Volunteering with House of PainT

So, it’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because I’ve been busy volunteering! It has been quite the experience. Working full-time and volunteering during my down-time has been tiring but enjoyable nonetheless. I still think it beats all the readings and assignments from school. One of the places I have been volunteering the past few weeks is called House of PainT. And yes, that ‘t’ is capitalized! They are an Urban Arts and Culture festival that runs in September with music performances, live art, and many other cool activities.

At first, I began by helping out with social media. This included creating possible tweets for Twitter, along with making lists for badge identification for all involved with the festival. I definitely found the social media aspect interesting; it’s crazy how much of an impact those little reminders you see in your feed have on things like fundraising and getting noticed by the right kinds of people. Much of what happens through these media networking sites requires precision with timing and appropriate tags/hashtags that are easily searchable.

Along with being in their office working on these tasks from my computer, I got to see how people outside of school actually do things. It may sound weird, but it’s quite exciting to see how people interact when they aren’t studying or talking about their classes. I really have no idea what life is like outside of school, and even my boss at work asks me what it’s like to finally be done since it’s been about 18 consecutive years of school with no break! And the past few months I haven’t really had an answer.

But now that I have an insanely busy schedule, I feel more productive than I did in school. Mainly because with volunteering, it seems like I am adding something to the community while meeting new people with similar interests to myself. And with my job in retail, I’m at least saving a lot of money for my future travels which will then benefit my career if I land an internship abroad. As much as there were good times during university, it didn’t feel like I was contributing enough.

There was first the fact of tuition that I paid out in full every semester with my own money (okay, and 25% of help from my parents and scholarships), which was a downer. Then there’s the strange feeling of completing assignment after assignment only to have it marked by someone who was also marking hundreds of very similar papers. It just didn’t feel distinctive enough for me. Those who I were involved with for House of PainT felt more interesting and exciting than the tedious life of the average university student.

Anyways, here are some pictures that I took from the event! There are a few that were taken from last year’s festival, which I personally find quite gorgeous. I’ll have to go back and see what the final version looks like from this year, as I have a lot of pictures that are in the midst of being painted. By the way, the graffiti writers were painting on a bridge underpass, it was the first place in my city that legally allowed graffiti, which was in 2003. Enjoy these pictures! I did edit them, my ancient 8MP iPhone 4s could only do so much.

On a side note, the new Communications Coordinator for the festival (who awesomely has the same name as me) had a lens that attached to her iPhone. How cool is that?! If anyone knows of great, but inexpensive, cameras for taking pictures, please leave a comment! So far I have been looking into the Canon PowerShot G7 X. Within the next year I would like to get a camera for travelling that could also be great for taking shots on the train from London to Paris and Switzerland.

Info for House of PainT:

Website: http://www.houseofpaint.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HouseofPainTFestival

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HouseOfPainT/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/houseofpaint

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ_96kV1v43zBgk2eE8YsAg

Instagram: https://instagram.com/houseofpaint/

Travelling Aspirations

So, as per usual, my poor sleeping habits have left me to wander the Internet until the early hours of the morning these past few days. Aside from the tinge of grumpiness experienced at work with 8 a.m. starts, I’ve had quite a nice time. I have been extremely preoccupied with travelling and whether I will have enough cash saved up over the next year to finance what I want to do. Since I want to go to London, I was looking at nearby countries that I could possibly take a train ride over and experience for the weekend.

This lead to a long and effortful search, comparing prices for different days of the month in different cities to see where I could feasibly go that was affordable. France, Belgium, and Switzerland ended up being my final three choices, although Amsterdam would be really cool too if I could find a cheaper way of getting there. My top two, if I only had time for two places outside the UK, would be Paris, France and Bern, Switzerland. I haven’t done too much research into Switzerland yet, but it does look beautiful and I know some basic German to get around.

Paris, on the other hand, I never thought I would want to visit. But some of the museums there look absolutely stunning and worthy of investigation. I also know a little French, though I’m sure I could brush up a bit on it if I did decide to go. In particular, The Louvre and the Palace of Versailles really caught my attention. I would also have to take the traditional self portrait at the Eiffel Tower, which is a 10 minute ride from The Louvre. It seems you can also get something called a Paris Pass which allows you entry into many attractions and local busses.

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The Louvre – Interior
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The Louvre – Exterior
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Palace of Versailles – Interior
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The Gardens of Versailles

Of course there are many things I want to check out in England as well, like the Bram Stoker Film Festival in Whitby, Yorkshire and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London. 221b Baker Street is also another must for my inner-geek who adores Sherlock Holmes. I also need to see the British Library in London, just to have something to aspire to with my current ever-growing collection of books. Additionally, I want to walk through the grounds of Oxford University, as the architecture is quite stunning.

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I really hope that I get to travel next year. Some people may think it’s a waste of money, but I figure now is the best time to get out of my comfort zone and experience some new things on my own.