On a Personal Note

Although often immersed in my research and teaching and research, I am a strong believer in also getting away from it all and finding time to rejuvenate and re-energize! And my students and colleagues will often find me enjoying a good cup of Earl Grey tea.

I like spending time with family and friends, decorating and enjoying holidays (especially Hallowe’en and Christmas), gardening, hiking and cycling, going to Farmers’ Markets, and just generally exploring. I love art, history, architecture, good food, and travelling around the world.

In May 2022, I finally got a chance to travel for the first time since early 2019 and visited my youngest sister, Donna, who moved to Portugal perhaps six months before the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions began. We travelled around quite a bit visiting Braga, the Douro Valley, Porto, Figueira da Foz, Tomar, Obidos, Nazare, and Sintra. More on that trip soon!

Some previous travels included:

Vietnam (2019): Travelling with the Women’s Travel Club, explored Vietnam from north to south, starting in Hanoi with trips to Hạ Long Bay and Mai Châu before flying to Huế and then moving on to Hoi An, and then flying to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). In the north, we visited the Ho Chi Minh museum, Hỏa Lò Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”), rice paddies, Hang Sung Sôt cave, enjoyed a White Tai dinner at a local home, and spent a night on a wooden junk boat. In Huế, we celebrated International Women’s Day at the Imperial Citadel of Huế and Forbidden Purpose City with visits to the Thien Mu Pagoda and Emperor’s Tomb along the Perfume River and Sun World. In Hoi An, we visited silver shops, enjoyed the lanterns, and took lessons on different noodles and how to make pho and other wonderful dishes. In Saigon, we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum, ending with the excellent Teh Dar show and a tour of the Saigon Municipal Opera House. The food in Vietnam was a highlight, especially the pho and salads (green mango, green papaya, morning glory. banana flower)!

Spain (2018): Travelling with a group of Australians, I was struck by the beautiful views, stunning architecture, very inexpensive wines (that were cheaper than water…and it turns out neither Canadians nor Australians much like paying for water!), the markets and the food (tapas, ham, cheese, churros & chocolate, ham, olives, seafood, paella, ham, chufa nuts and milk), amazing graffiti, flamenco performances, and the many remarkable sites (Alhambra in Granada; Alcazar in Seville; Rock of Gibraltar; Puente Nuevo, Windmill Valley, and Plaza de Toros in Ronda; Mezquita in Cordoba; the architecture of the buildings in the City of Arts and Science complex and the Fallas Museum in Valencia; and all things Gaudi but particularly La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Casa Batllo, and Parc Guell in Barcelona – to name but a few of the highlights).

St. John’s, Newfoundland and the Avalon Peninsula (2017): In St. John’s, I visited former student Sherrie Myers and her husband Tim, explored Signal Hill, Quidi Vidi, the local sights, and even got to meet Mark Critch of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame. In the Avalon Peninsula, I enjoyed a terrific mine tour on Bell Island, some top-notch food at the Grates Cove Studios café, the amazing fossil tour at the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve and the Cape Race lighthouse, the views at the Cape Spear and Ferryland lighthouses, and a wonderful Gatherall’s whale and puffins boat tour. I even enjoyed some Newfoundland Screech!

Peru (2014): I travelled with family and friends in Peru (check out Finisterra Travel!) visiting Lima, the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno and Lake Titicaca, and Arequipa. It was an amazing trip enjoying local cuisine (pisco sours, quinoa soup and salad, alpaca carpaccio, ceviche, aji de gallina, and even a little cuy!), Incan and other sites (Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, Moray, Monasterio de Santa Catalina), art (Larco Museum, street artists in San Blas), and just the beautiful sights and people overall! We also visited with Maximo Laura, a world renowned textile artist and tapestry weaver, who has been declared a “National Living Human Treasure” in Peru, at his home and private gallery in Callou just outside of Lima. He was such a gracious host and his work is truly astounding to behold.