Category Archives: Life

My interesting, eventful, fun life.

5 things I learned from the pandemic

  1. You can’t take anything for granted.
    There was a time when sitting down for a morning coffee at the local cafe, dancing in the night with friends in crowded rooms, and planning travel to distant destinations were common things for a young person to do. Then it became common trying to recognizing people just from their eyes and hair, swerving from oncoming foot traffic to maintain a six foot distance, looking forward to grocery runs as they were one of the activities that changed the least. In one swift email back in March 2020, we were told the university would be closing and that all activities would resume online, including graduation. Fast forward one year and it has become a privilege to go on neighbourhood walks and to have a job that can be done remotely. Just like life, circumstances and things can be taken away at any moment, so the optimal mindset is to always expect change, while being grateful for all the little things.

  2. It’s ok to chill out.
    There is only so much to do when stuck at home, and it can easily feel like not much is getting done when each day feels relatively the same. But I have realized that busyness does not equal productivity. On the contrary, to use time and energy the most efficiently during work hours requires amounts of resting hours as well. Silence and boredom give space to think and reflect on motivations and perspective, allowing for a fresh outlook and newfound creativity to inspire further work. Even though I have an itch to continually achieve and do, I am trying to also be ok with waiting for regular activities to return and enjoy the down time while it lasts!

  3. I’m more extraverted than I thought.
    Thank goodness for video calls and the internet – imagine the isolation everyone would have felt even more of without them. I always thought I was more introverted, content with staying at home and entertaining myself, until I realized I was going on walks not just for exercise, but to just be around people. Social belonging is a huge factor in happiness and stress reduction, so it is easy to feel down through lockdowns. Although in some ways I have found technology has made connecting with others more convenient, seeing faces being turned on and off the screen and hearing distorted voices due to bad wi-fi just isn’t the same. And hugs! Weird to have to change greetings keeping a six-foot distance. I wonder if handshakes will become obsolete?

  4. Creating is important for the soul.
    What quarantine hobby did you take up? I remember when lockdowns started in Canada, people were baking, painting, crocheting, singing, cleaning – and many still are today. I believe that every person is a creator in one form or another, with an innate drive to make something, anything – art, food, music, space… Despite being very excited to graduate, I ended up taking a UX course for fun to learn about the process of designing digital interfaces. And after feeling the vacancy lockdown after lockdown I decided to revive this blog which has been fun so far.

  5. Don’t have too much faith in the government.
    Pretty self-explanatory. How ill-prepared the majority of governments of the world were to handle this crisis has made me very doubtful of their efficacy and competence. It makes me wonder about how future problems especially those stemming from environmental damage and global warming will be handled, if at all.

Not to end on a negative note, I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and finding the silver lining of the pandemic situation wherever you may be. It has been a difficult year affecting everybody in different ways, and I recognize I am very fortunate to be able to take this time to learn new things and reflect on the important things in life.

(Art by maureenkat on Redbubble.com)

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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5 years later… hello world!

My last post was from November 2015. How things have developed since then. Between graduating from two universities, accompanied by two career changes, and the global pandemonium that is currently affecting all of us – a lot has changed.

It has taken me a while to gather the desire and motivation to read or write again after being stuck in textbooks and scientific papers during my most recent degree. Since my last post I have transitioned from professional ballet dancer, to brain scientist, to dance teacher and choreographer. I have updated my About page in case you were wondering how this happened.

This past year especially has been a lesson in patience and adaptability. It has been and is a waiting game for things to become normal, if that normal can even exist again. Nothing is guaranteed but change, and that has really affected the way I think about my life plans and goals. I have decided to restart publishing on this blog because 1) life is apparently too interesting to not document (in general, not during lockdown right now), 2) it gives me the selfish benefits of organizing and saving my thoughts, and 3) if by any chance my words here can add to someone’s life in any way, then why not! (And if not, then there is somehow a weird comfort in sending these words out into space anyway.)

And so, hello world!

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What’s up

My blogging has been so inconsistent this year which I blame on the high stresses and demands of grade 12, and I would like a chance to explain myself to the few (you know who you are!) who have been so encouraging about my writing and whose responses bring a smile to my face on a weekly basis. So here are the happenings of my current life:

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The booklets they send make you feel accomplished, haha.

I applied to five Canadian universities and received acceptances for Life Science at the University of Guelph, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo (co-op) and Health Sciences at McMaster University. I picked a general undergrad program because I know I love science and biology but still want to explore and discover in what field I will find my calling. In the end it came down to UofT or Mac, as I got into quite prestigious programs. The VicOne Stowe-Gullen stream is a first year foundational program for biological sciences integrated with art study in philosophy, literature, statistics, etc. and accepts around 20 students per year. Health Science at Mac accepts around 150 students and is closely linked to the medical school. It was a difficult decision but I decided I am not sure I wanted to streamline my studies to medical school so soon and accepted UofT, who also gave me a full scholarship for my first year of study there. However, future planning doesn’t end here as I am deferring this offer for…

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In case you didn't know how awesome it is. Photo clearly stolen from Nancy's instagram.

