Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thing

My feelings about Home...



I love Those Dancing Days!

p.s Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Place

The courtyard of the MACBA, the contemporary art gallery in my old barrio, Raval. I love this place in the summer, it is crawling with all sorts. The pavement sizzles and the Paki's are selling ice-cold Estrellas ("sexy beers") for a euro twenty-five.
Sigh* I'm now back in Vancouver, freezing cold Vancity. Don't get me wrong, being home and with my family again is wonderful, especially when it's constantly sunny for the first week of being back. But there are times like these, when I'm sitting at the computer with a tuque on and a fleece bathrobe AND a poncho on top of my PJs, wishing I was sweating in shorts and aching for AC in Barcelona. Just sayin'! video

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Place

Sutton Coldfield. A rockin' place in the West Midlands, only rockin' because my awesome (or "arrrsome" hilly likes to call it) cousins live there.
After a rather horrible experience being late for my train in Bath, I eventually made it to Birmingham where my lovely cousin Sarah and her dad Alan were there to pick me up! The week that I spent with them, mainly consisted of eating and laughing. A feast awaited me at their house where all my cousins from this part of the family were there on that first evening (see picture below of Sarah and I stuffing our faces with cheese cake).

Sarah also managed to get me an extra ticket to see a La Roux concert! That woman is amazing live. Then afterwards, Sarah and her girlfriends and I went out on the town. The town was dead (Wednesday night), but we managed to have a great time dancing and I had my first end of the night cheesy chip/curry chip experience before heading back in the cab.
Being awesome at a bar:

At La Roux:

Another carb-y delight awaited me at the Annual German Market in the centre of Birmingham, a VWEINER!!! :)
At the German market:

S and her mom, Hilly took me to this wonderful festivity one night where we had hot dogs with delicious mulled wine and had a carosel ride.
On my last day, my lovely Auntie Hilly (more 2nd cousin I guess...) took me out for cappuccinos and gigantic slices of cake nearby and a walk through this beautiful park in Sutton, where we got the chance to chat and enjoy the much appreciated sun. That night we went to see S's bro, my other cousin, Robbie's performance at this fancy hotel. Him and his act blew me away. What talent, and shall I put it bluntly, what BALLS! To get up there, sing and dance in sequins for a crowd of crabby, half-dead group of senior citizens (p.s i was nearly run over by a speedy guy on his wheelchair en route to the WC) on a nightly basis, takes some, or at least perseverance, especially when you know you've got more than enough talent to do something better. Well it was great. He's a real performer and people loved him, plus I got a shout out! (and an applause from the audience for coming all the way from Canada! haaha).
Robbie "the show-stopper" Holland:

In the hotel:

A real highlight was being able to spend a day shopping with my Auntie Vera (she's my dad's aunt). She is one inspiring person. She is 84 and still dancing every weekend with her "just friend" (boyfriend) at the local jiving club for seniors. She volunteers at the local hospital, she cares for her family, her friends, complete strangers and is just a ray of sunshine, despite the pain she's had to deal with in life. Why can't people her age (heck, ANY age) be as wonderful? I hope I can get to that age and still be as happy and optimistic as I am at 22. Plus, she's got a hilarious way of making a rather raunchy and totally inappropriate story sound, dare I say, classy? Haha... some of the things that come out of that mouth... Shocking!
I miss these guys and wish I could see them more.

The ladies out for lunch (Tiffy, Vera, Me, Hilly)


The park:

Person

My dad and I

Here is a funny...
Taken from a series of comments on this photo from my facebook...


