Apple. Bubble. Saddle. Elbow. Carpet.

Well last week fell short of expectations on the training end of things but sometimes you need a reality check to keep you on the straight and narrow.

On Monday I seemed to hit my head a little harder than expected. I finished practice and felt fine the rest of the day. I even went up to the roof to look at the b-e-a-utiful view of the super moon! But sleeping that night was a little difficult due to the fact that my head was pounding. It felt ok-ish in the morning so I went into practice, started warming up on the stationary bike and the headache got worse…I knew what it was. I’ve had a concussion before which was part of the reason exercise was stopped immediately. So Tuesday I was sent home to get some rest. I went back to my apartment, closed all the shades and rested for the rest of the day. I ended up going to the hospital to see a doctor (part of protocol) and get a CT scan to make sure everything was alright…the doc said I’ll live. There’s nothing like a good little hit on the head to knock some sense into you. Be more careful. Note taken.

The rest of the week I was on the ‘coming-back-from-a-concussion protocol’ which involves memorizing 5 words a day until I can recite them back to the athletic trainer without missing any which isn’t easy when your given the words but immediately asked to answer 30 more questions about reciting numbers and months backwards and then asked to give the completely random 5 words back. Guess what the first day’s 5 words were…apple. bubble. saddle. elbow. carpet…I won’t forget them now! Thanks Mariana 🙂 I will be back to train next week!

Anyways, here was my view of the super moon from South America! (because you haven’t seen enough pictures).

Thursday was an eventful day! At practice we had the pleasure of meeting the President of Argentina and the Prime Minister of Canada! A few of us ended up on the President’s snapchat account!

That night, a group of us went to a Traveler’s Dinner which is a closed-door dinner event unless you have an invitation/reservation. The owner of the place brings in a chef from different countries to cook a fantastic meal for travelers in the area. The idea is to bring travelers together, share stories, and learn about the world. Thursday night’s theme was a Russian dinner, yes I am in Argentina having a Russian dinner with a few Russian, French, Danish, Canadian and Argentinian cast members! I’d like to think I’m becoming more “worldly”. The dinner was definitely something different and fun to try. We started with wine/beer, pirozhki (rolls stuffed with sautéed cabbage slaw), river fish (tasted like herring) with onions on toast, and a shot of vodka. Moved onto borsch (a type of veggie soup that was very good), potato peirogis and neoplian tart with another shot of vodka for dessert, Zdorov’ya! People are starting to realize I take pictures of everything…

Here’s a little fun fact that got us excited: at the table we were naming of all of the touring shows in Cirque so I went on the Cirque webpage and look what I found 🙂

img_3224

Saturday was a relatively sunny day so I decided to walk to the Japanese Gardens (Jardín Japonés) which is about an hour walk from the apartment building. Since I couldn’t work out all week, I decide it was going to be a much-needed walk. But not before being surprised by some friends outside of my window…

It’s spring time here so all of the trees and flowers are just starting to pop up. The city is turning beautiful shades of green and purple! The purple trees/flowers are called Jacaranda and they line the major avenues, plazas and city streets. It’s an unexpected pop of color and life when you’re walking around the bustling city.

I made it the Jardíns in just under an hour being the speed walker that I am (it’s not ‘arrival time’ it’s ‘time to beat’) and learned they are biggest Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It was $70 ARG to enter which is about $5 USD.

An hour is plenty of time to spend walking around enjoying the view. There’s a very nice restaurant inside the jardíns if you are in the mood for a classier lunch/dinner.

Sunday was a recharge day, getting ready for the week to come because it’s going to be a long one. In the afternoon, a group of us walked to El Ateneo Grand Splendid which is a famous book store in BA. There are a few of them in the city but this one in particular is well-known, it was a theater turned bookstore and it’s beautiful! There’s a cafe where the stage initially was where you can sit and enjoy your new purchases. I would have bought a book but my Spanish isn’t quite good enough to be able to read and enjoy Spanish literature but was a perfect Sunday stroll destination. We ended up sitting in the cafe talking for a few hours.

Heading home, there was no getting around it, we stopped for ice cream. It was on our way back, it would’ve been a crime to just pass by. Since Buenos Aires has a huge italian influence (I’m talking pizza and pasta that will transport you to Italy or so I’ve been told, I haven’t tried it yet), the ice cream, or gelato I should say, is just a little too tasty.

xo,

B

 

VIPs for the Night

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. Honored. Happy. Appreciative.

These are the words that come to mind when I get to look out my balcony at this view 🙂

This past weekend we were invited to a PopArtMusic concert, the same company that will be touring our show! It’s one of the biggest concerts in BA with some of the most popular South American bands. We were picked up from our hotel in shuttles and taken to the back entrance of the concert. They gave us wrist bands and guided us into the VIP lounge where they had a wall of Soda Stereo album covers that people could look at and take pictures in front of and there were drinks, apps, and our own personal entrance into the concert!

 

It was a little intimidating walking into the concert area. We walked down this big open pathway with people crammed against the fences on both sides. They had been there all day waiting for the good bands to come on and trying to get as close to the front as they could while we had all the space we wanted…we were those people 🙂 Once we were in the area we had an amazing view of the stage, lights, and monitors. The music was not just loud, it was that type of loud where you could feel it in your whole body but it was also the type of music you wanted to dance to even though we knew none of the words! And we got to see the bass player, Zeta, from Soda Stereo play!

