Quebec City: As close to Europe as I’m going to get

I’ve finally gotten myself to sit down and write about my favourite city in Canada, Quebec City. Without further ado, let’s begin!

For the past year, I have not gone to anywhere for a proper vacation (unless you count going home as one) and absolutely longed for one. Having heard the city’s resemblance to many western European countries such as France and England, I knew I had to visit Quebéc over the summer. It had all the old buildings and #ootd spots I ever wanted, wasn’t too far from Ottawa, and wasn’t extremely expensive (except for eating out).

Esther and I on one Parks Canada Outdoors Club trip. 😉

Esther and I planned this trip few months before July. I happily did all the logistics because I was way too excited to be going to Quebéc and was very specific on what I wanted to. Thankfully, Esther went along with it.

Day One

L-R: Our train from Ottawa to Quebec City; Quebec City’s Train Station

From day one of arriving into the city, everything “shook” us. Immediately after arriving and exiting the train station, we so how European or at least 17th century the city was. Everything look beautiful, including the train station, and was so aesthetically pleasing.We immediately checked into the hotel after a long 6-hour train ride and quickly hunted for places to eat. We didn’t really have many options, and somehow noticed the large amount of Irish pubs and Italian restaurants everywhere. Clearly not interested in any of those options, we opted to cook dinner and so we did before crashing to our beds.

Day Two

Having planned the entirety of the trip, we started our first official touristy adventure, bright and early, with the National Assembly of Quebéc/Hotel du Parlement. We had a lovely guided tour led by the charming Alexandre – Esther and I low-key fangirled because of his good looks great tour guiding skills.

L-R: Legislative Council Chamber; ceiling painting in Legislative Council Chamber; The National Assembly

Nevertheless, the tour was informational and well done. The building’s interior was more remarkable than the Parliament in Ottawa, except for its library. Among the little highlights we had during the tour was when Alexandre seemed impressed that I knew the name of Quebéc’s premier. Haha!

Le Parlementaire, the restaurant inside the building

After the Parliament, we walked around the area until we go to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (Château Frontenac, for short). It was a key destination for me because of the castle-like exterior and of course, our first stop to one of the Korean drama Goblin’s film site. Huehuehue! The Château is incredibly magnificent and walking along its terrace was so relaxing, especially with such a beautiful day. I took tons of photos, and taught Esther how to take nicer photos because I perfectionist and extra like that.

Views from the Terrace and a photo of us with the Château behind us

We frolicked around some more while looking for food before bumping into La Boutique de Noel (another Goblin film site). It was a very quaint and pretty Christmas store. So for all those for are obsessed with Christmas no matter the time of the year, I’d say check it out. I saw a few Koreans in there making reference to Goblin as well.

Mandatory photo outside of a Goblin film site, La Boutique de Noel

Basilique Cathedral Notra Dame was next door so we entered our first cathedral of the trip. It was for the most part, under construction, but somehow Esther didn’t realize that and asked me “What do you mean it’s under construction?”

“What do you mean it’s under construction?” – Esther Vininsky-Oakes, July 2017.

Hunting for lunch was definitely a struggle – there was little to no vegetarian options available. We tried Cafe Baude because it had a vege burger – the food sucked so bad. I was feeling so Gordon Ramsay-like that I’d wanted to cuss at everything. Esther of course, felt a lot more pissed than me. We were truly disappointed by the food although the waiter was really nice. Imo, just don’t go there.

Avoid at all cost!

To cleanse our souls palette, we returned to the Château’s terrace and had the ice cream Esther was massively craving. She specifically wanted ice cream from that store next to the Château because 10 years ago, she visited the exact same store and had amazing ice cream. It was nice and our moods were lifted.

Ice cream!
Me infront of the door that Ji Eun-Tak followed Kim Shin through (A Goblin filmsite)

Unsure of where to head next, we somehow stumbled upon our favourite street of all time – Rue Petit-du-Champlain (Goblin film site #3).

Rue Petit-du-Champlain

It’s a beautiful alley that fulfilled our dreams of visiting somewhere with a Parisian atmosphere. We just hung around here until the day ended because it was really gorgeous.

