Familiar Faces in Unfamiliar Places: Kayla

A weekend with a friend from back home? Sounds good to me. Kayla is currently doing a placement with CBC in London, so she decided to come down to Guildford for the evening on Saturday to celebrate Bonfire Night. We don't have this specific holiday back in Canada so this was a first for us. We took to the High Street on Saturday night to watch the march of torches towards Stoke Park where fireworks were to be set off. Oh what an odd place to be, as if we were about to rid the town of witches. We skipped out on the fireworks and headed to my favourite pub in town The Three Pigeons for a quick bite and some long overdue catch up time. Kayla and I headed back to London for the evening and spent our Sunday exploring.

Kayla took me to The Breakfast Club and I was not disappointed. I've read about this joint before and always wanted to check it out, and I'm pretty stoked I tried it with an old friend. The queue went out the door when we got there at 10 am, a 45 minute wait. The wait was definitely worth it. I did a bit of research and we decided to find Workshop Coffee after breakfast. Kayla showed me around her part of London and her daily commute to work. Across Millennium Bridge to see St. Paul's Cathedral, we walked to find our coffee spot. Workshop Coffee was great, the quaint and warm atmosphere joined by great staff made for a great drip. 

From Workshop we headed to Trafalgar Square and happened to come across some overly enthusiastic break dancers. To Regent then to Oxford Street we went. And with the rain getting heavy, we trucked on to Camden Market. Some Adele may or may not have been sung while we walked. Finally at the market, I finally got to try the arepa stand I drooled over last time. 

I've known Kayla since high school, and I couldn't be prouder of what she has achieved. One of the biggest dreamers I know of, she is truly making it her reality. I'll forever admire this about her. I took some photos over the weekend, here they are.

Your friend,

Jon

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Corfe Castle, Ludwolf Cove and Durdle Door

Last weekend, the PhotoSoc took a trip to Corfe Castle, Ludwolf Cove and Durdle Door. I had never been to a castle before, so this was a first for me. Ludwolf Cove had brought me back near the water which was nice. And I had never seen anything like Durdle Door. Hey England, you don't look too bad! :)

Here are some photos I took of the great English scenery.

Your Friend,

Jon

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Hey October: One Day in London

Earlier this month and my first weekend free, Caroline and I headed to London for a day to do some exploring. London is only a 35 minute train ride from Guildford Station to Waterloo Station. 6 hours free, how much could we do? Arriving into Waterloo reminded me of Grand Central in New York: parallels being drawn from individuals on their phones, and blurs of people rushing through the crowd. A different sounding crowd, of course. A quick walk from the station was Big Ben and the London Eye. It's an odd feeling seeing something in real life, after being so familiar with it on the television or in films. Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to ride the London Eye, but just the sight of it was enough for me that day. Big Ben is breath-taking. In my head Harry and his friends we're flying around it on their broom sticks. However, the only sticks present at the time were the numerous selfie sticks being swung around by tourists. 

From Big Ben, Carolyn and I took a walk towards Buckingham Palace to see if our good friend Queen Lizzie was out and about. Although we were unsuccessful in catching a glimpse of her, we did manage to attempt to make one of the guards laugh. Unsuccessful in this as well. After taking a few photos of the Palace, we headed down Picadilly to get away from the masses of tourists. On our way to Covent Garden we stumbled upon Chinatown. With its bright red decor standing out of the muted overall greyness of London, it was hard to miss. We stopped for a few photos and continued on our way to Covent Garden. There, the streets were filled with buskers and street entertainers. The mix of locals to tourists had dramatically shifted to 50:50, which was nice. Seeing local shops mixed with international retailers was interesting to see. Between the street magicians and guitar players, a lively vibe was definitely felt. 

Veering even further from tourist central, Carolyn and I caught the tube to Shoreditch. In Edmonton, Whyte Ave is the local musical and artsy neighbourhood. In Vancouver, it's Gastown. From my research online, Shoreditch seemed to be the alternative here in London. With gorgeous graffiti on every wall you looked at, Shoreditch instantly reminded me of Whyte Ave at home. Filled with cute coffee shops and privately owned stores, this neighbourhood definitely lived up to its artsy reputation. There weren't too many noticeable tourists, and many more locals. These locals looking like they were all a part of some sort of band with their stylish outfits and effortless street style. I did some research on Box Park in Shoreditch, and decided that I definitely wanted to check it out. Box Park is a shipping container-like, pop-up mall for independent and global, fashion and lifestyle stores and cafes. From artisanal home goods to hand-picked vintage thrift stores, it had it all! The second floor of Box Park was filled with food vendors where a vegan Thai restaurant caught my eye, and essentially my stomach. Carolyn and I both enjoyed the pad thai here and would definitely recommend to anyone visiting. For my friends planning to meet up in the next year, I will definitely be taking you guys here!

