Thursday, 23 October 2014

A Weird Week

I am having a strange week. A mix of really exciting (for me) news and some that's a little shitty. In many ways, taking my course has already paid off ten fold. Since the beginning of the school year I was accepted to a gallery special events committee, an internship with a huge charitable foundation in their events and fundraising department, and, most recently, was offered a job as the gallery co-ordinator of the art gallery at my university. I get to plan three exhibitions over the next six months, opening parties, recruit volunteers, and maintain the space (it's tiny). I even have my own work email! WHO AM I? I can't believe the doors that have opened up for me recently. After working my tail off for years trying to get the work I wanted and getting nowhere, feeling so disgruntled and burnt out after endlessly hustling and only getting retail positions. Finally! Finally, things have started to turn around for me. I am meeting amazing people and getting to help out with neat events over the course of the next year as well as plan them! 

So why be sad? This one is hard to put into words articulately: because few people were happy for me. All week, I've been feeling like I need to apologize to the people who didn't get it, or explain how I got it. I understand where they are coming from, but still. The gallery role, while only a part time role, was sought after amongst my classmates. It had to go to one of us, and to my true surprise it went to me. I felt really great coming out of my interview, happy with how it went even if I didn't get the role. A lot of people were interviewed, and there was lots of discussion in class about it as people compared and contrasted their experiences. All of the ladies who I know were interviewed are competent, interesting, intelligent and talented women. Anyone one of them would have been an awesome choice. I think, because I am joker, charming in a neurotic way, with crazy clothes and a loud laugh, that somehow I was viewed as being less equipped for the role as they. To be fair, this has never been expressed to me, but there's just an attitude toward me sometimes. Like I am a character there for entertainment rather than a real, living, breathing person. I was met with incredulity rather than congratulations when the news broke that the job went to me, and that I accepted. I was even told not to talk about it by a classmate because it might upset the others - even though it wasn't even me who brought up getting the position. I am the farthest thing from a brag, but at the same time, shouldn't I be allowed to express happiness at something I am excited about? Wouldn't friends be happy for me? I never would have begrudged someone else's success if it hadn't gone to me. I have worked hard to build up a strong resume over the past few years and only now is it starting to pay off. Plus, a lot of galleries chose to take people who don't have formal studio backgrounds since it can create a bias when curating or jurying art for an exhibition. 

While I know this reaction was not about me and more about other people's sadness, it definitely deflated my elation. I was apologized to by a school friend, who let me know they weren't mad I got it, just sad they didn't. And this experience hasn't changed my opinion of my classmates who, so far, are all pretty cool. I know it'll die down and be fine next week. Still stung. 

On the positive side, it made me grateful for my family and close friends who were so excited for me. Because people who care about you will be happy for your happiness and sad for your sadness. One person's success doesn't equal another person's failure. The simple act of showing someone you support them makes a huge difference. This week was a huge learning curve in professionalism, and on the flip side appreciation. While I am sad few competitors were congratulatory, it was also a confidence boost to be getting these types of roles at long last. 

Here's what I wore today. Only got one good shot! I also have lots of photos of fall and my cat, Gus. I love my little fur ball. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Summer in Fall

Oh me, oh my, the weather this weekend was glorious. GLORIOUS. I realize it is completely dull to post about weather, but on Saturday we had +25C. +25 a week before Halloween! Unheard of. So balmy I walked around comfortably without a cardigan. Props to my mother for these photos! I take of my own photos most of the time, even in embarrassing public spaces. Hats off to Mrs. Lowe for the portraits (all other photos my moi). We went on a long walk together in the river valley and it was perfect.  
The dress is actually one of the few pieces of high fashion I own. I've coveted this Carven dress since seeing The Cherry Blossom Girl wear it years ago. The print is a map of paris, and the fabric is so light and delicate and perfect. I scoured the internet for one a) in my price range and b) my size, for over a year! And then, on ebay in August a seller based right here in Edmonton was selling it for a price so reasonable it felt like train theft. We met up, it fit, and it was mine. Fate! Sometimes, you just have to splurge! 

On our walk we saw these all over trees. Anyone know what they are? Larve? Cocoons? Do share! 

