And That My Dear, Changes Everything

Events
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands (August 2016)

“I urge you to travel. As far and as much as possible. Work ridiculous shifts to save your money. Go without the latest IPhone. Throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Find out how other people live and realize that the world is much bigger than the town that you live in. And when you come home, home may still be the same. Yes, you may have to go back to your same old job. But something in your mind will have changed. And that my dear, changes everything.”
– Unknown

Be All There

Travel
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Grote Kerk, Breda, The Netherlands (July 2016)

“Wherever you are, be all there.”
– Jim Elliot

I have been fascinated by the beautiful church of Breda since I first saw it. It is stunning at all times of day and night. It stands proudly in the bright sun and even on gloomy, cloud filled days. I can even see from the window of my flat which is a treat. Today, I finally climbed to the top of the tower of Grote Kerk. I have been meaning to do this for many months, and I was waiting for the perfect day; though with a lack of time and a lack of sunny afternoons, now proved to be a good as time as any.

The tower is 320 feet in height and it is the fifth tallest church tower of the Netherlands. It was built in the late-gothic style as a church and city tower between 1468 and 1509. The main purposes of the tower in this time were to indicate special moments and events for the church through bell ringing, indicate the time, and give alarm in times of fire and war to citizens of the area. There are 287 steps up to the look out point. In clear weather, one can see as far as Antwerp and Rotterdam.

The views from the look out gallery were stunning. It was great to see my beautiful city of Breda from another angle. I’m still very in love with this quaint, Dutch town and I will be sad to say goodbye when the time comes.

(For those who may be wondering, it costs five euros for a guided tour to climb the tower. For more information, click here.)

Life Is A One Time Offer

Inspiration, Travel
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Netherlands-Belgium Border (July 2016)

“Life is a one time offer. Use it well.” 
– Unknown

This weekend, I was able to check another item off my bucket list! I cycled from my city to a small village in Belgium called Meers. The round trip was close to 40 kilometres and I completed this in just a few hours. Best of all, the weather has been finally looking up as it did not rain all afternoon.

The Grand Finale

Study Abroad
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ITMC Graduation @ NHTV Breda University Of Applied Sciences (July 2016)

My year of studying abroad at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences has been one filled with many firsts. Along with making new friends, exploring new campuses, and cycling to university as a daily routine, I learned so many new concepts and valuable lessons. My academic focus was mostly on international marketing, customer relationship management, travel photography, arts based tourism, and different perspectives of the tourism industry.

I am excited to announce that I received the best grades of my academic career while studying here, with a 3.9 of 4.0 GPA and a weighted average of 8.8. In addition, my independent undergraduate research about mapping the street art culture of Amsterdam has received a lot of attention. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, focused on International Tourism Management and Consultancy on July 1st, 2016. As my family couldn’t be present, some of my great friends came to support me which made me very happy. I have been lucky to be surrounded by some pretty amazing people this year.

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ITMC Graduation @ NHTV Breda University Of Applied Sciences (July 2016)

I am very grateful and honoured to have been the first student from Thompson Rivers University to take place in the new double degree program with this internationally acclaimed Dutch university. I have nothing but great things to say about my experiences here, and I am looking forward to meeting the Dutch exchange students in the coming years, as well as following future TRU students’ journeys exploring this beautiful city.

In the future, I will be spending my summer here in Breda and travelling through the Netherlands and Belgium. After my return to Canada, I will be travelling throughout Vancouver Island with my parents before finishing my last year of my Bachelor of Tourism Management degree at Thompson Rivers University.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this academic journey. You are truly the best!

Drum Roll, Please…

Study Abroad
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NHTV Breda University Of Applied Sciences (June 2016)

I am delighted to announce that this afternoon I completed the final step in my undergraduate thesis research. I defended my thesis in a room with two external examiners present and my supervisor with whom I have worked closely on this project with. I was nothing short of nervous, and I had been stressing over this presentation for some time, however, I received very positive outcomes on this project. With one of the top marks, my written work was given a grade of 9.5 and my oral presentation was given a grade of 9, which averaged out to a solid 9. This is considered to be very high, as an average grade is a 7, and 10’s are extremely rare. I was in shock with a huge smile on my face when my supervisor told me this news! (The smile is permanently glued to my face now, of course!) All of the comments were very good and it was commented that my excitement for my topic really shined through in every word. That’s such a lovely compliment. Wow!

