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“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

-John Lennon
Happiness is key.

Day 17: What do you want to be when you get older?

 

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Day 15: A photo of someone you fancy at the moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake the Dog from Adventure Time, a pair of smarty jeans, and a caterpillar.
You know who you are.

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Postception

Blog - Postception

Day 12: Screenshot your desktop

Aha! So the post in its pre-post stage captured in a post.

 

This is the admin page and oh look – I’ve got a like! (Since I check my account about once a day I can usually expect a little notification, of course this habit also decreases my frequency of disappointment of my blog floating around in WordPress limbo all alone and lost…)

The start bar is typical Windows 10 with browsers: Microsoft Edge (a browser that looks super clean but I haven’t had the courage to try yet.), Mozilla Firefox (a favourite that suddenly kept on malfunctioning for online media a few weeks ago), and Google Chrome (which is my preferred browser now). I also have the apps OneNote and Calendar which sync up to my phone and Word, Skype, Store, and Computer folder(? honestly I don’t know what’s that called) just for one click convenience.

I really like tabs. From left to right: some reading I was doing on mental health – specifically motivation for school, the email of a GoDaddy website I am learning to manage, Jackrabbit management software which I’m clicking randomly to fix glitches, Pinterest because you find awesome pictures and links, Sporcle which has fun and educational quizzes – this one being on things older than sliced bread, Facebook because I’m a social butterfly, Youtube playing Nat King Cole on Youtube because it’s never too early for Christmas songs and because I’m musically classy, a link to watching Suits because I’m in an interrupted marathon for a smart, funny, dramatic (maybe too much on the love problems) tv show, and the result of looking up “taco curve” on Wolfram Alpha because a computational knowledge engine knows how to describe a delicious Mexican dish in an equation.

As browser extensions I have AdBlock because I don’t like being told to spend money everywhere I look and Noisli because it generates calming, nature and atmospheric noises for those moment when you need to focus or relax.

That’s it folks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pet peeves

  1. Too many selfies (In case you wondering, yes I do remember what you look like since an hour ago.)
  2. The sound of velcro ( I will have a physical reflex and flail at you.)
  3. When people enter the subway before letting people off (We’re in Canada, we are polite.)
  4. Skype connection problems (50% of the conversation becomes “Can you hear me?” “Oh I can’t see you””Ah you’re frozen” “The lag is really bad””Wait let me call you back.”)
  5. Seeds in seedless mandarins. (An unpleasant surprise.)
  6. You’re the only one in the house and in the washroom when the phone rings and after some awkward rushed feat it turns out being a telemarketer.
  7. Pencils with no eraser on the end.
  8. Misplacing things instead of losing them. (I KNOW it’s here…)
  9. When you’re walking down the street like a boss and the wind blows in the wrong direction so you end up eating your hair. (Vibe killer.)

Day 9: Pet peeves

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3 messages for 3 people

To my biology professor who loves pikas:
I have never laughed so hard from a lecture. I will never forget how cute spherical rodents are.

To a friend I feel I have lost:
I am sorry we parted ways and I miss you. But it’s still your loss.

To the servers at our favourite Chinese restaurant: 
We’ve been loyal customers for years and we know the originals from the new recruits. Things have changed and we wish your food was better.

Day 8: Three things you want to say to different people

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Some favourite tunes

Music has a way of touching people’s souls to be associated with memories, feelings, or relationships. There are certain songs and bands that have marked a time in my life, can help me indulge in or change my moods, and remind me of people I care about. Since I’ve been feeling the lists, here’s another one.