Ewan- oooh it was cold!
October 18 at 10:44am ·

Jessie - you can tell by the smiles.. natural but very stiff. im surprised your glasses lense didn't crack! brrrr!!!
October 18 at 10:54am ·

Ewan - off topic. Did you ever go to that photography show in ...Arles?
October 18 at 10:59am ·

Jessie - haha random question, no marcelo decided to book a flight to istanbul for that week that we were thinking of going. so i just hung out in barcelona and looked at photos on the interent instead. next time!
October 18 at 12:05pm ·

Jessie - p.s i just watched the first 2 episodes of Dexter season 4!!!! ahhhh he's back!!!
October 18 at 12:06pm ·

Ewan - any squirrels in those episodes? Like hanging from wires?
October 18 at 12:13pm ·

Jessie - hmm... nope not yet. but the funny white haired guy from third rock from the sun is the baddy in this season!!
October 18 at 12:54pm ·

Ewan - John Lithgow?
October 18 at 4:13pm ·

Jessie - yes! he's pretty creepy
October 19 at 2:39am ·

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thing

Capa Fina (in English: Thin Layer)
Jessie McNeil
2009

video
here is a little experimental video I made in Barcelona... there's more of my stuff on my art blog:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Places, People and Things

SO Sorry that I have not put anything up in the last month!
I've been sort of traveling nonstop. What a ride.

Lets recap:
Lewes (Sussex), as I mentioned before, is gorgeous. Even when it was rainy and dark, I just stayed cozy inside with Rupert the dog or chatted with my wonderful Aunty (actually 2nd cousin) Tiina and her husband Mike. I felt so at home. Lots of tea and delicious food was consumed.




London:
I went there for 2 day trips. I wished for a couple more days to see some more art galleries, but here just wasn't enough time. I saw the V&A and was inspired by the wonderful jewelry exhibit, ate my first hearty beef + ale pot pie in ages in the opulent museum cafe. Then Tiina and I saw some ice skaters and dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum and continued on to experience some more feasts for the senses at Harrods. Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh my!






The second day I took the train in by myself (exciting!!). Out of Victoria Stn, I jumped on the tube and heard some great buskers playing some very moving and spirited highland-type music with fiddles and guitar. Saw a sweet little toy museum, recommended by my friend Despina. Zipped over to the British Museum only to see one exhibit on ancient Maya to realize I was going to be late for the open day at Camberwell School of Art. Grabbed a Pret-a-manger turkey sandwich and lemonade and then quickly began my rather stressful journey into Peckham. Rather dodgy... Well I JUST made it off the bus and into the school for the start of the tour. Well, I was disappointed with it and wished I could have seen another school instead, while in London. Oh well. The ride back to Oxford street was fantastic! The #12 bus goes over the Thames and right next to Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus! Cool! My heart was up in the sky, until I saw the price tags in TopShop. That store on Oxford St... my god. A shopaholic's paradise. If only I wasn't so broke.

video

Then up to BATH!
Bath was rather boring the last time I was there with my school. But this time around, my fun cousin Rosalie (Rozzi) lives there and was able to show me a great time. The weather was brutal, but staying indoors was fun. Hanging out in her flat watching one of my new favorite shows "Misfits" on her bed eating carbs and candy, singing and dancing to wonderful cheese at the local hotspot with Rozzi's fun girlfriends, or just going out to sweet little coffee shops and window shopping in Ted Baker or catching a flick and experiencing exploding popcorn (lol)... it was just perfect. I wish I could have stayed there longer. Rozzi is such a sweet and funny person, I could just see us living together in London or something.. NON STOP GIGGLE FEST.






Then on my last morning there, my luck with trains and public transportation, kind of stopped.

Because I wanted to take some pretty photos of Bath on the one sunny day I was there, I was late for my train. I missed it by ONE minute! While I trying to swim upstream with my large bag (no lift), and about 50 people to dodge, my train was leaving the platform. PANIC PANIC!!! The sweet guy working at the turnstile saw what happened and wrote something on the back of my ticket allowing me to get onboard and travel north without having to pay for another ticket. THANK YOU!

I love train travel (except for the lugging of the luggage, or sitting next to an annoyingly chatty or stinky person, of course). It lets you have time to sit and contemplate life, look at the beautiful world outside or just take a well needed nap.

to be cont'd....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Place

Barcelona. My home for the last 8 or so months.
I spent my last couple of days in this city revisiting my favorite places, dining with good friends... I can't really put into words how special these people are and how they really made my stay. And I've never felt really capable of accurately expressing how I feel through writing. So I'll leave it to my next blog, when I am actually on my laptop and able to upload photos to show you what I mean.

