Tag Archives: beer

Montreal

“Rester, c’est exister; mais voyager, c’est vivre. – Gustave Nadaud
“To stay is to exist; to travel is to live.”

2017 came around; I found myself standing and the world around me spinning. It was one of those things where I wanted to take a hold of everything; all at once. It took me until the end of March to realize that in my attempt to grab everything, I just got dizzier as I barely held on to anything. School, work, traveling, bills, trying new hobbies, self-care…I thought I could do it all. Yea, I thought wrong. Time sped and here we are at the end of April.

So much for not having a quarter life crisis.

Well as I sit here reflecting on the past few months, I look back to February when a group of friends and I took a trip to Montreal, QC, Canada. Montreal was perfect from the culture to the scenic views. At this time, I didn’t know I was on a spinning spree, but this trip was refreshing; made me even more addicted to traveling and getting away.

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It was five of us; not everyone was familiar with each other, but we all started the journey with an open mind. We decided to make it a mini road trip and left before the sun was even awake (four of us; one was flying and meeting us there.) It was a nice drive and we didn’t hit not one ounce of traffic which, we loved. While waiting at the border we cracked opened our windows, to take pictures of the Canadian flag, and the air felt fresher. It was like breathing in a sense of relief and exhaling all my problems and discontent. I felt happy.

As soon as we crossed the border the signs changed from English to French. I celebrated. Anyone who knows me knows that I become super excited whenever I see or hear anything related to the French language or culture. I was ready to practice speaking all weekend! Yes, I was about to get on everyone’s last nerve…in a good way though!

When we arrived, we couldn’t find parking for the life of us. Guess some things just don’t change in any country. Well when we finally did and figured out the ridiculously expensive street parking situation, turns out our Airbnb wasn’t even ready. So there we are looking like we just woke up and needing showers, in uggs, stepping on slushy snow. So what we do? We decided to walk and search for food and booze. Our first stop was Station 16 Gallery. Contemporary art at its finest. Everything was bold and provocative. Self-expression to the max. Check out the site. It’s worth a look.

After the gallery and stopping at a few boutiques, we found a place to eat. McKibbin’s Irish Pub turned out to be the perfect place to have our first drinks. I had a beer (of course) and everyone else had Irish Coffee. I think this is where it finally hit us that we were in Canada.

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Eventually, we got dressed and looked civilized. It felt amazing. Also, let me not forget to mention how in LOVE I was with our Airbnb. If I could dream up my own apartment it would look exactly like the place we were staying in.

We went to the airport to pick up the last person missing from our group, Jadira, who apparently was stranded, with a dead phone and not knowing any valid French to communicate. It was quite funny especially because she was coming straight out of her intro to French course. Well once she was rescued, we headed straight for Old Montreal where Igloo Fest was taking place at Jacques-Cartier Pier.

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It was a great beginning to our night! We enjoyed a beautiful picturesque walk around Old Montreal. We stumbled across a cute small restaurant, Restaurant Le Fripon, where we had Canadian beer and snails….YES, snails. It tasted okay…I think it was the cheese and garlic; a little chewy for the most part. When we finally got to Igloo Fest it looked like one of those raging festivals I had no business being at. Fortunately, It wasn’t that hectic (EDM just isn’t my thing and neither is raging.) We took some shots, enjoyed the outside view and headed back to get ready for the rest of our evening.

We ended our Saturday at Muzique, which turned out to be across the street from where we were staying. Okay, so what I learned? When a country allows drinking and partying at 18+ DO NOT go out clubbing. Unless you specifically know it’s a school night and the kids will be in bed. I felt like I was at a college party. It was incredibly crowded and everyone was out of control. The funny part is that the bouncer let us skip the line because we were 21+. Ironic right? We made the best of it by dancing and laughing at what was happening around us. Felt like a teen movie could have been made out of it all the wild things we saw.

Sunday welcomed us with perfect (not so cold) weather. We went to Fabergé  for brunch where we probably waited about an hour or more to get seated. The place was small and the line was long (felt like a good sign.) It was absolutely worth it! We had the most delicious Poutine (potatoes with gravy and cheese,) and ate so much food it was somewhat ridiculous! Shrugs. I’m sure we would all do it again without thinking twice!

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Next stop was Mount Royal.  First, i’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The view was absolutely spectacular and truly breathtaking. I couldn’t stop staring at it. In that moment, I wanted to stay in Canada. It was covered in cold and frost but filled with serenity. I can close my eyes and feel the happiness I felt from looking at Montreal. Moments like that is why I love to travel.

We headed back to Old Montreal where we stopped to take a few pictures of the Notre-Dame Basilica, the first Gothic revival style church to be built in Canada.

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Old Montreal is spectacular. It looked even more beautiful in the rain…something about the wet cobblestone made it look more alive.