Stay cool, cucumbers. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

This is Edmonton

Hey y'all, 
The Huffington Post recently shared this little video made by a local Edmontonian showcasing some Edmonton icons, festivals, local restaurants and cafes, and scenic shots of the river valley. Bearing in mind this is was not made by a professional, and just some guy who really likes Edmonton, I think it does a nice job of capturing my prairie hometown at its best. Set to the music of local band Scenic Route to Alaska, if you've ever been curious about the random, northern Canadian city I am from, here's a little peak for you. 

A few of my favourite highlights are Three Boars for cocktails, 104th Street Saturday Market, The Edmonton Queen river boat, the Highlevel Bridge streetcar, the legislature, Elk Island National Park, Dadeo's, The Junque Cellar, Kashmiri chai at Remedy, and my favourite food truck Atillla The Hungry.

A nice reminder to appreciate what I got and where I am!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Moustache Cam

Ages ago I was gifted a disposable "Moustache" camera from Urban Outfitters. Here are the results! Not many turned out, but I quite like the lighting and tone of the ones that did. 
Sarah and me at Latitude 53.
Me at a Vietnamese sub place on Whyte. 
Meg and Colin enjoying donair spring rolls. 
Backyard BBQing. 
Steel Wheel hooligans. 
Sweet Gus. 
Sean and Glenda relaxing in the sun.

I was also just gifted an Fuji Instax and a heap of old cameras from my mother. She was an avid photographer for most of her life, and taught me to take photos on her old manual Pentax when I was a young'un. Looking forward to re-visiting film with my new found loot. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Left Over Toronto, Jumpsuit, and Some Plans

Hello again! Oh man, I feel like I have a lot of little things share. There are many small but exciting things happening in real time for me over the next few months. I am pretty excited about being on the special events committee for a popular and AWESOME gallery here in Edmonton. I am also volunteering for several school related arts events over the fall, and crossing fingers about a job prospect, but more on that later. Really most of my excitement has to do with travels and potential summer plans. First off, guess I never blogged about it, but I am going to be back in London for Christmas! I'll also be going to Hungary for NYE and probably Serbia. My best friend Charlotte is doing a PhD about art movements in the former Yugoslavian countries, so she's got friends all over the Balkans, and Belgrade is her favourite city. I am excited to check it out, FINALLY! I am also just excited to be back in London. See all of my urban family. There are babies being born, engagements to celebrate, and far too many people I can't wait to catch up with. I leave a few days after finals in mid-December, getting back to Edmonton in early January. AirCanada had a ridiculous seat sale in August, and when I saw return holiday airfare to London direct from Edmonton for less than $1000 bucks including taxes, I booked that flight faster than the speed of light. 
I am obsessed with this jumpsuit. It is SO comfortable. It's a bit out of my comfort zone, but I love it! 

Being back in Toronto also left me pretty inspired. But also a feeling of melancholy. I was super sad when I got back to Edmonton. And not because of anything to do with Edmonton. I was so happy in Toronto. I felt like I was home. It was an overwhelming, corny feeling of reunion, like I was back in touch with a part of myself I left behind when I abruptly left last fall. It was definitely the right choice; I got work experience here I would not have out there and saved a lot of money. But people just are as I am in Toronto. Buying locally, voting progressively, caring about the arts, politics and urban issues are the norm and not the exception. Not that there aren't people in Edmonton that feel this way, too. There are lots. But we all live in this tiny bubble that is Old Strathcona, the only non-conservative federal constituency in the entire province (Linda Duncan of the NDP is my Member of Parliament, and she's awesome. Can't wait to volunteer for her re-election next year!). The amount of times I get called a hipster by people because I ride a bike and don't drive a car, or because I don't engage in fast fashion unless I have to, is ridiculous. Conscious consumption is a way of life for me. I try to eat, dress, and shop as ethically and locally as possible. I also have no interest in having a huge house, a fancy car, and a bunch of material things. I crave a truly urban life, living in a tiny apartment in the centre of a big, big city, where I can ride my bike, walk, or take transit most of the year. My experience in Toronto was everything I could ever ask for in a city.
So I am either going to just do the one year option of my course and head back to Toronto as soon as possible. Do my placement out there and start my life. If I decide to do the two year course, I am going to use next summer to hopefully find an internship or job directly in the arts. I will stay in Edmonton if I get such a position, hopefully go back to Toronto for the summer, and will happily go anywhere else in the country. 

