Graduation!

After two looooooong years of school, Brian finally graduated last weekend with his Masters in Urban Planning and Policy, and I have no words for how proud I am. He worked so so so hard and was more dedicated to school than I have ever been. The past 2 years seemed like 10, but also feel like they flew by. I remember his first day like it was yesterday, when we were both oblivious to what was about to come our way. We started dating a few months before he started school, so this has been almost our entire relationship.

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We’ve learned so much about how to love and support each other, how to balance work/school/life, and how important it is to set aside time just to be together every once in awhile and breathe. I’m very much an introvert and am happiest when I’m by myself, but Brian is so much a part of me that I need him around to focus and recharge, and I miss him hard when he isn’t around. The last semester was tough, but we have completely loved every minute since his last class on Thursday night, and it’s amazing to think that it’s all behind us now. There is an entire chapter of our life that is complete, and that is crazy!

Even though I had no desire to attend my own graduation, I didn’t think twice about going to Brian’s. It was incredible to watch all the PhD and Master’s students get their degrees, knowing the amount of time and work and dedication that led up to that day. I thought for sure I’d cry, but the only time I teared up was when the speaker thanked all the friends and families who brewed the coffee to keep them awake through the all-nighters. (that was me!!)

The keynote speaker was Ambassador Ivo Daalder, who gave an amazing speech about the state of our world, our country, and our politics. In the midst of everything that has happened in the past few months, it seemed appropriate to address the topic to a room full of graduates about to enter the workforce and make a difference with their lives. It was chilling but powerful, and made the day seem so much more important.

Brian was not digging the ceremony as much as I was. This may have had something to do with the fact that we ran out of both toothpaste AND coffee that morning, so we were off to a fairly typical and hectic start to the day. Everything was redeemed for me when the orchestra played Harry Potter while we were waiting for graduation to start, but I don’t think Brian started to enjoy the day until we sat down at The Publican for brunch!

I lugged the camera around all day, but really only took pictures during graduation, so here’s a few of the graduate who would’ve rather been ANYWHERE but there. I think we might have gotten one smile…IMG_6897.JPGProcessed with VSCO with s2 presetProcessed with VSCO with s2 preset

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Mayor Daley got a surprise Honorary Degree….. wat?

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Brian’s Graduation from veronica ward on Vimeo. Video by Dana Almdale!

We are all so so so so proud of you Brian!!! We love you!!!!!

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Despite my initial aversion to black and white film, I’ve been completely convinced that it captures some of the most beautiful photos. It’s hard to imagine that a gorgeous landscape of bright orange and red leaves scattered on a mountain over a fjord might be equally as beautiful with no color at all, but it’s true.Canada in Monochrome

We brought one vintage Canon point and shoot (that actually used to belong to my parents when we were babies), and managed to shoot 3 rolls of black and white film. Since I carried the DSLR most of the time, Margaret took most of the film pictures. I have a tendency to “save” the film and try not to waste pictures which leads to way fewer photos than if I had the digital camera. Margaret doesn’t have that issue, so we have plenty. Enjoy!

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Monochrome

Canada in Color

Margaret and I just got back from a five day trip to Quebec City where we spent most of our time wandering around the city and exploring. We had been wanting to go on a trip just the two of us, and after looking around at airfare, we figured Canada would be pretty cool.

I hate to say it, but overall I was not impressed with Quebec City. It was definitely nice to take a few days off of work and spend some quality sister time, but after the first day of exploring, I was over it. The town itself felt like a giant downtown Disney minus the rides, complete with cobblestone streets, quaint little façades, tons of souvenir shops, and tourists as far as the eye could see. I absolutely appreciate the historic beauty, but tourist traps are not my cup of tea.

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The parts I enjoyed the most were walking the historic walls around the city, riding on the bike path, and driving through the mountains and seeing all the beautiful farms. The weather was beautiful except for one dreary day, so we were able to spend most of our trip outside which was so so nice. We were lucky enough to be there at the perfect time to see all of the trees in their gorgeous fall colors. I have honestly never seen such intense oranges and reds in my life!

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We rented a car to drive up north toward the fjord, and took the scenic mountain route which ended up being verrrrrrrry hilly (duh, mountains), but also beautiful. We pulled off at the économusée du fromage (Cheese Museum YES PLEASE) and our dreams came true as I chugged a glass bottle of milk and Margaret ate a block of Brie like it was a sandwich. We took some pics with the local wildlife and acted as though we weren’t from the Midwest and had never seen cows. Or a farm. Or dairy products.

Quebec City in the Fall: Part 1Quebec City in the Fall: Part 1img_0215-1

We pulled off at a quiet little trail entrance in the mountains and climbed the most gorgeous path. We kept hearing people’s voices but couldn’t see anyone until we realized they were way above us, climbing the giant rock face of the mountain! Margaret was determined to “touch the butt” and make it all the way up to where the rock began, so up we went. Coming down was definitely the hardest part, especially with two cameras in hand.

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On our last day, we rented a tandem and spent the afternoon riding on the city’s beautiful bike path. It wasn’t quite as idyllic as it sounds and involved a few arguments, vulgar hand gestures, and nasty looks, but that’s to be expected when you throw two sisters on one bike. Right? We didn’t fall though, so that’s what really matters.

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We shot 3 rolls of black&white film too, so check out Canada in Monochrome too!