November 24, 2015

"Venti Soy Caramel Machiatto w/ Extra Espresso -- Extra Hot, Hold the Foam"

Starbucks on Spring Garden Road, Halifax is a crazy place. It's almost so crazy that you need copious amounts of energy to survive a visit. But it's amazing. So, so amazing.

You're probably going to start wondering why I spend so much time in this cafe, but you'll soon realize that it's not for the stereotypical "white-girl" reasons, or the delicious specialty coffee valued at six dollars and something cents, but it's because of the hospitable environment, the music they play, the "regulars" I encounter on a daily basis (I'm actually starting to form acquaintances with a few -- they are nice people!), and the polite, friendly, welcoming baristas that make sure you're completely comfortable. OH! And the view of the Halifax Central Library. But we'll get to that later. 

I could go on for hours about this place. I could go on and on about the feeling I get when I walk in the door, and the emptiness I feel when I leave -- sometimes 6 or 7 hours after getting there, believe it or not. I have had many positive experiences, and many negative experiences here. I have had happy moments, and sad moments. I have had some good coffee... and some really bad coffee. But it's my second home in Halifax now. It's my favourite Starbucks/coffee shop for many reasons, and I refuse to stop coming here. 

On November 1st, something happened. Something GREAT happened. I will never forget this day. For a long time, at least, I will not forget this day...

This was an overwhelmingly positive experience. It was a great experience. And it happened from THIS Starbucks. The Starbucks I'm sharing this entire post with you from. So, if great things like this can happen from such a small, overrated place... why leave?

But, not all of my experiences here have been this overwhelmingly positive. 

He came in and sat at the table next to me. He did not smell nice. He did not look professional. He was dirty. He did not look like someone who could afford to spend their money on speciality coffee, let alone Starbucks. It started when he took a bite of his donut. He didn't like the donut. He stated that it tasted accurately like "horseshit" and was "a pile of garbage". I ignored him. He started to to use vulgar language. "You're all a bunch of fuckin' scumbags, fuckin' losers, fuckin' stare at me all ya want you're all a bunch of fuckin' pricks" was precisely the negative language he voiced. Yeah. That happened. I was unimpressed, and quite annoyed, but I went on to enjoy my coffee and continue working. 
I didn't respond when he spoke to me. I saw three customers get up and leave the store because of the disruption, and in that moment I decided that I was NOT going to give the man what he wanted. He wanted to get his way, and he wanted to feel powerful. Well, sir, I'm powerful too, and quite frankly I have figured out your ways. 
Then, things rapidly began to worsen. The lady sitting across from me, at a different seat, was speaking to her friend in a different language (Spanish, Middle Eastern, maybe? Something really quick, anyways.) He started yelling (I mean, SHOUTING!) comments across the restaurant, such as, “What the fuck kinda language is this fuckin’ broad talkin’… slow down before you lose your fuckin’ tongue… I don’t want to be hearin’ this shit, blah blah blah… go back to where you fuckin’ came from bitch”. That was TOTALLY my breaking point. LIKE, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!? I asked another woman to keep a close eye on my stuff for a moment, and I got up to tell the barista that there was a man making some inappropriate comments and disturbing the environment. I stressed to him that I did not want the man to be forced out, but the way he was acting was unacceptable. So, the barista politely walked over and had a conversation with the man, making it clear that he needed to contribute to the relaxed environment of Starbucks. Although the man did not immediately respond politely (he repeatedly began shouting "I'm Canadian, free country! Leave me the fuck alone!"), he eventually calmed down. The man left (not nicely, but he did) and the barista approached me and thanked me for bringing it to his attention instead of leaving. IT PAYS TO BE THE BIGGER PERSON! 

I'm an accepting person of all individuals in my community, but I am most certainly not a bystander to verbal abuse. Or abuse of any kind, for that matter. 

I've gone on to have other negative and positive experiences with people here, but these two will always stand out in my memory.

In addition to these two experiences, I have also had the pleasure of experiencing the controversial issue regarding the red cups. I don't want to get into this, but while I'm rambling away about this place, I might as well.

I came into Starbucks the day after it was decorated for Christmas. I can only assume the employees were there after hours (props to them!) because I was there until close on the previous night, and was there as it opened the next morning. My initial thought was, "Holy crap... Christmas threw up all over Starbucks last night. It's only early November." But hey, it was actually kind of nice. Although I refused to listen to the Christmas music playing quietly overhead, I did enjoy sipping my coffee out of a bright red up, and admiring all of the bundled up individuals taking a brief look at the holiday merchandise while in line for their drink of choice. Not once did I think that the cup I was drinking 

out of would cause such a controversy, but it did... very, very quickly. 

As I spend so much time in Starbucks, I've encountered a lot of people who had opinions on the cup. Some of these people shared the same opinion as I, some did not. But, my opinion still stands strong to this day.

I have been a Christian all my life, and I can assure all of you that the colour of cups does not reflect the true meaning of Christmas. In fact, cups in general do not reflect the true meaning of Christmas. Starbucks, an international corporation, made it known that they do not in anyway celebrate Christ, nor are they Christian… so why are people expecting them to celebrate Christmas?

I am a Christian. I also LOVE Starbucks. Hence, why I spend so much time here. The colour and design of the cup does NOT make me believe I am any less of a Christian, and it does NOT make me stop want to stop coming to Starbucks.

Before people think twice that the colour of cups in a coffee shop may be declaring a “war on Christmas”, I suggest they rethink Jesus’ teachings. I also don’t think Jesus would be mad about the colour of a coffee cup. Gah, what a headache.

Now, can you see why it takes an abundant amount of energy to be here? I do it anyways. That's why they serve coffee (or at least, I make myself believe that's why).