But now I'm in the UK! Jolly, damp and gray. :) But It's great. Tiina (my mother's cousin) and Mike picked me up from Gatwick last night and we drove back to theirs in Lewes, where I am staying now (during the drive we saw fireworks off in the distance, in celebration of Guy Forks?). Spent the morning chatting, eating breakfast and chilling out, which is just what I needed after the hectic week of packing and last minute rush-abouts. Tonight we're going to see Julie and Julia at the local hall! Then tomorrow Tiina and I are going to London for the day! Excited about that.

Had my first taste of marmelade today in almost 9 months. It was amazing. haha
Anyways, looking forward to the next month or so hanging out with cousins and revisiting places, as well as checking out art schools. Hopefully I'll be inspired to go to one of these schools one day.

And I'll post up pics on my next post. Not really feeling like a big juicy blog entry today. I'd rather go run through the hills with Rupert (the McBride's king charles spaniel) in the rain! (Rain from England is way more fun than rain from Vancouver). haha ...and rain from Barcelona, is well, rather scary, it would be very likely that one could be carried off in a flood of it down the Ramblas in attempt to have an afternoon stroll.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Person




Just went to see '500 Days of Summer' starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. I LOVED it. Finally it came to Spain, ever since my sister raved about it a couple months ago, back in Vancouver, I knew I needed to see it! Anyhoo, if you haven't seen it yet, please do. And Gordon-Levitt was so dreamy... that smile and crinkley eyes.. sighhh, makes my heart melt!



That's one of my favorite clips from the movie.. the morning after dance. Hilarious! And what moves... :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thing



Food.

With Fall finally here, my what seems endless free time isn't spent at the beach or in the sun very much anymore. But COOKING! :D With produce being quite affordable here in Barça and my need to be cozy, being by the stove cooking something is just perfect (since the rest of my flat is an icebox! Spaniards up here don't care much for insulation I guess!). I've mastered the carrot ginger soup (the key is lime and coconut milk), made some nice sweet potatoe mash (although my Argentinian flatmate suggested putting chili in it for his South American taste buds...Ermmm, not for me) this evening. Tomorrow I'll try something from the vegetarian cook book Jade let me borrow. All I need now is my warm cuddly kitty cats to snuggle with on the couch. I don't care how much cat hair I get on my clothes, I'm going to hug the crap out of them when I get back!
I think the secret to good cooking is confidence, practice and a lot of free time to fuck things up first until you get it right. And for me, I'm a bit of a loner when it comes to making my food in the kitchen. I need space and no one budding in on that space! I guess when I leave this tiny apartment and get to use my family's fabulous roomy kitchen and awesome appliances again (lol I don't even have a freaking toaster here) I'll be happy to have people around, especially if it's just Kaja and Dad. Although I'll miss Barcelona a lot, being with my family in my favorite place again will be one of the best parts of the trip. Yeah, thinking about all the wonderful things I've learned and experienced while away, I feel that one of the most important things I've discovered is how much I appreciate home. More people should be able to go away and experience the world and all the beautiful things that are out there, like I did, but also be able to really truely know how lucky they are to be living in and being a part of such an amazing place.

... Didn't realise mashed sweet potatoes would make me so sentimental! sniff, sniff. single tear*



(These are pics from Isaac Grey Cosgrove's Flickr page. Thanks Isaac!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Person




Happy Birthday Mammi and Onu Ants.
She would have been 59 today! Mina armastan sind. xoxo

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things

The electricuted squirrel story that Evelyn emailed me and this jumping elephant that my dad sent...



both made me laugh very hard today. Thank you!

Person




Me. I feel weird today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Place

If you're in Vancouver, go to the CityScape Community Art Space in North Van next weekend and see my dad's show! Yay Ewan! :)



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thing

My relationship with Barcelona. (Yes, I have to gush about it once more!)
If I could use a picture to describe our happiness together it would be...