I am also contemplating, if I do not get a decent job next summer, using my still-active visa to the UK and go work in Scotland for the summer. It's good until late 2016 before renewal. If I am just going to end up as a receptionist, retail manager or bartender in Edmonton next summer, I'd rather be doing so in Glasgow or Edinburgh for three months. Hang out where my dad was born and where my granny was from. We'll see what happens and where I end up. I am committing to no plans, just keeping an open mind with a few ideas rolling around. 

Here are some random shots of central and west Toronto. Thanks for a stellar time, T.O!
Baldwin street. I used to live on Baldwin and McCaul! 
Sweet Torie at Momofuku! 

Thanks for reading, friends! 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Coffee Break

Greetings, online pals! 

We in the Northern City have had an exceptionally gorgeous fall, despite some mighty gusts blowing my skirts every which way. I've been feeling really good lately! A little spread thin, but when my weary body hits the bed at the end of a jam-packed day, it's with a happy relief. Being a student again has brought out a whole new level of extroversion I haven't experienced in a long time. Last year working for The Man, I often started work at seven or eight in the morning, meaning my social life took a beating. I still saw my friends plenty, but hangouts were more along the lines of dinner or coffee and me having to leave early. I didn't go "out" a whole lot last year. Last year actually felt very adult for me, working full-time in a professional office environment, saving up money and seeing friends when there was time. 

But now all I have is time. I left my job since they wouldn't give me part time hours. As a full time student I couldn't commit to the weekly hours required of me. I'll miss the cash flow, but I also love my new found freedom. While I spend most of my days studying, and will soon be doing lots of volunteering, I am loving waking up and setting my own schedule. I feel like my social life is on fire! I have finally time to see more of my old friends, I am really enjoying getting to know my new ones through class. There has been lots of events attended rather than "going out" in the classic nightlife sense. Ballet, theatre, music, dinners, coffee dates. I am really enjoying engaging with my city in new and old ways that I just never had time for last year. I am also happy I have time to exercise more often. Earlier this week my friend Alice and I did aqua-size! We were the only people there under sixty.
 This weekend is a long weekend in Canada, and I have a glorious four days off. I'll be seeing a few acts at the Up + Downtown Festival and catching up with favourite pals in from out of town. October itself has been pretty amazing to me so far. Also looking forward to LitFest starting next week, for Rocky Horror, and of course for Halloween! 

An outfit from this week. Getting away with Spring apparel while I still can! A pal tool this while we studied together last weekend. Enjoying me some direct trade transcend coffee! They're espresso really is amazing.

Stay cool, comrades. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Lady in Red

Taking photos in Fall is my absolute favourite. The warm light is just perfect, making colours pop and finding a pretty backdrop effortless. Much like everyone else, October is my favourite month. It means fall fashion, pumpkin flavoured things, Canadian thanksgiving, halloween parties, costume planning (I found mine this weekend!), and the Edmonton cultural season on in full swing. 

This weekend was certainly busy with events! Aside from seeing a band I really like play at a favourite local club night, this weekend I saw two ballets with my classmates. On Friday, several of us went and saw the Alberta Ballet production of Don Quixote, complete with overpriced wine, and the bells, whistles, pomp and pageantry that come with professional ballet. It was a gorgeous spectacle of chiffon and sequins. So beautiful! I love hearing the orchestra tune up before the show, and the hubbub of chattering ballet-goers all dressed to impress. On Sunday, a few of us went to a small start-up company called Citie Ballet that did two pieces, one a classical ballet piece, and the other a contemporary piece featuring songs to Billie Holiday. Being a new company, the Citie ballet show was held at an intimate space on the U of A campus called the Timms Centre. I loved the more casual setting compared to the Jubilee auditorium (where Alberta Ballet is always held). I could see the dancers facial expressions, the details of their outfits, and hear their pointe shoes hitting the stage. Both situations were very enjoyable despite being quite different experiences as an audience member. One unpretentious and informal, the other a spectacle within a spectacle... An interesting contrast as a spectator. I am quite excited for both seasons of each company! 

Speaking of the U of A, here are some photos taken before Citie Ballet near Alumni house. I love my trusty square dancing dress! $10 well spent. This weekend it was PERFECT outside! 

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! 

Charmaine xx