Sisters are back in town

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Thunder Bay has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for the past 5 years. Two of my university roommates are from this Northern place and have been waiting to show me around. (Sadly Laurel wasn’t there 😦 )

A perfect opportunity to visit arose when my sister was planning on doing a pit stop there on her drive home from Edmonton. I bought a plane ticket and surprised her with my lovely presence for the remainder of her trip.

I got to see lots of other friends and check out their neck of the woods.

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riverfront thunder bay

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scenery lake superior

Ariane walking

Kekabeka falls

The drive from Thunder Bay to Sudbury is breathtaking. Lake Superior is beautiful and worth seeing for sure.

On Sunday Ariane and I leave for another adventure…our long awaited sister Europe trip. First stop= Slovenia!

I likely blog about our trip when I get back as I will not have a computer during our travels.

Thanks for reading!

-Marielle

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Hiking mountains in Alberta

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Eight years ago my sister, father and I were driving through the Canadian Rockies, admiring the beautiful snowy peaks and the luscious forests. It’s something I’ve never forgotten.

This past long- weekend, Ariane and I relived part of that trip as we headed South from Edmonton and met up with our friend Nick.

We debated camping, but with the crummy weather anticipated and the fear of bears (mostly my fear), we decided to stay at Nick’s place for the weekend. I think we made the right decision considering the cold and rain that came crashing down.

On Saturday, we hiked the Grassy Lakes trail in Canmore that had me thinking we were in New Zealand. The water was so so blue and the view on top of the mountain was amazing.

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We must’ve been craving more of the same scenery because we made a spur of the moment decision to head to Lake Louise. It did not disappoint.

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If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for hot tubs. It only seemed logical to go to the hotsprings in Banff to relax and warm up.

The other 150 other people who thought of doing the same thing made it less enjoyable and relaxing, but all in all still great.

Downtown Banff is so beautiful. Everything about it screams mountain village and a great time. No wonder so many tourists go!

The next few days were spent in Calgary where we got to spend time with friends.

I’ve had such an amazing time out West; it’s been hard not going online and changing my flight date.

ALSO! Check out these old photos of Ariane and I in Lake Louise. We were laughing all weekend thinking about how cool we thought our outfits were that day…haha!

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Until next time Alberta!

-Marielle

A spring trip to Western Canada

DSC_1350Hello Edmonton!

Finally back out West with my sister and friends, and it feels so good.

Visiting my sister’s first classroom was on my bucket list of things to do this year and so I’m really glad I got to come to Edmonton. I’ve been twice and every single time I walked out of there, I left wondering how she didn’t go mad.

Over the weekend I went to my first Pow Wow- and it was amazing! So nice to learn more about aboriginal cultures within Canada and to participate in traditional events. Working at Fort Edmonton Park last summer really opened my eyes to Canadian history- in a totally different way than a textbook every did.

I put together a little video of the Pow Wow I attended- take a look! CLICK HERE

-Marielle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking winter away

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood!

The birds are chirping, the water is flowing and the sun is shining. Every step of our hike would be met with sigh a relief because spring has finally sprung.

I went for a hike with my mom and some of her friends to a nearby ridge. I’ve been going there for years with my family, whether it be for snowshoeing, hiking, skating and even winter camping.

The dogs looooooooooved today. So much fun watching them run around and play in the water together. And it was nice to see Rembrandt (brown lab) again; he was Russell’s best friend!

More pictures below

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elsa and I

Elsa looking

mom and friends

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elsa in water

Spring is here.

-Marielle

 

Tall falang returns to Canada

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23 days have gone by since I’ve last seen the country I called home for almost 7 months.

Though I’m not physically in Laos anymore, I mentally feel like I am. Good thing I have so many happy memories to think back on and occupy my mind.

I’ve put off posting on the blog since returning because I just haven’t found the words. I still don’t feel like I have, but want to share a few thoughts with you all.

So here I am, a Canadian on home soil once again.

The first few days back were brutal- shock, stress and sadness waved over me. The word that best describes how I was seeing everything those first few days: ORGANIZED!

Wait…people actually stop at red lights here?

Wait…there’s a garbage and recycling system?

Wait…there’s a grocery store with everything you need?

It’s been an interesting transition back, one that is much harder than anticipated, all because I loved my experience so much. Sure, I could potentially go back, but it would never be like it was. And that’s the hard part to swallow. C’est la vie. 

On the bright side, I’ve heard the phrase “You’re so tall,” 80% less since returning. People still want to make sure I’m aware of the fact, you know, in case I didn’t know.

I’m already getting ready for another plane ride…Edmonton, Alberta here I come! I can not wait to spend a few weeks with my sister and friends. It’s going to be awesome!

On that note, friends in Laos throw a bucket of water on someone for me (Lao New Year, I don’t typically throw buckets of water on people), and friends in Canada…pray for sunshine 🙂

-Marielle

And the Oscar goes to…

It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I publicly launch the short film Remote Confession. 

