Bluesfest is a major music festival in Ottawa which, surprisingly, has very little connection to blues. Some of the more famous performers this year included Lady Gaga, Journey, Barenaked Ladies, Blondie, Childish Gambino, Queens of the Stone Age, Snoop Dogg, Tegan and Sara, The Killers, and Third Eye Blind.And I had the most awesome luck of nabbing a press pass for the first Friday of the…
As a few of you know, I have spent my summer writing as much as I can. Admittedly the joys and adventures of being abroad have taken over every so often and I haven’t written as much as I would have liked. However, as French writer Françoise Sagan said “I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.” It’s all about balance.
This summer I have achieved one minor…
In July, we returned to the cottage for summer adventures.
Not only do Jonny’s parents own the land surrounding the cottage, they also own ‘Harris Mountain’ and the nearby lake.The first time I visited the lake it was frozen over and coated in icing-sugar snow. This time, I dove in head first and swam with the fishes. We played on the wooden dock; tipping it over, knocking each other off and doing faux-yoga until the dock sunk underneath us.
We canoed to a forested island in the centre of the lake and explored dark chilly caves with icy puddles at the bottom. We found woodpeckers and snakes and frogs and chipmunks. Twigs scratched our legs, dirt covered our feet and sweat dripped down our backs. I felt like a kid again, exploring the wilderness; being Tarzan, Pocahontas, The Swiss Family Robinson, Rambo.
We hiked up the mountain; dodging poisonous plants, eating wild berries, and admiring the incredible view. At the top we took a few moments to appreciate the green landscape, the sapphire water, the burning sun. And then we became kids again and began rolling boulders off the cliff edge and listening to them crack and tumble into the world below.
In the evenings we swapped bathing suits for pajamas and huddled around the campfire. Ian played guitar and sang Barenaked Ladies songs, Kevin admired the stars through a telescope, and the rest of us roasted potatoes and marshmallows on the fire. We played a game, the same one at least twenty or so times. It was called Loup-Garou which is French-Canadian for werewolf.
In the night (when everyone’s eyes are closed) the werewolves decide who they are going to eat and they tell the leader of the game ‘God’. Then they go to sleep and the witch wakes up. God points to who is going to be eaten and the witch can decide whether to save them or kill someone else. She goes to sleep and the detective wakes up and asks God for the identity of a certain person. Then he sleeps and the whole village wakes up. The little girl is the only person allowed to peek throughout the night but she can be killed if she is caught by a werewolf. If the fat boy is eaten then the werewolves cannot eat on the second night. If one lover is killed then the other must profess their love and die as well. If the hunter is killed, he can chose someone to kill at the same time. In the morning, zero, one or two people can be dead and the villagers are angry and have to decide who to lynch. Arguments and tactical votes are made then someone is lynched by the town. After every death, the dead person must reveal their role. The game ends when either the entire village or all the werewolves are dead.
The game was awesome and resulted in many fictional deaths, betrayals and twists. We spent the rest of our time eating hot dogs and snacks and drinking until the mosquitoes became too persistent. We played board games and listened to music and swam in the lake for hours.
The cottage in the summer is completely different from the winter. I adored exploring the wilderness and experiencing a real Canadian summer. A few years ago, when I was still in high school, I had a section of my bedroom wall designated for Canadian travel pieces and photographs. I remember this one picture specifically of a couple in a canoe on the most stunning lake I have ever seen. And as I sat on the dock admiring the beauty around me, I couldn’t help but feel like I was finally experiencing that photograph and how lucky I was to realise one of my travel dreams.
Thank you, friends, for the wonderful cottage times. I’ll never forget them.
Credit for the wonderful photographs goes to Colleen Jones (the awesome girl with the dreads).
The Cottage in Summertime In July, we returned to the cottage for summer adventures. Not only do Jonny’s parents own the land surrounding the cottage, they also own ‘Harris Mountain’ and the nearby lake.
On July 7th 2014, I turned 21 in Canada.