"I love you more! No I love YOU more! No I love YOuuuUU moree! No I LOve you m..."
<3

Place

Barcelona.
The closer I get to leaving this place, the more and more I don't want to. I really do want to return to Vancouver and try something new there, like getting into Uni and starting the next chapter of my education. And also educating myself in music more seriously. Guitar, piano and tra-la-la-ing.

But back to Barcelona...
the last week or so: (referring back to pieces of my diary)

Oct. 7th:
Dicovered that Poble Nou is very cool. It's very industrial but actually has a very cosy little green pedestrian avenue in the centre where there are many nice boutiques and charming food shops. It felt like Beaches, in Toronto.
Got a pair of black sneakers and a rasberry beret/tuque from Primark (total: 5 euro).
Had a very VERY delicious dinner at a very VERY handsome and funny guy's house (he cooked.) yum.

...Sorry girls, but if you want some gossip, you gotta email me. haha

Oct. 8th
(discovered the pool!).. read blog entry, two blog entries ago.

Oct 11th
Woke up with the worst hangover from the silly-drunk night out before. But managed to bike home along the beach (how lucky am I!?) to quickly grab my runners, brush teeth and wash face, so I could meet up and have my last date with Rebecca in Esplugues. My lovely friend from Dallas, Texas. She leaves back for the US this week after 7 months here. Luckily she was also a little groggy, so our planned hike never happend. So we had coffee and croissants, gabbed about the night before and about "bridges" and relationships and Columbus and our predictions of our returns back to the "new world." I'll really miss that girl. We had great conversations and lots of laughs. Thanks Rebecca! (and thanks for the awesome clothes you've left me! And my flatmates and I are enjoying the radio and iron too!) hehe

Oct 12th(ish)
Had fantastic dreams and discovered the most clear way of explaining my art. So I scribbled it down in my diary, in the dark, in the most unclear way possible. DOH!

But had a lovely afternoon with myself, sitting on the beach (still hot enough) and watching the turquoise waves while listening to the Beach Boys and Al Green. Then visited my handsome friend for the rest of the day. Devoured his left-overs in the fridge (muahaa), then we watched crap English television, and laughed until it was dark and we both had places to go. Sigh*
What an unstructured, yet fabulous day!

Oct 13th
The day was pink. Sporting Rebecca's pink shirt. Pink Greek strawberry yogurt at breakfast. Then cafe con leches with Bronwyn at Carmelitas. The breeze flowing through Raval even felt pink. Happy.

Got a membership to Gato Negro (Video store, like Commercial Drive's Black Dog (haha!)). The man running it is lovely. He offered me chai tea as I was looking through the collection. I thought he asked if I needed help, so said "Oh! No.. hehe" but I think he was asking if I wanted tea... DUuuuh... so much for my Spanish. Anyhoo, 2 for 1 on Tuesdays. So I got "Colegas" (the Cinema Quinquis film I talked about in one of my first entries) and from what I remember it being called, "En Construcion" (Godard-inspired doc. on Barrio Chino while Rambla de Raval was first being constucted in 1997-1998. It was beautiful! The characters, the stories... Did you know that when they were demolishing the buildings to make Rambla Rav., they found Roman skeletons and ruins underneath the ground!??).

Oct 14th (today)
Sat in the most tranquil part of Montjuic. The only the sounds were of birds, buzzing insects and leaves on the trees. It was like a little Stanley Park. I rested on this bench for a good 40 minutes.



Then I wandered in search of some road to take me to the peak of Montjuic, so that I could see the sea. And I finally (after many failed attempts) found it today! It was so cool! I could feel the air getting thinner and the pines were more stunted as I became closer to the top. There I found a fort-like structure I hadn't heard of before, then sure enough...




The industrial port of Barcelona is just incredible! I forgot how gigantic it is, it just goes on forever! I wonder how far back into the past we'd have to go in order to see nothing but beach and crashing waves there? Hmm.



Being broke isn't as bad as I thought...

