Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Rambles

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER!

Monday was my last exam- math. I thought it was going well, and that I knew most of the stuff until I had finished and had to go back through the questions that I skipped- which was a good 30% of the questions. I then realized that I didn't know as much as I had thought. But that's alright, we are now officially done grade 10. Report cards are here; yearbooks are signed- until September, see you Seycove!

I'm not sure that I enjoy the feeling of waking up and having no set schedule. I love sleeping in, but once you realize that half your day is gone the thrill suddenly disappears. It's been great to spend time with friends though, and you could not even understand how happy I was that we watched the Lizzy McGuire Movie, my favourite childhood movie. Some might say it's sad that we can sing along to most of the songs, but really, every girl had those songs memorized at one point or another. And besides, they're good feel-good songs!

Now that I have so much time on my hands, it's time to look for a summer job. It's time to finally start reading some of the books that I've been meaning to read for ages, and go through my list of must-see movies. First on the list- Sicko and Patch Adams.

Friday, June 25, 2010

G8 and G20

After just being hit by a minor earthquake, today is the day the world watches Toronto. Today marks the start of the G8 and G20 summits. From today, until Sunday, 20 of the worlds most powerful individuals are gathering to discuss critical issues. Here are some of the topics on this weekends' agenda.

  • Maternal Health
  • Child Health
  • Climate Change
  • Haiti

Some interesting G20 tweets I've stumbled upon:

  • Now that the leaders have arrived, there seems to be fewer cops patrolling the downtown area. Maybe they've all gone to the security fence to try and catch a glimpse of Obama.
  • Asked police "What is success to you?" Answer: "Ensuring you get to protest and go home safe." 
  • Whispers of a surprise visit by U.S. President Barack began circulating but Obama disappoints the with no walkabout

  • Toronto businesses suffering customer drought during G20 summit
I love what social media is doing to the summits. I much prefer scrolling through Twitter to find what I want to see rather than watching half an hour of news to see a 2 minute clip of the topics of my interest. This way I can take a look at what I want to and skip through the rest.

I also find it a little ironic that these summits are here to try to solve world issues and if you look at the big picture they really are to try to create world peace, yet there are anticipations of massive riots through the streets of Toronto. There are thousands of protesters who have migrated to Toronto to support their various causes from animal cruelty, environmentalism, women's rights, the BP oil spills and gay rights. I do recall only a few days ago reading a tweet  that said "I would not be surprised if Toronto was in flames by the end of this weekend".
    So far in Toronto:  
  • A 37-year-old Toronto man was charged for carrying explosives thought be part of a plot to bomb the G20 summit 
  • A 53 year old man arrested in G20 traffic zone with possession of a chainsaw
  • The wife of a Toronto man charged with possessing an explosive device is now being charged with similar offences
  • A young was arrested while exploring the G20 perimeter with his friend, when they were stopped by police who told them he was going to have to place them under arrest if they didn't show identification


It makes me sad to think of all the good that's trying to be done here, but not without all this bad trying ever so hard to get in the way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day in the Park

The sun is shining, the air is warm and the grass is green. Today was the first day where I felt like summer has really arrived.

It as a lovely day at the park with Emily who I've missed so much! We were having a picnic, with the two of us and about 40 grade ones. I love kids, and watching them laughing and playing for hours on end without ever getting tired brings me great joy.

It was awesome to see Em again, how I love her! As we played with the kids in the park and played parachute, we caught up on the months of time it's been since we last saw each other. We even painted the kids' faces and they decided to do the same to us...


See that brilliant smile of Emily's? This is why I love her. It was so refreshing to catch up. We spent every day together during the Olympics, and then for almost 2 months; nothing. We relived Olympic memories, shared travel stories, school stories and just tidbits of our everyday life. Now we need to plan to meet with the rest of the Students Live crew before everyone heads out to see the world.

Having all the mothers at the park watching their children and socializing with the other moms reminded me how I can't wait to have children. A nice large family, with 4 kids, at least. But who knows, plans do change.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3, 2, 1, Blastoff

One provincial down, 2 to go.

English was easy. Now I have science and math, my 2 hardest subjects. I cringe at the thought, but then just think, after those 6 hours of torture, I will be free for the summer. Sleep in as late as you please, do whatever you want with no set schedule. I love the thought!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I semi-enjoyed the English provincial today. As I was writing I could vividly see how much I've improved this year and it showed me what I was capable of doing. Usually the essay questions are on a set subject and leave no room for creativity, but this essay question was very broad and you could do whatever you wanted with it. I found myself talking about a camping adventure, 16 and pregnant and the Dalai Lama.

