Thursday, February 13, 2014

Halifax Antics

Hello everyone! I apologize to those of you that read my blog that it has been a few months since I last posted. Between research, hanging out with friends, and getting out of the apartment, blogging has not really been on my mind. Research is unfortunately at a standstill right now, which has led to some frustrations. I have been struggling to get my applications through ethics committees, and the process has not been smoothly. Hopefully in time it all gets figured out, and if not, I will adjust the medium of my research.

Nothing sums up my first post-grad holiday season as a post-it note to-do list Christmas Tree

Below is my antics from the last few months

What is a Snow Plow?
Anyone that truly knows me knows that I don’t handle snow. After all, I moved from the land of sunshine and palm trees to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Not to say I don’t love it. In fact, I do. Having seasons is a great change of pace. It is nice to actually have it feel like winter in February, as opposed to the 80F weather back home in California.

Canadian v. Californian winter

A few weeks ago, I was trying to describe a snow plow and I could not think of the word. After a few minutes of struggling, the best that I could say was “Snow pushy-thing” and “bobcat tractor.” That statement adequately describes how adjusting to weather in Halifax has been.
When I moved here I came with two winter jackets and a pair of snow boots. While I definitely have a large variety of flannels, these certainly were not going to help me make it through a Canadian winter. While I think I have finally adjusted to how to dress in Halifax (layers all the time),  these clothes are still not my default choice. Saint Mary’s is great because you never (rarely) have to go outside because the campus is connected through a series of interior hallways. Therefore, if I don’t have to go outside, I am usually wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a tshirt, despite the fact that it may be far below freezing outside. California girl at heart, right?
From what people have told me, this winter has been harsher than the past few. I had my first blizzard two days after returning back to Canada from winter break. As one of the few “stay-overs” in my residence, it was eerily quiet. Of course, as I did not adequately prepare for the blizzard, my main concern was trying to find out if Dominos delivered. Alas, no, they would not deliver pizza to me in a blizzard. Since then, there have been two more winter storms in the past few weeks. Luckily, I have found better ways to spend my blizzard days then holed up trying to find food.

When we aren’t having snow storms, the snow tends to melt quickly creating a slush everywhere. I think one of my most valuable lessons is to make sure to wear shoes that have traction. Not once, but twice, have I slipped and fallen, submerging myself in giant slush puddles. Neither time did I catch myself, as my immediate reaction was to hold my hands over my head to make sure my laptop and cell phone did not fall in the puddle. Slowly working on those priorities. As much as I may kid around though, it has been a really fun time experiencing living in winter for the first time.

Party on the Parade: New Year's Eve in Halifax

Last year, two of my girlfriends and I rang in New Years napping on the couch. Deciding that I was up for an adventure this New Year's Eve, I ventured out in the 3F weather (-23F windchill) for an outdoor concert on the Grand Parade. Performers included David Myles (, Willie Straton and the Boarding Party (, Blueberry Grunt (, and Asia and Nugruv ( 

I genuinely don't know how people cope with that weather. My inner monologue was probably akin to: "How long does it take to get frostbite?" "I have lost all feeling in my body." "Why didn't I wear all the clothes I own at the same time." "Do the Canadians even realize it is cold?" etc etc. 
In fact, it was so cold out that you couldn't actually see the performer's mouths when they were singing because there was a permanent cloud of their breath in front of them and the microphone. Despite the frigid temperatures, the crowd was phenomenal, singing along with songs they knew, and listening jovially to those that they did not. The performers put on a great show and I had my first real taste of some Nova Scotian/Atlantic Canadian music. Definitely a great way to ring in the New Year. 

Blueberry Grunt performing at Party on the Parade

Campus Events

Nova Scotia Appreciation Night

In January, Students Acting for Global Awareness (SAGA) threw a kitchen party at the Gorsebrook Lounge to celebrate the wonderful land of Nova Scotia and East Coast good times. It was time to break out the tartan and dominate some trivia. While in fact, my trivia team consisting of purely international students did not win Nova Scotia trivia, we had an awesome time nonetheless, and definitely deserve some credit for heart and passion (anyone who has seen me competing in anything should know this). It was an awesome night to hang with old friends, meet new ones, listen to live music, and celebrate Nova Scotia good times. Thanks SAGA for the awesome event. 

Rocking the Nova Scotia Tartan with Samantha and Cameron

International Night

One of the things I particularly value about Saint Mary's University (SMU) is that it is truly a global campus. I have met people from five continents, and over fifteen countries, and that is in my limited circle. To celebrate the diversity of SMU, two weeks ago the campus hosted an International Night (the biggest International Night east of Montreal). It was a night where students gathered to watch different cultural performances, eat awesome food, and hang out with their peers. I can definitely say it was a wonderful event worth going to and I am in awe of the talent of many of the SMUdents.

Halifax Mooseheads Game

In late January I attended my first Halifax Mooseheads (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) game with the folks of Speak Up. Speak Up was founded as a way to building friendships between domestic and international students at Saint Mary's University. In addition to this game, I also learned how to play hockey with them (see earlier blog post), and attended a workshop on social media. It is truly a phenomenal group at Saint Mary's that really helped me set down some roots at the University. 

The game was great. The Mooseheads won (Go Moose Go)! And I got to hang out with some pretty cool people in the process. 


In an effort to get more involved with the SMU community, I joined a recreational intramural volleyball team this week.  Growing up, I played volleyball for three years in High School, and five years in club, but I hadn’t played since I graduated. Last night was our first set of intramural games, and it was phenomenal to be back on the court. I truly missed playing, and it helped me work out any stress that has been going on these past few weeks. It was great to play in a non-competitive environment, and meet different members of SMU that I otherwise might not have.

Overall, these past few weeks have been jam packed with research, activities, and friends. I am trying to make the most of my year here, and I love it. Halifax is great, and the people I have met, both international students and native Haligonians have been phenomenal to me. When I am not out with friends, I am usually working to keep up my friendships back home in California. Zoe and I have been known to skype from anywhere from six to nine hours, catching up on life and watching How I Met Your Mother. I am incredibly thankful to my friends and family back home for their unconditional love and support in this endeavor. Moving to a new country without really knowing anyone definitely presented some challenges, but I think I am finally starting to hit my stride. Here’s to new adventures and memories over the next few months.

And because you need a song that mentions Halifax, linked is a cover of Barrett's Privateers by The Real Mckenzies