After the concert we went to a food truck festival happening in the same place as the meat festival, at the horse race stadium. There were so many food trucks it was hard to choose what to eat! I ended up getting wine (obviously), an onion sausage frittata, and nitrogen ice cream! The ice cream was made right in front of us in a kitchen aid mixer that made tons of fog when everything was mixed, and then all the sudden, your cone of ice cream would appear. It was magic. Cool process and the ice cream was phenomenal! Dulce de leche flavored of course 🙂

Fun night with fun people!

xo,

B

Walking Experiences

Wow!

What an amazing cast and crew we have working here and we’ve only just finished the second week! Apart from being probably the most sore I’ve ever been in my life for the first week, it was an awesome couple of weeks! It’s a lot to adjust to for everyone so it’s not only a physical change but mental too. But it’s hard to do anything but smile when this is the view from my apartment 🙂

Just like in Montreal, training and anything having to do with the show/acts/characters ect. is TOP SECRET so there’s not much I can tell you from that aspect of things other than it’s going to be “historic”!

As far as Buenos Aires goes, I’m trying to see as much as I can. The first weekend was a walking adventure! Noon on Saturday I headed to the Floralis Genérica which is a massive metal flower that opens and closes with the sun everyday. Each petal ways around a ton and the whole structure glows with different colors at night, it’s an icon for BA.

I ended up meeting 2 of the other girls from the cast and walked over to Plaza Francia which is fun open air market with little trinkets, clothes, jewelery, etc. As we walked through the market, we were also on our way to the Recoleta cemetery. It seems odd a cemetery is a “must-see” place in BA but it really is an interesting spot. It looked like a small city that no one occupys…odd but beautiful at the same time. This wasn’t your typical cemetery, the tomb stones weren’t just headstones in the Earth, they are beautiful structures with massive sculptures of angels and figures, the craftsmanship is amazing. Definitely an interesting part of the BA experience.

Earlier in the week I had seen a sign for a “Festival of Meat” on the weekend so we decided that was our lunch spot. We took a cab to the horserace stadium in Palermo. Similar to Preakness in the sense that the infield was full of food trucks, music and lots of people. I got a meat-filled empanada (yum), some papas bravas (different from Spain’s), and of course ice cream :). The ice cream was vanilla with a dulce de leche swirl and it was so hot outside, it started melting down my hand immediately. No ice cream wasted here, it was delicious to the last drop!

We left the festival full and ready to walk some of those calories off. We walked for about 25 mins into Palermo which is the young and trendy neighborhood where most of the bars, restaurants and clubs are. The girls wanted to do some shopping. I had already brought 2 suitcases too many so I restrained myself on the ‘buying part’ of the shopping experience but it was nice to look around and see the fashion differences in South America. Platform sandals and shoes are ALL the rage here.

img_3080

We met up with a couple from BA who are also part of the cast! They were driving back into the city and they stopped to meet us in a square in Palermo. We walked for a bit and then had “tea time”. Since there is a lot of European influence in BA, their days are structured a little differently than I’m used to. Everything starts later, it’s almost like a delay in the day. I’m not sure when most people eat breakfast but I’ve seen people eating what looks like lunch at around 3-4pm, tea time (essentially snack time) around 7-8pm, and dinner at 11-12pm at night! Grandparents and children are eating then as well! Just something to get used to I guess. We shared a pitcher of lemonade with a snack on the terrace of a funky place and enjoyed the company.

Since I had been walking all day, it was hot out, and my legs were feeling pretty exhausted, I got home and spent the night in my room falling asleep to Netflix, crazy Saturday night, I know.

Sunday was a little less eventful but relaxing and just what I needed. I spent the whole day at the apartment’s pool with some of the cast and crew who had the same idea, it was much-needed. I went on a little adventure to find a nicer grocery store farther away than usual later in the day but other than that, I was preparing for the second week of training!! It’s hard not to be excited when you start seeing billboards for the show 🙂

img_3125

xo,

B

Welcome to Buenos Aires

It’s official! I have left the US of A on an adventure with the circus! First stop, Buenos Aires, Argentina! I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my life to have been able to go to a lot major cities around the States and some of Europe but none compare to the massiveness of Buenos Aires, 15.3 million people work and live in the city. I look out the window of my apartment and see an endless horizon of skyscrapers, buildings, and houses, it’s a beautiful city. It reminds me a little of Baltimore with the “port style” city but then a little of Ocean City, MD because of the way most of the taller buildings have balconies, it has its own vibe.

The first few days have been a whirlwind! So many new people, so much information, new country, new language, new currency, new apartment, new everything! Which is very exciting but some what nerve-racking at times. The first day I went to the ATM to try to get cash out and didn’t know what the machine was telling me because it’s all in Spanish…I will learn Spanish very quickly whether I like it or not. I have started my Rosetta Stone again and Duolingo to try to learn as quickly as I can. Just from being here for a week now, a lot of my high school Spanish has come back to me which is helpful. You never know what information your brain stores until you need it.

We are so fortunate to have a very nice apartment building in the city. I have my own room with a bathroom, small kitchenette and a bed, all the essentials! Although, I have come to the conclusion I have brought WAYYY too much stuff. 4 suitcases is too many but I’m the type of person that would rather have more than less to start so I will be sending definitely one full suitcase home, hopefully two.

After a few days of settling in, we had our first group meeting so we could meet everyone and get to know the people who we will be on tour with for the next year and a half! So far there are 2 other people from the States but other than that we are a very international cast which is really cool! Everyone has their own story of how they came to be in this crazy circus of ours.

I don’t know if anyone else uses the “save” option on Google Maps but I use it all the time, I love it. You put in a place you want to go and you save it so you can go back to it without searching. Well my google maps looks like Buenos Aires is a galaxy. I have so many places stared to visit and I’ve even checked a  few of them off! Here are a few of my wanderings so far (If you run your mouse over the photo or click on it, it should have a caption):

That’s all for now!

xo,

B

Cirque du Soleil Workshop: The Final Week

Ahh I can’t believe I forgot to post this!