I wasn't too worried about English to begin with, but it was easier than I was anticipating. Lets hope math and science are just as easy- I am not expecting it.   

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sailing the World

I wish I knew how to sail. I've always lived near the ocean, and I love spending my summer days sitting by the sea or swimming in the waters.

Out at sea, it's a whole different world.
Here is a story of a girl my age sailing around the world. Alone. I greatly envy this girl- although I don't know if I could sail alone for that long, I might go a little crazy. Truly a remarkable story. 

 http://www.abbysunderland.com/ 

Abby comes from a family of seven kids. Zac, her older brother once held the record of youngest person to circumnavigate the world. This is the record Abby is out to beat- although not in hopes of competing with her brother (it has already been beaten since Zac).

Inside of Abby, a passion burns.

"I had begun to think that dreams are meant to be no more than dreams and that in reality dreams don't come true. Then my brother (Zac) left on his trip. It was amazing to see all the support that he got from around the world and to see how everyone worked together to help make his dream reality. Watching him do this really made me believe that I could too."

A Learning Revolution

I spent my morning in the BCELC office where we were having discussions for the Ministry of Education. We talked about learning outside of school, 21st Century learning, what we would like to see the school system looking like and how we learn best. It was an interesting morning of reflecting and generating new ideas. I was planning on blogging about my thoughts from this morning, but it's just too much. I wouldn't know where to start and what to cover. Give me a few nights to sleep on it.

For the next little while, I took a break from studying for provincials and I just wandered around town. Here's some of the things I saw:

 I love this place!

Where is the logic in that?

An interesting article in The Province this morning:
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Full+kindergarten+full+know+what/3180723/story.html

Having spent a weekend at "BC Student Voice" a few months ago, we were given the opportunity to speak with The Honourable Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Education. My absolute favourite comment given was from a grade 11 boy from the Queen Charlotte Islands- or as of a few days ago, now known as Haida Guaii. We were on the topic of full day kindergarten, and he stated how your early childhood is the time when you grow bonds with your family. The way him and his mother bonded was by going out on their fishing boat or to the beach every morning before kindergarten. He said how that was his most vivid memory from his childhood. He couldn't remember a thing about kindergarten; he doesn't have fond memories of playing with friends at school, but only of the time he spent with his mother at the beach or on the ocean. He said how if you're in kindergarten all day and then come home after school, you're whole family is then home. That leaves you no one-on-one time with you and your parents to build strong relationships which are the basis to learning how to socialize, which is by far the number one most important life skill. And as you get older, the most important people in your life is your parents, and it is so important that you have strong bonds with them, which must start at a young age.

On another note, I spent many hours of one Tuesday night sitting in the North Vancouver School District board office listening to the District Superintendent and the School Board Trusties at the board meeting where they were finalizing the budget plan. As I sat there watching the future of mine and classmates' education going down the drain, I was doing everything in my power to not get up and point out the fact that they're cutting $1.5 million from teacher salaries and $300, 000 from classroom supplies and utilities, and we're so desperate that they have to add an extra week onto spring break just to save a little money. I thought of the fact that we are needing to close down entire schools because of the budget, yet somehow they believe that somewhere in that budget shortfall there is still money to be spent on implementing full-day kindergarten. I don't quite see the logic in this situation.

As my friend of the Queen Charlotte Islands pointed out, at an age that young most of your learning is done outside of the classroom; not from listening to a teacher lecture but the real world things. Now if this is true then why is the school district spending the very little money we have on full-day kindergarten that is so unnecessary?

The answer; we might never know.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rain, Shine, Zombies?

I'm back from my crazy weekend just south of the boarder in Everett, Washington.

My team played some great ball; we saw some amazing pitchers, tight defense, and fabulous hitting. The scored might not have proven it, but we played quite well too. We could work on our hitting an defense, but that was what this weekend was for; to learn. A little bit of work needs to be done before we head to Provincials, but considering we were a house team playing rep, I was quite proud. And most importantly, we had fun! We even managed to convince one of the umps that in Canada we play with a mulligan rule.

We saw some sun, some rain and quite a lot of zombies. You're probably confused, I was too. When we arrived at the Holiday Inn where we were staying, we were greeted by dozens of scary looking creatures. For a moment I thought I had gone crazy and it was really October 31st, but as we got into the lobby we saw that it was just Crypticon 2010, an Annual Horror Convention. Of course we are staying in the exact hotel the exact nights this is going on, but I can't complain it did make for some entertainment. Never have I seen so many goth looking people gathered together. Apparently there were celebrities who have played scary roles in horror movies there to sign autographs. There were costume contests, evil Satan shows, dance nights, art shows, fetish fashion shows, and horror film showings.