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We went to Les 3 Brasseurs for dinner. It was probably the most fun we had thus far during our trip! We started off with the beer sampler, which had a mix of white, blonde, amber, brown and IPA beers. How we managed to taste ALL the beers? Let’s just say we decided to “Be-er about it…” sip and pass until the cup was empty! We finished before we even got our main courses. 

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That night, for some odd reason, we decided to give clubbing another try. We started off at Tokyo Bar and ended at Apartment 200. I guess because it was a school night, there were barely any kids out! So yes, the night was a total success and a complete 180 from Saturday night. I had so much fun that by the end of the night, I shed a few tears because I didn’t want to go home. It was definitely bittersweet for it to be the last night; yet such a fun night.

Waking up on Monday was a bit difficult but we managed to leave by 11am. Before hitting the road we picked up some smoked meat at Schwartz Deli and some more Poutine for me. It was tasty just too much meat for a small piece of bread.

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… but with the last bites of our sandwich ended our trip in Montreal. We walked to the car, got lost trying to buy some souvenirs and off we were to our 6-hour drive back home.

It was a nice getaway, but it left me wanting more. I wanted more adventure and more moments to capture. Therefore, my spinning continued and I quickly started planning my next trip.

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Choose to be HAPPY!

Not sure if anyone has realized how exhausting it is to be sad and miserable!

It’s so easy to let negative emotions over come you. For some reason happiness is hard to grasp. It’s a never-ending mental game we play with ourselves; to be happy or to let every negative in our life affect us and keep us down (we tend to choose the easy way out.) This weekend I chose to be happy. I felt horrible and deep down I wanted to sulk in my misery but sulking was not an option this time around.

So I told my friend that we were going to stop and enjoy our Saturday at all costs!
I gave her rules:
1. No crying
2. We cannot allow anything negative affect us

It worked! because we ended up having a great day!

We went to the New Jersey 101.5 Big Jersey BBQ Brew Fest and it seemed to be exactly what we needed.

We got there and were given a free beer (we had one more after that and of course I ended up getting the Belgian Brew,) we ate something called “bowl of deliciousness” – Mac and Cheese, beans, and pulled pork with extra BBQ – (and it was!) and after a gloomy morning the sun finally came out. We were so happy we couldn’t stop laughing!

Sometimes all you need is a little sunshine and some fresh air to crack a smile.

Challenge yourself! Don’t take the easy way out and be happy when everything is telling you to sulk and be miserable. Life has a funny way of working itself out so enjoy the simple things because it may be exactly what you need when you least expect it!

Time to be Grateful

Happy Birthday to me!

It was really hard being away from home on my 21st Birthday and Thanksgiving. I decided to look on the bright side and take it as an opportunity to just appreciate the many things I have. As I start the 21st first year of my life I have many blessings: my family,  friends, another year of life, and the opportunity to study in Europe. It’s important to be positive during the hard times.

Birthday Cake

It was remembering all the things I have to be grateful for that  really helped me have a good Birthday. I had to write a paper but I did it with a smile on my face. The sun shined bright on a city that’s usually gloomy, wet, and cold. My host sister baked me a delicious marble cake and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me in French! We toasted to my 21st year and I took my first ‘legal’ drink (according to USA law.) Afterwards my roommate and I went out with some friends to have a couple of drinks at Delirium. I had a light Busch beer. I couldn’t believe the alcohol percentage in that beer. o_O It did its job though. It was the perfect way to end a “beginning of the week birthday.”

Thanksgiving Dinner

There is no Thanksgiving in Europe because it’s an American holiday. So my roommate and I decided to bring Thanksgiving to Europe. We cooked a small dinner for our host family. We cooked things that would be traditional for our Thanksgiving meals. Thank goodness I had some saźon left over. It was all a success! Thanksgiving is about being grateful and sharing that with others and that’s exactly what I did.   

 

Midterm Week x_X

9AM Heading to my internship

I am officially convinced that midterms suck in any continent! This week I had 2 midtermsFrench and Intercultural Communications. For my Intercultural Communications exam I felt way more relaxed than I did for my French exam. The day of my French midterm I had to be up at 9AM for my internship… by the time I got out I was so exhausted and tired I had the biggest headache ever! I have no idea how I took that French exam! I had about 100 vocabulary words to memorize! x_x The days this week just seemed ridiculously long. The struggles of a student!

Eyebrows done!

 To feel better and release some stress I treated myself 2 times this week.

1. I went to get my eyebrows done at this place by my internship called Wax Zone Beauty Center. It was an  interesting experience. Definitely different than from when I’m back home getting them done. For starters I pay $5 back home here I payed 10 Euros! Back home it’s way quicker. Here not only did the girl lay me down but she mostly plucked them. At home it’s mostly waxed with some plucking here and there. She used a wax that hardens and you could tear off. That was also new to me.

