Posts Tagged With: kids

Going Round and Round : #ReelFlySummer- #10, 43

Hi There,

I hope everyone’s doing fantastic. I wanted to start out by sharing some wise words I heard this week. You need to resign to the awkwardness of life. I’d say this is pretty solid advice. The more awkward, the better…right?

This weeks #ReelFlySummer adventures are built around the theme of activities that make you spin in circles…not squares…circles.

#43 Sit on Top of a Ferris Wheel

I think we can all agree Ferris Wheels are rather exciting. Especially when they’re assembled by one man at your local fair. I can assure you a wobbly Ferris Wheel is somewhat safe. The Ferris Wheel we went on was at our local fair set up for Canada Day. We waited in line for a lengthy period of time and even had a scare when the clock ticked to 10 pm (closing time) and we hadn’t gone on yet! But just then and there, magic happened. Just as we sat our tushes on the Ferris Wheel seats, the fireworks began. So there we were, shaking and trying to balance our weight on the Ferris Wheel, while watching fireworks closer to the sky…beautiful.

VERDICT: Feel free to push people out the way to get onto a Ferris Wheel at the perfect time (KIDDING!). 

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#10 Teach One Another the Art of Rollerblading and Biking

As embarrassing as it is, I am ready to admit that I never learned how to ride a bike until high school. A buddy of mine so kindly took on the task. However, turns and rocky pavement never became my friends. Meanwhile, my best friend is highly incapable of sports such as rollerblading and skating that require coordinated footing. So we decided to do a switcheroo. It was a whopping success.

VERDICT: Refrain from going on this wild adventure around sunset unless you’re perfectly okay with having your blood continuously sucked by pesty creatures. 

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Speak Soon.

Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.

xx Neda xx

Categories: Canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Let the Girls Out?

Hello Hello,

So as I promised my summer explorations were far from over upon my return from Costa Rica. This post will be dedicated to a mini vacay I took for my 19th birthday…yup that’s right the big one-nine. To celebrate I took three of my bestest / weirdest amigos to Niagara Falls for a two-day getaway. Yes, this means I was still in Ontario, but I had to pack a luggage so it still counts as a travel session.

What was a little bit off about this trip was the hotel I selected for our stay. I decided to go with one of the leading kid’s resorts in Ontario with an indoor waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge. I know what you’re all thinking why would a young hormonal teenager want to spend her 19th birthday mossing among thousands of itty bitty troublemakers? Let me explain. First off, GWL is absolutely one of my favorite hotels ever! It just makes me soooo happy. Every thing is made of wood and it is super cozy. Secondly, I like to go out and hit the town but at the end of the day I like to come back to a nice, friendly, CLEAN, quiet environment. In addition, we got upgraded to a spiffy room with a Jacuzzi, which ended up only being used by my one blonde friend who rolled around in her own dirt at 5am. Lastly, little kids have older brothers you know…tsk tsk…

Upon our arrival our acts of mischief immediately began. I’m surprised we didn’t see more parents covering their eyes as we seductively posed in the hallways, ran around our room with minimal clothes with the curtains open, and seduced the resorts furry decorations.

We first began our adventures by taking a stroll around the resort. Our first stop was the resort’s souvenir shop, where we tried on hats, masks, and found out about a special game called MagicQuest where you run around the resort with a wand on a scavenger hunt. Every time you point your wand to a correct item it will light up green and do something cool. For instance, there was one treasure chest on the first floor that would open and start singing when pointed to. This game had us all jumping for joy, but unfortunately we were too cheap to pay for the wands. 😦

Next, we went on to eat just about everything that was left at the buffet at 4pm before they cleared everything to get ready for dinner. Our lunch/dinner consisted of mac and cheese and stale fries…we should have seen that coming considering we were at a children’s resort. Our next task was to move in to our luxurious room…so sloppy. Visualize bags falling off the cart all over the place…

After moving in we began our tourist’ing’ around Clifton Hills. We of course had to make a pit stop at my absolute fave destination…THE HERSHEY STORE! We got to try some free samples of fudge, which is always a plus.

Following our extremely extra acts around the streets, we decided to go take a dip in the Falls (don’t worry I’m just kidding we weren’t too keen on pulling a Nik Wallenda who was p.s. scheduled to do his infamous walk across the Falls the following weekend).

Something else adorable that we saw was a group of teens taking pictures for their pre-prom around the falls. How cute is that? Obviously, I made an effort to stop and offer to take pictures for them and let them know they looked fabulous!

