Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fill In

Life's been crazy, which is why you haven't heard from me.

I've been busy at school.
Hockey's started, soccer's started, field hockey's started.
I'm still trying to come up with a great story idea for my CBC News Day Audition this week.
I'm writing for The Espresso Press, which launches this weekend, so articles need to be created.
I've been working on this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPIrUm_Btrc

To fill you in on the weekend, we had the Vancouver (MOB)ilizers kick-off. Looks like a great group of youth, and it's going to be a fabulous year of social change. I'm counting down the days until WE DAY. (15!)

I helped at Walk for Smiles where we raised $20 000 for the Starlight Foundation work with experts from pediatric health care, technology, and entertainment to create programs that educate and entertain children with serious illnesses.

Next on the agenda was BC Rivers Day; a international festival (World Rivers Day) to celebrate and educate ourselves on the importance of rivers, and how to conserve them.

And of course, to the CBC broadcast centre for a great journalism workshop, where we met some big name reporters. I am more than excited to audition this weekend!

What a great weekend! And I even managed to get almost everywhere by bus, from UBC at 6am to Granville Island, I'm getting pretty good at this independence stuff!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday.

Wednesday; the half-way point.

To be honest, I'm really enjoying school so far- but that could very well change once tests, projects and homework begin to pile up.

Today, in socials we read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and then discussed issues such as the time when a BC baby was in need of a blood transfusion, but the parents wouldn't allow it because was against their religion. We discussed our views on the situation; backed up by the Charter we have the freedom of religion, but everyone also has the right to life, so here's a dilemma. Myself, being a very non-religious person thinks it's ridiculous to even consider religion over life, but after some good discussion I was convinced that religion is a powerful thing for some people and even if it comes to life-changing decisions they will not go against their faith. I have come to realize that as crazy as it may sound to an outsider, you have to remember that this is how they have been brought up, and it is something that is we have to be open-minded and tolerant about.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Charity Water

Yesterday, I ventured to Gastown for lunch with a few of the most amazing youth in Vancouver. I hadn't seen these girls for a long time, so we had much to catch up on. Emily had been in Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and Austria this summer, and is now fundraising to go to India next summer with Free the Children. Michelle has been to Turkey this summer with the World Youth Congress- as the youngest delegate there. How cool? And Dharra has started a exciting new chapter of her life- University. She's at SFU studying the arts, and loving it. When I gather with this group of powerful, motivated ladies, I feel like there's hope for our future, like anything is possible. If only every youth could be as involved and as passionate as these girls.

Now here's a video that caught my eye!


If you look on the right hand side of my blog, you'll find a Charity Water widget, you can take a few moments out of your privileged life and be part of something huge!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fast Life

Have you ever felt like your life is playing in fast forward and you're sprinting just to keep up. September is always like that for me. And now that I think about it, the entire year is probably like that, but you get used to it and tend to not notice as much.

Yesterday, I got home from school, I hung out with my friends which I don't get to see nearly enough, I went to band, I ran home, got changed and ran off to soccer. After I showered, I checked my emails. I was flooded with emails about helping out at Walk for Smiles, our (MOB)ilizers kick-off event, a volunteer appreciation night, a reminder to sign up for Outdoor School and a recruitment for volunteers at BC Rivers Day. I looked at my calendar to see how much of this I can possibly squeeze in; and then there were the replies, "Yes, I would love to help out, but I might be there slightly late as I'll be running there from another commitment. Is that alright?" After it's all done, I look at all my orange highlighted events on the calendar and wonder how I'm going to do it all.

It's funny because I really don't enjoy reading Shakespeare's work, and today my English teacher said something to us that I thought was golden:

In today's society, life flies by at a hundred miles per hour. Shakespeare wrote in a time when life was much simpler, so in order to really understand the beauty and the plot of Shakespeare's work you need to put your life on pause, and focus souly on the story.

As much as I struggle to enjoy Shakespeare, I do think that what she was saying applies to any writing. And I believe that's why I enjoy to read and write. It's one of the only opportunities I get to calm down and leave reality behind for just a short while.

This picture is the definition of slowing down for a few moments, and taking the time to relax.

