Wednesday, December 31, 2014


In writing my 2013 round up last year (never published, classic Mireille), I looked forward to 2014 thinking this year would be relatively dull. Time to spend at home, 'me' time, time to get things done I've been meaning to for years... woops. In 2013 I left North America for the first time, lived in Sweden for 6 months, saw many bucket-list-worthy things, and met some of the greatest people. I looked ahead thinking there was no way 2014 could beat that.

Boy was I wrong.

San Francisco

The fun started in February with a spontaneous weekend trip to San Francisco-- bless you, Allegiant Air. Copious amounts of sourdough bread, saltwater taffy, and cheeky pier wine were consumed and I had... wait for it... the BEST brunch of my entire life. I do not take brunch lightly, so this is a significant milestone in my 22 years of life. If you are in San Francisco, looking for amazing food, and an even more amazing dining experience go to Red Door Cafe. I don't know how any brunch could ever top this (then again, I was drastically wrong about 2014 so who am I to judge.)

Banff, AB 

Congratulations Jonathan and Sophie!! My cousin had the most beautiful picture perfect winter wonderland all alliteration wedding there ever was in Banff and I just learned they are having a baaaaaaaaby!! That kid is going to come out skiing. This was my first time in Banff and I realised why people think Alberta is actually pretty cool. We have mountains in BC but for some reason Alberta mountains just seemed more... mountainous.

Guelph and Toronto, ON 

A greenhouse on University of Guelph Campus

I attended a conference in Guelph, ON (close to Toronto) about sustainability called Impact! The conference was amazing and PACKED with fantastic speakers, activities and workshops. Even though the entire conference was only 2 days, the interaction with peers at the conference made it seem like these were people I had known for much longer. Also, I would say Guelph is a severely underrated city-- the University is continuously ranked as the best campus food (reason enough to go there, I think) in Canada and the town itself seems kinda like a hippie, agricultural, foodie haven aka everything I love. I spent the rest of the week with my main CBC News Meteorologist eating tons of food and exploring-- I guess Toronto isn't thaaaat bad.

Oh yeah, I met an astronaut!! Don't look directly at the moustache... 


Perhaps the biggest and best surprise of the year was being accepted to attend the U21 Summer School "Shaping the Future City" in Sydney! The program was for two weeks, so naturally I went for five. I saw some of my favourite people in Brisbane (also known as Brissy, Brisvegas), dove the Great Barrier Reef, held a koala (profile pic for the next 230843 years), planned my future hippie life in Byron Bay, and discovered one of my favourite cities in Melbourne. Some minor studying was done in Sydney but the good thing about attending school based on the premise of city building is that "going on an architectural walk" or "exploring different neighbourhoods" kind of counts as studying.

Mossman Gorge, in Northern Queensland 

He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich. 

 The bumpin' Brisvegas itself 

 I will live in you someday, Byron Bay. 

After running the Sydney Harbour 10k! 

 Melbourne's famous back alleys. 

Despite the name "summer school" the program actually took place in the height of winter-- let's discuss Australian winter for a moment. I was laughed at plenty for wearing shorts on a 20 degree day; however, it seems the idea of "heating your buildings" has not yet caught on down under, so I will admit it was a little chilly at night and I did discover the many joys of hot water bottles.

 Some gems seen on a 25 degree day 

Brisbane's "Winter Festival" fake snow and all. 


The last four months of the year were spent living and working in our great nation's capital. I was pleasantly surprised at how "hip" Ottawa was with a really great food culture and bike paths galore. Eating and biking... what else is there. I enjoyed it so much it looks like I'll be back in the summer. So after it gets this whole "winter" thing out of it's system (I'll take Australian winter, thank you) I'll be back to experience more.

Thanksgiving with friends 

Oneonta, NY with my favourite cousins 

Montreal with the sis 

Algonquin Park Yurt-stravaganza

For now I'm heading back to school for the first time in two years (I swear I still go here!) and I'm actually really excited to be a student again-- ask me that in February though and it may be a different answer. 

Peace out 2014. Bring it on, 2015. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Dropbears are real. Look up. Stay alive.

At least I was convinced of their reality by a friend before google filled me in. Apparently, this is the national Australian traveler joke but the scary thing is PEOPLE BELIEVE IT. BECAUSE EVERYTHING IN AUSTRALIA WILL KILL YOU. It is believable that anything and everything is out to kill you.

So I will be very vigilant when I embark in 5 days! Yes in 5 days I'm leavin on a jet plane to the land down under for 5 weeks to do a little touristing and a little schoolin' and a little bit of everything in between. Will she actually update her blog this time? Or will it remain dormant like a sleeping dropbear? Stay tuned and find out!

