Category Archives: Cool Events

Eating with Strangers

Welcome, everybody to the first ever episode of Eating with Strangers. I’m your host Cathy, and tonight’s featured event is the Harvest Feastival, which was as delicious as its name is punny.

Held on the first day of Autumn, the Harvest Feastival hosted hundreds of hungry guests, including UBC President Santa Ono and his family. Purchasing a ticket grants access to a six course meal, as well as several artsy after-dinner activities. Although the portioning was confusing for salads and entrees (is this tiny bowl really supposed to serve all six of us?!?), the dishes were delicious and visually appealing nonetheless, using ingredients fresh from the UBC Farm. The desserts were marvelous, causing a ten minute delay in their entrance to my stomach as everyone fought to snap pics for Instagram.

However, the meal would have still been largely forgettable if not for the social aspect. For those of you who bother with reading my blog, you would know that I take great pride in being completely and utterly antisocial. Therefore, the prospect of sitting at a table and sharing food with four other people (I managed to coerce a friend into joining me), did not give me the greatest pleasure. However, I was surprised to find how easy it was to form bonds (and Facebook friendships) during the evening, although the fact that photographers assumed we were all bosom buddies doubtlessly helped (seriously, though, I probably have more photos with strangers than I do with friends at this point).

The highlight of the event, though, was visiting the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, which was free with the Feastival wristband. I like to pretend that I understand art, and that I am more cultured than I really am, so wandering around an art gallery while murmuring mildly appreciative noises is my idea of a good time. The exhibits were fascinating, and, because I don’t want to spoil anything, I’ll just leave it at that. It’s definitely worth a visit on a rainy afternoon (and Vancouver gets a lot of those).

An Average SPARKling Weekend

Over the last weekend, first year BCom students conveyed at school in ludicrously named cliques to compete for the Sauder Cup. After only three days of real school, we were expected to be friendly and comfortable with each other, like reunited bosom friends. The fact that my orientation leader talked about how she met all of her baes at The Spark a few years ago only increased the pressure to walk away with a lifelong partner by the end of the event.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Being not exactly the most outgoing person, I wasn’t exactly inclined to open my hearts to strangers. Yet, despite knowing my personal limitations, it was disappointing to not find anyone to whom I was immediately drawn while everyone else partnered up. While I was not exactly antagonized or isolated by anyone, and the group dynamic was typical of the chemistry between ten keen first years, the experience was lacklustre at best for most of the day.

Then came the mosh pit.

I hate mosh pits, and any other environment that requires me to touch other people (the photographer for my high school group photos had to coax my friends and I into putting our arms around each other). Needless to say, I did not have a good time and went home early.

On Monday, I was nervous. In my mind, everyone would be sitting with their bff’s from The Spark, leaving me to be the weird antisocial loner. However, the phenomenon I observed was completely different. Sure, people seemed to be more at ease with each other, but no one was desperately clinging to the one person they met during the weekend. As the week progressed, more and more friendships formed outside of the limits of the groups at The Spark, until all of the bullshit expectations crammed into the weekend were forgotten to be replaced by the slow process of creating real relationships. Although I was not amused by my lucklessness in finding a soulmate, I, after two weeks, am now somewhat confident that I will not have my face be eaten by my cats after I die.

AMS BBQ or Ongoing Construction?

As the second week of university draws to a close, the only incentives preventing me from dropping out to become a shepherd in the Himalayans are the free events happening all over campus. This, of course, includes trial classes sponsored by UBC Rec, which will hopefully prevent me from dying a premature death from eating too many bowls of ramen. Today, after a hectic week of work (I may or may not blog about this later) and classes, I went to alleviate my stress through Cycle Yoga, which is exactly what suburban moms go to between PTA meetings. After sitting through an introduction to limits in Math (What happened to Calculus being a pre-requisite???), I was ready to be challenged.

Indeed, the class was intense. I only sweat when the temperature goes above 30°C, but, after spinning (riding a stationary bike) for thirty minutes, my body was a storm cloud in Sri Lanka during the wet season before global warming ruined everything. Maybe it was the fact that the last time I exercised was in July, or maybe it was just muscle atrophy from sitting in class all day, but my thighs were burning by the end of the session. I had certainly burned enough calories to warrant eating a hamburger.

Speaking of mysterious meat squished between bread, the AMS BBQ is tomorrow.

When Hailee Steinfeld sang, “I didn’t know that I was starving ’til I tasted you,” she was certainly referring to hotdogs (or something with a similar shape to a hotdog). Walking from the Recreation Centre, I saw a multitude of misshapen tents and awkwardly placed fencing outside the Nest. At first, I thought nothing of it, considering the prevalence of construction all over campus. Upon closer consideration, however, I realized that the mysterious people were preparing for the BBQ happening tomorrow. From how the AMS events have gone so far, I’m certain that the event will be fantastic.

Drunk on Farmade

Aside: The title of this post is based on how ‘Farmade’ and ‘Gatorade’ rhyme with each other. I did not actually get drunk at the event.

Farmade was exciting for two reasons:

1. Having never been to UBC Farm before, this was a reason for me to visit.

2. I finally get to explore beyond the confines of the main campus, where all of my classes take place.

Although the journey there was a thirty minute walk, my surroundings were as entertaining as buildings and roads can be. There was the Greek Village, where frat boys were preparing for a party that night. It’s rather fitting that Panhellenic House, the building hosting the sororities, neighbours the living quarters of fraternities. It must make the ‘Walk of Shame’ the following morning much more convenient.

Following the bright signs, I strolled through the Wesbrook Village and found myself in an empty pavilion. Seeing no more signs, I had the irrational thought that the event had been cancelled, and that my arduous trek had been for nothing. Realizing life is a meaningless affair with the prospect of encroaching darkness being the only constant, I fell to my knees, arms outstretched towards this sky hoping for a sign… a sign… A SIGN.

A few meters away from me, taped to a pole, was an inconspicuous poster fluttering innocently in the wind. I dusted myself off and followed the string of arrows until I heard country music blaring from beyond the trees. However, contrary to the cowboy wannabes and bad Western accents I was expecting to find, I stumbled upon a community of individuals dedicated to sustainability with regards to everything from food to energy. Eating my low-impact, locally sourced hamburger, I strolled from booth to booth, admiring the achievements and ideas of the different student organizations.

Overall, Farmade was an unforgettable experience that gave me a chance to explore the UBC campus, as well as enlightened me to the modern concepts of farming beyond just tilling the fields.