1. A year ago today I left Toronto on a surprisingly tearless flight to LHR, spent two coldest hours of my life at Kings Cross station, didn’t take a touristy photo with the Harry Potter cart, then took the most serene train ride through the English countryside to Leeds. The scenery was covered in snow and it was very beautiful, and also very telling of the snow that was to be my companion in Leeds well into March. In the evening I would meet Matthew, my now-darling love, in the kitchen of the little house on the top of Cliff Road. He offered me sugar after I’d realized I’d forgotten to buy some on an earlier grocery run (now it’s a very different kind of sugar). Later at night I watched an episode of David Attenborough’s Africa with a few housemates, drank bad Portuguese wine that I’d taken with me from the airplane, and slept like a rock on a terrible mattress.

    I miss Leeds.

    (Source: assets)

     


  2. Hello.

    Just coming back to say that I’m en route back to England. My heart is already there, in the hands of a handsome young man whom I will get to see shortly. I hope. Graduate schools are also yonder across the ocean, as are the green grass of Yorkshire and the shopping jungle of Manchester (ugh) and the sully, grey, rainy skies that I do miss nonetheless. Toronto has treated me well for the past two and a half months, new jobs, old friends, same love of an education that I wish I could channel in such a way that won’t make me feel at conflict with the crappy Canadian education system. Well, here I am returning to England for a short ten-day sojourn - if Toronto has the warmth that I feel from the group that I keep around me England has the kindness of strangers.

    On this trip: London - Diss (don’t ask) - Leeds - York - Colne - Liverpool - Manchester - Shrewsbury - Ely, then home.

    Not bad, yeah? I’m excited.

     

  3. This is surely to be one of my last posts, as my trip abroad ended on July 29, 2013. That’s already three distant weeks ago, and my feet are now back on the ground in Toronto. Coming down from the most amazing seven months on new soil has been a challenge, but the only option is to live my life back in Toronto to the fullest, and that I don’t live off of nostalgia. Berlin, my place of departure, was an incredible place of warmth - in people and in temperature, as it hit 37 degrees centigrade the day before my departure - and my sister Adelaide was a very apt host, having lived there for fourteen months by this point. There are a hundred things left on the list of things I wanted to do in Berlin, even though I was there for fifteen whole days, so I take comfort knowing that Berlin will be there for a while and I’ll find love and warmth there again soon.

     

  4. I made a couple of things in Berlin so far: A case for my sunglasses, lined with silk (best for cleaning lenses, no one will tell you though), and a necklace using a bead from an old earring. More to come, hopefully!

     

  5. As I am made more and more mobile I keep more and more neglecting this blog, so for that I apologise. I spent my last week in England floating between Liverpool and Paris, Liverpool because I had a place to stay rather than in Leeds where my flat became available to somebody else, and Paris where I got to meet up with a few of my favourite friends from Toronto and Leeds. But first, I just wanted to show you some photos from the Summer Solstice weekend we spent in the Lake District, surrounded by gorgeous peaks and bodies of water. When someone asks me where else I got to in Europe other than England, I have to say very little; it’s really only Paris, bits of Scotland, and a square inch of Wales, but I think I was very lucky to see so much of England itself. I can tell you that the Lake District is different than the hills of Northumbria, and the green of Yorkshire is different than that of Suffolk, the Irish Sea seen from Liverpool different than the North Sea viewed from Lowestoft.

    I have left England now, with tears and nostalgia already instilled in me; I am now finding footing in Berlin for two weeks before going home to Toronto, which is both a daunting and a welcoming thought. We went bouldering yesterday, scaling 20’ walls with the muscles in the arms and legs, and today my biceps are on fire. More to come!

     

  6. The brain marathon that is the International Medieval Congress is finally over. Only one highlight for now: Holding Cey the Falcon in the University Square today. No other avian companion will suffice!

     


  7. In what seems like a blink of an eye I am made to come to terms with the fact that I have less than a month left in Europe, and less than three weeks left in England. If I hadn’t changed my flight I would’ve been back home in Toronto already six days ago, which is crazy to think about! But I’m happy I’m still here, though I may have to sell a limb when I get back to TO to make up for what’s missing from my finances. My room is cleaned out now and my best flatmates have moved out and dispersed, and the Leeds that I know continues to become a ghost town. Luckily, the International Medieval Congress has begun - it’s one of the factors that initially drew me to Leeds so I’m really, really excited. I welcome all distractions right now, and I’m happy to be surrounded by people who get as excited as I do about medievalisms, and most of all a selection of eclectic beards and historic dresses.

     

  8. I’ve learned a fair bit about Wales since coming to England, relatively speaking - not a difficult feat considering I knew so little of its history of its sovereignty as a separate country and whatnot.¬†Photos from Wales: Most are from my friend Robert’s farm in Powys (in the Brecon Beacons National Park) and atop Pen y Fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons (though still too low to be a mountain). We saw some incomparable views, the sun was gorgeous and the winds were terrifying - there were moments when I felt my friends were risking their lives at the edge of the 886m cliffs for the sake of photographs. But we all survived, including my sister.

     


  9. While still in Leeds, I am now fulfilling at least a very humble portion of my future medievalist dreams by tweeting for the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds. Follow us here. As a part of my job I had to get my own Twitter account as well: that’s here, though¬†it’s modest as of yet.

     


  10. iwantmyhogwartsletter said: Hiya! I'll be living studying in Leeds next year (I'm Spanish) and I'm going crazy trying to choose an accommodation. I'm curious: where did you stayed at when you lived in Leeds? Thank you so much :3

    Hello! I get this question quite a bit, so I’ll answer right here. I’ve chosen to go with a Unipol house, a non-profit housing program for students. It’s not directly associated with the university, but it’s an approved body. I chose not to live on university housing because it was rather expensive and because I didn’t get assigned the residence I signed up for - I’m also a bit older than most students in residence and have dietary restrictions (therefore didn’t need catering options). I live between the Headingley and the campus now, and am very happy with my location and my decision to live off-campus. BUT if you are in that usual undergrad age group, and want to live close to school, then I’ve heard good things about Montague Burton and Charles Morris. If you want some separation between work and play I think Devonshire or James Bailie Halls are the way to go. Good luck!