  1. Vampire Weekend: Around the end of high school it was really popular to listen to “unpopular” or not “mainstream” music because it meant you weren’t following the crowd (aka “hipster”) and knew how to find good, real music or something. I do believe a lot of the stuff played on the radio is bubblegum pop that is only appealing because of its catchiness but that’s another topic. Nevertheless, the first indie band I discovered was Vampire Weekend – apparently classified as rock though they do a lot synth effects – and it continues to be one of my favourite bands to date. I loved their first and second album which remind me of high school days: stretching and warming up in the studio, background music for studying or walking, my parents asking me what the weird high pitched sounds I’m listening to are… Step is one of their recent songs and it it still has the same charm, subtle happiness, and ambiguous lyrics (if you figure them out, let me know) that first drew me in to this style of music.
  2. Take Five and Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck: I was first introduced to jazz music by my dad and not counting vocal works by Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone the instrumentals that struck me the most was Dave Brubeck’s classic Take Five. It was always one of those songs that I recognized and knew the melody to but couldn’t label until middle school when I looked it up on the “What’s that Song” catalogue on the website of our local jazz radio station. Unsquare Dance is of similar tilted quality being written in the odd time signature of 7/4 instead of 5/4 and both pieces have cool bass lines, playful melodies, and the ability to become musical earworms.
  3. Any piece from a ballet, particularly Tchaikovsky: As you may guess from the blog name, ballet has been a huge part of my life thanks to my introduction to movement paired with music by my mom. I have spent the majorities of my days in the studio, training and rehearsing to beautiful classical works played by live accompanists on the piano. I had the luck to dance in the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker and with repeated hearings I discovered how complex and diverse a full orchestration can be through Tchaikovsky. He is the composer of other pinnacle ballets such as  Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Serenade (by American choreographic icon George Balanchine). When I hear music from a ballet, I usually match it up to movements subconsciously, and it reminds me of the capabilities of artistic creativity and the joy of dancing. This coda is just so happy and uplifting how can you not want to dance to it (even though legs are probably falling off after the pas de deux)!
  4. Sweet Child O Mine and November Rain by Guns n Roses: During my time in London, my roommate and friends were into old and classic rock including my boyfriend to-be. I was first introduced to Ozzy Osbourne, Purple Rain, and Jimi Hendrix by my fellow university colleagues but one song and one band in particular is special to my musical discoveries last year for a reason you may have already guessed. One lazy night in the beginning of getting used to being “more than friends” my boyfriend quoted some lyrics accidentally mixing up these two songs by Guns n Roses. Consequently we listened to them and though I had known Sweet Child O Mine before, it just became so much more meaningful then. Both are good songs made better for my ears for sentimentality.
  5. Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No 2: Also last year in London, I had a good friend of mine attend the Royal Academy of Music full of young, talented classical musicians. She played the violin remarkably well and invited us to a small informal chamber music concert they were holding. Before its start, the professor gave an introduction and said that this class was the best first years he has ever heard playing these sophisticated pieces so the bar was set quite high. And they were very good. My friend performed with ease and passionately and it was really inspiring to see artists in action other than the ballet which I was familiar with. One of the pieces that stuck in my head from that night is String Quartet No 2 by Alexander Borodin. There’s a sweet melancholy to it that makes it perfectly nostalgic, so this one tends to bring out many memories, most of them appropriately from London.

Day 6: What band or musician is most important to you?

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November 9, 2015

Day 3: Your day, in great detail. Oh boy…

I woke up rather groggily from a restless sleep at 9:03 am, indulging in the fact that I did not have classes today due to reading break. Still under warm covers, I perform the common morning update check that young adults do, looking through and clicking phone notifications until they reach zero new messages. One email was particularly interesting and important. It was from my college registrar. This was the moment I decided I would be brave enough to make a difficult decision and start anew, accepting consequences and opportunities alike. I stretched like a cat before hopping out of bed (this is the only way it works or else the chances of refalling asleep are quite high) and doing the regular washroom business.

Put my hair in a french braid, brushed my teeth, made sure my face was tolerable to the eye, and said good morning to my mom, who was answering emails for our dance school. I helped her type a few things, being quite grumbly for no particular reason, dressed in the comfiest pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt I could find and headed downstairs for breakfast.

It was greek yogurt with apple cinnamon granola, which I munched on at average speed while thinking about what I was going to say about my current university studies. It has been getting harder to motivate myself through classes and labs and assignments. There is a contradiction in my head. I KNOW I am supposed to be excited, motivated, and curious, ready to absorb everything and anything from the university experience. But I’m not. I KNOW I had chosen this field out of interest and passion because they were my favourite subjects and that this university should suit me. But I’m hating it. Everything in my thoughts float around in this muck, and it feels as if I’m wandering along aimlessly, sometimes not knowing what to do, where to go, or in my darkest moments, who I am as I’m going about my day.