Overall, this has been a fascinating process for me, to independently research and make so many connections in Amsterdam’s underground realm of street art. I have not spent this much time (nearly six months) focusing on one project, but it was worth every moment of it. I could not have done this without the help of supportive friends and family members, and all of the incredible contacts I have met throughout my research.

I will post my thesis online in the near future, after one last final review, so that everyone may have a chance to download and read it. Many celebrations will be had throughout this week, including a graduation ceremony with my fellow International Tourism Management & Consultancy classmates. Exciting times are ahead!

Video Blog – June 2016

Inspiration, Study Abroad, Travel

Well, June has been another month of exciting adventures to say the least! A lot of miserable rain, incredible live music (such as Paul McCartney and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers), numerous birthday celebrations, camping, getting lost a few times, and exploring new cities in the far south of Holland and Germany.

“Take me to the docks, there’s a ship without a name there,
And it is sailing to the middle of the sea.
The water there is deeper than anything you’ve ever seen…
Jump right in and swim until you’re free.

I will remember your face,
‘Cause I am still in love with that place.
But when the stars are the only things we share…
Will you be there?

Money came like rain to your hands while you were waiting,
For that cold long promise to appear.
People in the churches started singing above their hands,
They say, “My God is a good God and He cares”.

I’ve got a plan, I’ve got an atlas in my hands.
I’m gonna turn when I listen to the lessons I’ve learned.
I’ve got a plan, I’ve got an atlas in my hands.
I’m gonna turn when I listen to the lessons I’ve learned.”

Carpe Diem

Inspiration, Travel
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Kinderdijk, South Holland (May 2016)

“Stop waiting for Friday. For summer. For someone to fall in love with you. For life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.” 
– Anonymous

Video Blog – May 2016

Inspiration, Study Abroad, Travel

Instead of uploading photos and telling you about what I’ve been up to, I thought this time I would show you. In three minutes and forty two seconds, you will glimpse into a month of my adventures in Breda, Tilburg, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Den Hague, Kinderdijk, Gouda, Brussels, Sliema, Gozo, Valletta, Mdina, Rabat… and maybe a few other destinations.

“I had a dream so big and loud.
I jumped so high I touched the clouds.
I stretched my hands out to the sky.
We danced with monsters through the night.

I’m never going to look back. 
Whoa, I’m never going to give it up. 
No, please don’t wake me now.
This is going to be the best day of my life.”

Remembering & Celebrating The Fallen

Study Abroad, Travel

In The Netherlands, on May 4th, is a day called Dodenherdenking, which means ‘remembrance of the dead’. On this day, around the country, services are held and two minutes of silence are observed to commemorate all civilians and members of the armed forces who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War Two. In Amsterdam, at the Dam Square Memorial, the King and Queen stood vigilant with thousands of on lookers to remember these brave souls.

The following day, is known as Bevrijdingsdag, and is a national holiday to celebrate the end of the Nazi Germany occupation. The nation was liberated largely by the First Canadian Army, which included British I Corps, the first Polish Armoured Division, and in some areas, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops. Across the Netherlands, free public music festivals were held in honour of celebrating freedom. Most people do not have to go to work, and many are adorned in orange and the country’s national colours, red, white, and blue. Celebrations of big and small are all over the country, as in Utrecht, I saw thousands of people in line for a music festival and in Tilburg, I saw a group of friends who had sat outside on the street curb in lawn chairs drinking cold beverages. Later that night, I was cycling home from seeing a film, and I could hear the British anthem playing loudly on a sound system somewhere in the city centre, echoing over the sleeping rooftops.

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An Adorned War Memorial (Utrecht, May 2016)

In my opinion, it is really a beautiful contrast to see such somber thoughts moved to overwhelming joy over these two days. I’m moved, really, to love such a proud nation who have overcome so much since this time period. I am so proud to say that I am Canadian, and so please to spend time celebrating such a special occasion with a country that now call my second home.

As many of you may know, last December, I won a scholarship in honour of the Liberation. This is also another reason why I am so moved by this occasion, as over seventy years later, this incredible moment of history has affected my life in a way that I never thought possible.