Beer and nuts

QG’s

2. After my last exam on Thursday I went out for drinks with a couple of friends. We went to this bar right around the corner from school called “QG.” I had a large beer and an excessive amount of nuts and cheese! They were just so good! I ordered a second beer but my clumsiness got the best of me and I spilled it all over the table. I felt so bad I apologized to the waiter about a 100 times (he probably thought I was drunk and I wasn’t!) What annoyed me was when he went “the worse part is now you don’t have any beer” .__. Jeez Thanks! 

Sigh! I’m still not done with the nonstop assignments and work! This week coming up I have 2 assignments and the second part of my French midterm to finish!

A Day In Antwerp

Welcome to Antwerp

Yesterday, Saturday, I visited Antwerp. It is a Dutch speaking city in Belgium. In Dutch Antwerp is spelled Antwerpen. It also has one one of the largest seaports in Europe, the 2nd largest I believe. The city is located on a beautiful and peaceful river called Scheldt. Antwerp is known for diamonds, shopping, and of course its seaport.

I really enjoyed visiting Antwerp we were top notch touristsyesterday! After a night ofchugging beer waking up at 7am was definitely interesting. We went to downtown Brussels to take about a 40min trip to the city of Antwerp by train. The train was full of European pre-teens that later we found out were going to some event called “laundry day.” Don’t even ask… We visited so many sites. We went to the Grote Markt, the main square of Antwerp. The city hall was located right in the square so I witnessed about 4 weddings yesterday, apparently people are constantly getting married. We saw the National Maritime Museum, a museum full of all types of boats! It was really fascinating to see.  We got on a bridge with an amazing view of the river Scheldt. We even went to what used to be Napoleon’s kitchen and witnessed some pretty cool chocolate sculptures.

Antwerp City Hall

Antwerp Train Station

Stella before shopping

After the sightseeing we drank some beers, like true Belgians, and off we went shopping. I am not really a shopper so I mostly just walked around the stores while my friends shopped. I did splurge when I went into Forever 21 though! Finally got myself some red pants and bought a nice little dress 🙂 As we finished with our splurges and thought about our bank accounts we witnessed a parade with lively Africandrums, the people were promoting their church. A little after that we found a Brazilian and Mexican food place where I wasted more money than necessary. We got a pitcher of Martini’s, which I wouldn’t recommend having if you end up eating spicy food and don’t like spicy food! It felt like my mouth was 10x more on fire whenever I took a swig! (But I had no water and was definitely was not purchasing one) Might as well been having straight up hot sauce! I had 2 tacos with rice and if it wasn’t for the spiciness it would of tasted absolutely delicious!

Brazilian & Mexican Restaurant for dinner

Martini’s

After dinner it was time to head home. I was absolutely exhausted!! Never did a shower feet so good! But overall Antwerp was a huge success! 🙂

The Life Of A Tram Taker – Friday

The things I find omw to my internship

These past two days have been so long! I took the tram a lot! I’ve  never taken public transportation so much! Unbelievable! I seriously took the tram 4 times and the bus 3 times on Friday! Public transportation has seriously become my life, especially the tram, and boy do I hate public transportation! That’s what I get for complaining so much in the states. First, I had to take the bus to my internship at Accessible Art Fair. I managed to find my way there without getting lost! I was so proud of myself. I remembered most of the way from last time I got lost trying to get back home. I also took pictures of the map online with my iTouch JUST in case. It took 1.5 hours to get there with traffic!! Just not real! Sheesh! So I’m at the internship meeting my new co.interns and they tell me there’s a more direct way to get to the internship and back from where I live… with the tram! .__.  (I prefer the tram than the bus) Google Maps in Europe Sucks!! That’s the conclusion I came to after the heinous way it was telling me to go when the tram takes me a more direct way!! 

Once I got back home I had to take the tram again to finally get my hair done! I must say that the French lady did a good job! I was a bit uncomfortable the first few minutes there because there were only old ladies at the hair salon. I was also really scared to how the French lady was going to handle my dominican hair! Luckily I got this hair relaxed before going to Europe! The struggles a girl goes through when she doesn’t know how to do her own hair! I must say when she was washing my hair the massage she gave me was absolutely heavenly!!! I felt like I was in the clouds! Everything came out to 18 Euros, which is not bad because they put some amazing stay in conditioner on my hair.

Guys round at the beer chugging competition

Finally, it’s night time! After taking the tram, yet again, to get back home I get dressed to go to another VeCo social event. This time is a “beer chugging competition night.” Apparently this is normal here. There was like a reigning champion and everything. I decided to join the competition! I figured, “what the hell! How many times can I say a joined a beer chugging competition in Europe.” Surprisingly, I managed to make it to the second round! I was pretty proud of myself! But I definitely keep underestimating the amount of alcohol percentage in Belgian beer! I also never seen people chugg beer so fast!!! I was impressed! Overall, It was a really good night with friends! Even met some new people including a Belgian student that studied abroad in RU! Glad I went out and bonded with my new VeCo family!

Girls round at beer chugging competition