Time to rest before finals,
But "resting" means "bored".
After crazy adventuring, there is always the glorious homecoming. Or something like it. I dunno, coming home to an empty apartment after two weeks of essentially nonstop excitement is a pretty massive letdown. But let's not dwell on the pres
We shall delve into the past!
So we won the Cluster Challenge! It was a fun competition. A lot of the other teams looked pretty good, but we knew what was what, and so we emerged victorious. :D This entitled each school to a plaque with a spiffy engraving, and we all got some kewl vests, etc., etc. The party that night was a lot of fun, too; the conference rented out an old west town (Star Hill Ranch, I think?), where there were square dancing lessons, a mechanical bull, campfire
s, a mariachi band...!
I think that we're going to ultimately write a paper about our experiences in the CC this year, which I imagine will, er, happen, as compared to the paper last year. That should be i
Planes, trains, and automobiles:
The Austin airport is pretty nice. There are nice leather chairs to sit in in some parts. It was there that I took my calculus e
xam. :o Then off to Indy's new airport (which is MUCH nicer than the old airport, except for the fact that none of the TSA people seem to know which doors set off alarms or how to shut off said alarms yet) for a delicious--and nutritious
--dinner of German chocolate bars. :P
The flight to Toronto was really awesome. I accidentally took the wrong seat and confused the hell out of the guy whose seat I took, but since I was already seated and
blocked in he said that it was ok for me to just stay there and he'd take my seat. "Too many planes, too little sleep," I explained lamely. But he didn't mind. My seatmate was a Mr. Steve Allen from the Toronto area. We had a really excellent chat about all things Canada, and he helped me practice saying things like "zed" and "washroom." Hahahaha.
The approach to the airport was amazing. The night was pristinely clear, and Toronto was laid out like an ADHD kid's Lite Brite board. There are random smatterings of hi
gh population density punctuating large swaths of near-emptiness. The CN tower looked awesome, though.
When I got to YYZ (why-w
hy-zed), I took my first trip through customs! It was sort of a joke, I have to say. "Wh
at are you here for?" "Visiting friends." "How long are you here?" "6 days." "Do you have anything that I should know about?" "No." "Welcome to Canada." I exchanged for Canadian money, which is super pretty. :) Not like our dull, green dollars, but a rainbow crying to be spent!
I navigated the st
range maze that followed customs, and I found Pat waiting for me. I guess Evan was in the bath-... er... washroom. Figures. :) But it was great to be greeted! Since I had had approximately 700 calories in the previous two days, I asked them to take me to dinner. So we took a quick tour of Waterloo in the dark, and I got an awesome falafel pita during the eati
ng of which I spent time choking on a piece of cucumber. But it was still delicious.
Waterloo I :
That night, I was totally exhausted, but who really needs sleep, anyway? Evan took me to the club right near his hotel where he knows some bouncers, Starlight (or -lite, maybe). We went with his friend A-Mac and his ex-girlfriend/now friend Juli, but we didn't really see them much. That night, he also took me for a somewhat longer tour of parts of Waterloo, mainly the Uptown Loop which goes through a park. It was snow covered! ^____^ It actually snowed
about half the days I was there, too, which was fantastic.
The next morning I got to see the "famed" farmers' market in St. Lawrence (I think). It was sweet! Way bigger than our farmers' market here in Bloomington, haha. We had
delicious maple syrup and bagels and samosas and fresh juice and... mmmmmmm.
Saturday afternoon found Evan and me combing the city for adventures. We made a stop at his parents' house (
which is totally awesome; his dad is an architect and h
is mother an interior designer, so it's an exquisitely planned industrial sort of complex that felt surprisingly really ho
mey) for clothes, first. Then we had a massive amount of food in a markety part of Toronto and swung on some swings. A stop through the AGO -- Art Gallery of Ontario -- was interesting; it was closing essentially 30 minutes after we showed
up, so it was a bit of a whirlwind visi
t. But totally worth it. Especially for the disco camper thing they had set up. :D
After that, dinner at Sushi on Bloor. FECKING DELICIOUS. We were so stuffed from all the previous food, though, that neither of us could even make it through our respective chirashi. Oof. Still, tasty. Then... oh! A thing put on by NewMindSpace wherein they intended to raise a strand of balloons and leds higher than the CN tower. It was effing cold, so we didn't stay the whole time, but w
e did end up on the webpage for it, which is
sweet. And we saw it go pretty high. Oh, and Evan's brother and his girlfriend joined us sometime before all those sh
THEN. The four of us took a drive down to the lakeshore to a club called Guvernment, where
we saw INFECTED MUSHROOM. It was totally tight! The laser light shows were ridiculously sweet (and expensiv
e, I'm sure), and the performance from the group was also AWESOME. So, it was really hot in the club, right? So how do they
solve that problem? Oh, they H
AVE LIQUID NITROGEN JETS THAT B
LOW OVER THE C
ROWD. It seems so obvious. Being lost in a chilly, refreshing cloud of recently-non-liquid nitrogen is exhilarating. :P
We all stayed in Evan and Neil's parents' house, and in the morning we at scrumptious pancakes with real Canadian maple syrup. Dericious! Evan gave me a tour of Oakville, including several sweeping views of Lake Ontario, and then it was back to Waterloo to do work.
Waterloo II :
We spent a lot of time, unfortunately, working while I was visiting. Last week was the last week of classes for my Canadian friends, so they of course had massive amounts of proje
cts and assignments to finish up and hand in. I had a crapton of stuff to do, too, that I had been shirking while not at school for the previous week. Anyway, I won't dwell on the working times. I did go to class with Evan a few times, and that was pretty fun. Their classes aren't much different from ours, I guess, except that they're bigger. And the people lecture with funnier accents. :P
Since there was snow, we had to engage in the trifecta of great Canadian sports: traybogganing, snowball fighting, and pushing other people onto their faces in snowbanks. It was good times. ^___^
What else? Oh, there was lots of good food to be had. In addition to all the interesting restaurants that I tried the
re (including one called, simply, Vegetarian Fast Food Restaurant), there were also a couple of epic cookings. Pat and Jeff and I created a Thanksgiving feast, which was
unspeakably delicious (and nutritious). Evan and I made some trout with eggplant and beans and lemon and soy sauce.... YUM.
Comments on Canada :
Bags of milk - they don't have jugs or cartons of milk, they have bags. These bags are inserte
d into pitchers when one desires to use them. I thought this was pretty much one of the funniest things ever, but they didn't see that it was.
Washrooms - not a restroom. Not a bathroom. A washroom.
Walk signs - their little man looks way more excited to cross the street than ours.
Oreos - American Oreos are superior to Canadian Oreos. There is little dispute on this fact.
The Metric System - I was terrified the first time I looked at Evan's speedometer when I was driving his car. 130?? HOLY SHIT!! But that's actually just ~80, so we weren't about to die. The picture at the top of this post is me filling up his car... in LITRES. ^___^
And I guess that wraps up my epically long blog posting. Maybe I'll be less lazy in the future and have several shorter comments, but maybe not. I keep seeming to say that. :)