Ballet. You can study for a long time, but your body is only young once. I had to face the fact that if I did not pursue ballet NOW, I would be giving it up as a professional career choice. The difficult thing about dance is that employment is unpredictable and there is no clear path for where your auditions will lead you and for how long you will continue dancing in one place. I decided I was not ready to sacrifice this art form that I love so much. Because I like foolproof plans, this decision was the most difficult I had ever had to make, maybe I will write more about these reflections as a twelfth grader in the future.

And there are final exams in a week! It will be Calculus and Vectors, Music, Advanced Functions, English, Biology, and Chemistry. With last lessons concluded just a few days ago, so studying and scrambling for these last few assignments will be very fun (they say optimism creates more optimism and I sure could not have too much of it at this point)!

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At least summer's finally here!

I am also part of an initiative to share dance to public audiences by creating a collaborative work of live art with a composer and visual artist, combining dance, music, and painting – all original stuff by young artists. It is happening next week and will be really cool!

There are also a bunch of events: grad brunch, school BBQ, council meetings, choir summer concerts, year end recital…

All leading to GRADUATION!!!
Which I have had absolutely no time to think about. I think when it rolls around the corner I’ll just be relieved everything is over and it will suddenly hit me that I am finished high school forever.

Wow.

Thanks for reading my absolutely narcissistic post of the year,
thebookybunhead

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Winter in April Playlist

23 songs for a white chill mood with a warm hot chocolate and happy heart. They never fail to put a smile on my face, happy easy listening:

Sous le Ciel de Paris – Jill Barber
Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel
Junk of the Heart – The Kooks
Baby It’s Cold Outside – any version
Benny and the Jets – Elton John
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Pick Me Up – Hollerado
The Girl from Ipanema – Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
For So Long – Andy Gibbs
The Golden Age – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Wouldn’t it Be Nice – The Beach Boys
Jammin – Bob Marley
September – Earth Wind and Fire
Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
Masque Nada – Sergio Mendes
Solace – Scott Joplin
Blackbird – The Beatles
Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
You And I – Ingrid Michaelson
Oxford Comma – Vampire Weekend
Go Outside – The Cults

Yes, the styles are completely jumbled. But I like variety when I’m listening to music. Inspired by “The Modern Philosopher”, who like most of Canada, is experiencing Christmas weather again, at a very wrong time. Let me know what you think if you decide to have a listen!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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How to Make a Big Green Smoothie

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Delicious! That cup is about the height of a hand, by the way.

So good, it can put a smile on your face when you wake up on an April morning greeted by snow. This is one of my favourite breakfasts, and actually, meal options if I’m craving something sweet. It’s packed with nutrients and fills you up, but not in the icky kind of way that a box of donuts does. For a fresh and healthy start to the day, and a sneaky serving of veggies, here’s how I make a BIG, green smoothie.

The fruits and veggies:
-1/2 avocado
-1/2 green apple
-Handful of baby spinach or kale or any other green leafy vegetable (you won’t taste it I promise!)
-1 kiwi(adds a bit of a sour zing to it)
-If you have a big appetite, you can also add 1/2 a banana, but note the high starch content)

Cut up into pieces that will easily blend.
The Protein:
-1 scoop of your favourite protein powder (I usually use either Sunwarrior Brown Rice Protein Blend or Vega Vanilla Protein Smoothie Mix) 

OR

This is another option that is more wholesome though the protein blends above are very good:
-1 tbsp. Shelled Hemp Hearts
-1 flat tspn. Ground flax meal
-1 tbsp. any nut butter (almond is my favourite, and you can use the coated spoon to eat the smoothie with for an extra treat)

The Blending Agent:
-A dash of milk, almond milk, soy milk, Kefir (liquid yogurt), etc.
– If you like your smoothies you can always add water as you wish, but I like mine thick and creamy, sort of like ice cream!

Extra  (metabolism boosters):
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tspn. Honey
1-2 tbsp. Coconut oil

The Final Step:
Throw it all in a blender and enjoy!
(We have a Magic Bullet so I can eat it straight from the cup after blending it.)

I know it might seem like a long list, but I’ve written A LOT of different options here that you can mix and match. I tell you, it is worth it, and these are just guidelines to help you tailor your own ultimate smoothie! Hope you like it and what do you like in your smoothies?

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Copenhagen: A Summer Exchange

Copyright thebookybunhead 2012

From the moment I stepped out of the airport, I knew that my second time in Europe as a professional ballet exchange student would be no less than wonderful. Everyone was very welcoming and even Copenhagen itself seemed to greet me with its warm colours and lively streets. The next two weeks would be spent dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet and exploring the sights and sounds of the city!