***

WEEK 4! The final week of the workshop, I can’t believe it’s been a month already!

Monday:

Cody left early in the morning to catch his 12 hour bus home.

This week’s schedule was a little different from the previous weeks because there was a kid’s camp happening in the mornings so our schedule started an hour later, cut a half and hour out of our lunch but then finished at the same time at the end of the day.

So instead of starting warm up at 9am we started at 10am but today I had a meeting with a guy I’ve been talking to about #SodaCirque (!!!) at 9:45am. So great getting to meet all of these people in person who I’ve spoken with on the phone! I found out a lot more information about the show and a more definite schedule although nothing in definite with Cirque until it’s actually happening I’ve come to learn.

When practice started I was actually able to do real skills this week! I started out doing the skill I was working on before I got split open by the bar. No one else had worked on this skill so for the big presentation at the end of the week, I would be the only one doing it.

During our lunch hour, in the studio next door, they were setting up the stage for the show in South America! So cool!! They had to make sure all the pieces were there and everything worked before they sent it down.

After lunch, during the afternoon session, I tried a different skill but ended up going back to the morning session skill because I liked it better 🙂

After a trip to the nicer grocery store with a few other crew members we had dinner and reconvened downstairs for a little Cards Against Humanity with some new friends we met at HQ who were staying the residence now too. That game gets people comfortable with each other pretty quickly! Two of the guys were actually on touring shows already and were just here for rehab or training a new act.

Tuesday 

Regular sessions for the day, continued to work on different skills while making them consistant at the same time. We started to nail down more of a routine and an order for the presentation that was coming which we found out there were going to be quite a few important people coming to watch…no pressure.

After the afternoon session, I rented a bike and went to the pharmacy down the street and grabbed a few thank you cards just to show my appreciation to everyone there who I was able to meet and work with. I really had a great time and I wanted to make sure they knew that! And of course, along with the French thank you cards (that I had to translate first before I bought them to make sure they did actually say thank you and not something else…) I found some more candy bars I hadn’t tried yet, I can’t resist trying sweets 🙂

My favorite out of this bunch is the Crunchie bar, it’s sponge toffee that has a weird texture but is one of those candies that can get stuck in you teeth and you get to pick out for the next hour. I like those, it keep me occupied. I know what you’re thinking, no I did not eat all of these candy bars at once! I actually brought most of them home so my family could try them too.

Wednesday 

Wednesday, I had another meeting with Patrick at 9:45am to ask a few more questions forgot to ask the first time. I am getting a better idea of the show the more I get to talk with people about it, it gets me more and more excited!!

Morning session, lunch and afternoon session were the same, making more of the routine adding in costumes if we wanted to. At the end of the afternoon session we meet the VP of Cirque who actually has actually announced the past 7 Olympics for Canada, he had just gotten back from Rio!

We also got to go see another C:Lab happening for #Soda! Can you tell I’m excited!! I went back to the physio room to see the trainers to get some strengthening moves I could do when I got home to keep my ankle and knee strength up before going to SA.

I went home and had told Olivia and Steph that we should go up to the Portuguese place up the street because it was that good! We all go chicken that hit the spot right away but at 6:45pm I had my last massage. When I looked at my watch it was 6:38…I had to literally sprint home on a full stomach to make it! I made it there just in time.

With my belly full and muscles relaxed I went back to my room and slept like a baby.

Thursday 

Today was the day of the final presentation!!

We started practice at the same time but our coach let us out an hour before our scheduled lunch time so we could have extra time to get ready. The boutique store which never seemed to be open was finally open! So I went to go check that out and ended up buying a few things of course.

After lunch we put our costumes on and got ready as people started to show up. The man in charge of this project expected 25ish people to come…there were 90-100 people who came!! It was awesome! He introduced the project to everyone while we climbed up on the apparatus. When he was done, the music started and we started our routine. If someone didn’t make their combination or skill, we created an interesting system to hoist the person back up so they could try again if they wanted to. Everyone either made their combo the first or second time and the presentation was an amazing success! Even though I had only been back swinging on the apparatus for a week, I made my skill the first time! The power of positive thinking and visualization at work 🙂 (thanks dad).

After the presentation I went to the physio room to see JP on how to “manipulate my scar” so the scar tissue doesn’t continue to build up to the point where the skin gets stiff, it’s not pleasant to rub a new scar and it’s a little painful.

Before the happy hour they had prepared for us, Steph, Olivia and I went exploring in the rest of HQ. When you’re wandering around a place known for its creativity, you’re bound to find some odd things:

We went right up to the happy hour Marie had set up for us as a good-bye/great job! Sangria and apps galore. We were able to talk with the coaches and some of the head people who came to watch the presentation and get some insight into where this apparatus is heading and what they are thinking the next steps will be. It’s pretty cool to be able to talk with some of the important people making the executive decisions about the shows.

We ended up leaving HQ and heading back to the residence with pitchers of unfinished sangria in our arms 🙂 All we had tomorrow was a meeting to wrap up the month so we were going to make the best of the night!

Friday

Checked into my flight at 10am, I had another meeting with the costume department at 10:30am to get more measurements taken so they can have something to work with before going down to SA. This time I got to meet Michael Laprise and Chantal Tremblay who are MAJOR PLAYERS in Cirque. They created the show Kurios which is now touring the US! And they are the artistic directors for my show!!!

Our final wrap up meeting started at 1pm and the whole team + coaches and riggers were there to give final thoughts on month and what we thought the next steps should be. It was an awesome meeting, so many good ideas being thrown out there with a lot of constructive feedback.

