Change of Perspective

I’ve been following Serena Bonneville on her blog “Change of Perspective” since she first started it in 2013. Some of her writing is hilarious while other writing is deeply reflective. She constantly refers to old movies. Most of all, her outlook on life is incredibly optimistic. Her personal strength and grateful attitude amazes and inspires me.

This was a quote from Serena that rung with me: “Regardless of how it ends, a life spent fighting cancer really sucks; but it makes life spent before the fight all the more meaningful. Every happy moment magnified, every grudge forgotten and the love, unconditional.”

Oh yeah… she was diagnosed with leukemia when she started her blog and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment. Does that suddenly jolt you awake?

She’s only a year or two older than me. She used to play soccer, was elected a leader in her school community and did well in school. The closeness of all this strikes me. The more I read, the more I got to get a glimpse of what Serena was going through. My perspective had also changed. I keep reading now because the way she’s handling things so well yet also admitting weakness that her body is physically struggling is inspiring.

So I highly recommend you check out her blog breedingoptimism.blogspot.ca

Another inspiring blogger writes at http://kieranmcghie.blogspot.ca/   although Kieran hasn’t written a new post in a while. 

Here is the message that I hear from those who shared their stories online: we all should appreciate our happiness now and when hardships happen, fight with all we have.

“But when you’re sick, you fight through it all, because you have to; because when you reach the end, it won’t be a miracle, it will be a triumph.” Serena

Cute and funny video set to one of my favourite running songs: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Do you know of any other inspiring young fighters, not limited to cancer?  Comment below. 

 

10 Things you should know about people with vision loss

  1. According to CNIB, half a million Canadians are estimated to be living with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life.  More than 50,000 of us will lose our sight each YEAR.
  2. Most of the legally blind in Canada are NOT totally blind.
  3. Not all legally blind individuals will carry a white cane. Some individuals will carry a white cane just as an identification marker, not for navigation.
  4. If you see an individual with a white cane waiting at an intersection, do not grab him or her by the arm and drag them across the street. How would you feel if a stranger did that to you? For all he or she knows, you could be kidnapping them. If someone looks lost, ask first. But generally, people are very capable of getting around themselves.
  5. It is totally okay to use expressions such as look, see or watch out when talking to someone with a visual impairment. It’s awkward when it’s obvious that you’re avoiding visual verbs.
  6. Children who are congenitally blind are not born with more acute senses of hearing, smell and touch.
  7. Sight is the primary sense involved in learning about the environment. That is why it’s sometimes difficult for a child with visual impairment to understand some concepts such as riding a skateboard until he or she touches a skateboard and tries riding one first.
  8. A person whose vision deteriorates as a result of certain eye condition does not necessarily need to limit reading or watching TV to prevent further damage to his/her sight.
  9. Most children who have been visually impaired all their lives do not mourn the loss of their sight.
  10. There are different versions of Braille. Books, signs, menus and other materials are often written in a version of Braille that includes contractions. There are dot patterns that represent common letter groupings such as “ing” to save space.

If you’re interested in learning more, I highly suggest you look on CNIB‘s website.

Back to school adulting

Is adulting boring? It’s actually okay because I  feel productive when I get a lot done.

Is adulting exhausting though? Yes. Yes. Yes.

The Labour Day weekend included:

Lots of adulting but I feel very far from being an adult. I wonder if I’ll grow up….

  • Going to the bank
  • Completing and mailing paperwork
  • Laundry
  • Making an enormous pile of clothes and other things I plan to donate -hopefully so that someone else in need can use them 🙂
  • Collecting all my stuffed animals at home to donate. I found that Splash toy store in Dunbar collect toys for distribution to children in the Downtown Eastside so when I get a chance, I’ll bring mine there.
  • Reorganizing my stationary drawers
  • Returning library books
  • Prepared outfits for the next few weeks so that I’m less tempted to go to school in my running shorts everyday

