Monday, May 23, 2011

a day for discoveries

This is my one hundredth post!

They say that you learn something new everyday.

Well today was full of discoveries and learning. I headed downtown with Heather, Deb and Donna. That is Trey's mother, grandmother and another lovely volunteer. We headed down Burrard St, going from business to business asking for auction donations for Once Upon A Cure. That in itself was a learning opportunity. Some people were amazingly friendly, and others were outright rude.

After approaching literally every business on the block- both sides- we headed to the Cactus Club for lunch. And this was where I really learned.

Deb has always amazed me. A wonderful mother to three young kids; one with a severe illness. Her passion and dedication to funding research for MPS-II is inspiring. You couldn't imagine the hours this woman puts into learning about this complicated disease, travelling to treatment centers, loving and nourishing her children, and organizing events that will result in the some of the only funds in the world going towards MPS-II research. I've only met Deb a few times, but I read her blog on a regular basis. And I think it's because of that, that I've been so drawn to her family. There is something about that family that is so appealing, I feel like I'm part of it. I hope one day that I can be half the mother that Deb is.

The real learning came when we starting talking about "unschooling"- the way Deb has chosen to educate her children. It's pretty much homeschooling, but with a few differences, and a much more modern name. I'm still not sure how the actual learning at home works, but she explained the things she didn't like about the traditional school systems, which really made sense to me. She explained how everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, yet at school it just so happens that if your strengths aren't in the academic subjects, you're viewed as "dumb". Deb didn't want that for her kids.

She also explained that school kills individuality. I one hundred percent agree. If you do not fall into the category of "social norm", you are ridiculed by your peers. But really, who wants to be ordinary...? That's boring.

This whole concept of "unschooling", really fascinated me. It gives you a new way of looking at education.

And then I learned from Heather; also an amazing mother. She used to be a elementary principal, and let me tell you, I can bet you she was well liked by her students. She has the kindest and most nourishing nature. Heather and her husband spend half the year travelling. To Mexico, in their 5th wheel, or recently to South East Asia. They sound like the most amazing travelers. Always down for an adventure, and never afraid to try new things.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Sometimes I wish I could be young again; where my biggest worries were broken pencils and my ice cream falling off the cone.

There are some times where I actually do feel young again. Like tonight. I was babysitting 5 kids; which sounds chaotic, but it was really quite fun. I was playing cars with them, and for a while I felt like I was just one of them. Seven years old again.

Then we watched a movie. I had forgotten how great children's movies are. With the quality of TVs and movies these days, I forgot how good Dream Works Animation and Pixar movies. Monsters, INC was the choice of the night. Re-watching it, quite some years later gives you a whole new outlook on the story. And it really is a great one.

Then I looked through their box of movies... Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, The Bee Movie, Finding Nemo. And the entire box was filled with my favourites.

Maybe I still am a kid after all?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Season at CtS

Campfire songs, group hugs, nature walks, team building activities and the "C-Rivz Crew". I can confidently say this was the best weekend I've had in a long time.

It was Catching the Spirit's overnight leadership training. Amazing enough, Capilano River was hosting this year. All week at school, all I could think about was how excited I was to head back to that place I love so much. That place I spent much of my summer at last year. That place loaded with memories. And that place where I will see many, much loved, familiar faces.

It's easy to forget how beautiful our surroundings are here in North Vancouver, and in fact all of BC. It's easy to take it for granted when we're so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives. But this weekend, as I took a short time off from that life, I actually had time to sit down and appreciate the amazing forests we have here on the west coast.

Sitting in the middle of a dense rain forest. In-taking the freshness of the air. Listening to the soothing sound of the flowing river. Touching the bark of those marvelously tall trees. Gazing up at those branches with green leaves that creates the roof of our forests. I can hardly describe how much I love that place.

And I haven't even mentioned the people. We arrived to our supervisors dressed in capes, cowboy hats, Buzz Lightyear overalls, sailor caps and nickname's like "Big Bad Bren." At campfire, we learned a song that you can sing whenever you're thankful of something, and it goes a little like this
Someone: "(Insert memory here) and I'm glad."
Rest of the group: "So glad about it."
Someone: "I laughed really hard today, and I'm glad."
Rest of group: "So glad about it. Oohohoh, I'm so glad to be here." (In a deep baritone voice)

The line "Laughed really hard today" resonated with everyone. From the hilarious improv to the spontaneous accents, there sure are some characters at CtS.