In lines with concluding everything, we each had a meeting with the physio to make sure we were leaving in the same condition we came in as…stitch free! Aside from some rips, pretty good finger burns, and a gash that didn’t want to stay closed without stitches, I was doing just fine!

Doing a little more exploring, I was able to go up to the very top of HQ to “the grid” and see what the technicians see:

Since this was our very last night in town we wanted to do something all as a team. A few members had been to an archery tag place earlier in the month and said it was a ton of fun. Our new friends joined us for our 6:30pm reservation time. I was expecting a laser tag kind of set up but it was actually just an open area inside a building with a few blow up things to hide behind. The concept was a lot like laser tag, if someone hit you, you were out. It ended up being really fun! We played against a team of random people and of course, being the compeitive athletes and acrobats, we won!

We went back to the residence and joined our Russian friends out by the BBQ and played games and laughed until we were exhausted.

Conclusion of the month: I would not have changed a thing! I loved every single second of this month and I could not be more grateful to have gotten the opportunity! The people, the apparatus and the workshop became my friends, a challenge conquered and an absolutely wonderful experience! I wish everyone the best of luck and I will miss everyone! Hopefully I will be fortunate enough to be up there again in the future but for now, I’ve got my sights set on South America 🙂


Saturday

Saturday came early, I had to turn my ID in (which I wish I wouldn’t have but you live and you learn) and left the residence at 6:30am to give myself enough time to go through customs. Montreal has an interesting system where you go through customs in the Montreal airport rather than when you get into the US. The flight took off at 10am and I was headed home! What a great experience! 🙂

Xx, Bets

Weekend #3 Adventures

Saturday: 

Cody Arrived in the Morning!

As soon as he arrived, I planned a whole list of things I wanted to show him! We rented bikes from HQ and rode all the way to our first stop which was St. Vieatur’s Bagels, of course, becasue its delicious! We each got a single bagel, some cream cheese, went outside to sit on a bench and enjoy our breakfast.

The original St. Vieatur’s shop is actually very close to Mt. Royal. Even though we drove up the other weekend, I wanted to go again and find a different view. So we rode all the way up Mt. Royal (the mountain Montreal is named after, I can’t remember if I said that before) and found another amazing view:

The ride up was tough but the ride down was a breeze, we coasted all the way down to our lunch spot which was Schwartz! The famous smoked meat sandwich place. Montreal is known for three things: poutine, bagels and smoked meat and I was going to check all three off my list. The line to get into the actual restaurant was so long but right next door there was a take-away section. We waited in line at the take-away section for a good 10-ish mins before getting up to order, it was a busy place. We both ordered the standard/traditional smoked meat sandwich with a side of smoked meat poutine 🙂 We got our fill of smoked meat. Needless to say, it was yummy.

IMG_2287

Schwartz was on Rue St. Laurent which is the street you can take all the way down to Old Port, so we hopped on our bikes and tried to avoid people as best we could going down the sidewalks. Old Port is pretty hilly so we found a bike rack and started walking around where we found a nice fountain the take a nap by.

We walked through Old Port, went back to the maple shop and had a sample of the iced maple syrup. They put a maple syrup concentrate on a bed of ice, stick a popsicle in it and roll it right up! It’s a cold maple-y treat! Way too sweet to have a big one though, that’s why we only got samples.

I still hadn’t been inside the Basilica so we walked by again but there was still an incredibly long line out front so we never ended up going in but we did see a bride and groom drive by out front!

At that point we were getting tired and knew we had to ride our bikes all the back to HQ so I thought going through the Gay Village on our way back up to the residence would be a good idea so Cody could see it…well we get out 3/4 of the way down the street and my tire popped…I had been on the metro before and I didn’t see anyone with a bike so I didn’t know if they were allowed, no taxi or über was going to put a bike in their car, so what did we do? We walked. All. The. Way. Home. 5 Miles…Sorry Cody. BUT the silver lining was that we were going to an all-you-can-eat sushi place for dinner! So the exercise was a good thing 🙂

The sushi place was actually down by Schwartz so we definitely weren’t walking or biking there. We grabbed and über, demolished A TON of delicious sushi from a huge menu to pick from, some beer and some sake and called it a night!

IMG_0948

Sunday: 

It was supposed to rain on Sunday at around 1pm and I knew I wanted to go to the Jean-Talon Market for breakfast so we rented bikes again (not the same bike with the popped tire) and rode to the market.

IMG_2302

The very first stop I wanted to make was to get some of that corn that looked so delicious last time! And it was absolutely worth coming back for, fresh sweet corn with some butter and salt, ummhmm good.

We also wanted real breakfast so there was a crepe place right in the market that looked fantastic last time I was there as well. We both order one and they were pretty big, but again, delicious.

We arrived back at the residence just in the nick of time before it started raining. It was a movie kind of day, not to mention we were kind of exhausted from yesterday’s schedule. So we relaxed the rest of the day until dinner.

There was a Portuguese place right up the street that was supposed to be phenomenal. It is called O Cantinho and it was probably the best place I ate the entire trip! Bread, butter and olives to start, some wine and delicious Portuguese food. Cody and I ended up splitting the two dished that came with almost everything. The menu was in Portuguese and French, no english, so we asked the server what was good to order. He suggested, if we were looking to try a little of everything (and let’s face it, we always are) these would be the best combos. One was a sample meat dish and the other was a sample seafood dish, both served with fries and a salad. The pictures don’t do it justice, so so so good! And of course there was an absolutely beautiful sunset as we were finishing dinner and walking home.

Great weekend! I had checked everything off my bucket list and I still had a week to go!