Day Three

Another must-visit we managed to check out was Le Citadelle du Quebéc where you’ll learn about the province’s military history and its Royal 22e Régiment, the Canadian Forces’ only French-language regular force infantry regiment. This fortress was built between 1820 and 1850, and is the largest British fortress built in North America.

Inside the Citadelle

There’s a guided tour available, which Esther and I found very informative.

We also managed to witness the Changing of the Guards at 10am, which is pretty unique for it’s the only one that conducts it in French and has a Tibetan goat named Batiste as its mascot. I swear the goat is definitely worth seeing in real life.

Clockwise: View from one of the tour stops and down there was another place they filmed Goblin; Esther and I; Changing of the Guard ceremony begins; Batiste the Tibetan Goat (22nd Regiment’s mascot )

We returned to Rue Petit-du-Champlain for an early lunch at Le Lapin Saute. Man – that place is so Parisian and of course, touristy. 😛

Esther and I at Le Lapin Saute

The whole environment was so extra with its ambience and service – I loved it. They serve rabbit meat hence the name “Le Lapin Saute,” which is also a play on words according to Esther. I even gave the waiter, Maxime, the biggest tip I’d ever given cause he was A+. I

Esther’s vegetarian pasta and my beef stew

Once lunch was done, we continued to stroll back and forth on the street because we love the street so much. We eventually made our way down to a quay on Corridor du Littoral. Esther took a break by doing some yoga (and reapply sunblock/sunscreen lotion ) while I enjoyed the breeze on the quay.

L-R: The Quay; view from the quay where you can see the Château and maybe Esther doing some yoga.

Towards the end of the day, we went for a guided tour of the Fortification of Quebec. Our tour guide was Arnaudt, and he was pretty funny. The tour was definitely worth your money – it’s $4.90 for a 90-minute guided tour. We got to see and enter amazing archaeological sites taken care by Parks Canada, including the fortification walls that’s right next to the Citadelle.

L-R: Remains of an old building, the view from one of the tour stops, and inside the fortifications that isn’t part of the Citadelle.

We eventually made our way back to our hostel but stopped occasionally to shop on Rue St. Jean. I’m glad we did because we stumbled upon the most charming second-hand book store called La Rêverie. It’s run by an old man who is super friendly and cute. I 100% recommend anyone to visit the bookstore, talk to him, and buy something there. The old man’s the sweetest old man I’ve ever talked to.

L-R: La Reverie, off Ru St. Jean; inside the bookstore; the grandpa talking to Esther.

Day Four

A little different start to the day as we didn’t actually walk to our destination – Montmorency Falls – as it was too far. It’s a beautiful place to go for a little stroll or hike. It’s about a 40-minute bus ride and was quite worth it.

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Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

There’s not much for me to say about it besides that it’s a very easy hike. It’s a great place to get out to if you’re sick of being in downtown Quebéc. It’ll still be crowded but not as crowded as the Château in the afternoon.

After a really hearty breakfast at L’Accent, we checked out the two most British landmarks in Quebéc – Holy Trinity Cathedral and Morrin Centre.

Breakfast was really good and filling for both me and Esther

The cathedral was pretty cool as it was the first Anglican church found and built outside of England. You also get to see some old golden treasures, which looked so beautiful. There’s not much in it but when we were there, there was a little market in its courtyard.

Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

One of the most fascinating visits for the trip was the Morrin Centre. There you’ll learn about the English-speaking population of Quebéc.

Morrin Centre

The Morrin Centre has a long and interesting history dating back to the 18th century. It’s definitely worth a visit and I highly recommend it. From what I remember, it was first a military barrack, a reform jail and a school (Yes, a jail became a school). Now, it stands as an active library and a heritage site.

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The jail section of the Morrin Centre

My words won’t give it justice to the complex and rich history the tour will give. It was the city’s common jail from 1812-1868, and in 1862, it became the Morrin College, Quebec City’s first English-language institute of higher education. The Morrin College was one of the earliest institution to allow women for higher learning in Canada, and had affiliations to McGill University.

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Clockwise: Ballroom; chemistry lab; the library; books in the library.

Day Five

It was raining and thankfully, we didn’t have to do much that day since we had super hectic four days already. We checked out Le Musée de Civilisation (the Museum of Civilization) because TripAdvisor gave it good reviews.

