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!