Next will be my final week in Montreal! I can’t believe it was almost a month at that point, the time flew by!

Xx, Betsy

 

Cirque du Soleil Worshop: Week Three

Week 2 Recap:

 WEEK 3 Monday:

I actually got up on the equipment and pushed! The coaches could tell I was getting bored standing on the floor…I was to told to stop conditioning.

The schedule was normal for the day: Morning session, Lunch and Afternoon session, went to the grocery store and then had a chance to catch up with my mom 🙂 It was the first time we had talked since she got back from her trip and I left on mine.

Tuesday:

Before morning session I had a measurements appointment for my costume for the show in South America!! They measured EVERYTHING. Took my shoe size, hand size, skin tone all while wearing a lovely light blue spandex body suit…I looked fantastic…

After, I had a meeting with CSST which is the workers compensation unit because I was technically “injured” on the job. Even though I didn’t really miss any days, you have the option of opening a file just in case something else were to happen later down the road.

After that, regular schedule for the day! I pushed both sessions and I could feel it, my shoulders were feeling those lactic acids building.

Wednesday:

Regular schedule. Pushing the bar was just as much of a workout as actually doing the skills! I was using my full body and would sweat by the end of the session. Obviously the dance moves and laughing we were doing on the platforms 25 feet in the air would keep my occupied too 🙂

Made a trip to the grocery store and then a few of us headed to get Pho for dinner! There were a lot of pho places around but some of them had bad reviews, so we picked a good one, rented bikes and rode the bikes there for dinner. It was delicious!

Thursday:

I finally got the chance to swing! But I was pretty much starting from Day 1 again. The group had progressed so much that I didn’t know if I would be able to catch up in the short time we had left but I was damn sure going to try!

Swinging felt a little weird just because the stitches were still in so the skin was pretty tight but there was no way I was going to complain about it because I was only allowed 3-4 times on the bar per session so I was going to make each one count! I’m not stubborn.

For the last half and hour of lunch, I went back to HQ into the costume department again to get my head scanned to make head pieces! The custom will be fitted to my head 🙂 I essentially had a swimming cap on with a bunch of magnet dots all over my face and there was a guy with a scanner who went around and took a 3D scan of my head which popped up on the computer, it was pretty awesome!

The afternoon session went well and I got to swing 3-4 more times. Because we get done at 4pm I have to occupy myself until at least 5 so I don’t just go back to my room and eat dinner because then I would be starving later. That’s why I’ve gone to the grocery store so many times, not because I need anything which usually backfires on me because then I end up buying things I don’t need….double edged sword.

Later I had my second massage with our masseuse 🙂 Again, you tell her what’s sore or what you want worked on and she finds muscles you didn’t know you have. Since I started pushing, my shoulders were getting pretty sore so she made sure she dug into those bad boys.

Friday:

Stitches removal today!!

Had to make it through the morning and afternoon sessions first…then the AT said he would remove them.

I have a video of them being removed but I’ll spare you from watching it, it’s pretty weird-looking and that was the first time I had gotten to see it since the doc put them in. Here’s a before and after (the first one pic my leg is so white from the numbing meds they injected into the muscle, it looked like a zombie limb):

 

For dinner, a group of us met up with Roxane, who lives in Montreal, to take the metro downtown to the Gay Village for Vietnamese, she knew of a good place. A lot of restaurants here allow you to bring in your own wine or liquor and drink in the restaurant, so we stopped by a liquor store on the way and made our purchases, much cheaper than buying single drinks at the restaurant. Then spent a night out on the town! We met up with a couple of artists who were also at HQ rehabbing before going back to their tours. One was from Toruk (the avitar show) and one was the main character in Varekai. So cool to be able to meet these people who I have seen on stage!

All in all, another awesome week!

Weekend #3 Adventures…CODY COMES TO VISIT!

Xx, Betsy

Weekend #2 Adventures

Saturday 

Started off Saturday with some rain showers so I wasn’t sure how the day was going to go. Kevin, a Canadian gymnast who came to visit Olivia and Kristina (they competed together in national comps.), drove his car down so Olivia, Steph and I decided to take Kevin around town and check off some boxes on my bucket list. We started by driving up Mt. Royal to the overlook spot and got to see a beautiful view of the whole city:

IMG_2121

After seeing the view, there was that famous bagel spot I wanted to try again but this time we were going to go to the original location. The other spot Anna and I went to was not the original location and apparently this one is always less busy. We went, we ate, we conquered. Best homemade bagels I’ve had! They were phenomenal!

The pictures don’t do it justice. I bought half a dozen, all different kinds and every single one of them were light and fluffy and warm and just homemade-amazing-ness.

Still munching on our bagels, we dropped Olivia off to get her eyelashes done and Kevin, Steph and I went downtown to check out the Basilica of Notre Dame and Old Port. The Basilica was impressive even from the outside. We didn’t go inside because there was a very long line out front due to the fact that the next coming weeks were dedicated to an Organ Festival, which apparently inside, they have a very impressive organ.

Since Kevin and Steph hadn’t been downtown yet, I was their tour guide 🙂 I kind of knew my way around. We went to the maple place Anna and I went to before and made our way down the rest of the French street and back to the car. It was still raining off and on so we were trying to avoid the downpours as they came and went.