L-R: Like Cat and Dog Exhibition; Esther so dead; Spot the Esther

Out of the museums I’ve been to in Canada, I’d say this is one of the more memorable ones. They said really enlightening and engaging exhibitions such as one on dogs and cats, optical illusions, and the First Nations and Inuit community. Truly amazing and truly beautiful.

L-R: Observe – More than Meets the Eyes part 1; Observe – More than Meets the Eyes part 2;Dress of Nations

They were also having a TinTin exhibition but because it costed a little bit extra, we didn’t bother checking it out. From what I’ve seen in photos, they look cute.

Super excited to check out the museum!

For lunch, we had crêpes at Le Casse-Crêpe Breton. In my opinion, the crépes tasted average and I don’t think it’s worth the wait. Their Granny’s Hot Chocolate was pretty good though.

Clockwise: Granny’s Hot Chocolate; some crêpes

We returned to the Château later that day where I sent post cards out inside the Château like Eun-Tak did in Goblin, and had our final ice cream in the city.

Sending postcards! 😀
Yum, yum!

We also entered one of the free museums (Free with the Parks Canada Pass) underneath the Terrace. It’s one where you’ll get to be up close and personal with archaeological artifacts and ruins. You’ll also get to dress up as people from the 17th century, which is super cute.

To summarize this trip, it was truly amazing but a bit more on the pricey side when it came to food. Would I visit again? 100% yes. Esther already told me quite a few times that she wants to visit in the winter… So we’ll have to see when I can visit Quebec again and wait until Esther gets back from her exchange in Edinburgh.

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Quebec City: As close to Europe as I’m going to get

Looking back: Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Please believe me when I tell you that the Fall/Winter 2016/17 academic year has been the busiest and most rewarding year. It was one that challenged me in different ways and I’m forever grateful for it.

I was a part of three clubs – Carleton University Dance Crew (CUDC), Spoon University Carleton Chapter, and Parks Canada Outdoors Club of Carleton – and a student volunteer/student staff with three different university on-campus departments – a peer mentor at the Student Experience Office in the first semester, a peer helper with the Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS), and a volunteer at the International Students Services Office (ISSO). I was terrified for myself at the beginning of Fall 2016 and was unsure whether I would be able to do it all while keeping myself sane.

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L-R: Lujie, me, Mana, Julia, Shaelyn, and Colleen
Volunteering for ISSO during Fall Orientation Week 2016
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Cloudy and wet day didn’t stop me from going hiking at Gatineau Park

There’s no other way to say it but I genuinely enjoyed the year despite my crazy schedule every day. I was so happy and as I packed my things to leave campus earlier this week, I was feeling sad and reluctant to move out of my room in Frontenac House. I was just sad to leave the year behind. I met so many amazing people, came across so many wonderful opportunities, and improved myself by gaining various skills.

To make it easier to read, I’m going to elaborate on each person and opportunity in different subheadings chronologically (if possible) to explain how my year went.

ISSO

While everyone was still enjoying their break towards the end of August, I returned to campus on August 30 to begin my training as a Fall Orientation Ambassador, an international student mentor, and a volunteer for the ISSO.

There I learned a little bit about different cultures and countries. I loved it and it was so rewarding. I was crazy energetic throughout Orientation week and extremely talkative – Wei Ni made fun of me when I told her how much of an extrovert I was being. Regardless, the feeling of being able to help these new students kept me so motivated that I felt that I had an unlimited amount of energy.

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Excited international students ready for the Parliament Hill Light Show

After orientation week ended, I took on the role as an international student peer mentor where I had to help new international students settle down and ensure they were well-adjusted to their new environment. I was honestly unsure of my position and ability to be a good mentor. As far as I knew, I was someone who had cultivated self-discipline and self-motivation on my own, at the same time, I wasn’t so sure whether I’d be able to convey a similar message to someone else. I was afraid that I wasn’t doing my role justice because I did check off all the criteria of what I imagined a mentor would be. I should’ve better prepare myself to adjust to different personalities, listened more, and so on. It was an interesting experience nonetheless but I could’ve done a lot better. I’ve learned my lesson and will be applying these considerations the next time I decide to become a peer mentor.

