Portland’s happening now

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I’ve wanted to visit Portland for a while now, so it was definitely something on the list before I returned to the UK. Portland is such a chilled out city – plenty of breweries, greenery, food carts and public art. I stayed in the very pretty Northwest Hostel (third picture), it looks a bit like an American horror house. Some of the things I loved were Powell’s Books (with its special room on the top floor with rare books, including a signed copy of Edward Gorey’s book), Cacao’s hot chocolate, Voodoo Donuts (open at 3AM, whaaat!), street names (Flanders, Lovejoy, Quimby… where a few of the Simpsons characters got their names) and beer (I hope to bring back some to the UK – but we’ll see).

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Boston, Cambridge, Cape Cod and Salem

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Day 1
An early morning flight arrival in Boston. Found it ruddy freezing, thanks to the cold winds blowing off Cape Cod (from an earlier snowstorm). Meandered a wee bit in the Boston Art Museum, but spent the majority recovering from my long journey indoors curled on the sofa next to my hosts adorable dog Henry.

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Day 2
Cambridge, home of Harvard Law. Enjoyed an animation show (check out Jonathan Seligson and Shaun Clark), wandered round town admiring the architecture and browsed the Harvard Book Store.

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Day 3
Edward Gorey museum. They were kind enough to show us round, even though it was out of season. Gorey’s illustrations were magical, I find myself ready to draw again. Afterwards Cape Cod, no snow but still pretty chilly. Went into two shops, had a key lime pie truffle and some fudge and headed home.

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Day 4
Salem. It was raining heavily that day. Visted a wax museum and the House of the Seven Gables (where the author of The Scarlet Letter lived).

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Donuts I made from a kit I got from T&T Supermarket – look better than they taste

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The carousel at Downtown’s German Christmas market

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My brooches selling at ainsworth custom design

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The view of first snowfall from the kitchen window

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Alex’s postcard

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Spent Christmas in Nanaimo

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Totoro gloves for my birthday (from here)

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New year’s morning meal

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My cousin introduced me to アンパンマン (Anpanman) and then I had a anpan donut

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Beard Papa’s on Robson

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Back at Soirette Macarons again, might try one of these cakes soon

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For the time being

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My online diary has been silent up to this point in 2014. It is perhaps because the majority of my life has come to a grinding halt, as I put my energy into my two jobs (as cashier and animator). The latter being a constant thing, whilst the former – well lets just say that anyone who has worked in retail will know how irregular the shift patterns are. It’s been difficult to assimilate any kind of social life around it (lets just say its because I’m not the best manager of time).

I’ve found myself stuck on what exactly to say… considering things haven’t been particularly lively here. But I felt it was due time to force myself to write at least something.

So, achievements for 2013.
Made it to Vancouver
Learned to like both coffee and marmalade (things I detested before), still cannot face custard.
Learnt the majority of hiragana (one of the 3 Japanese alphabets, 2000+ characters to go).
Wrote almost everyday in my diary since I came to Vancouver (since 13th of September)

I’m sure I achieved other things in 2013, but I can’t remember.

Well, what am I doing in 2014? For one, I have decided to return home to Cardiff at the beginning of May. I feel like its time, I like Vancouver but I miss home and everything waiting for me there. Before I go home, I wanted to take the opportunity to do a bit of exploring.

I’m visiting Victoria, Seattle, Portland, Boston and Reykjavik starting March 25th till my return on May 5th. Of course there as still places I have yet to go to in Vancouver – Casa de Gelato, The Black Lodge, Nitobe Memorial Garden, Chinatown… to name a few.

For now I’m focusing on finishing the project I’ve been working on, I’m looking forward to sharing it once its finished. But for now its a secret!

Treats & eats

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Anybody that knows me well enough, knows I love to eat. I love to try different things (although sometimes firm favorites prevail) and am attracted to shiny brightly coloured packaging. A few places I’ve visited round Vancouver so far: Fujiya (super cheap sushi at $3 a pack), T&T supermarket, Little Tea House in Metropolis shopping centre, Soirette Macarons, Tim Hortons (ok, so its not special but I love their Cafe Mocha topped with whipped cream), 3G Vegeterian restaurant and Sakana (green tea creme brulee, yes please).

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