There’s a switch that flips my emotion from good to bad in a matter of seconds. It can be an event, something someone said, or something that I see. After breakfast, this flip was switched. And for the worse. My mother had a mamogram to go to this morning so we decided to take the public transit downtown together. She told me to wear a warmer coat and I ended up leaving the house in this giant, fluffy, full body parka. It was warm and sunny outside, and I became angry because I was holding this huge garment while hurrying on the bus and subway to make it to the appointment on time.

I listened to music almost the entire trip. I didn’t want people to look at me because I was fat, stupid, and about to become a university drop-out, so any conversation my mom tried to make just made me feel worse when I wanted to feel invisible.

When we finally parted ways, I left the subway station relieved to have navigated underground well enough to emerge on the right side of the street and headed towards my college, one of seven that is part of my university. My heart was beating out of my chest and I couldn’t get rid of the thought that I was crazy. Why would anyone give up a full scholarship at one of the best universities in the world? And I remind myself that I am not well. In a perfect world I would be flourishing , but right now, I am in living hell by being a student here. So I walked through the beautiful gardens lit by the noon sun in between the college theatre and old hall feeling grateful for having been a part of it, and into the registrar’s office.

It is a grey, boxy building, with stairs leading to wide open doors which makes it more welcoming on the inside than from the outwards appearance. It was a short wait as I was just on time and they are incredibly efficient. The registrar called me in and we began to talk.

She is a tall, smart-looking lady with aged but fashionable hair and a warm but firm tone of voice. We had talked before as I had concerns about my mental health but today was serious business with decision making involved. It basically came to the fact that I could drop school now, I could drop school later, or I could drop school now and restart later. And there was no clear right and wrong decision. It had to be mine to make and I had to decide what was the best for me at this point in my life.

I had to let her know how guilty I felt for wasting this opportunity. But she told me we have to remember to not anthropomorphize the university. It is an institution. It does not have feelings or judgement. And so I was left with my thoughts for a couple of hours before I had to choose something, because universities are all about deadlines, as Ms Registrar said.

I talked to my boyfriend on Skype in the student cafe across the street with the sunlight streaming through, casting a halo ring of wispy hair around my head. He was very understanding, logical (as is his trademark) and supportive towards whatever decision I made and I felt very lucky. At this point I was leaning towards giving up this semester for sure. We came up with a list of things to do to keep me busy because it is important I do not let myself waste time and feel unproductive to fall further into sadness and self-criticism.

Then I met up with my parents and we talked over lunch at a ramen place close to campus, where servers and chefs shout out orders and quick cheers for boosted morale, and where the modernized classical music is played a little bit too loud. I ordered a chicken broth thick noodle bowl with pork shoulder, seaweed, and a side of gyoza. The warm soup filled my stomach and was comforting somehow. At this point, the decision was clear.

In order to function at my full potential and enjoy the full experience of university, I must first be happy and healthy. I have always been a believer that if you enjoy something, you are probably going to do well at it. I do not know what I want, what I am interested in, and believe I have no abilities worth merit. It is very hard to function as a full time university student when you are feeling this way all the time, every day.

And so I sent an email. And that was that. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and at the same time a quiet disappointment settled on me. I was sad. But I am going to accept that. Unfortunate things happen. No one wants problems, but when you have them, you have to fix them. In this case, I have to fix myself. I was very quiet on the ride back home because I am soon going to start the process of rediscovering my joy, passion, and identity in life. I am going to find myself again.

As I sit here at home writing this I am scared about what will happen in the future. But every day is going to be better. This is something my boyfriend always says. I will find things I enjoy, things I am good at, things that make me smile, and things that inspire me. And my thoughts are going to be clearer so I can write in an organized and clear way unlike this ramble of a journal entry. But for now, this is ok. I am starting to find myself and the pieces that depression took away from me…

 

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