CSAS

I honestly don’t remember what made me apply for the position of an Outreach Peer Helper. As far as I remember, I was only motivated by the fact that I could make myself more employable. I didn’t know what I was going into nor was I expecting anything amazing, I was solely focused on gaining new skills. It’s a cliché but I’m just going to say it, I am incredibly grateful for the experience, skills, connections and memories I’ve gained during my time as a peer helper.

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Journo-senpai and cutie pie, Alyssa
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Fellow Whovian and staff lounge buddy, Joanna
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Giant gingerly ginger, Connor

If there’s any place that made me felt safe, welcomed, happy, and motivated, it was working at CSAS, chilling or doing assignments in the staff lounges, located on the 4th floor of the library.

Every time I was there during its hours of operation, I’d be sure to find someone who’d be willing to talk or help me out. They really made the library my second home, it was somewhere I never wanted to leave. People would always check up on each other, ensuring we’re all taking care of each other, supporting each other, and giving helpful suggestions/advices on certain things.

Of course, I remembered the things I learned while I was there too – creating social media content and different promotional programs to generate more student engagement with the centre. It was a pun-tastic time of creating content. Going out tabling in the tunnel junctions with the Plinko board was also a fun and enlightening experience. By enlightening I mean, it put me in a position I’d never see myself being able to get comfortable with – I was constantly pushed to convince students to learn about CSAS by asking them to play with the Plinko board. Looking back, I realized I’ve grown.

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My almost-big sister, Jenny!
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Fabulous Alex!

When I first started with the Plinko alongside Rebecca, I was unsure what to say and always mimicked Rebecca but as the weeks went by, I slowly gained confidence in spewing out things to say to hype the students up to play the Plinko. It was a fun time and definitely one way to improve your public speaking skills.

CUDC
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Always smiling LJ ❤
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Awarded the “Most Improved OLD Member” by my fellow CUDC Execs and Advisor

If you knew me from last year, you’d know I was a part of CUDC since my first year. During my first year as a CUDC member, I was always unsure of where I stood in the crew and that still hasn’t changed. Unlike most clubs, this is where I felt the most closed-off from the whole group and I never felt truly home. If anyone ever wants to see me quiet among people I know, this would be where you’ll see me being quiet (besides the library). I know that’s kind of shocking to hear and it is shocking to me too! I don’t know why this is the way it is but I can only guess it’s because everyone else me is super loud and I don’t know how to respond to that or I just let other people to be loud and not challenge them? I don’t know.

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With Nareen and Shaelyn
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Vice-President Brenna
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Sassy Sarah!
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Lovely Colleen and Julia ❤
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Riri group: Jodi, Alex, me, and Sarah
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Amazing dance partner, Collen

But if there’s one thing that’s change this year, it’s that I gained more confidence in my dancing abilities – I even did a duet with my new friend, Colleen! I don’t think I’d be dancing at CUDC with confidence without the support of Colleen. Colleen is such an amazing and passionate dancer. I’m genuinely thankful I met Colleen because she gave me an opportunity to try out different dance genres – contemporary and modern – and it was an honour being her duet partner.

Esther

Where do I even start? I met her a cross-country skiing event organized by the Parks Canada Outdoors Club. It was a beautiful and warm cold February morning that day and someone (Esther) to her surprise, arrived at the meeting spot a little too early. Me being the person who arrives anywhere early, arrived a little later than her, and started chatting with her – she started the conversation. Lots of chatting went on that day and we found out we had so many similar interest like Yuri!!! On Ice. Heh! Anyways as we were chatting in the car on our way to the skiing place, I invited her to go to the gym with me after skiing – classic tip on making friends. Long story short, she agreed to gym with me.  Funny thing is when Esther was on the way to the gym, she forgot her running shoes and she went back to get it. By the time she got to the gym, it was 15 minutes to closing. Somehow we still got to know each other and planned our gym schedule for the week. Fast forward today, we’ve been gym buddies ever since and became food/travel buddies – we went to Quebec City and Montreal together.

