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hannahnewson

Food, Fun, and Friends

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

One of the things that I have noticed over the past weeks of travel is how much the Europe trip revolves around food. Waffles in Belgium, Crepes in Monmatre, Pizza in Assisi, Gelato in Rome, Sangria in Spain, Beer in Germany, and the list goes on and on. Over the course of the trip we’ve eaten a lot and tried various drinks as well but I dont think it’s about the food or drink. It’s about the community or fellowship which is brought together for a brief time. In Europe everything seems to slow down, partly because you don’t have anywhere you need to be and partly because its cultural. They have no issues with you sitting in a cafe for four hours, it’s part of what Europe is. But like I said its not about the amazing sangria or fantastic crepes its about being with good friends and enjoying a good thing!

Hannah

Italia

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

Long Live Italy!! Today we saw an amazing and cultural thing. We went to a parade celebrating 150 years of Italienne unification. Everywhere you looked there were thousands and thousands of people standing out in the hot sun. As sweat dripped down their backs they waved flags, clapped, and cheered. They were proud of their country’s past victory. Italy is here to stay and they will make sure of that. We have been learning a lot about the European Union lately and many people believe that soon their will no longer be any countries, their will just be Europe. After today’s display of national pride and various other encounters on the trip I don’t think any country will disappear culturally. There will always be someone holding onto the culture, especially ones so loved by their people.

Hannah

Loi Kra Thong

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

One word to describe Thailand: Breathtaking. We spent our time here in Thailand during the Loi Kra Thong festival. Everywhere you look there are rows upon rows of lanterns. Floating on river are these massive balloon like characters of dragons, flowers, and many other creatures. Almost bringing to life a fantasy world. Between the broken down old walls there are stages with dancers and musicians, surrounded by colourful elephants made out of cloth and lights. After going downtown and wandering through the parade, street stalls, and masses of people we came back to our hotel.  Relaxing in my room for a while and attempting to go to sleep, suddenly I had a burst of energy. Knowing there was no way I would be able to sleep once I was hyper I pulled on a shirt and wandered to the balcony. This was at around two in the morning, little did I know of the spectacle that awaited me. The stars were replaced with little fires and every once in a while there would be a burst of vibrant colours from the fireworks. Besides the occasional bangs of fireworks it was completely silent. It was peaceful and surreal. As each lantern burned up the air became lighter because as they burned up they took all the bad things of that year with them.

Being Uncomfortable is a good thing

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

Randomness and Novelty seem to be the core essence of the Asia trip. We are thrown randomly into novel situations. Everything is new. There are bright colours, strong smells, new faces, and loud noises everywhere. This is in great contrast to our somewhat dull and methodical lives in Canada. We go from greys and blues to yellows and oranges, from silence to constant noise. In this environment we cannot help but be somewhat random. We hang out with people we don’t normally hang out with and cannot help but try new things. Making everything we do seem random and foreign (pun not intended). For those of us like myself who like organization, the lack of pattern is terrifying. There has been more than one occasion when I have asked myself what I am doing going so against my norm? I came to the realization that I do this because we grow in unfamiliar situations. It is in this completely unfamiliar, random, and novel situation that I have reached out to people I wouldn’t normally for the sheer fact that they are the most familiar. In doing this I have formed friendships and relationships that I never knew were possible. The other day Debbie said something that I think it is very important to emphasize and remember ‘every moment is a gem.’ We should push aside our discomforts and remember this fact that there is a gem in every moment and we should strive to find it.

Every Moment Counts

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

The Philippines is amazing in every way but the main reason is because of the Filipinos themselves. The people are sooo friendly. They don’t even know you and in many cases are willing to open themselves up to you. They give you what seems like an impossible amount of themselves and impact you in a way never thought possible in the span of a short time. I sat at a diner with Emma listening to a girl’s story of her conversion. This same girl we had only met a few moments before. When we listened to her story and heard her openness at least for me it was astounding. That she was so willing to tell complete stories something so personal. Our homestay also showed how much she was willing to give to us, when we set foot in her house we were her homestay when we left we were her daughters. We called her Mana the Illocano (Filipino) word for mother upon her insistence. What was amazing to me as well was that those who could not speak English still tried to communicate with us. Our driver didn’t, and yet every single day he would try to find ways to make us smile; it was like it was a game to him. It is acts and attitudes like these that make the Filipino such an incredible people. The entire situation brings to mind the quote ‘Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. ‘ ~ Flavia Weed. The only thing that I would change about this quote is: even those who quickly go leave imprint on our lives.

Traveling – SE Asia 2010

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

Travel- an aspect that can be daunting to even the most experienced of travelers. One question that will arise for most before they leave is: what is going to go wrong? There is always something that could go wrong but though the issues are major at the time they are not the end of the world. If you go with a mindset that you are going to go with the flow instead of freaking out because its not being done the western way you are more likely to enjoy your travels. You are going there to interact with another culture so things are going to be done in the way they know how, learn to accept it. If you laugh at the mistakes instead of dwelling on them and freaking out you will have a better time while traveling. It is another country which you may never go to again,  so don’t let the little things get you down.

Another point I would like to state is that tensions are high. We are in a foreign country so everyone is going to be under a certain amount of cultural pressure. The people you are in class with now are the people you are going to be traveling with; they know what you are going through because they are going through the same thing. Learn to trust them because they will most likely turn out to be your ‘security blanket’ while traveling. Due to the cultural pressure and the stress that people are under they are bound to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, if this happens don’t write them off. Give them a second chance, even a third and fourth if need be. But along with this, you have to talk to the person so that they know what they did wrong; what it is that has made you mad at them. Oftentimes they have no idea why you are mad at them so you have to TELL them.

Now this may sound like a lecture, but that is not my intention. I am in the same boat, I am basing this off of past travel experiences and observances I have already made about the class that will be traveling together. This is going to be a hard trip at times but don’t dwell on the difficult aspects of it, think about the times you laughed. Think about the good times.