Fun

  • An friend from Winnipeg visited Vancouver this weekend so a bunch of friends met up for dinner. We took her around Gastown and Downtown and had a great time.
  • Facetime with one of my favourite people on this planet
  • Learned a lot and had fun while volunteering (See my upcoming post on 10 things you should know about the visually impaired)
  • Pasta at Anton’s in Burnaby. The dinner portion is so huge that I couldn’t even finish one plate over lunch and dinner. Anton’s pasta also tastes amazing and is not too expensive.
  • Talked to my Imagine Day Orientation Leader, Emily, through email. She’s nice and gave me advice.
  • I’m addicted to the song “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” sung by Meghan Trainor and John Legend. I’ve been playing the 1 hour loop on repeat while I’m cleaning.
  • Other foolishness that I can’t remember at the moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVZV8InFxps

Fun around UBCO: Vernon & Shuswap Lake

Wake up early and drive all the way to Shuswap Lake.

1. Roderick Haig Provincial Park

  • Hike in morning
  • Have a picnic in the forest
  • Follow the Beach Trail to a soft, sandy beach.

2. R.J. Haney House and Village

  • Historical Schoolhouse

3. Davison Orchard Country Village in Vernon

  • Best apple juice ever
  • Try out apple varieties that you’ve never tried before. Arlet is called a “dessert apple” because it’s so sweet.
  • Apple pies and peach pies

4. Planet Bee

  • See how honey is made.

Fun around UBCO: West Kelowna & Wine

Formerly known as Westbank, West Kelowna is home to a number of you-pick farms and orchards, and award-winning wineries. Any other must visit places in West Kelowna to recommend? Comment below!

Paynter’s Fruit Market
Besides purchasing a variety of fruits in the market, you can pick peaches, pears and other fruit in the orchard behind the market for a reasonable price.

There’s awesome Vietnamese Pho in West Kelowna 🙂

If you appreciate fine wine,  check out:
Mission Hill Family Estate
The architecture and vineyards are worth seeing.  Our group was served a free glass of wine. If you don’t drink, request your complimentary glass of wine to be replaced with their sparkling pear juice. It’s so sweet that it’s heavenly.

Quail’s Gate
The view from here is spectacular. US President Obama visited here.

Volcanic Hills
Mt. Boucherie

Those listed above were all along the same road but there are many more wineries located around. Although I don’t drink , I admire how wine-making is a science and wine enjoyment an art. The acidity, sugar levels and other fine details are closely monitored to produce the finest wine. Did you know that it’s common for grapes used to make ice wine to be picked in the middle of the night, e.g. 2 am? That is when the grapes’ sugar levels are highest. I was also impressed by the wine connoisseurs who  could tell you which types of wine are best paired with slightly spicy food and what type of food you should cook to pair with a particular wine. Their seriousness towards wine is admirable.

Fun around UBCO: Downtown Kelowna

You can take the public double-decker bus from UBCO campus to Downtown Kelowna but if you plan to buy fruits, you might want to drive.

Early morning: Stop by BC Fruits Co-Op to buy some affordable fresh fruit and support local farmers.
Get organic Bubble Tea at Formosa Cafe.

Mid-late morning: Head Downtown to explore Kelowna’s galleries, theatres, restaurants, and trendy retail.
BC Orchard Industry museum (Check out the Apple Dolls) and BC Wine Museum are right beside each other and are great places to start.  A few steps away is the Rotary Centre for Performing Arts where you can view some art, listen to free live music and catch a theatre performance. Pulp Fiction Coffee House is an interesting book store to check out. Relax and wander around Downtown.

Lunch: Bulgogi Japchae and Bulgogi Stew at Gueng is pretty good, albeit a tad pricey. By the way, Gueng means “palace” in Korean.

Afternoon: Change into your swimsuits and head to the lakeshore. The lake is quite calm and perfect for a relaxed hour paddleboarding or  kayaking. Spend the rest of the afternoon playing volleyball or with an ultimate disc and taking in the beautiful view on the beach.