Take a look at some iconic photos of Liberation day, be grateful for everything and everyone you have in your life in this present moment, and remember.

When This Adventure Ends

Study Abroad, Travel

Hallo vrienden!

I was inspired to make a short film about my life here in the Netherlands. You can see a bit about what my every day looks like, from my friends, to transportation, to festivals, studying, arts and culture, and other activities. Most of the footage used is from the city where I live (Breda), Amsterdam, Den Hague, Utrecht, and Den Bosch. Genieten!

“When this adventure ends, your next one will begin.”

Kings Day. Best Day.

Events, Study Abroad, Travel

Kings Day is by far one of the best days to be in The Netherlands!

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Kings Day (Breda, April 2016)

I was lucky and one of my very best friends surprised me with a gift for my first of hopefully many Kings Days to come. In the gift was assorted silly clothing to wear, all orange of course, orange tinted sunglasses, a crown, balloons, chalk, and tasty Dutch treats. For breakfast, we had a puff pasty filled with slaagroom called tompauce. These are decorated with orange icing especially for this holiday. Fun fact, there is a 600% increase in sales of tompauce on this holiday compared to any other day. I shared much of my candy and sweets with my room mates as well, and we decorated our flat with orange balloons.

The holiday is a celebration for the Kings Birthday, and all throughout the country there are city wide parties with a sea of people dressed in orange. As I mentioned before, I went to the 538 KoningsDag festival which amazing beyond my expectations. But in the city centre there were multiple free stages that people could enjoy and the terraces of many restaurants were open.

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Sunset Over Eva Simon’s Set (Breda, April 2016)

The weather was not the best, with some rain, some hail, and some cold wind. But that didn’t stop anyone from having an amazing time! I had so much fun spending time with my friends and dancing the entire day away. Artists like Martin Garrix, Tiesto, and Hardwell perform all over the country with multiple shows. Martin Garrix performed around one o’clock, and unfortunately we missed him as we were waiting in line. After his set, he was off into his helicopter for another set in Amsterdam. Unreal!

I was the most excited to see Armin Van Burren during this festival as I had not seen him before. His music was great, and he played one of my favourite songs by Alan Walker called Faded. The ultimate highlight was seeing Tiesto and Hardwell (both Breda born Djs) perform at the same time during a rainstorm. Easily 20,000 people dressed in orange were moshing and thrashing to heavy beats, and cheering in the rain. Seriously, that’s a moment to remember! I am so grateful to be living in a country where there is such a prominent festival and electronic dance music culture. This REALLY is my kind of place!

There truly is no party like a Kings Day party!

 

Quick Update From Amsterdam

News, Study Abroad, Travel

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Near Amsterdam Centraal (March 2016)

Hey everyone! I have been really busy completing lots of research in Amsterdam for my thesis this past week. I have met lots of talented street artists from around the world! Just a few days ago, I had the chance to watch The London Police at work on a mural in The Student Hotel Amsterdam City’s bike locker. While I intently watched them hard at work, I was able to interview them and have a great conversation. This was such an incredible experience that just left me high on life! As a self dubbed street art geek, I was so happy to be in the presence of such well known artists and to watch them create so freely. Words just can’t express how amazing an experience like this was for me. Basically, my past week has been full of meeting lots of great people and wandering throughout the streets and canals of Amsterdam searching for tags, stickers, throw ups, murals, and street art of all kinds. As you can imagine, I’m just loving life here in the Netherlands. Throughout the next few weeks of March, I will be travelling to London, spending time with friends, working on my thesis and attending the first ever Dutch Street Art Awards. AMAZING!

Drink It All In…

Events, Study Abroad, Travel

As I wrote about before, Carnaval is celebrated all across the south of the Netherlands in early February. It is such a fun time for all ages! In each city, I think the celebration looks a little bit different and I’m told that the farther south one goes, the more intense the celebrations become.

On the last day of Carnaval in Breda, the Prince of Carnaval returned “the key to the city” to the mayor, and everyone celebrated by listening to the Carnaval music one last time in the main market square. There is a fun song and dance called the Polonaise which looks like the Conga to me. Every time this song played every single person, literally hundreds of people, started dancing in a conga line and singing along. Afterwards, the giant paper dolls were taken down from their perch at the top of city hall and hoisted upon a wooden bed. The wooden bed was paraded through the city centre with a marching band that played a light, fun version of the death march. Once the parade reached the harbour, the wooden dolls were attached to a floating crane and set afire. After a few minutes, fireworks exploded over the nearby castle. And that my friends, was how I spent the last wonderful day of Carnaval!