At 12:00am I took a birthday shot of vodka with my new friend Brigit whilst listening to her friends sing Sweet Carolineon karaoke. We had known each other for roughly eight hours so I can officially say that I began my twenty-first year with a group of strangers in a foreign country. And it was a blast. It felt like we had been friends for years and…
Canada Day is a blast of red and drink and fireworks.
July 1st is the busiest day of the year in Ottawa. Some Canadians avoid the streets altogether and others embrace the fanatic celebrations with red clothes, beer and boundless pride.
For the past year, people have told me stories of Canada Day; of drunken mishaps and crazy crowds and memorable evenings. So when the day arrived, I woke up…
After two or three months of living in his new place, Jack finally decided to have a housewarming party. So he cooked a feast, bought weird beer and invited his Ottawa friends around to party.
On arrival we were welcomed into the fairy-lit garage which looked like a magical castle for students. A table was loaded with food and alcohol, and a box of coloured chalk lay awaiting tipsy drawing on the stone wall.
A dozen or so people arrived and, not surprisingly, every single one of us were journalists. But we managed to quiet the journalism chat long enough to begin playing games. First, Pictionary on the wall; hence the Pikachus and Charmanders. Second, Heads Up with phones.
By 11:10, we were so enthusiastic about our games that the police rolled up to the garage door. They looked confused at us; a group of fairly sober twenty-somethings sitting around a table playing family games. This was the crazy party keeping the neighbours awake?! So instead of giving us in trouble, the police complimented Jack’s decor “It’s a nice setup you got here” and rolled on.
P.S. Lumpy Space Princess!Jack’s Housewarming Party After two or three months of living in his new place, Jack finally decided to have a housewarming party.
You’re probably wondering, what is Jill doing back in Canada?!
Well, after nine months of thrills and some of the best weeks of my life, I woke up one morning in April and thought to myself why the hell am I leaving Canada? I have so much left to do here!
I longingly wanted to experience the Canadian summer. Actual heat during June and July is a concept very much lost on my Scottish self. It is a…
Ottawa is stunning. God really out did himself when he made this place. Two days here and I am already blissed out. I hope Canadians know just how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful warm place. You can do anything here and the weather rarely disrupts.
On the way home from the airport, my friend Michelle and I drove passed people having barbecues, sunbathing, cycling, running, playing with…
When you are abroad, home becomes a fairy tale place. One you sink into when you fall asleep. Drifting in and out of consciousness. Remembering your best friends, family, favourite places. Drinking tea at the kitchen table with your mum. Driving around with your friends, singing your favourite songs. Watching crime show after crime show on your parents’ Sky box.
It is only on returning that you…
My first time in Canada I was seven-years-old.
Fourteen years ago my parents planned for us to visit relatives in Vancouver.
The story goes: my Mum’s father had two brothers. When they were young men, one brother emigrated to New Zealand, the other brother emigrated to Canada, and my Grandfather stayed in Scotland.
I have never met my Great-Uncle Malcolm who still lives down under. But I do know my Great-Uncle Al. He is a lovely and sweet man, much like my Grandfather was. I haven’t seen Al since our visit in 2000 but I remember the holiday vividly. Fourteen year ago was when I first fell in love with Canada.
In this blog post I have decided to share with you, my wonderful Scottawa readers, some photographs from our holiday. None of the photos were in digital form so I had to spend a little time coaxing them from their beds inside the photo album, peeling them out, introducing them to the scanner (technology they have never seen before) and bringing them to life on the screen. And now I will immortalise these photographs so they can forever live in the great world wide web.
A few of my memories from Canada and moments I have never forgotten…
Picking raspberries with my Great-Auntie Marg. The fruit tasted delicious! And I had never seen fruit patches in someone’s garden before.
Meeting my Canadian family with their tanned skin and lovely accents!
Seeing my Mum drive on the other side of the car and on the other side of the street.
Going to see the Pokemon movie and getting special Mew cards.
Visiting places around Vancouver.
Being with my brothers.
I hope you have enjoyed these photographs as much I have. They are a wonderful reminder of when Canada first ventured into my heart, unpacked its bags and poured itself a cup of tea.
I love you Canada! From Jill.
Then and now: Myself in Canada circa 2000 and 2014.