We had ballet classes in the morning, one with students of the school, and one with professional dancers of the company. It was nice to have the variety of levels and intensity every day, as well as to meet many great people. We also took some other classes such as repertoire and Pilates, with Bournonville being particularly fun as a trademark Danish style with its charming expression and agile steps. It was an inspiring and exciting experience to take company class and I admit it made me feel impatient that apprenticeship starts a year earlier there!

We watched company rehearsals, and though it was too early in the season to see a performance, we got a tour of the beautiful, golden, traditional theatre and saw excerpts of ballet pieces in an annual outdoor show that promoted the Det Kongelige Teatre. It became chilly after sunset, yet the audience of thousands stayed sitting on the grass wrapped in blankets until a standing ovation at the end of the night; it was a kind of cultural appreciation I was quite impressed with.

Throughout the afternoons walking the streets of Copenhagen, we discovered many parks, observatory towers, and pretty buildings, and realized it was impossible to walk a few minutes without snapping pictures of a cool fountain or statue. I had the chance to ride in a canal tour, go to two of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, look at art (including a Degas exhibition) in a couple of the many museums that offer free access, and just enjoy the street and night life.

I once read that Denmark was named the happiest country in the world, and I can say I easily believe it with the relaxed, “go-with-the-flow” atmosphere I felt during my stay. Everyone I met was so nice that I often forgot I was a foreigner, at least until Danish was spoken, which I found out has absolutely no resemblance to English. I was sad to leave but was looking forward to bring back everything I had learned to grow more as a dancer and a person in my final year at NBS! Between the ballet and the excursions with friends, I had a grand time in Copenhagen and hope to visit again someday.

So, this is part of why my summer was packed to write as much as I wanted. The first month of gr.12 has been so busy but I’m really hoping to get this blog up and active again.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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More summer culinary adventures

We spent a weekend up north at a friend’s cottage where we enjoyed a clear lake, beautiful view,  and of course, good food. Here are a few things we dished up :

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Stuffed and baked cheesy zucchini

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Good ol ‘ steak and potatoes

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Pizza and Caesar salad

Thanks for reading!
thebookybunhead

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Cooking day

Had tons of fun cooking with my family yesterday. Nothing like homecooked food with simple ingredients to put a smile on everyone’s faces!

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Coconut Baked Boston blue fish with mango salsa,  quinoa and chickpea lime salad,  and strawberry frozen yogurt.

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Brown rice edamame salad and baked kale chips.

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Sweet potato wedges.

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Seared sesame tuna.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I know I said that I was finally back after post -exam avoidance of reading and writing,  but it turns out summer is very busy, even with the end of summer school. I will most likely be posting photos during the rest of this month and returning to responses in words when time allows!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Brain Melt: Another update, sorry

https://i1.wp.com/distilleryimage1.s3.amazonaws.com/dc419a32e32a11e2b67922000aaa047d_7.jpg

Artist on the Toronto streets, putting his brilliant mind to work much unlike the author during this past week.

My mind has been on holiday for quite some time now, but with the beginning of summer school comes a rescheduling of life, and blogging shall once again be a part of daily, or at least, weekly, routine. At the end of exams and school I automatically went into brain dead mode and indulged in not doing anything that required reading, writing, or any amount of focus longer than 10 seconds. Yes, it was that bad. But now I’m back!

Not that I’ve been completely wasting time, either. We went to the Toronto Pride Parade and Canada’s Wonderland, I enjoyed two barbecues, and even got to spontaneously sing at a parish’s farewell performance.

It’s been about a month since I had an accident dislocating my knee, and the injury is healing very well. It’s still a bit bit upsetting that it should happen so close to summer school (which I haven’t mentioned yet is dance only, and therefore just tons of fun) and my exchange to Copenhagen, Denmark next month. I might write some thoughts about it in an upcoming post.

I have also been thinking about, or rather my parents have been dropping some not-so subtle hints about what I have to do for my gr.12 year. I can’t believe I am graduating so soon and must plan for a career in both dance as well as applying for a few universities in a branch I must decide on shortly.

Lots to do, so let the summer begin! Thank you all you bloggers for continuing to share your experiences and for following my journey here on WordPress.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Pencil Update: Poem

Funny and very true. Source: 9Gag

With my green pencil as a lucky charm,

Scribbling through papers in calm alarm,

Arthropods, hemoglobin, and evolution,

Ranting about post Of Mice and Men depression

The clock ticks faster when things get tricky,

Got dizzy from the little thing called stoichiometry.

Tomorrow after math will feel like I’m in heaven,

Finished (and hopefully graduated) from grade eleven!

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I haven’t written much because my mental pencil has been used up making review notes and writing exams this past week. I cannot wait to start reading the pile of books on my to-read list, and of course, to write! Just a few more days until summer!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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