Friday, July 19, 2013

T-minus 7 Hours

And just like that the adventure comes to a close. Starting it off where it began, blogging from an airport. This time the location is Canada not Germany and instead of moving in the opposite direction of home, this is the closest I've been in seven months.

Saw the thought catalogue "How to Come Home" recently and found a few of the lines to ring especially true.

Some realizations of the past few months:

1) I am a terrible blogger. This is certain. Hopefully over the next few weeks I will do some retrospective posts with some pictures and comments to share some stories but really just for me to look back on and cry over with my friends Ben and Jerry. Only joking, although I have been warned by many that P.E.D (Post-Exchange Depression) is a real thing.

I foresee this happening a lot when I return home:

1: “Where’s Mireille?”
2: “She’s wandering IKEA trying to speak Swedish with people and fikaing at the restaurant.”
1: “AGAIN?!?”

Yep, if you see me wandering IKEA blasting the ABBA it’s probably safest to just let me be.

 2) Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Badump chh. But actually, I'm pretty sure bullets have left guns slower than these last seven months have gone by. Usain Bolt called and he wants to know how these months went so quickly. They went fast. Reading through past blog posts (albeit there aren't many) I feel like I just experienced everything last week. Didn't I just get to Sweden?

3) I still like airports. Yep. After 21 planes, 20 different airports (3 of which were slept in), and countless hours spent at 30,000 ft there's still something about the fluorescently lit halls and stern mustachio'd security officers that I still love (I think more often than not they are mustachio'd.) Although, after months of budget airlines the likes of Easyjet (big love for Easyjet) and Ryanair (...less love for Ryanair) I felt like I was kickin' it in first class on my Lufthansa flight back to Canadia. Water? A Blanket? Leg room? Don't mind if I do!

So for now I say "vi ses" (see you later) to the adventures of the past months, and "hejsan" to my lovely home. Perhaps I'll throw a "förlåt" (sorry) in there to all the people I am sure to deafen with my stories and ramblings from exchange.

New adventures await. Maybe not in the form of foreign countries and exotic cuisine but exciting new jobs, new apartment, and who knows what else-- that's the point of adventure right?

Couldn't have said it better myself, Harry. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Netherlands

Ventured to the land of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell a few weeks ago (okay more than a few weeks ago...) to see what all the fuss was about. I first traveled to Utrecht, a small university town that I would describe as Lund with canals. The first thing that struck me in the Netherlands was how easy it was to get around. Their transit signs were basically written in a "you'd have to be a moron not to understand me" kind of way which was a welcome change from the Italian "haha you can't understand me, you moron" manner.

My day in Utrecht was spent wandering the cobbled streets, climbing the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, and purchasing/eating copious amounts of cheese from the market. Then took a quick train over to Den Haag and Scheveningen (not pronounced ANYTHING like it looks) which is a beautiful town right on the coast. 

As it was Easter Monday most everything was closed in Den Haag itself but the beach was hoppin' (and COLD) and I enjoyed walking along the boardwalk with an Easter brunch for one by the water. 

Then it was off to Amsterdam AKA my favourite place that I have been in Europe and possibly the world. I knew that I loved it the second I exited the train station and was greeted with the harbour and glorious sun. I really can't put my finger on what exactly I loved so much about the city but the whole energy and life of the city was just electric (SEWWW CLICHE but so true.)

Took a three hour bike tour (cue Gilligan's Island) of the city on the first day and minus a small bike accident incident (not involving me) it was a great way to get the lay of the land. As in any other trip (and day in my life) the main event was of course the food. I have come to the conclusion that the Dutch are of the philosophy "deep fry it and claim it as our own" which I can absolutely get on board with. Highlights included stroopwafels (wafer cookies with a caramel-like syrup in the middle), Patat met (fries with mayonnaise), Poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes) and cheese.

Spent a day at the Keukenhof flower gardens that were less "flower gardens" per se and more "empty flower beds because it's still effing cold out." However, the grounds were still beautiful and they had some really nice indoor tulip displays and exhibits that kept me entertained for a few hours. Still worth the trip (about an hour from Amsterdam) so I can't even imagine what it would look like in the height
of bloom. 

Queued up for the Anne Frank house (notorious for massive waits) and was pleasantly surprised when it only took about 25 minutes to get in plus added bonus of free Wifi while waiting in line. Seriously I would line up just to use the Wifi... This was another highlight of the trip (the house not the Wifi) in that it was fascinating to see something in person that I've only read about in books. 

Absolutely cannot wait to go back to this amazing city and see what else it has to offer as I know I only barely scratched the air above the surface.