Dinner: When you’re hungry, head to Da Tandoor Fusion Indian Cuisine for their delicious chicken mahkni. Spicy level 5 is already extremely hot. I don’t know what happens if you choose spicy level 6.

Night: Downtown Kelowna Marina. By the boardwalk, sometimes there are outdoor family-friendly movie screenings. There are also two pianos right by the water that any one is allowed to play. Channel your inner Mozart or Oscar Peterson.

5 rules for being a good Roommate

5 not so obvious rules that you might not know if you’ve never had a roommate before

Rule #1 Unless your roommate gave express permission, do not take out someone else’s clothing out of the washer. Do not put their clothing in the dryer or else you may accidentally shrink someone’s favourite sweater. This goes for both the residence laundry room and a shared washer in a rented suite or apartment. If you urgently need to do laundry, call and ask or hand wash that one shirt you want to wear on your date.

Rule #2 Pay your fair share. Contribute fairly if your roommates are buying toilet paper, hand soap, cleaning supplies, etc. Same goes for utility bills. You may feel that it’s unfair for you to contribute equally to the electric bill as your roommate who is constantly watching the TV, using the dryer and leaving the lights on while you air dry your clothing and tiptoe in the darkness. Just pay. (Then subtly educate your roommate on being more friendly to the environment. )

Rule #3 Not everyone is okay with you walking around naked all day. Even though all your brothers lived in boxers, different people have different comfort levels when it comes to clothing at home. Set guidelines with your roommates. If someone is uncomfortable with seeing too much of you, respect that and your roommates may set a rule that clothing on the lower body is mandatory in the common areas (kitchen, living room, etc). If you’ll living in the same one room dorm, seasoned room sharers would prefer that you don’t waste valuable bathroom time but if you just met yesterday on move-in day, ask your roommates if they are okay with you stripping down in the room or if they prefers that you all change inside the bathroom. However, you absolutely do not have the right to regulate what your roommates wears in their separate bedrooms or to sleep. As much as you want to tear up their puke green flannel, respect others’ right to choice. Remember that you’re not their mother.

Rule #4 Preen outside of the bathroom, especially in the mornings before class or when everyone’s getting ready to go out for the evening. Get yourself a little mirror and put on makeup, curl your hair, check your outfit for the 28th time with it. Guys, hair gel, side burn grooming and practicing suave eyebrow waggles can be done out of the bathroom. Be efficient in the bathroom so that your roommates don’t need to wait too long to use the toilet. If you’re pressed for time and your roommate is not coming out of the bathroom, you can use the kitchen sink to brush your teeth and wash your face. Just clean up well after you’re done.

Rule #5  Even if you all agreed that eating each others’ snacks and leftover food is okay, avoid eating special food sent by family or other loved ones if your roommate didn’t offer to share. Giant bag of chips from Costco: probably ok. Mom’s beef stew that combats your roommate’s homesickness: don’t touch. Cute panda shaped cookies from the boyfriend or girlfriend: don’t touch. This also applies to other items such as clothing. Do not steal the shirt your roommate’s boyfriend gave her to add to your outfit. That’s rude… and weird.

Review: Planners

Planners I’ve used have and planners I’ve yet to use. Do you have any planner reviews/recommendations? 

Rainbow Dot Daily Diary (www.gomfancy.com)

photo 1 (1)photo 5 (1)

I’m currently using this gift from a former piano teacher (thanks AL!) . It include monthly plans, daily plans and daily cash balance tracking.