We hoped back in the car and made our way up Rue St. Laurent (where we had dropped Olivia off), but not being able to communicate with her was difficult. Kevin was hungry so we made our way to Schwartz, the famous smoked meat place and a box to check off on my bucket list. The line was incredibly long for the lunch rush but right next to the restaurant they had the take-away section. By that time we had actually found Olivia and got inline for take-away. Steph, Olivia and I weren’t that hungry, and I knew I would be back at some point, so we let Kevin get some lunch and we walked down the street and went into a store Olivia had seen earlier. But not before stopping to take some cool picture in front of graffiti 🙂

At 3:30pm there was a show at ToHu, the performance center next to HQ, we wanted to get back for. Weekend traffic was a mess so we got there just in time! There were 5 acts that performed and after each act, the artist would come back our on stage and take advice from the audience about what they thought could make it better or what they thought was great.

After the show, I had another doctors appointment at another hospital to see the “Cirque Doctor” to get the A-OK to start coming back gradually from the stitches as long as they didn’t come out before 10 days. I took a cab to the hospital, checked in, saw the doc, he gave me a sheet, and sent me on my way! It was nice and easy. He even said his wife was working at a hospital in Baltimore! It’s a small world.

Sunday 

Even though it had cleared up about half way through Saturday, it decided to rain again on Sunday morning. I woke up to the rain coming down pretty hard but by 10am it seemed to have stopped. A few of us wanted to go to the Jean-Talon Market which is a pretty well-known market in Montreal. We met in the bottom of the residence and decided how we wanted to get there. Kristina and I decided to walk because I didn’t think it was going to be that bad of a walk and I needed to get my legs moving from not being able to do anything during the week. The walk only took 35-40 mins and we made our way around the market losing each other eventually. I hadn’t planned on doing much else for the rest of the day because it wasn’t fantastic weather and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain if it decided to start again.

The market was amazing! You could try samples of all kinds of fruits, veggies and maple syrup. The peaches were mouth-watering and the sweet corn sample was phenomenal, I wanted to come back to and get a whole ear, I do love a good corn-on-the-cob. I ended up buying a sampler pack of maple goodies, some bananas, cucumbers (obviously all fresh), and ice wine….I had no idea what ice wine was so I went up and asked and had about a 10 min conversation with the guy and he gave me a few samples. Apparently, instead of using regular fruit to make wine, ice wine is when they go into the fruit orchards and pick the frozen fruit to make wine. That gives the wine a sweeter taste, so more moscato tasting. And the colder into the winter months you get, the more expensive the wine/cider is. So if they go pick the fruit in December (which is still cold!!), the wine made is less expensive as opposed to fruit picked in Jan/Feb and then made into the wine or cider, pretty unique concept. There was also a crepe place I was determined to come back to, they looked and smelled fantastic!

At the market, I ran into Kevin and Olivia! They asked if I wanted to join them in going back to the bagel place and exploring some more of town….in a car! So I was on board.

We were heading to Bulk Barn which is a store where you can buy anything (food wise) in bulk, Kevin really wanted to go there and I wanted some specific Canadian candy that you can’t get in the states….because let’s face it, I have a sweet tooth that needs to be fed.

On our way there, we look out the car window and to our right there is Gibeau Orange Julep! That was on my list but it was on the outskirts of the city so I didn’t think I would get a chance to go there! Olivia and I tell Kevin to pull over because first of all, it looks awesome, and second of all it was on the list!

It’s probably “just a fast food place” to Montreal residence but it had the best orange juice I’ve ever had in my life, and I’m not a fan of orange juice! It was almost whipped, it was so delicious! Another check off the bucket list!

The Bulk Barn was really close to Gibeau so we went right over and got some normal candy. They didn’t have very Canada-specific candy so we actually went to the Wal-Mart next door and got Canadian candy bars. Here was the loot:

IMG_2197

I think Cadbury may have started in Canada because they have a lot here that they don’t have in the states. All 4 of these were good! Some combination of chocolate and caramel, you can never go wrong! The Wunderbar was my favorite.

We made our way back to St. Viateur’s Bagels because Olivia wanted more and headed down to the Gay Village because 1. Kevin hadn’t been and 2. Pride Parade was happening and it seemed like it would be fun to experience. We got down there, starving, and found a pizza place to eat quick. Behind us, there was some sort of painting-of-the-bodies thing going on. It was definitely a great day to people watch!

After our lunch, I had one more thing downtown that was on my bucket list we could check off. It was called the Underground City, not knowing it was just going to be a regular mall, we went to check it out. Since Montreal gets so cold in the winter they have an a tunnel system which connects different areas of the mall. We went for about an hour before all of the shops closed and made our way back to the residence.

It turned out to be quite a busy and fun day! Checked a lot of things off the bucket list but I still have a few more to go!

Xx, Betsy

 

Cirque du Soleil Workshop: Week Two

Starting off Week 2 with a 30 second recap of week one!! This video is on the official Cirque du Soleil YouTube page! So Exciting! Even though I’m not technically allowed to share info about the workshop…you can kind of see what we’re working on:

WEEK 2: Monday: 

This is the first full week of training morning and afternoon sessions. So the coaches told us to be prepared for a hard-working week. The schedule was normal; morning session, lunch, and afternoon session but after the afternoon session, our point woman Marie, told us we would be getting weekly massages!! WHHHHHAT?!  She would come in with a schedule tomorrow for time slots to sign up. We are pampered 🙂

Tuesday:

Same schedule for the day, with a massage to look forward to in the evening! My hands were feeling the love 🙂

IMG_2053

The afternoon session ended at 4:30pm and my massage was scheduled for 6:45pm so Randy, Olivia and I drove to IGA (a nicer grocery story) which was a little farther away then the usual one. Think Whole Foods compared to Shoppers.

When 6:45pm rolled around, I didn’t even have to go out of my building. I went up to the 4th floor of the residence, in the common area room and a massage chair was set up. The entire 45 min massage was skating on the line between painful but good and too painful which was perfect for me. If you don’t like deep tissue, you would’ve hated it. She used her elbows, forearms, thumbs and it wouldn’t surprise me if she had her heel there as well, it was amazing! She would press on a muscle I didn’t even know I had and say “is that sore” without needing any validation it was sore, she knew just by feeling it.