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That’s Esther and I in front of the Chateau Frontenac!
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Rue du Petit Champlain

The year went by incredibly fast and I’m grateful for everything that’s happened. I’m excited for the new school year because I’ll be rooming with two amazing girls – Carleigh and Selene. I’m also terrified and worried because it’s going to be the toughest one yet – Third-year journalism is extra tiring. Bummed that Esther and I won’t be able to spend any more time with each other for the year because she’s going on exchange to Edinburgh. I’m hoping I can keep up with her and hoping she’d do the same because she really made my year a lot better although we just met. Heh.

Looking back: Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Current situation and Tricks to Waking Up Early

I had a moment when I felt like writing a new post because I was on a roll.

 

Being a second-year journalism student is difficult but it isn’t the end of the world. You get more practical and hands-on opportunities although it does get kind of frustrating sometimes when you’re given a same day deadline assignment.

During the past three months of settling in with the program, I realized that I’ve gotten more comfortable with it although I still get very anxious. I don’t have a lot to do besides eat, sleep, study, dance and repeat. I don’t talk to a lot of people for long periods of time here unless I want to. I actually don’t talk to a lot of people here in general unless I need to. It’s weird and it sounds a bit worrying because it sounds like I have no close friends here. I realised I tend to brush these feelings off. I’m very driven by completing my assignments and doing what I have to do. I actually like the fact that I’m doing that because it really distracts me from worrying about my social life. That may not sound healthy.

I honestly do feel that there are other people who are doing this more than me, which sometimes makes me question whether I’m doing enough. I’ve been trying to make time to relax but in my mind, I get anxious instead because to me, if I can relax, it means I have time to do assignments and do what I need to much earlier than I can do. Then again, I’m not as motivated to start early so that can be bad because then, I get more stressed out about trying to complete everything on time.

I wake up almost every day at 7.30AM and sleep at 12.30-1AM.

A lot of people ask me how I do it. Honestly, I find that it’s good to remind yourself why you’re waking up.

People ask me how I do it, I honestly can make a list about it. You know what, let’s do it, let’s make a list. List make me feel good. I went crazy one day when I found out you can do it on Twitter. Okay, I’m rambling but anyways… These are my tricks of waking up early.

P.S.: It doesn’t necessarily work on everyone but it’s always worth a try.

1. Write a schedule for the following day, a day before.

I tend to do this when I know I’m going to have a really busy day. It helps me relax because I’m not thinking about what’s coming up next when I have it written down somewhere. This seriously lets me sleep with ease. When I’m planning something the next day and trying to remember it for the next day, it can be stressful with so many thoughts in your head and prevent you from relaxing enough to sleep.

2. Find motivation

Everyone has some form of motivation or drive to start their day. For me, it’s so I can sleep earlier and possibly longer. I feel more things can be done in the day. You can do more than five things in a day besides eating and resting. When it’s night, I tend to get really tired and be less driven to do anything because I just want to rest from a long day. When I wake up early, I feel like I also have more time to do things. Let’s say you have a really big assignment due in a five weeks but you want to have time to relax in between, so you wake up early everyday for three weeks before the deadline, start working on it early in the day and then take breaks in between.

3. Get into a routine

This is key. I try to make a routine into a habit because as the saying goes, “old habits die hard.” In this case, if it’s not a old habit, make it one. It takes practice but it’s okay, just refer to point one and two.

4. Define your goals

Just like a checklist and this list, figure out what you want to do. This is similar to point two in a sense that these goals have to be your motivation in getting something done. I personally like having little goals each time that lead up to one major goals, simply like baby-steps.

5. Remind yourself who and what is at stake

Sounds pretty dramatic and scary but it works for some people. Remind yourself the repercussions and the affects of you acting a certain way. For me, my stake is making myself feel proud of the goals I’ve achieved and making other people happy when they see me happy. I know this can be stressful as you’re basically putting pressure on yourself. Do it when you need to but don’t always think you’re the blame for everything. Remind yourself that you have a part in something but when you don’t do it completely, don’t blame and hurt yourself too much for it.

I think that concludes my five tricks for waking up early but it looks like it can be for anything general to just make sure you get things done. Heh.

With that, I conclude this post.

Current situation and Tricks to Waking Up Early