Our final destination of the day was Camden Market. This place was probably the most suggested spot by my fellow classmates and friends from uni. Camden Market is comprised of large retail markets in Camden Town along with products sold in stalls including crafts, clothing, and fast food. Already full from our thai food, Carolyn and I ate with our eyes as the street food here definitely looked tasty. From fresh juices, to paella, to crispy squid, to Arepas, to ice cream sandwiches, there was definitely something for everyone here. I'll definitely be fasting the next time I visit this place to just enjoy all the food they offer. Here are some photos I took during the day there. Hope you like 'em! Until next time London, I'll definitely be back to scour your city for some neat finds. 

Your Friend,

Jon

 The London Eye

The London Eye

 The London Eye

The London Eye

 Big Ben

Big Ben

 Big Ben

Big Ben

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

 Bucking Ham Palace

Bucking Ham Palace

 London, England

London, England

 London, England

London, England

 London, England

London, England

 Picadilly

Picadilly

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Covent Garden

Covent Garden

 Covent Garden

Covent Garden

 Covent Garden

Covent Garden

 Covent Garden

Covent Garden

 Covent Garden

Covent Garden

 Shoreditch

Shoreditch

 Shoreditch

Shoreditch

 Shoreditch

Shoreditch

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Vegan Thai Food, Box Park

Vegan Thai Food, Box Park

 Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Box Park

Box Park

 Shoreditch

Shoreditch

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

 Camden Market

Camden Market

From Alberta to England

It has been a little more than a week since the move. I recently traveled from Edmonton, Canada to Guildford, England to pursue a MSc in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Surrey. I'll be studying here for roughly a year. The change has been subtle but great in many ways. Getting used to Sterling and trying to keep up with new phrases have kept me busy. As well as adjusting to people driving on the wrong... I mean, the 'other' side of the road has kept me looking both ways. 

I've met some lovely people, and some not so lovely people. For example, just off of landing in Gatwick I had to make my way to Guildford via train. I struggled but trudged forward trying to keep my three seventy-pound luggages in check as I pushed them slowly along the cobble roads (which were no help either). Trying to make the train, an older lady behind me asked me to move, and honestly I would have, except for the fact that I was trying to push three mountains ahead of me. I enjoy the English accent, but when they are angry or annoyed, I feel like the accent multiplies the effect of being completely crossed. She could clearly see me struggling to not block people on their commutes, but that didn't phase her. So things were looking up after being in England for a total of 45 minutes (sarcasm). 

Guildford is an affluent and quaint town. More photos of where I live to come soon. But besides that, it's just like the movies. Young students wearing uniforms, hustle-and-bustle filled train stations, the popularity of smokers and e-cigarette users, the dampness, all so very accurate. The readily available liquor at most supermarkets make it so easy to grab a cold one after a day at school, which is always a plus. 

During the International Welcome Week, the uni held many events for new students. One in which was a coach tour of Surrey County. While learning the difference between the UK, The Great British Isles, and Great Britain on the coach, we visited Polesden Lacey (a National Trust owned Edwardian estate) and Box Hill Point. I took some photos below. 

I'll try to document my year abroad. No promises, but I hope to keep it all noted. I miss my family and friends. Sending love from across the pond.

Your friend,

Jon

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Jasper with Kelly and Logan

In late May, myself and a couple of friends decided to take a day trip to Jasper. We were on the hunt to see some animals and we got pretty lucky that day. An early morning start led to these photographs being taken. Can't wait for more spontaneous road trips this summer!

Check out my friends on instagram:
Kelly - @yegcop
Logan - @loganschaerer

Your friend,

Jon

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Canmore and Banff

Less studying was done this past Reading Week. For you non-Canadian readers, Reading Week is equivalent to a spring break holiday in the United States for university students. As my final holiday in my undergraduate degree,  I decided to go on a quick road trip with two of my closest friends around Alberta. With our overnight bags packed, we managed to hit up Calgary, Banff and Canmore in a jam-packed three days. In Banff we visited Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise. I had never been to Lake Louise so seeing it still frozen was a first for me. I definitely have to revisit during the summer to see it in all of its beauty. Johnston Canyon was a trip, well more literally like a slip. The warm weather here in Alberta had made the trails in the canyon a literal ice rink as we slid up and down the canyon holding onto the railing. When we were not exploring Alberta's scenic views, we found ourselves in local pubs in Canmore and impromptu bar crawls in Calgary (hitting up 7 bars in one night, not too shabby for a Wednesday night). Here are some photos from the trip.

Your friend,

Jon

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