We also made a pit stop at the Fallsview Casino and Hotel where I lost 5 bucks in 1 minute after accidentally pushing too many buttons on the slot machine 😦 We stopped to get a sample of wine (fine I’ll admit we had more than 1), and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening.

In the room, we had a long heated debate about whether we should go to the ultra famous DragonFly club or the awesome new Texas-inspired bar with a mechanical bull. Please note: riding a bull is pretty high on my bucket list! After popping some champagne/ sparkling wine we decided to just say YOLO and try to make it to both.

However, after getting to the bull-riding bar there was no way we were leaving anytime soon. It was ridonculous how much fun we had riding that bull/falling off a million times. My one friend stayed on FOREVER and it was her first time so kudos to her. We also met many legit cowboys (LIKE SERIOUSLY LEGIT)! I’m talking the ones with the full getups that are gentlemen-like and swear by the official rules of riding bulls such as using just one hand. We unfortunately didn’t make it to DragonFly but we did decide to head back to the casino because we were feeling lucky. My friend managed to win herself 26$ on the roulette machines with someone else’s money HURRAH! When we arrived back at GWL at around 4 am the looks we got from the staff were highlarious! It was dead quiet.

The next day was waterpark time! Just a whole bunch of giggles flailing our legs in the lazy river and screams our heads off in the slides. Unfortunately though, we couldn’t go back into the wave pool because a little one decided to take a number 2…I promise it wasn’t me.

Although i’m in love with GWL, I’m not so sure it was in love with me. I had to lie about all my friends ages to make them seem like my little cousins and had to discard of the kid’s spa coupon that came with the package. My friends and I did, however, take full advantage of the free mini golf game and the 40 free arcade tokens. Let’s just say we got a bit too into the arcade. To provide you with a visual, as soon as we hit the jackpot all four of us were jumping up and down hugging, practically in tears reminiscent of a father holding his newborn…ya super awks.

I seriously could not have asked for a better birthday. My girlies made it an unforgettable weekend. The one thing I could have done without though was the pelvic muscle pains from clenching onto that darn bull and the fist-sized bruise under my knee! Bulls are vicious, even if they’re not real…ya heard?

If you had fun reading about this wild adventure wait until you hear what’s next. I’m making my way over to Cancun, Mexico tomorrow for a wedding. I also have family living over there, which I haven’t seen in ages so I’m super excited. The last time I was in Cancun was 2008 where I stayed with my family and drove around the city in a truck (pictures below). I’ll only be there a week but I promise I’ll have many stories to tell. I’m also going to be there for the Euro Cup 2012 finals where my fave team Espana will take the win! I can just envision the madness that will occur on the streets of Mehico on July 1st! Can’t wait! VIVA MEHICO!

Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.

xx Neda xx

Categories: Canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hasta Luego Costa Rica

Hello Hello,

Again, to clarify, yes I am currently back in Canada but in blogosphere world I am just about to depart from the beautiful, breathtaking, country of Costa Rica!

Ya me despido. Many goodbyes are set in order before I depart. As Chris Brown would say “There’s Never a Right Time to Say Goodbye”, but unfortunately with the clock ticking I have to give it my best go! Let’s see how well I did…

1) Goodbye to Carpio

Even though it is my last day in Costa Rica this does not mean that my 6am wake-up call is not in order. I have to make my final visit to Carpio to say goodbye to the kiddos and deliver one final lesson. I, again, worked through question words with them and tried desperately to engrave as much as I could into their very large, promising, brains. One huge mistake I made, which I won’t necessarily refer to as a regret, was not previously mentioning to the kids that Friday would be my last day. Here’s why…when I got there on Friday my face absolutely dropped when there were only about 5 kids who showed up for class. As I have previously mentioned, the setting a the Carpio church is very informal and the kids are welcome to come and go based on their own schedules. My reasons for having not previously mentioning my departure was that I didn’t want any distractions from completing my lesson plans and I wanted to delay the emotions with the younger munchkins of dealing with yet another person saying hasta luego. 😦 To conclude, pretty much I didn’t get to say bye to a lot of the kids I taught, and many of the younger kids I had had the opportunity to hold the jump rope for. Luckily, they all have their silly bands close by to remember me by… that’s of course if they haven’t decided to accidentally use them as a rubber band to seal their chips bag. P.S. In case you’re wondering why I’m wearing two different outfits in the photos below, no I did not make a quick change in Carpio. The pics are actually from Dustin’s last day (one day before mine), and my last day!