Many people are complaining about these hour and twenty minute classes, and I will admit; I'm not a huge fan. There's no way a teenager can focus for 80 minutes with no break. But I can tell you that when it comes to Spring Break and we are off for 2 whole weeks, I'm sure it will all be worth it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The MOB

"Social Justice isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle."

"Our purpose is to be a megaphone for the masses."


I'm excited to say that I got my official "Welcome to the Vancouver Mob" email today.



"Over the last five years, the Me to We philosophy has taken on a
life of its own. We’re seeing a grassroots movement rise from the
ground up, a movement of student activists who are fearlessly
taking on some of our world’s most pressing challenges."

"We are the idealistic, the dedicated and the dynamic. And we are the change we want to see in our world. We tackle serious issues together, because we are serious about our role in society. It's through our daily choices in what we say, buy and think that we not only support, but live the worldwide movement of WE."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

Exactly nine years ago today.

I can remember that morning, near the beginning of grade 2: I walked out of my room, my Mom telling me of the shocking news, being 7 years old I doubt I fully understood what was going on, but at school when my teacher brought it up, practically every single 7 year old student knew about the tragedy. I then realized that this was big news, and it was one that would go down in history.



Death toll- 2,996.

I can't help but cringe at the thought of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. It really makes you wonder what went wrong in the lives of these people that they felt they had to take the lives of so many innocent people. Can you imagine spending your life planning out a plot to kill thousands and thousands of people and yourself. How great would it make you feel when you've just accomplished your goal or taking the lives of thousands. What was wrong in the minds of these people?

I'm currently watching "Inside 9/11" a documentary telling about what went on that nobody saw coming and how people tried to stop the attacks. What really gets to me is the recorded calls from a passenger to their loved ones, "I don't know what's happening, but I just wanted to tell you that I love you." Can you imagine?

"We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us." - Osama bin Laden
What a sick, sick man.

A thought goes out to all the families and friends who lost loved ones nine years ago and to the victims themselves who didn't deserve to die.

We can only hope that a tragedy like this will never happen again. There is no need for it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reality Check

Well school was in full swing today, and there's already been homework thrown at us.

I think I've found my favourite course, and it's barely even started. Social Justice. In the first class we already got talking about Free the Children, Invisible Children, Rosa Parks, sweat shops, brothels, child trafficking and the Great March on Washington. We've already started sponsoring a 4 year old girl to put her through school, and we've already talked about field trips to see plays on the Holocaust and discrimination. I love the sounds of this.

Other than that, school is school. The sound of that bell, and the secretary on the PA speakers with our "morning announcements" really hit me with a wave of reality. I can't say I'm dreading this year at school, in fact I'm not at all. But 80 minute classes- those could kill me. 75 was long enough, and even with 60 minute classes kids have trouble focusing throughout the whole thing, so I can't understand what they think 80 minutes will do for us.

Anyhow, I have a feeling things are going to get busy very quickly, so don't expect frequent blog entries. Although what usually ends up happening is I will blog late into the night instead of doing homework- that proves my procrastination skills.

Monday, September 6, 2010

BC's Capital

Yesterday was a very nice, long day spent in our provinces Capital city. We were up at the crack of dawn for the 8 o'clock sailing and back on the 9pm one. It was a long day full of shopping, sightseeing, moving Derek into his new house, and cute little coffee shops.

Besides the Parliament buildings and the beautiful harbour I'd have to say my favourite thing about Victoria is it's cute little coffee shops, with abstract paintings hanging on the walls, the smell of fresh brewed coffee and such a welcoming atmosphere the minute you step in.

Here are some pictures from the west coast Capital:













This is the cute coffee shop that we had lunch in.


While we were downtown there was a Public Market taking place in China Town.