With only spending 27 hours together, we sure got pretty close. I don't even recall how I first heard of Catching the Spirit, but I can't express enough how grateful I am that I am involved in the greatest environmental stewardship program there is in Metro Vancouver- and probably the world!

If this weekend was any indication, we're in for a good summer!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's a Small World

It's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

Written by: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

This was my favourite ride as a child. I made my Grandma ride it over and over again with me- she was a good sport!

Also, there have been many times in my life when this saying has proven to be true. Just last weekend I was playing in a softball tournament. We were in the final game, and I noticed that I recognized the first-baseman(or basewoman). I had met her at BC Student Voice a couple weekends before. I knew her name was Rachael, but as she made an out at first her teammates were calling her Lisa. Throughout the game as I stared at her trying to figure this out, and smiled and said hi, she just looked at me like I was crazy. I was pretty sure she would have remembered me.

Anyways, the game ended and we shook hands and I still couldn't figure it out. When I came home I looked her up on facebook, and told her that I could have sworn I played against her in softball. Turns out, she has a twin sister named Lisa. How's that for confusing? And, Rachel is also on that team, but she wasn't playing in that tournament because she's away in Ottawa at a program called "Adventures in Citizenship". And I figured out she's there with my good friend Ceilidh. What a small world.

Monday, May 2, 2011

History in the Making

It's been a HUGE week in politics.

Last night there was breaking news about the death of Osama Bin Laden. My mom just recently got an iPad, and I was showing her how awesome twitter is, and how to use it when I first learned of the news. Gotta love social media! I found it funny that the trending topic was #obamacaughtosama. Some people are just so clever.

The best tweet of the night:
"R.I.P Osama Bin Laden - World Hide And Go Seek Champion (2001 - 2011)"

There was a lot of talk about how long it took Obama to make his speech, with comments like "I hope Obama speaks before Osama rises from the dead." and "Maybe they need to find his death-certificate before the speech can be made."

Personally, I don't really agree with the way American politics are done. I'm referring to the fact that at the end of Obama's speech he makes references to God, and ends with the final line "God bless America." Politics should not have anything to do with religion. And although the President has made it clear many times that he refers to a non-denominational "god", it still doesn't seem right. What about those atheists out there?

And back to Canada, today was #elxn41 - also a trending topic on twitter!

When I asked my mom who she voted for and she replied that that was confidential, not only did I immediately know who she voted for (not my favourite choice). But I also began to explain my theory on communication. I don't think who you vote for should be confidential at all. If you're afraid to say who you're supporting then what is that saying about them... and even faith in them?

I believe a lot of the world's problems stem from miscommunication. If we don't communicate effectively with one-another, that's when bad things start to happen. We need to talk about politics. We need to listen to each other and we need share our thoughts and opinions with one another.

And this is the reason why I love social media so much- especially twitter! There was so much conversation today and this evening regarding the election that #cdnpoli became a trending topic. It's all about the power of knowledge.

Coincidentally enough, today in Socials 11 we were studying "Trudeau's Foreign Policy". Whether you're a fan, or not, nobody can argue that Trudeau was probably the most influential Prime Minister to date, and he has shaped Canada as it is today. We then got talking about Justin Trudeau; how he taught in Vancouver, and that he's now a politician in Quebec. My socials teacher told us that he's been predicting for a while now that within the next few years, Justin Trudeau will become the leader of the Liberals, and he might be able to help restore the Liberal Party.

Poor Iggy, didn't even win his own riding. After tonight, I think he might just be right! I LOVE school when it's relevant and I can relate it to the real world.

Although I'm not exactly happy with the election results, and the fact that Harper has full control really scares me. But I am really glad that I was old enough to understand what's going on this time around.

Many historic things happened tonight. My personal favourite was the Green Party winning a seat in Ottawa. When Elizabeth May was asked about what kind of a difference one seat can make, she replied "Just watch me."

Next was the rise of the NDP. As a friend of mine put it "Orange Crush! Orange Crush!". Who would have thought? The swap from baby blue to orange in Quebec was unreal.

The fall of the Liberals was shocking too. 34 seats compared to 77 in 2008. Can I hear a Justin?

And after winning an astonishingly low 4 seats compared to 49 in 2008, Gilles Duceppe has resigned, and the future of the separatist party, the Bloc Quebecois remains uncertain.

Does it make any sense that 60% of voters voted left wing, yet we end up with a right wing majority? Not to me.

Whoever said Canadian politics were boring... tonight you were proven wrong!