Lastly, I'd like to share with you the best thing about this specific Starbucks location

The Halifax Central Library.

I am able to sit against the window and appreciate the spectacular view of the brand new Halifax Central Library. I admire the architecture, the rush of people flooding in and out, the clear view inside  of the building as I sit comfortably inside another. It's mesmerizing, to say the least. I sit and I imagine all of the different novels collecting dust on the shelves, untouched, waiting to be picked up and read. I don't ever go in, because I am afraid it will ruin the fantasy. Maybe one day I'll risk it, but for now, I prefer to keep enjoying the view from my second home while I drink a "Venti Soy Caramel Machiatto with extra espresso -- extra hot, no foam".

Halifax Central Library, November 17th, 2015 at 4:51pm

Oh, and have you ever wondered what it's like to be on a first name basis with all of the employees of a busy place in a city? I do.

Keep drinking coffee, wherever it might be. I'm going to stay put right here.

November 22, 2015

Something I Know Nothing About - Canadian Politics

I considered taking the time to learn about something like "How do hot air balloons work?" or, "How do honey bees make honey?"... but I realized that neither of those things are really important and that I should take the time to learn about something far more useful.

The Canadian political process.

I never paid much attention to politics growing up, and it wasn't until the most recent Federal Election campaign in 2015 did I start paying much attention to how it all works.

It is not my area of expertise (I'm more of a physical science kind of person rather than social/political sciences), but it's definitely something useful to learn about - which is why I'm sharing this with you all today. I did my research, I talked to some experts, and I feel confident in educating you all about how the Canadian political process works (in a very simple way, of course).


Altogether, Canada has three levels of government: Federal, Provincial/Territorial, and Municipal.

Federal: made up of people from every province/territory in Canada. Leaders in this government are called MP's. The most MPs elected in a political party forms the Federal Government. The House of Commons - made up of MPs - forms all of Canada's laws. The senate has to review the laws that are proposed. Overall, the head of government is the Prime Minister, who chooses MPs to represent the House of Commons, and chooses senators to represent the senate. Oh, and Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada (yes, we have a Queen).

Following me so far? Good.

Provincial: made up of people within the province. Representatives are called the Member of Provincial Parliament (this is where you've heard the term MPP before) and they each come from a political party. Here, the Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen (I know, very fascinating that we have a Queen). The Legislative Assembly makes provincial laws - made up of MPPs. The leader of all MPPs is called the Premier.

I hope you haven't given up on me yet.

Municipal: made up of people from your neighbourhood, town, city, etc. that have a good understanding of your communities needs. The community elects a Mayor and Council members to lead the local government.

Make sense? Cool, cause I'm not done.

How does a federal election work?

As of 2015, Canada had 338 ridings. Each riding has one MP. Overall, there are 18 registered political parties in Canada, and each party nominates one candidate for each riding. During a federal election, and based on Canadian voters, federal political parties will win seats in the House of Commons.
The party that wins the most ridings will be asked by the Governor General to form the government, and the leader of that party will become the Prime Minister of Canada.

Federal campaigns work at two levels - local and national. Party leaders will tour the country, making high-profile photo op visits in electorally important cities and towns, and most news coverage will focus on what they say and do ("Justin Trudeau... he's just not ready" is a good example). Locally, the men and women running for seats in the House of Commons will campaign exclusively in their own electoral districts, handing out flyers, knocking on doors and participating in local candidates' debates.

Oh, and if you didn't already know, Sir John A. MacDonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada (and if you reeeeaaallly didn't know that, you probably aren't a true Canadian).

Inspired by my dear friends studying Political Science and International Development at Dalhousie University -- you guys rock and encourage me to learn more about the way our world works each and every day.

November 16, 2015

7 Places I Want to Travel Before 25

To travel is such a rewarding, educational, mind-blowing, heart-warming, exhilarating, encouraging experience. It is also one of my favourite things to do. It's the commotion and frenzy of the people in the airport rushing to get to their gate and letting out that huge sigh of relief when they do, the children on the plane screaming "I see it!!! We're there! Mommy mommy mommy!!", the eager bodies rushing to get off the plane as quickly as possible to get to their final destination after a long, exhausting, lively day. It's all very exciting, and to stand back and watch it all happen, to take it all in step by step is fascinating. It's what makes the entire experience, the "experience".

I won't lie, this list was INCREDIBLY hard to make. Not because I have no idea where I want to go (let's be real, I'd go everywhere in the world if I could), but because I'm a broke student. And I'll still be a broke student until long after 25. So, I had to think about where I REAAAAALLLLLLY want to go, and what will be budget friendly in the next couple of years.

Ultimately, I declare the following destinations the top seven places I would like to travel to/experience before I turn 25. The list counts down from least important (7) to most important (1).

But first...

November 13, 2015

So This Is Where It Begins

I've never done this whole "blog" thing before. But, I know that I love to write. I also know that I have an obscene obsession with reading other blogs. I never got around to creating my own for some weird reason (I have time to read 50 other posts a day, but not write my own? Yeah, I know, you don't have to tell me what you're thinking).

But here I am, and I have faith in myself, so bear with me! I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I am going to enjoy sharing all of my interesting adventures, encounters, and stories. I have a life that is constantly filled with surprises, emotion, and character. That being said, I like to consider my life "colourful", if you will. You will soon notice that most of my posts will be written while I am 110% caffeinated (just as anything else I do is). So, I will SHOUT! ABOUT! EVERYTHING! sometimes, or I will ramble and ramble and ramble, and maybe ramble a little more until I can't stop rambling I can't stop I can't I can't I can't- 

Like I said, bear with me. And Keep Drinking Coffee.

Sit back and enjoy the ride. It'll be a wild one.