It was by far the most interesting hotel experience I have ever had, and I can tell you one thing, I was not riding no elevator alone. There were children in the elevator screaming in terror, poor kids show up for their cousins graduation and have nightmares for life.

On a lighter note, HAPPY FATHERS DAY! I had just spent the entire weekend with my dad, but when we got home the whole family went out for dinner, minus Derek because he had to work.
Being the family favourite we were hoping to go to Antons for some good old pasta but as we drove by the line-up was down the street so we decided to try something else. Mom thought the "Poor Italian" was a good idea, we all agreed but as we drove near, it seemed to be shut down. Next we thought we'd go to the Italian Cultural Center, notice a theme here? And third time was lucky! As we were walking into the restaurant we saw a bunch of people Italian dancing, whatever that is. We had a lovely dinner of authentic Italian food, and they didn't even have pizza. Minus Derek it was a wonderful family dinner for Daddy, he deserves a dinner in his honor, more than once a year too. Love you Dad!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sleepy in Seattle



Right out the window I can see the Space Needle, a gorgeous sight it is. I am here in Seattle, but not quite like the saying goes, I am quite sleepy actually.


Dad and I just got back from the Mariners game. The home team came out with a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. We were sitting on the right field side and got to see Ichiro make some amazing catches. He's always mt favourite batter too!



We got to see the Victoria native Michael Saunders play again. Last season we saw him playing his first ever MLB game. This year, on Mothers Day, Michael hit his very first MLB homerun!


I have been to a Mariners game every season for many years now, and I will say this was one of the better games I've seen. Good pitchers, great defense! I'd like to thank my dad for making sure we make it to at least one Mariners game every season.

What I found interesting today was as we were making our way to our seats, the Star Spangled Banner was being played; my dad told me to stop walking, he says "they`re very patriotic here", so he must have received some dirty looks for even walking while the national anthem was being played.

Now it`s off to bed because tomorrow I play ball of my own.
Goodnight Seattle.

Today- Tomorrow

Today, I received the notice that I got into the 'Journalism and Communications' week for Encounters with Canada next year, I am more than a little excited! Word has it, previous groups got to have tea with the Governor General! That may no longer be Michaëlle Jean, but it is promise that something exciting is going to happen.


Tomorrow, I leave for Washington with my dad  for a Mariners game, and a softball tournament. Should be a great weekend, preparing for the real deal: Provincials in Salmo, B.C. Go Avalanche!

Then I shall return to study for my provincials. Don't you just love the thought of that? I'm ready to be free.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life in a Northern Town

It's songs like this that make me wish I lived in a rural town of only 300 somewhere in the frigid north of Canada.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good News, Bad News.

I was never the type of kid who would change the channel from cartoons to watch the news. But lately there is not much I would rather watch than the 6 o'clock news.

Today I turned on CBC and was a little taken aback. It's not that it was uninteresting, and in no means was it boring; but throughout the entire newscast I can't remember a single story of good news.

There were Vancouver teachers protesting the budget cuts, there was a story about a 20 year old East Vancouver man being treated for bullet wounds, a fist fight between a police officer and a pedestrian who was j-walking. There was a former judge who is being accused of assisted suicide, an investigation on the bombing of Air India flight 182, and even in sports there were people complaining about the Switzerland-Spain World Cup soccer upset. Now is it just me or is that a little shocking.

A whole hour of news, and not one pleasant story. It makes me wonder what kind of a world we live in; where everyday there is a new case of murder, rape or theft, and it's not very often that you find a story of triumph or contentment.

It has been proven that viewers are always more intrigued with the bad news, but don't you find it just slightly daunting. I know people always get more heated into the shocking murder cases and shootings, or the controversial politics, it gives people something to protest or fight about. But why is it that no one seems to talk about the good news; is it just not as interesting, or is it that the human race finds the horrible news more satisfying?

I hope that today was just a bad day in news and that this isn't a pattern for the future.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Swimming in Lightning..

I've always wanted to go swimming in a lightning storm.

Today I had just reached my destination before the lightning started. I was swimming with a bunch of my friends; we swam from this little beach down to the public dock in Deep Cove, which was quite a long swim. When we finally arrived at the dock and could relieve ourselves from the freezing water, it began to thunder, then lightning and then it down poured.

Here I am with 4 of my friends standing at the end of the dock in our bathing suits in a lightning storm. This created a slight problem: the only way back to our stuff which was now being rained on was by swimming back, or climbing this large hill. You couldn't imagine some of the looks we received running around in our bathing suits, trying to stay warm in the rain storm.

It was quite the adventure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Procrastination...

At the moment I am doing everything in my power to procrastinate my studying. It is now 11:30pm and my exam is tomorrow at 11am, I have not even opened my french book.