And here is some more footage from Carnaval. The costumes, the music, the language, the cultural shifts, the atmosphere… Drink it all in, ’cause it’s really amazing to experience!  And as is said for five days a year, here in this lovely country, ALAAF!

Day Trip To Antwerp

Travel
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Antwerp, Belgium (March 2016)

The beautiful thing about living in Breda is that the location of the city is so close to many major destinations. For example, this past Saturday I took a train (for 16 euros!) to Antwerp in just under an hour.

I had an excellent day travelling by myself and I visited two museums, shopped, and did some sight seeing. Ruben’s House is a museum dedicated to a famous Belgian artist, Peter Paul Ruben, where he actually spent most of his life. The Museum Aan Stroom was a fabulous museum about the Belgian culture, history, stories of power and war, and oddities. I loved that there was an entire exhibit dedicated to the culture of tattoos and body piercings from around the world. On the top floor of the museum was a great look out of the entire city. It was just lovely! Other highlights included seeing the Kasteel Steen (with the peeping tom statue), City Hall, and many shops that sold delicious Belgian beer and chocolate.

Of course, I had to sample a Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce and whipped cream! Delicious!

Mind Blown By Another Famous Dutch Artist

Inspiration, Travel

I had to run an errand in Den Hague today, so I made a quick side trip to the Escher Museum. This museum is inside of a former royal residence dating back to the eighteenth century. Queen Emma bought the stately house in 1896. She used it as a winter palace from March 1901 till her death in March 1934. It was used by four subsequent Dutch queens for their business offices, until Queen Beatrix moved the office to Paleis Noordeinde. The first and second floors have exhibitions showing the royal period of the palace, highlighting Queen Emma’s residence.

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Escher Museum in Den Hague (February, 2016)

The museum features a permanent display of a large number of woodcuts and lithographs by M.C. Escher, among them the world famous prints, Air and Water (birds become fish); Belvedere (the inside out of a Folly); Waterfall (where water seems to flow upwards); Drawing (two hands drawing each other). Escher in Het Paleis shows the early lovely Italian landscapes, the many mirror prints and a choice from the tesselation drawings, also the three versions of the Metamorphosis, from the first small one, to the third, of 7 meters. This one is shown in a circle. It underlines the new vision of the museum on the work of M.C. Escher. The third floor of the museum is dedicated to the Optical Illusion, besides the famous Escher Room in which grownups seem to be smaller than their children, one’s eyes will be tricked by multiple interactive displays (Source: Wikipedia).

I was completely mind blown by this museum. The quality of Escher’s work is simply stunning and I found myself thinking… “Wow, is that really a lithograph?!” Or “No way, that can’t be a wood block print…” I also visited the Maurithuis during my last visit to Den Hague and I have to say that the quality of the museums in the Royal City are simply OUTSTANDING. I would highly recommend adding this to your list of things to do while travelling through the Netherlands.

Sinterklaas Parade

News, Travel
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The Arrival of Sinterklaas (Breda, The Netherlands, December 2015)

Sinterklaas is a tradition that the Dutch celebrate dating back hundreds of years. This is a holiday that is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on December 5th (stay tuned for more!), which is also the night before Saint Nicholas Day. He is well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.

Sinterklaas is very similar to Santa Claus in North America, although he has a different story. He is a bishop who arrives on a boat from Spain with his helpers, Zwarte Peites (or Black Petes). Together, they distribute gifts and kruidnoten, small ginger cookies that are also sometimes covered in chocolate, throughout the country to all of the good boys and girls.