Shot in suburban Vientiane, this film follows the arduous journey of 7 colleagues fighting to survive during a meeting. With the air conditioning remote missing, these hard-working professionals are found trying to survive in the heat, all while trying to find out who stole the remote. This murder mystery is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat!

The names of the actors are to remain confidential due to the high risk of public recognition and following of paparazzi.

Enjoy!

-Marielle

 

16 people I don’t want to live without

Relationships make or break times abroad.

The following 16 people have marked my experience abroad in such a powerful way. Thank you all for your friendship, love and laughs.

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Nila
Bouakeo
Bouakeo
Ammala
Ammala
Carolyn
Carolyn

 

Christy
Christy
Nigel
Nigel
Peter
Peter

 

Vim, Peta, Sam, Hannah and Chelsea
Peta, Vim, Sam, Hannah and Chelsea
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Alyssa
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Mark
the gang
John and Sindhu

Blessed and grateful.

I’ll stop here before I start crying 😉

-Marielle

Let the good times roll

A little bit of this,  a little bit of that.

A few tears and a heck of a lot of laughs, these past few weeks have been amazing.

Here are some pictures!

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Us Canadian interns presented at our weekly “Town Hall” on Monday morning. Reflections, hopes and thank you’s were shared…Tears galore!

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marielle and Alyssa
So lucky to have met Alyssa in Laos 🙂
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A farewell football match with the team
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Baci ceremony! These ceremonies are used during important events or occasions such as marriages, farewells, welcomings, etc. It has become a traditional custom to Laos and does not tie into religion.
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An offering is placed in both hands (eggs in this case) and people tie strings around your wrists while sharing thoughts, wishes and hopes. A mix of laughing and crying going on in this picture.

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A long string is passed around and held while chants are sung. Such a beautiful ceremony.
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Lunch with coworkers/friends
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Night out to celebrate Ashley’s birthday!! Danced the night away
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My coworkers and friends that guarantee laughs everyday.

I went back to grade 5 for a day

IMG_0883Do you consider yourself a creative person?

Creativity is defined as a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

In today’s world, there are so many platforms that exist to create music, photos, videos, art, etc. But basic creativity in everyday tasks remains, and I find it easy to assume being uncreative when not doing something extravagant.

The thing I love the most about Communications is the creative opportunities it provides in every day tasks. I am constantly relying on innovative ideas to captivate readers, viewers and sponsors. How am I going to tell this story? How am I going to catch the viewer’s eye? These are questions I ask myself every day.

I was recently asked to speak about creativity to a group of grade 5 students from a school in Vientiane. They are working on different projects and invite guest speakers to share ideas, opinions and perspectives with them.

We talked about the way to keep creativity alive, boundaries, motives and more!

I asked the students to take 2 pictures:

One picture had to include the sky, something red and something about themselves.

The second picture had to be about something creative- whatever creative might look like to them.

Check out their photos!

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No boundaries creativity:

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Pretty great right?

The students concluded that boundaries restricted their creativity and it didn’t feel as authentic as it could be without guidelines.

Going back to primary school for a day was fun, but I definitely like the whole adult thing way more.

Thanks for reading!

-Marielle

 

 

How Laos made me into less of a cook

Perk no.120382 of living in Laos= being able to eat out for the same cost as cooking.

I have loved trying new foods all around Vientiane and have found my favorite places to eat. A perfect mix of western food and Lao food has kept my stomach happy and satisfied.

I’ve taken photos over the past few weeks of some food I’ve eaten so I could share with you all (and maybe make you a little bit jealous 😉 ) and for me to have a reminder in the future of what foods I enjoyed here.

No photos of food I make, that’s not exciting. ha!

Try not to drool!

Cafe vanille crepe
Potato, goat cheese and caramelized onion crêpe. Oui svp.
vegetarian restaurant
Vegetarian veggie stir-fry
korean bbq
Korean BBQ- not sure how I feel about them…
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Some of the best fried spring rolls in town @ Dee’s Cafe
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Banana chips are my new favorite snack! Nice alternative to my obsession over chips.
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Lao Kitchen knows how to do a sweet&sour crispy pork
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Under the mountain of crushed peanuts lies a pad thai that I’ve had more often that not for lunch. It’s SO good. And the weirdest part is that it’s served at a little restaurant beside a gas station.
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Ai Capone makes really good pizza and has a three course lunch meals for only 58,000kip! Got this black pizza the other day (tastes the same) with mozzarella, eggplant and onions. Delicioso!

Peter asked me what foods I am most excited to eat when I get back to Canada. My exact answer was this: “I am going to get home from the airport and eat Boursin cheese on rice crackers with a jar of hummus ready for dips. All of this will happen as I am sitting in my hot tub outside.”

I’M PRETTY EXCITED!

P.S. Happy Women’s Day!

-Marielle