Category Archives: Just another person

Me.

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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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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Exam Bound

Crunch time! (Original content)

Crunch time! (Original content)

bound (adj) 1. Heading toward somewhere 2. Restricted or confined to a specific place

The end of the year is speeding along and I am feeling exhausted. It has been a marathon for the past few months with the dance festival, spring performance, and now final recital and academic exams. We get a free weekend without class, except there is a LOT to do: science reviews specifically, culminating assignments, procrastinated stuff, and extra credits squeezed in, hopefully. Our grade is in charge of an annual flower sale by tradition and many of us are catching summer colds due to bipolar weather of heavy rain (once pouring enough to collapse our church’s roof) and summer sun (we’re talking shorts and tank top weather here). It is also a personal tradition of mine to create handmade cards for my teachers, and I hope to continue it. Now I completely understand the phrase, “Time flies.”

So this is basically my excuse for my absence on WordPress; my “Drafts” category is growing drastically to the point that I doubt I could complete all these ideas in the summer. In the meantime, let’s get cracking on the notes fellow students (those of you unlucky enough to be on the same pace as my irregular school) , and exams here we come!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Walks ’til Magic Hour

Source: photok12.org/?q=node/11

Oh glorious day!
Sunshine blazes through canopies of green, crowds filter into High Park
A blackbird calls, its red and white marks peeking through the brush
Algae foams above the pond, where breezes sweep through the gardens
Strolling a maze of hedges and wading pools
Sit with face to the sky, indulge in quenching fruit salad and gelato
Hike hidden sandy trails imagining a place without city noise
Emerge into picnics, lawn bowling games, and playground cheers
Snapping photos and laughing chats all the way
Have a mini barbecue in shady grass, with softened rays of the dying hours
Contemplating why we work so hard to seclude ourselves from nature,
When we love so much to wallow in it?

—————————————————————————————–
Perfect way to end the long weekend: had an absolutely fantastic time with my family and my only regrets are that I had homework nagging the back of my mind and that I didn’t reapply sunscreen, not because of sunburn, but because it is too soon to already get this tanned. Summer feels so close but so far away, and I am feeling very unmotivated to go back to school and don’t-even-mention exams. I just have to remember to live every moment because before I know it, grade 11 will be finished.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Woe of May Flowers


Warm breezes gently breathe, stuck in stuffy nose
Yellow dust of unhatched life surf waves of the air flows
Soaking up the sun and green and reach for a tissue
I love spring, I only wish I didn’t have – achoo!

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Bittersweet Nostalgia (NaPoWriMo #12)

At a best friend’s cottage.

I miss you.
But I don’t know
If it’s you,
Or the you I knew years, or even months, before.
You’ve changed.
Or maybe I’ve changed.
Or both of us have since taking our own risks and choices.
We said we’d keep in touch, but did we?
Every time I see you
A flood of memories flash before my eyes
And then I’m not sure if I’m really seeing you
And I wonder if you get this confused vision too.
Time has a funny way of dividing reality and memory.
Conversations, jokes, games, plain old sitting at the table,
I remember.
I know you do too,
Because best friends don’t forget that stuff.
Time moves on but we talk of past moments,
Precious but irrelevant to the stories we each write now.
Time has a funny way of dividing people sometimes.
I can see my nostalgic sadness reflected in your eyes.
And somehow our goodbyes
Are never-ending.
Because forever can last forever in your mind.
Until we meet again,
I just wanted to say that
I miss you.

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
-Helen Keller

*UPDATE: A few weeks after writing this post, I ran into my friend at a ballet awards show. It was a thrilling surprise and we got caught up for a few good hours. Funny how life can offer you the best coincidences… *

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Note to self when falling into a pit of hopelessness on a super hard, super long test

That moment when you’re only halfway through a test with only twenty minutes left, scribbling furiously at the page and gasping in air to stop yourself from fainting while your thoughts whirl into a tornado of chaos that causes you to forget everything you studied all night and doubt all the learning capacity and self-worth you’d gathered throughout your life?

At this particular moment, I must tell you, just DON’T PANIC (A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be handy here). Stop for a couple of seconds and get yourself out of the downward spiral into the pits of darkness – fast! And at the end of writing in scrambled focus, you probably feel absolutely awful. I know that it is even more painful when you have prepared and studied, and can come up with most of the answers in the few minutes after the paper has been handed in. I know failure sucks. But I can assure you, you didn’t fail. It may not be the perfection you always aim for, but it was your best on this day at that hour.

Don’t go over it again and again in your head, torturing yourself by reliving this tragedy, there’s nothing you can do, it’s over. Move on because there will always be something else you need to focus on. And know that these negative feelings will pass, I promise. Just think of other past assignments that made you feel this way, but that you’ve forgotten as they’re completely insignificant (like that A- Grade 3 math test that created floodworks). Keep moving forward. A bad test will not destroy your life. There is much more to explore and an entire future to experience.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

Well, this happened today. And yesterday. Two giant science tests two days in a row is not exactly the best thing to return to after a break, but what can you do. Sorry for the completely unconventional post, just needed to vent about this for my emotional health before I explode.

thebookybunhead

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“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” ― Stephen Fry

Cartoon by The Persichetti Brothers

It is fair to say that the population of VHS’s, floppy disks, pagers, and Tamagotchis have dwindled due to their new and improved counterparts – will the same happen to our beloved books?

OR   Readers Edge  ?