Pros:

  • Small size that is very portable as it is so small so that it fits in shoulder bags and purse-backpacks
  • A TON of room to plan out each day which is great if you like to schedule out your day hour by hour. Also enough room that you also write a mini diary entry about something great or funny that happened during the day. It’s essentially your planner and your diary.
  • It looks super cute

Cons:

  • The cover ripped apart and away from the paper.  I repaired it with tape and copious amount of glue. To be honest, this could be because I’m rough to my planner and take it everywhere but a planner should be able to remain in one piece for more than a couple months.
  • The monthly calendars were too small for me. No monthly tabs

Continue reading “Review: Planners”

How to start a scrapbook

A scrapbook is a tangible way to record your memories. Making a scrapbook helps you reflect upon your experiences and appreciate the people who’ve been supporting you and the opportunities that you’ve been blessed with. I’m usually a go-go-go as fast as you can person and the act of making a scrapbook slows me down and reminds me that how lucky I am to have such a great past and present and of the people and things that I value. I recently made a scrapbook from kindergarten to high school graduation, which reminded me how far I’ve come and how I really need to enjoy exactly where I am in my life journey right now. I like to often think about where I want to be in the future but the present and past are equally important. I’m going to start a scrapbook for this school year and will hopefully fill it with new faces and experiences.

My co-workers and I are currently making a scrapbook for another co-worker who was such an inspiring and patient mentor to me. We’ve all had many meaningful memories with her so we hope to convey how much we appreciate her through this scrapbook.

I highly recommend that you start a scrapbook too! It’s not as hard as you may think. Making a scrapbook doesn’t have to be expensive. Just give it a try. It doesn’t have to perfect. The only thing that makes is that you like it!

Here’s how to start:

Continue reading “How to start a scrapbook”

How first years can prepare for September at UBC

So you have a couple weeks before class starts, what can you do to prepare?  If you’re an incoming first year, plan an adventure to explore campus before class starts.

  1.  At home, log onto the Student Services Centre online and print out your timetable, download it onto your phone or write out all the buildings you’ll have classes in. Screenshot or print a campus map.
  2. Grab a friend or if you’re new, make a new friend! Multitask by catching up with your friend/getting to know your new friend while you familiarize yourself with the campus. It’s more fun and safer.
  3. If you’re a commuter, commute how you will commute to school. This will help you figure out how long it takes for you to get from your bus stop to UBC or how long it takes to drive.
  4. Now start from one end of the campus and start looking for the buildings you will be in. Help your friend find his/her buildings.
    1. Once you’ve located the buildings,
    2. Note other buildings too such as Buildings in other faculties are important too. Even if you’re a science student, note where the theatre, music, forestry, engineering, arts etc buildings are. When you make friends from other faculties (which you should) and they tell you to meet them after class, you’ll know where it is. In addition, there will be tons of interesting concerts, performances and free lectures that you need to take advantage of 🙂
    3. check out the Libraries and other potential study spaces
    4. Check out where to get meals and snacks
  5. If you haven’t already, pick up your UBC Student Card, compass card and book list at the bookstore. See how much your textbooks cost in store. You can buy your books now, look for used versions from previous students, buy them online from Amazon.
    1. buying at the bookstore saves time.
    2. Try checking to see if your books are at the Discount bookstore (in UBC Village). Books are brand new but cheaper than in the official bookstore.
    3. Used versions are generally cheaper than in store. There are many textbook buy and sell groups on Facebook.
    4. Craigslist is also a source for used textbooks
    5. Amazon, Chegg, other online textbook providers generally sell new and used textbooks for cheaper than in stores. You do have to wait for your textbooks to ship though.
  6. Connect with as many incoming first years as you can. Connect with as many upper years as you can.
  7. Pay your tuition on the Student Service Centre website.
    1. Apply for student loans if necessary.
    2. Set up direct bank transfer
    3. Cash in scholarships/bursaries vouchers at Enrollment Services in Brock Hall or mail them in to where ever they need to go. Do this early because processing time + snail mail can take several weeks. **Bringing photo id with you to Brock Hall is helpful. You cannot ask a friend to help you cash in your vouchers for you. You need to bring it in yourself.
    4. Scholarships/bursaries that you’ve received in cheque form can  be deposited directly at the bank and don’t have to go through Brock Hall.

Relax and enjoy the rest of your summer. See you on campus in September!

What else should incoming first years do to prepare before class starts? Add your comment so others can benefit 🙂
Original: August 22, 2015

Update: July 13, 2016