After saying goodbye to my students that had showed up on the Friday, and saying farewell to one of the beloved owners of the church, I took one final look at Carpio. Honestly, Carpio through my eyes is pure beauty. I’m not talking about the kind of beauty you designate to a model or forest green trees, but rather the kind you use to refer to people with the kindest hearts and most uplifting personalities. I can’t say others would agree with my perception…but then again you haven’t experienced it like I have. So with a few final tears, and a demonstration of waving recklessly to a few of the kids from the bus as I rode away, there you have it, likely my final look ever at the city of Carpio, Costa Rica.

2) Goodbye to Fruits

Of course, along with saying goodbye to Carpio comes the devastating goodbye to the vibrant, juicy, mouth-watering ‘fruitas’ of the country and city. What am I going to miss the most? Probably discovering all those sketchy new types of fruit off the streets such as Guabas and Mamones and obviously our ritual 10:30 am fruit breaks in Carpio! That being said, I have discovered a new lifelong hobby…TASTE-TESTING NEW FRUIT IN EVERY COUNTRY!

3) Goodbye to Cacchios + Costa Rican Nightlife

Cacchios deserves to have it’s own goodbye section in this post. I’m seriously not exaggerating when I say we went to this place almost every night! The staff knew my order every night (Bottle of Imperial Light), and knew us all by first name basis. I will never forget the staggered conversations we had in Spanglish and the beautiful bartenders/waiters with dreadlocks (yes one in particular has a close place in my heart 😉 ).  I wish Toronto the best of luck attempting to create a place that matches the warm and welcoming environment this place has to offer.

I’ll also miss the rest of the nightlife Costa Rica has to offer. That’s inclusive of all the beautiful mello reggae bars and the more cray bars like this one titled “Xcapa”. Either way, always great people to dance and drink the night away with, never a disappointment…never.

4) Goodbye to Roomies

Here we go…now we’re getting into tougher territory. My sister was the only hembra (female) in her household other than her single host mother. As a result, she quickly formed an undeniable bond with Adela, her host mother, and saying goodbye did not come easy. Their 4 minute hug on the morning of our departure only came to an end because of my annoying screams about being late for our flight. Either way, I’m sure my sister will never forget the beautiful and lovely Adela and the rest of her kind familia.

Now onto my roomies. Let’s start with Adam. He is literally one of the most mello, chilled-out, carefree young men you’ll ever meet. He’s of course also super nice, but he’s also Canadian so that’s a given. Why did I love Adam? Well frankly he had no problem calling me out on worrying wayyyyy too much! He was super reckless, and I was a little bit more tame, but Adam I think opposites attract, don’t you? The one lesson I learned from Adam is to follow his lead and work through more of my worries on the inside! Love you long time Adam!

Next up, we have Jess. The lovely lady that slept next to me for 1 week. I never got to tell Jess how fortunate I was that she wasn’t a snorer haha! Jess and I were majorly alike in the way that we were both boys’ girls. We got along with all the boys and understood even their strangest behaviours. I love Jess for being up for coming out every night and being chills enough to hear me have 24/7 freakouts over bugs, bugs, and some more bugs! I wish you the best of luck moving state to state and will miss you very, very much!

On to Grant… goofy ol’ Grant! No words can describe the bond that Grant and I had. Grant is around 5 years my senior but I’m pretty sure that we’ll both agree our roles were reversed. I was his source for advice and guidance when times got rough, and he was the one that was foxy enough to bring a smile to my face every morning at 6am. Grant was probably the easiest person to wake up ever. I would walk into his and Adam’s room at 6 am and find them both fully knocked out. As soon as I’d tap Grant, he would jump out of bed and be ready for breakfast. Adam, on the other hand, would roll around and provide a dialogue about how there was no way he was getting up for beans and rice (LOL!). I’ll never forget lecturing Grant about not placing his clothes in his luggage correctly resulting in an entirely wrinkled wardrobe, learning how to tie and tie, learning not to cut himself while shaving, and recognizing the signs of when a woman wants to marry him! You will forever, and i mean FOREVER, be in my heart Grant!

Unfortunately my roomies weren’t there on the Friday to spend my final night with me because they had embarked on their journey to Baldi Hot Springs/ Arenal Volcano. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t have 230129381 other amazing conversations and moments that I will never forget. These three people are truly some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. Please consider that I am confidently saying this having only been with Adam and Grant for 2 weeks, and Jess for only 1 week! Te Amo ❤

5) Goodbye to House + Cedros

On the morning of my departure, I woke up still having to pack 75% of my luggage (typical me), so I ended up waking up Jess in the process. We decided to take one final stroll around the neighbourhood before the taxi came to pick me up. Cedros is seriously one of those super -friendly, colourful, neighbourhoods that everyone wants to live in. It’s easy to think otherwise when you witness all the gates surrounding each house making the city’s streets appear like stylish jail cells. Lily’s house (our homestay) was actually the only house on the street sans gate! We somehow still felt safe 95% of the time 🙂

On our walk, we also discovered an amazing smoothie shop that we had never seen before. I suppose that’s a good thing considering there would have been a significant dent in my pocket had I known about a fresh smoothie store across the street from home! Jess and I were desperate to try this strange fruit called Guanabanana but unfortunately the man was all out so I settled for an Orange slush smoothie instead.