Wednesday:

After watching us the first week, the coaches decided we were coming a bit too close to hitting our heads on some skills so they wanted us to take the Impact Concussion Test just to have a baseline in case anything should happen (all NCAA sports are now required to do this before season so I had taken it a few times). I took mine at 8:30am and went right into the morning session.

I had thought of a skill standing on the bar which I hadn’t done very many times yet, but I decided to give it a go anyways. The key element was going to be to wait until just the right time to let go and grab the bar again…anyone that knows me knows that “waiting” it not my forte…so of course I let go early, hit the bar with my shins and slid all the way up to my hips. Whamp-bam-thank-you-ma’am. At first I thought it was just my shins that were hurting so I grabbed some ice and sat down. But then I looked down at my hip area, sure enough there was a hole in my skin. So my lunch and part of the afternoon session was spent at the General Hospital getting 7 stitches.

It was actually quite the adventure going to the hospital. I went with our point woman Marie. On the cab ride there she told me about her experience as a scientist and how she started working for Cirque and we passed the posh part of the neighborhood where the multimillion dollar houses are and where the President of Cirque du Soleil’s lives.

We made it to the hospital but since Canadian healthcare is free for everyone I didn’t know how long the wait would be. I overheard a lady ask the average wait-time and the woman behind the desk said 8 hours in Quebec…yikes. But I was taken into Triage to get processed (I felt like an animal) and fortunately, everything we said was in English until we got up to leave and Marie said something in French. I didn’t ask what she said because when we went out to the waiting room we were registered and given a room within 15 mins! We waited another 15 mins for the doctor to come in, he sewed me up, gave me a sheet of paper that we thought said I DID NOT need to see another doctor before getting the stitches out at Cirque and went on our way. The incident happened at around 10am and we were back around 2:30pm! I’d say that was pretty good for Quebec healthcare. Come to find out, Marie had told the woman in French I was prone to panic attacks and she better get us into a room quick….it worked!

We finally made it back to HQ around 2:30pm so I grabbed some lunch from the cafeteria, ate quick and came back over for the last hour of afternoon session. Everyone kept on telling me to go relax but that’s the last thing I wanted to do, I just wanted to be there, be part of everything and be useful.

The day ended with popping a few ibuprofen, icing, dinner and a rough nights sleep. An interesting turn of events to say the least.

Thursday:

Since I didn’t have the best night falling asleep, I was anticipating waking up pretty sore. But I actually woke up feeling better than I thought I would! Don’t get me wrong, there wa pain, the skin felt…interesting, that’s the best way I can describe it. But the most sore was actually the muscle underneath. There wasn’t even that bad of a bruise! I wasn’t happy, if it was going to hurt that badly, I wanted something to show for it.

Per the doctors orders, the stitches had to stay in for at least 7-10 days and since the gash is right on the hip area, overextending the hip-joint isn’t going to allow the skin to heel. So I was “grounded” for at least until the end of the week.

The note we thought we got from the docs saying I didn’t need to see another doc before the stitches came out apparently did not say ‘I didn’t need to see another doc’…the note said I did. So the AT said he would figure out what we could do we would take it day by day.

For the morning and afternoon sessions I made myself useful by looking at the skills from the ground, giving my opinion and possible corrections or addition skills they could try. I also made a list of all of the skills we had tried and categorized them into different groups according to the nature of the skill…while also trying to learn to juggle. I made myself busy.

I’d have to say we are a pretty lively group so when the coaches could tell we were feeling the exhaustion, they let us out 30 mins early for the day and gave us an hour later start time for Friday. There’s no use pushing us and taking the risk of someone getting hurt when we can be fresh and rejuvenated acrobats in the morning.

Since I wasn’t allowed to bike, I took a walk to the grocery store just to keep myself moving since I wasn’t allowed to do much during the sessions.

Friday:

Instead of a 9am warm up, we had a 10am warm up time. You could tell the difference of just an hour, everyone came in ready to go! The AT even called “their doctor” (the one Cirque uses) and got an appointment for me! So I would be going to a different hospital on Saturday, anytime after 5pm, to get cleared to gradually start coming back.

Every week,  on our schedule, there’s two 30 min sessions blocked off as “Presentation”. The first week there wasn’t much to present because we hadn’t mastered anything. But the presentation just means people from all over the building in different departments can come watch what we are working on! On Friday’s there is a presentation block, so we had quite a few people come to see what we were up to before our lunch break.

The afternoon session went well and we were dismissed. We went back to the residence to change and left for a happy hour at one of the coach’s house. He had invited us over for a chance to relax together as a group. He told us a lot about his flying trapeze background and the shows he was able to fly in.

We went back to the residence to do a little BBQing and at 10pm there was supposed to be a meteor shower! It had been overcast all day so we didn’t think there was going to be a chance to see it and we were right. It was too cloudy to see anything which was a bummer but there have been some beautiful sunsets!

Weekend #2 adventures to follow!

Xx, Bets

 

Weekend #1 Adventures

First weekend in Montreal was a success! Did a lot, saw a lot, walked a lot…but still have a lot more to do!

Saturday 

Olivia, Anna and I started Saturday by going to visit the Lululemon located on the Plateau which is part of the ‘fun part’ of town. Olivia is an athlete embassador for Lulu and Anna works at a store in Albany NY as the community outreach manager. So both girls are very connected with Lulu and get a pretty good deal when going to shop.