Today, Sinterklaas arrived in Breda! A big parade was held in the centre of the city, with his big arrival at the harbour by boat. There was plenty of live music, dancing, free giveaways, and great atmosphere. It started to rain, but my friends and I still loved every moment of waiting for a glimpse of Sinterklaas riding in on his white stallion. The parade was great and Zwart Petes threw kruidnoten into the crowd. Many children were there dressed as bishops and black petes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the idea of black pete originates with the Dutch colonization in the Moors; however, this holiday tradition is not meant to be harmful to anyone in anyway. The United Nations even had a major discussion about in It is said that Sinterklaas’s helpers have black faces because they get so dirty while coming down the chimney. The holiday is full of good intentions, and while is a major topic of conversation for many, for me it’s just a different way of viewing North American Christmas traditions. When children grow up, Sinterklaas becomes a fictional character. One could truly argue that house elves, while fictional, also are slave labour after all! I feel that I am guest in this wonderful country and that it’s important to keep an open mind to new experiences. I definitely felt like a little kid again while enjoying this fun activity!

Read more here on this controversial topic if you are interested!

Intercultural Photography Seminar

Study Abroad

During the second to last week of October, I had my second seminar class called Intercultural Photography In India. This was a very neat overview of travel photography taught by Stuart Forster. He is a well known travel writer and photographer from North East England. You can check out this blog here.

I learned a lot about the basics of photography, how to set up the manual settings on a camera, and the industry of travel photography. Overall, this course was a neat opportunity to learn from a talented industry professional and to spend some time outdoors and be creative. For future students interested in studying at NHTV, I would highly recommend it.

For the final project, my task was to shot a series of photographs that could hypothetically used to market young Dutch students to the city of Breda. I have posted a few of the photos I used in my presentation, while I used some others that I have used previously in my blog – such as cuisine, and a few of street art in the area. I tried to be creative and photograph areas that Dutch students enjoy, including Valkenberg Park, clubs, shops and boutiques in the city, as well as major landmarks.

The Efteling Experience

Travel
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Efteling (October 2015)

I have been dreaming of going to Efteling the moment I read about it in Lonely Planet’s Guide. This theme park is nothing short of amazing, and truly can be defined as the “Dutch version of Disneyland”. A group of ten friends who live in my building and I ventured to the park, which is about forty five minutes away by train and bus. Efteling has an aurora of magic; every structure looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale. Everywhere one goes, there is beautiful music playing – even along empty pathways. All of the attractions are based from Dutch folk lore, such as the Fairyland which has a Dutch version of many popular fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty.

Among many of the amazing rides, one of my favourites was The Baron. It is a new roller coaster that simulates a rich man sending his miners down into haunted gold mines. I went on this ride by myself and I sat in the front row! It was exhilarating, as at part of the ride, I hung from a very high drop looking down into the misty, underground mine. It was a scary, yet exhilarating experience.

What I really enjoyed about this park is that every aspect of the park is a well thought out experience. Even the ATMs (as you can see in a photo above) were pre-planned and this one was displayed as a magical steampunk contraption. Though the line for a ride may be over an hour, there was always so much to look at along the way. For example, in one of the rides, the line trails through a haunted house with beautiful “old” rooms, trinkets, and a theme of ancient ships. All of the food is typical Dutch, and so very greasy! For lunch I ate fries with mayonnaise (my favorite snack) and a cheese croquet.

One of my most favorite moments was riding a roller coaster called The Python. The park was nearly closed and the line was quite short. The ride simulates a snake’s body and twirls and swirls with many gut-wrenching moves; but first, it drags you up to the highest point of the amusement park. The sun was going down at this time and we had the most beautiful view of the surrounding area.

I heard a quote the other day that went something like this, “There is a sunrise and a sunset every day. It is your choice to choose to be there for it. You can choose to put yourself in the way of beauty.” So my friends, I hope that no matter where you are in the world, you take notice of this amazing life that you have, and even if it is just for a moment, get out there and experience something beautiful.

Graphic Design Festival Breda

Artwork, Exhibits, Travel
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Blind Walls Gallery In Mols Parking (October 2015)

From September 25th to October 25th, 2015, there is a festival across Breda focused around graphic design and digital art. Graphic Design Festival Breda is meant for contemporary creatives to allow one to view the world differently with a month of public interventions, exhibitions, talks, tours, and workshops in the city centre. This festival is offered every two years, and this is the fifth year that it has taken place.

 This past weekend, I signed up for a tour of some of the street art in the city centre. I still have yet to see all of the outdoor murals and pop up art exhibitions, so stay tuned for more photos. As part of the festival, many new murals have been added in the centre from international artists around the world. Several of these works shown above are from artists in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, including the same one who designed the famous Markthal in Rotterdam.