You know, I used to get so worked up about tests and assignments and I would do them well ahead of time, never this last minute thing that I am into now. I used to be so on top of everything, I was organized, I was keen on doing my absolute best, but I was probably a bit too panicky. Now, I still want to try my very best, and I am still responsible, but I just don't feel as on top of things and I leave everything to the last minute. I like that I am more relaxed now, but in some ways I wish I could have the drive I used to.

Just to waste time, I will share what I did on my first weekend out of school. And a beautiful weekend it was too!

On Saturday I spent my morning in the beautiful sunshine, but not on the beach or in the park like one might wish. I was in a garden tearing out blackberry bushes and knot-weed. Catching the Spirit was getting a start on the community garden. In the morning it looked like a junkyard of knot-weed and tall grass. It still looked quite like a junkyard when we were finished, but we did make progress. 5 hours of hard work and it looked like we barely put a dent in it, but it was a good start to the long project. Since so much work is going into this, the outcome will be so rewarding. Fresh fruit and vegetables from a garden which we made on a lot of what was once invasive species. It is going to be something to be proud of.

The rest of Saturday I had hoped on studying, but with no surprise I found myself on the couch watching some World Cup, or outside lounging in the sun.

Then I headed off to inline practice, my first of the year! It was weird to have an inline practice as normally we just play games, but it was a great chance to work on the basics such as stopping, which I learned I am not so good at.

I spent that night with my good friends at a movie: The A Team to be exact. From what I could tell it looked pretty good, but I would`t know I fell asleep. I don't know what it is, but I can never stay awake during movies.

Then it was Sunday morning, and I was off to softball practice where we're preparing to go to Provincials in July.

Next I was off to my field hockey game, my last one of the season. We got killed, but it was fun, and HOT. I think I only played 4 games all season, I can't believe how fast that went by.

Then last event of the day was my inline game. Our first playoff game. We almost had a full team out for once! I managed to get 2 penalty shots, and didn't score on either one. And I got a penalty myself.

Who would have guessed, but we did, team yellow won a game! Just when it mattered, we pulled it off. It was the first time I've seen us play as a team, make nice plays and passes. It was also the first time I've seen inline go in to overtime. But we won! Final score: 5-4. Bring on the round 2.

And now here I am, procrastinating my studies.
It was a great first weekend of summer holidays; well I guess not quite, we still have exams, but I don't seem too worried about those.
I am so excited for this summer!
I better be off and maybe open my french book at least once before this final.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Airplanes

You know that song that's in your head all day because it was the song on the radio that woke you up in the morning; and you lie there listening to the entire song becuase you don't want to get out of bed.

That was my day today.
And this was the song:



Now it's off to bed so I can wake up to a new song tomorrow.

Blueberries

I can tell it's almost summer because here I am eating my first batch of fresh blueberries; which by the way are high on my list of favourite fruits, right next to mangoes and raspberries. Anyways, they reminded my of a time not long ago as I sit gazing out the window of a taxi in California.

Earlier that day, my mom and I were talking about how Canadians in general seem more active than the Americans, this may not be true, but was just a conclusion we made from our observations. So as I gaze out the window, I saw a nice looking field full of some sort of fruit, as we got closer the sign read "You-pick Blueberries". I hadn't even said anything yet, and our taxi driver says.



"Those you-pick fruit places are a rip off, you pay to go out and do the work when you could get them for cheaper in a store."

I just thought to myself; most people I know would enjoy a nice summers day out in the field picking berries, and it's kind of neat to pick your own fruit, it probably makes them taste better'.



There's an American stereotype proven for you- or maybe it's just the taxi drivers that think that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clean Air Day

You are probably unaware, but today is Clean Air Day!

Lately I have been discussing the human impact on the environment a lot. It started with the training weekend for my Catching the Spirit peer leadering where we learned how to go "leave no trace camping", then the other day in my science class we watched "An Inconvenient Truth", and now today in social studies we learned about the logging industry's affects on the environment.

There is no doubt that this is a growing issue, and I love the fact that we are talking about it in schools and getting people aware. But it's one thing to discuss the issue, and another to take action. Since today is Clean Air Day, I would like to challenge everyone to make one decision today that will have a healthy impact on the environment. And just because today is Clean Air Day doesn't mean it should end today either.



Some interesting facts:

-Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel that restarting your engine and produces more air pollution.

-Driving at 100 km/h burns 10 per cent more fuel than driving at 90 km/h. On the highway, use cruise control to maintain a steady speed and reduce fuel consumption.

-One busload of passengers takes 40 vehicles off the road, saving 70,000 litres of fuel, 175 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and nine tonnes of pollutants per year.