Olivia was scheduled to meet up with the community outreach manager of the Montreal area. She was so nice, welcomed us, asked all about the workshop and gave us suggestions on great places to go and visit while we’re here. Olivia had plans to go get her nails and eyelashes done so Anna and I set off to walk around the Plateau to see the sights. Anna has been to Montreal many times so she was my own personal tour guide of sorts which worked out fantastically because now I have a good grasp of how the city is laid out for my adventures next weekend.

We were able to see Mt. Royal (I still plan on hiking up next weekend to see the view of the city), beautiful street art that seemed to be on every available wall, and some fun shops and coffee cafés.

The one place I have been dying to go is a very famous bagel place called St-Viateur Bagel & Café. Montreal is known for the bagels, most people’s opinions I’ve read have even said they’re better than the famous New York bagels…I love bagels. We had a few minutes left on the parking meter and it was only a couple blocks down so we hustled. When we got there, of course there was a line. We didn’t have enough time to stand in the line so we had to abandon my hope for bagels and return to the car. Bagels are definitely in the plan for next weekend!

After getting in the car, Anna had to pick up her swinging trapeze (for those of you who don’t know circus [which I didn’t know this until she told me either] there are swinging trapeze artists, flying trapeze artists and dance trapeze artists, all with very different performances) because she was leaving on Sunday. So we drove to the gym where she practices and I was able to see a girl who trains there as well, Elli (link to her FB performance page), perform her act before she left for Mexico on her next contract. It was stunning, she was dressed in a red-flare mesh costume with sparkles everywhere and her hair and make up all done up. It was quite a show and that was just practice.

I met Elli and another girl training, Brigdet, who performs straps. And let me tell you ladies and gents, if you’ve never seen a straps act, you should; pure strength. She will be performing at the ToHu Center right next to HQ this coming Saturday which I plan to go to! At this training center, on the ‘Wall of Fame’ we found one of our coaches we are currently working with at Cirque!

IMG_1991.jpg

Dimitri (our coach) is 10 years old bottom center. His father is standing on the right platform, his mother is on the top upside down, and his brother is flying underneath of her. He is from a true circus family! Note: there is no net to catch them if they fall…just two catchers.

After he picked up her trapeze, we drove to Old Port which is the most French feeling part of Montreal. People compare this section of town to walking down the streets of Paris which stood true in my opinion. At that point, Anna and I were starving and I knew I wanted poutine. Poutine is a must have when in Montreal, or so I was told. It’s french fries with cheese curds covered in gravy, that’s the most traditional form. Of course now you can get pretty much any topping your heart desires; beef, sausage, bacon, more cheese, etc. etc. So we walked until we found a place that serves it (most places do) and sat down for lunch. My take on poutine: definitely worth having! It’s a dish you probably shouldn’t have all the time but I plan to try it with some toppings next time I have it 🙂

Our bellies were satisfied so we took a walk down by the river, watched the triathlon athletes practicing for their race tomorrow, saw the apartment complex that looks like cardboard boxes stacked on top of it (also a well-known structure), and saw the Bota Bota spa which is a spa floating on the river.

We decided we’d had enough walking and went back to the car before going home to get ready for dinner with some of Anna and Roxane’s friends from the training center. But before we went home, Anna had to drop money off at a woman’s house for letting her stay for a few months to train. The woman’s name was Becky and according to Anna, is probably one of the best female juggler’s in the world! This town is filled with circus people!

For dinner we went to a Russian restaurant which had a limited food menu but an extensive drink menu. So of course, at a Russian restaurant, I ordered a Moscow Mule and loved it. We also had a traditional Russian meal of meat dumplings which was yummy as well.

IMG_2023

Not only did I meet a swinging trapeze artist, straps artist, and a juggler today, I then had dinner with a male straps artist, a hand balancer, and two more twin swinging trapeze artists who were flying off to Germany in the morning to start their new year-long contract performing! Crazy! After dinner, we decided, what meal is complete without dessert?! I’m a sucker for my desserts. We went to Juliette & Chocolat and ordered some pretty fancy desserts 😉

The desert in the glass was vanilla ice cream with hazelnut chocolate and whipped cream topped with toffee hazelnut crunchies and the one in the bowl (mine) was a fluffy meringue with a hazelnut chocolate inside floating in vanilla custard covered with caramel sauce and toffee hazelnuts. Needless to say, the sugar high was pretty fantastic!

Sunday 

Sunday was relaxing, I didn’t feel like I had to do a lot so I putzed around watching gymnastics on the Olympics until around 1pm when Olivia, Anna and I went to brunch with Elli at 1,000 Grammes which is a sandwich/lunch spot in Gay Town (I promise that’s the name listed on the map) which is by the Plateau. It was really cool walking down the main street because there were thousands of pink balls hanging from building to building.

I had a croquet for lunch which is just an open-faced sandwich on a french roll covered with melted cheese and it was pretty tasty. After lunch, Anna was leaving for Toronto and Olivia was going down to Old Port to watch her friend start off the triathlon so I walked down main street and decided to buy Ketchup chips…apparently Lays makes them but just for Canada. I’m not a huge fan of potato chips in general so take my review however you want but I liked them! You’re reading this from a girl who once submitted 100 different (mostly weird) flavor combinations into the Lays potato chip challenge….sooo there’s that. But I actually think the ketchup flavor is good!

I decided I wasn’t in the mood for shopping or walking anymore so I found a Starbucks, hopped on their wi-fi, ordered an über and headed back to the residence. The rest of the day was spent cooking the illegal squash I finagled from the gardens and watching the Olympics.

I’d say the first weekend in Montreal was a success but still lots to look forward to for next weekend!

Xx, Betsy