cool though, I’m glad I had some time to explore it.

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10406411_935648617234_5416060134614959295_nHudson River, Fort Tryon Park

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And then of course Saturday was the insane Into The Woods evening. I’m still not over that one! Earlier that day though I met up with the wonderful Jennifer Eolin for tea and trading of horror life stories, and a couple hours later went for hot chocolate with another online friend. All that made for a very nice day. Adding in Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and an early Into The Woods screening were just icing on the cake!

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I didn’t sleep Saturday night, and had to leave for my bus around 4:30am. Thankfully though when I arrived there was no one advising of a cancellation, and I even managed two seats to myself for the entire journey home.

It all kind of worked out. Sort of. Maybe.

Stranded in NYC

What does the universe do to the gal who was having a million panic attacks thinking about her upcoming trip and had actually decided not to go up until 5 minutes or so before she left? Why, strand her at her destination, of course!

If you’re unaware- I am currently stuck in New York City and am not sure when I’ll get home. I was meant to head out at the break of dawn Tuesday, but some nasty storms have swept through Buffalo. Seriously, it’s horrifying what’s happening: 70-some-odd inches of snow have fallen in the last 48 hours and several people have frozen to death in their cars after being buried. The NY state thruway will be closed until at least Friday, all cross-border bus and train services have been suspended, trucks aren’t being allowed to enter the US on the Peace Bridge. And the snow is still coming down!

There’s now thousands of people stranded in The City (and elsewhere), and I’m incredibly grateful to have friends who don’t mind a couch surfer. I know others aren’t as lucky, and I hope no one has found themselves in a dire situation. I might be tight on cash, but I’m safe, warm, and surrounded by good company.

And aside from the being stranded, I’m having a nice time. I’ve been to several shows, including Idina Menzel’s newest. I visited The Strand for the first time, and looked at banned books with Paul Giamatti. I people watched in Washington Square Park, visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, took a road trip with Vi to Baltimore, had a mini MTT reunion lunch with Carly, Sara, and Annie, wandered the West Village, Union Square, Washington Heights, and did Trivia Tuesday in Harlem with some students from Columbia.

I have photos, but I’ll save those for another day. Well, okay, here’s one:

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Laters, London

As you may or may not know I’m back in Canada now as my UK visa was up this summer. It was really tough to leave, but c’est la vie. Anyway, knowing I’d be leaving for good I spent the last few weeks wandering the city, seeing friends, and eating delicious food!

(The photos aren’t great as they were all taken on my phone.)

Around the neighbourhood

I can’t even begin to express how in love I fell with South London this year. I was living around Elephant & Castle station in Southwark and it was fantastic. I could walk or bus almost everywhere I needed to go, there were parks galore, it was a multicultural hub, and just generally an endless amount of things to do.

Burgess Park – We had several weeks of gorgeous weather and I spent a lot of time here:

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Buddhist centre – On one of Saira and I’s weekly adventures we wandered into a spiritual centre down the road from my house and discovered this beautiful meditation room:

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Dunning Library – I walked by this building daily on my way home from work. It’s stunning:

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On the walk home:

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St. George’s Circus – Nothing exciting, but I walked or bused through here several times a day. Each side of the column stated the distance to a major landmark:

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Finishing my post-grad

I also spent my last few weeks in London finishing my final paper for my post-grad. Many afternoons were spent writing in the park:

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Star Trek Live @ Royal Albert Hall

A friend told me about a screening of Star Trek at Royal Albert Hall. As I’d never been, and love Star Trek, it sounded like a great idea! And icing on the cake- When I arrived one of the ushers upgraded my ticket, putting me in a much better seat, and I found a program (selling for £10) under my seat. Score!

Inside RAH:

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FREE THING:

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The film played on a large screen while the orchestra and choir performed the entire film’s score live. It was incredible:

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And guess who showed up to introduce the film? Simon Pegg (!!!), JJ Abrams (*bows*), and Michael Giacchin0 (score composer):

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Playing tourist

I, of course, needed to play tourist one last time around the city.

Trafalgar Square:

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Cleopatra’s Needle (1st year of uni memories!):

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Oxford Circus:

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River Views:

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Piccadilly Circus:

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Leicester Square:

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One last gig

I saw a ton of incredible concerts while in London, so the last one needed to be epic. Lucky for us Arcade Fire were in town:

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Not-so-lucky for us, we missed the last couple of songs because I was booted in the head by a crowd surfer and blacked out from a minor concussion… But some hilarity ensued at the doctors, so that’s something, right?

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Urban exploration

For our final adventure Saira and I wandered around an old eerie hospital in south London, which had a derelict sanatorium on site. It was also raining and dusk, aka perfect ambiance for such an adventure.

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It was definitely a great last few weeks, but I was still so sad to leave. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, to pack up the last 2 years and head home (minus the time home for sickness last year!) without knowing what was coming next. It’s been a couple of weeks and I still have no idea, but in London I finished my post-grad, gained a ton of fantastic experience, and met the most incredible people. It was a great experience, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters!

Sunrise At Primrose Hill

The night before last I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to venture out at 3:30am to catch the sunrise from Primrose Hill. It was already quite light out when I arrived just before 5am:

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But thankfully I still had some time before the sun made an appearance:

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The colours were incredible:

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The view was more than worth the long trek:

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I absolutely recommend this to everyone in / visiting London.

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The viewing area.

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Nevermore.