World Cup Fever in Spain!

Nicole and I cheering on "La Roja" in one of their early world cup games.

How lucky was I to have lived in Spain the one year they make it all the way to the finals and win the world cup? I suppose some would consider it unlucky, with all the swarms of loud fans, honking car horns, and traffic caused by the games, however as a foreigner from Canada, where nothing exciting like the world cup ever happens, I was thrilled to be a part of the action!

Even though I had never sat down and watched a soccer game from start to end (shocking, no?), I found myself watching every single Spanish world cup game and even dressed up and supported “la roja” like a true Spaniard. Alicante was a truly exciting place to watch the game, where everyone rushed to the bars an hour before the game started to secure seats in front of the many new HD big-screen TVs bought just in time for the games, and sat outside cheering, drinking beer, and having a good time.

For the final game, I wound up in Toledo. After a disappointing first period watching the game in an almost-empty bar, my family and I rushed to the “plaza de toros” (the bull-fighting ring) where the action was at. The plaza was completely filled with people, all sporting the colours of Spain. It was as if everyone in that arena was linked emotionally; we all cheered, boo-ed, shouted, and screamed at the same time as Spain fought their way to become world champions for the first time in the history of the world cup.

Here are some pictures and videos to give you a taste of what it means to be Spanish and support the national football team!

[zenphotopress album=17 sort=random number=12]

WordPress 3.0 Installed

WordPress 3.0 has finally been released, and is now installed on I’m not sure what happened, but the automatic update knocked out my website and I am now going through the painful process of restoring everything.

(Obvious) Lessons (re-)learned:

  • Always back-up your files!! It’s as easy as making a tar.gz archive of your wordpress directory and a simple backup of your MySQL database.
  • Remember to disable all your plug-ins first (this may have caused my crash).
  • Put your site into maintenance mode before updating.

I could not get anything to work properly, so I just ended up installing a fresh copy of wordpress and am now transferring all my files to the new installation.

Oh well, you live you learn..

The reason I updated WordPress was so that I can start attacking my back-log of unwritten posts! Here’s my checklist:

  • Trip to Florence, Pisa, Siena (May 28-30)
  • The Curious Incident of the Angry Algerian with Two Knives in the Night-Time (June 3)
  • Trip to Malta (June 11-12)
  • Trip to Rome  (June 18-20)
  • Las Hogueras de San Juan de Alicante (June 21-24)

What else is new?

  • A big welcome to the new Canadian interns, Lucy Yin and Kasper Woiceshyn who have started working at CYPE Ingenieros in Alicante, Spain and are sharing the flat with us.
  • I bid farewell to by far the nicest and most fun room mates I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a flat with: Conni & Sebastian! (You can check out their awesome blog here).
  • The amazing atmosphere we’ve had in Alicante these past few days due to the feast of St. John and the World Cup (Spain is still in the running!!)
  • My dear mother and brother are visiting a week from today. We’ll be two road-trips: Alicante-Granada/Motril/Trevelez-Toledo-Cuenca-Valencia AND Valencia-Barcelona-Madrid.
  • My Grandmother and cousin are visiting at the end of the month for a weekend.
  • I head to Malta for 10 days from August 7-17, followed by a visit to Finland from August 18-22 and Gothenburg City, Sweden from August 28-29.

Stay tuned for the promised posts! Now that I’m on half-day summer schedule I have time to catch up 😀

Raphael Sammut is running for EngSci Club Chair!

If you haven’t heard already, I’m running for EngSci Club Chair next year!

View my Facebook group, comment on this post (ask me questions), and vote in the EngSci Club Elections this Friday in the Common Room (if you’re on PEY, you can vote by e-mail).
Here’s what I’ve done:

  • EngSci Class Rep (twice)
  • Former Director of Communications for the EngSci Club
  • UTEK/OEC/CEC Champion for Engineering Communications
  • EngSci Leadership Working Group
  • Head F!rosh Leader and F!rosh Week Chair for Leadership Development
  • Faculty Representative for the National Engineering Summit
  • TA for Praxis I & II

Here’s what I bring to the table:

  • Strong relationships with key university administrators, professors and option chairs from the Division of EngSci as well as the Faculty of Engineering.
  • Loads of experience running and planning club events
  • Excellent leadership and communication skills
  • Enthusiasm, Creativity, and Spirit!
  • Fresh Ideas (see below)

Here’s what I will do for the EngSci Club next year:

  • Set Office Hours for Exec Members to be available in the Club Office
  • New Events to enhance the student experience for EngScis
  • Scheduling to ensure the Pop Machine is always full
  • Better collaboration with EngSci Student Groups including NScientia, the Leadership Working Group, and NSight
  • Creating new opportunities for student input and involvement on club decisions

IN SHORT: A more active, more fun, and more accessible EngSci Club!

Here are my posters, which have already been posted in the EngSci student space:

Mandarin's Free Canada Day Buffet

In celebration of Canada Day along with Mandarin’s 30th anniversary in Canada, all 21 Mandarin restaurants in Ontario offered a complimentary buffet for Canadian citizens. This promotion occurs once every 5 years, and needless to say, is extremely popular since a typical meal at Mandarin is $16.99 + tax + tip for lunch, and as high as $23.99 + tax + tip for dinner.

My family, always ready for a free meal, not to mention one of such high value, arrived at the Burlington Mandarin at 11:15 am not expecting anything too crazy since the first seating was at noon. Upon arrival, we discovered a good 400 people in line outside the restaurant that snaked its way along the entire plaza and onto the sidewalk of the adjacent street. Despite the size of the line, we braved the 4 hour wait to get inside, and enjoyed an amazing meal. Mandarin went above and beyond by even handing out complimentary water bottles to all those waiting in the hot, sun-baked parking lot, along with miniature Canadian flags with which to celebrate Canada Day.

Thank you Mandarin for your incredible generosity! It is no small feat to feed the tens of thousands of hungry Canadians that showed up at all your locations, and you handled the event with great kindness and patience.