Upon rushing back at home, I noticed that the taxi had already arrived. I scurried to say my final goodbyes and thank you’s to my host family that went a lot along the lines of  “mucho, mucho, mucho, mucho, mucho gracis por everything!” I then, obviously, barged into Adam and Grant’s room to wake them up and say my final farewells only to be entirely shocked with what I was seeing. Adam was sitting on his bed oh so beautifully, but there was no Grant in sight. So there you have it, I said an emotional, tear-jerking goodbye to my boy Adam, but no goodbye to Grant because being the silly, goofy goober that he is, he had forgotten that I was leaving that morning and had went to the bank to workout some issues with his visa/debit. Regardless, I knew he would miss me so I wasn’t concerned.

Although I was terribly sad and emotional to say my final farewells to Costa Rica, that didn’t stop me from having endless fun at the airport. After 28123120 security checks in a ridiculous order that was highly counter-productive, we entered the terminal where we discovered the souvenir store was giving out free samples of coffee and chocolate from a hugely expensive, local Costa Rican brand. Usually a bag of the brand’s chocolate the size of what can be seen below in the photo is 10$! So there’s no denying the importance of formulating strategic plans to consume as much free chocolate as possible. Typically, you step forward pick one flavour to try and walk away. My sister and I, took turns chatting up the worker in green as a form of distraction, while the other grabbed as many flavours as possible. We also made really loud statements about how delish the chocolate was to attract a crowd and then once it got busy it was super easy to dine and dash! Very successful plan, highly recommended! We also took some pics with tees printed with our favorite Costa Rican sayings/words, “Mae (the word for friend that the locals at the hostel in Manuel Antonio taught us)” and “Pura Vida (the Costa Rican mantra to life)”!

If I had to make a summary, TOP 10 report of my Costa Rica Volunteer Trip and select my favorite moments here’s how it would look:

10) Discovering my love for dreadlocks. You may just be seeing some magically appear on my head in the near future.

9) Being centimeters away from Monkeys!

8) Surfing, or at least attempting to surf!

7) Ability to behave in a moderately sane manner around insects of all forms. I’ll actually miss the multitude of bugs very very much. But I’ll let you know if I still feel that way the next time I wake up sleeping next to a cockroach.

6) Having beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner + indulging in all the rest of the country’s food delights such as plantains, fruitas, and smoothies!

5) Being fortunate enough to listen to one of the most carefree, relaxing, enjoyable music forms in the world: REGGAE 🙂

4) Witnessing the beauty of the Baldi Hot Springs / Arenal Volcano duo that for sure makes my top 10 list of ‘things Neda’s seen”!

3) Expanding the knowledge of, and leaving an impact on the beautiful kids of Carpio.

2) Meeting the some of the most amazing human-beings that were fellow volunteers (especially my roomies + coworkers).

1) Making discoveries about myself while wandering aimlessly around the country having “me-time” = Priceless

If I can leave any travelers planning to volunteer overseas with one piece of advice, it would be to not go into the experience expecting the worst. Dive head first into the experience with the biggest smile on your face, even when you see your first cockroach, and I promise people will smile back. These are my last words to you.

So where does that leave us now? Well to provide you with a visual, I could be found mourning in my bed for the entire week following my return. It’s really hard to just forget all the amazing experiences you had and the amazing people you met and move on with life. The adjustment process is just way too much. However, getting daily emails from my roommates and scrolling through photo albums from the trip instantly brings back memories. So I taught myself to suck it up, lay off the chocolate mug cakes, and get the heck outta my front door. So what have I decided to do? None other than explore around Toronto some more. I have come to realize there’s so many beautiful places here that I’ve never come to appreciate or explore so I suppose there’s no better time than now to get on that.

As for what’s next…you’ll have to stay tuned for my next blog post! Let’s just say another part of the world is about to get a dose of me very very very soon! Any guesses where I’m headed next?

All you beautiful Costa Ricans and other wonderful people I have met throughout my journey, Call Me Maybe? 😉

Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.

xx Neda xx

Categories: Costa Rica | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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