 I learned a lot about these murals, some of which I had already seen before, but now I have a deeper perspective on each one. For example, in the Mols Parking lot, this area has thousands of people buried below the concrete from the terror of the black plague in 1353. Much later on, a large circus was hosted here, with many exotic animals. This area is home to at least eight large scale murals. One of the murals (the one with the mice) focuses on a child’s perspective of the black death. Another has uses the subject of a circus theme to further develop a sense of place, and add to Breda’s unique history.

The orange one that features the words “Any day, Queens day” is a love letter from an American artist to the city of Breda. The smaller words across the wall are examples of why this artist loves this country, and shares a sense of pride for women, especially, whom at the time this mural was made, the Queen of The Netherlands. At present, King Williem-Alexander is the monarchical figurehead. There was originally another wall with more words, but the shop expanded a few years and had to remove a piece of the artwork.

There is another mural by an American artist, Mike Perry, in the same alleyway who uses a poem by Mike Nicolas as inspiration. The poem is a palindrome, so the mural can be read from left from right, or right to left, and have a different meaning. Very neat!

All of these murals that are outdoors and around the city centre are a part of the growing ‘Blind Walls Gallery’. From what I have learned, this gallery is building from the idea that Breda once had fortifying city walls, now fallen of course, and utilizes presently blank wall space to build up a new wall, new culture, and to bring new life to the city. I must also tell you about the Three Seconds Gallery, which is housed in an underground parking lot. In the entrance/exit of the lot, there are artworks lined up along the walls on both sides. Each individual piece of art has a motion sensor. As cars enter or exit, which in theory takes about three seconds, the artwork as a whole responds to the car’s movements. So innovative!

One of my personal favourites of the tour was enjoying the Open Submissions Gallery at Stadsgalerij, a pop up gallery for the festival. The title of this gallery is What Do You Do? All of the works featured here were sent in from artists and every day people around the world anonymously, and then selected to be put on display. The beauty of this, is that simply anyone, whether professional or not, could have their artwork featured here. The theme of the works was “What does a graphic designer do?”

One last neat thing I learned from this tour, that a fountain in Valkenberg Park I pass by often on my way to university has a special purpose. There are many famous people who have originated from Breda, and it is said that if one drinks from this fountain, they are destined to be famous. It is another way of looking at the saying, “There is something in the water.” I thought this was a neat tidbit of information that I otherwise would have not known.

For anyone currently reading this, I would highly recommend checking out at least one of the many events hosted by the Graphic Design Festival Breda. The tour I took is offered on Fridays and Sundays until the end of the festival and only cost five euros; which is very inexpensive considering the amount of information and the excellent experience I took away from this.

From an academic perspective, I am brainstorming ideas for my upcoming thesis project. I am thinking about using examples of street art to argue if this type of community can develop a destination. I’m still working on the final research topic, and if you, dear readers, have any insight, ideas on books to read, etc, please comment below.

Sunday Funday

Study Abroad, Travel
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Mediterranean Dinner (Breda, The Netherlands, September 2015)

 The term ‘sunday funday’ rang true today, as after a relaxing morning, I joined my friend at a festival in Valkenberg Park. The entire park was transformed with a “grassroots” kind of atmosphere. The layout, stage design, and co-creation based artwork. This was the second day of the festival. Last night as I was coming home from the train station, I saw many boats in the canal as a form of a parade. It was quite dark out and the boats were illuminated with colourful lights and energetic people dancing to a different beat upon each boat. There were hundreds of people wrapped around the canals watching, dancing, and participating in the fun. Today, I had a chance to walk around the festival grounds and listen to a variety of music. Most of the music was in the Dutch dialect, but I enjoyed an energetic punk rock band call The Deaf. They are a self proclaimed speed beat band from Den Hague and were a lot of fun! There was another stage themed after the board game Candy Land with DJs playing electronic dance music and another stage in the centre of the park with more of a low key rock kind of groove. I heard from a friend that were was a silent disco party the night before as well. Maja and I tried a delicious treat called Poffertjes, which is like a small pancake with icing sugar and butter on it – YUM!

Later on, I joined many friends in the lounge of our building to cook a large, and very delicious, Mediterranean dinner. It was really lovely to spend time with friends, cooking (and dancing) in the communal kitchen together.