Popularity of the e-book has soared over the past year as readers find the sleek appearance and convenience benefits of the product highly appealing. The e-book is light and portable with a virtual database that can contain many more books than one could imagine carrying from the library. With this single surfaces tablet, many books can be read with the swipe of a finger. No slipping bookmarks, heavy loads, risks of paper cuts, or yellowing, stained pages – pretty neat, I must admit.

Already with the advances of technology in all aspects of communication and media, printing industries have suffered losses and are buckling down for the onslaught of superior smartphones and computers with their apps and internet resources. But, despite, all this, the good ol’ sheet and glue books maintain their influence in society. Just like digital notes can never replace hand-written pencil and paper ones, looking at words on a screen is just not the same. I guess it’s all about the senses…

Having each printed word in a slab of a book feels like having a world in the palm of your hand. The whole idea, concept, story created just for you from the author just able to sit on your lap. You’re not just looking at a single page, but hundreds packed to form this compact, spacially efficient block – the WHOLE COMPLETE work, not just a little piece at a time.

Cartoon by Jim Whiting

There’s nothing like moving your fingers across the pages or rifling quickly through them feeling a breeze in your face. The words are concrete and real, and so are the sheets on which they have been stamped. Each page turn is an exciting exercise as a flipping noise reveals another man behind the curtain.

The feeling of accomplishment when you get into a good read and you can see how many pages you’ve conquered and how far you have til the end. For peekers, being able to flip forward and skim the text that lies ahead just to make sure your favourite character doesn’t die. For sticklers, being able to scratch out that extra apostrophe or write in a missing letter to right the text with your own hand. I just love the idea of tracing your history with a book through all its individual pages. And the satisfaction of looking at the shelves and shelves of books you’ve collected over the years…

Cartoon by Jeffery Koterba for the Omaha World Herald

And who can deny that a book read often reflects a sentimental loyalty – yes, I’m basically trying to explain a love affair with your favourite novel. With turned up corners, faded covers, or dog ears, there’s something special about that book you’ve had for so long and almost know by heart and the battle scars it received to survive in your bag, inner jacket pocket, hands, or the wild outdoors. The wear and tear of a book shows that it’s been loved and is loved – it is valuable. The wrinkles and dents, the smell of aging paper, symbolize a friendship that does not show on a screen.

So I am biased, but I think the novelty of ink words on pulp-pressed pages compiled into something that you can see and feel in its entirety will never wear off. Old school books are for me, the real deal.

What is better: print book or ebook? [cartoon]

Cartoon by Sylvia Liu

I wrote the former words in August 2012, and since then have gained more appreciation for e-books. They have really opened a new world for self-publishing and save lots of money on production costs, making books more affordable. I never liked how technology continues to take over our lives, but a portable library is cool. The digital aspect saves trees too, now that I think about it. And so, in the same view as the quote which I used for the title, I would like to own an e-reader, but I love my printed library too; books will always be treasured, no matter what form they take.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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The Wallflower Game: An informal social experiment

Yesterday night some of my friends and I invented a game. It is very simple. You find a discrete corner or wall while at a social event and quietly stand there until someone talks to you or asks you what you are doing. It sounds kind of dumb but apparently there’s lots to be learned from being a wallflower.


(Credit to Damian Foxe, May 2011 wallpaper dresses – so neat!)

I must say watching others can be quite entertaining. That sounds so creepy, butI feel like some wildlife explorer such as Jane in Tarzan, except that I’m studying my own species, and the complicated behaviour of those creatures called humans. (It’s also a good way to test ninja skills to see how long one can remain unnoticed.) Who’s with who, what they are doing, what their mood and body language is, how they react to you staring at them (mind you, we knew our relationships with our adopted family would not be scarred or altered in any way by these encounters but rather looked upon with a grin or a hug); it’s amazing how much of your surroundings your brain can take in with just one sweeping gaze across the room.

In the spontaneity of a party, personality aspects usually locked away in an emotional safe are unleashed, leaving you wondering where that composed friend of yours went. Stepping away from the action into quiet observation can definitely give you new insights to people you’ve known for many years. It also gives you time to think. We decided that the definition of a wallflower is someone whose presence wouldn’t change the observed scene at all. What we see is what the place would be like without us. Kind of sad. But eventually your imagined invisibility disappears when someone calls or pulls you over and the game is done unless you decide to take up your unengaged alter ego again sometime later.

The thing is, I’m not sure whether my alter ego is the quiet, reserved me or the loud and crazy me. I guess that analogy with the hats is true that we have several versions of ourselves to be on different occasions. Still, I have a feeling I usually prefer to be a milder me. Of course I dance and belt out notes to our favourite songs, but not on household elevated places, and I laugh, but not in attention calling shrieks. I have good conversations, but am not so good at making random, nonsensical, remarks that make people squirt milk out of their nose or something. I let loose, I just don’t show it as much as others. It makes me wonder if I’m boring sometimes.

Anyhow, our record for the game was never longer than two minutes, which is comforting. So, our findings? It can be fun to stop, look, and listen in a busy scenario for a bit, and wonder why and how humans are such social beings. Then again, it’s just as fun to join in the shenanigans and put on the boisterous hat for awhile. Anyone can be a wallflower, and anyone can be the life of the party, and whoever you are will attract people of similar disposition. And of course there are those that will like you for you no matter what.

Well that was a longer post than planned. It’s more out there and personal than usual so I don’t know if I will write more of this random stuff. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading,
-thebookybunhead

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