There was all the typical market-like stuff: jam, hats, scarves, local produce, blankets, puppets, jewelery and art work, but what I was excited to see was a tent called "Freeset"



Freeset is a fair trade business that "offers freedom through employment to women trapped in India's sex trade." This unique bag-making company's slogan is "In Business for Freedom" which I thought was a really powerful message. This company is not a business to make a ton of money or to sell the best products, but their main focus is to give women in India a job that doesn't include selling their bodies. Freeset hires women not for their sewing skills, but on the basis of their need for freedom. Included in this job are things unheard of in India such as health benefits, pension funds, literacy classes and day care for their children. And most importantly these women are given the opportunity to have a job they can be proud of, and have the right to freedom. Not only are these women being free of prostitution, but they are now making a very fair wage rather than 50 cents a day which is hardly enough for one simple meal.

This tent was probably the busiest in the whole market; not only were people in love with the bags, but everyone was gathered around to read about the business too. It brought a smile to my face to see all those people who truly do care.

Friday, September 3, 2010

School- Summer- Friends

This may sound crazy, but I will admit I'm excited for school to start. I don't want summer to end either, but I like having a routine to my day and being busy.

I was down at the school for the first time on Thursday to show the international students around. There was 40 of them from countries like Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Norway, Korea and Hong Kong. It was really neat to see so many different cultures and so many new faces immediately bonding together. I guess when you come to a different country not knowing a soul, you better be open to anything. As we sat there complaining that school starts ten minutes earlier and goes ten minutes later than last year, the Germans were telling us that back at home they start school at 7:30 and end at 6:00, so they were not complaining about this 8:30 to 3:00. It's a really gutsy move to come to a strange country that speaks a different language, and I was expecting them to be quite timid, but that was totally wrong.

I'm cramming in all those summer activities that soon will be out of reach. Yesterday, I went to Ambleside beach with some friends. We played some volleyball, soaked up the sun, and went swimming with the whales- just a few days earlier a grey whale was spotted at Ambleside.

And some exciting news: I got a call yesterday that I was selected to be a part of the PNE Youth council. And better yet, two of my friends were too, who I didn't even know applied. Taylor Quinn who's part of my Student Leadership Council, and was a fellow "reporter" during the Games, but with a different program. And Samaah Jaffer was a Students Live reporter with me. I'm so very excited to see both of them, this summer they've both been circling the globe. Taylor to Shad Valley in New Brunswick and then Kenya with Free the Children, and Samaah was in England and Iran. Both amazing people, I'm excited to see them and hear of their amazing travels. We're having lunch with the president on Monday- president of the PNE that is. I'm looking forward to this year!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tibet. Canoes. Circus.

What a great day!

To start off the day I watched the end of the movie that I had fallen asleep during the night before (which is a bad habit of mine). Anyways, it was "Seven Years in Tibet" a 1997 movie with Brad Pitt. It's the true story of an Austrian mountain climber who is climbing the Himalayan mountains when the war breaks out; he's placed in a prisoner-of-war camp and eventually escapes to Tibet where he becomes friends with the Dalai Lama. GREAT MOVIE! I learned so much about Tibetan culture and about the Dalai Lama- who knew the Dalai Lama could be a teenager? And in Tibet, they believe that any living creature could have been your mother in it's past life which is why they treat every living thing with great respect.



For the past few days my lovely friend Jessica has been staying with us; it's not often we get to see eachother, but when we do, we have fun! Today we decided to go on a canoeing adventure, and so the newly repaired canoe hit the top of the van and into the water. We paddled from North Van all the way to Coquitlam- that sounds quite impressive, but to be completely honest it was less than half an hour paddle. How lovely it was to be out on the calm waters. And it must have been jellyfish season because wherever you looked there were endless layers of jellyfish beneath the boat. Thousands and thousands like I've never seen before, and a giant red one, dead on the beach. With the sun shimmering off the water, it was just gorgeous! There's no way I'd rather spend the last few days of my summer.

Then we went for a family dinner in Yaletown; Derek's heading back to Victoria for year 2 of University soon, so it was somewhat of a farewell dinner. And it was just so convenient that from there we could walk straight to the circus tents for Cirque de Soleil- the much anticipated entertainment for the evening. AND IT WAS FANTASTIC! I can't even explain to you the precision of every move, the strength, the balance, the flexibility and the coordination of every single performer. The amount of rehearsal time that must go into the show is unreal, but the outcome was mind blowing.