Although, I predict the next 2-3 more weekends of socializing left before I get my damage deposit back on the 31st (money for England trip), will be expensive.
Uh-oh.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thing

If you keep making that face it'll stay that way!


Its been over a decade since I had an ear infection so I didn't quite know what was going on until my friend Despina pointed it out that my cold has turned into a sinus or ear infection type thing. I usually don't take a lot of drugs to help with colds and stuff, so I thought maybe I could just let this one go away on it's own. Then I remembered the last time I let a sinus infection go away "on it's own".. it triggered the most painful infection in my tooth. And Despina also shared her story of when she just left her sinus infection go away on it's own, and the mucus had built up in her lower forehead!! ewww and then they had to drain it out by piercing the skin!!! (or maybe she said this is what could have happened if she didn't take medicine). gag! anyhoo thought this story might go nicely with these pictures. :) rather sick sense of humor, sorry.
p.s im better now since i bought some ear drops from the nearby farmacia (pharmacists are so cool here. they seem to be better educated on their products than most doctors. and they aren't as snooty as some of the people working at pharmacies in Vancouver.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Place

The Globe store! HAHA! This place sells maps and GLOBES!!!!



There are plenty of (very) random specialty stores in Raval. Like the STRING shop! Or the shop that only sells things for Nativity scenes. And I love the little (and less strange) shops that are just barely competing with the supermarkets and big grocery stores, like those that sell only cheese, or only button up blouses/shirts, or only paper and stationary items...

Anyways, window shopping in Raval.
There's another thing to keep this skint girl entertained! Oh! I'll try and get a photo up of the most ridiculous wedding dress I saw in a local shop. It's somethin' else!

Thing

Slummin' it, Jessie-Style.
Or to put it more romanticly, Guide to La vie Boheme in October, location: Barcelona.

Xampanaria (don't know if I'm spelling it right). But this place (like I said in the last blog) is aweessoome. With less than 5 euros in your pocket, you can get stuffed and totally obliterated on cava and greasy, cheesy, meaty amazingness. So if sticking to drinking at home is getting old, get your friends and go to Xampanaria in Barceloneta. For, it seems like most Spaniards prefer to go out rather than entertain in their tiny apartments. So this place is always packed!
Lots of fun to be had here.




And if you're like me, a good afternoon for you is spent doing almost nothing. I personally don't get tired of doing nothing in particular, as long as I'm not confined to my apartment. So sit in the MACBA courtyard and watch these (often sweaty yet pretty) skaters show off. They are also providing me with a lot of inspiration for sketches. yay! another free thing to do!


May not be the most economic activity (since you should pay about 6-12 euros for a beverage), but this little oasis my friend told me about is fantastic! At the top of this hotel, is a lovely little pool with views of the entire city. When it's sunny and warm, it's perfect to work on a journal entry or a tan up there without the noise and filth that common folk normally produce on the beach. Quite a glamourous afternoon in Raval. Also, a very good place to meet rich people that can give you money and support your artistic genius! ha!


(that's me sipping a huge beer next to the pool, and the other photo underneath is of one of the views from that roof! cool eh!?)

So yes, being unemployed again will be tough. Especially if you have friends who can afford the lifestyle of shopping, going out and drinking every night. They are all generous and lovely people, but I don't enjoy being a moocher, so it's difficult to get them to understand that the reason for me not coming out is not because I don't like them, but I just can't afford it! And getting another well paying job at this point just won't really work. It isn't fair for the employer, since I'm leaving in... A MONTH TODAY! (shit. it's really only a month now.)
But it will be an interesting challenge to try and make my last bits of cash last until the end of the month (when I am leaving).

Anyone wanna buy a painting/drawing?? :) check out the latest goods: jessiemcneil.blogspot.com (will post up more soon)

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About Me

My photo
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
No, I didn't come to Barcelona because of THAT movie. (although it did fuel my obsession with this city, slightly). First time living away from home, away from Canada... Thinking it's gonna be an adventure. I want to share my ups and downs with you during my European get away, so enjoy. :)