Blog Additions

Hey all! I apologize for my ridiculous absence from blogging, but I had a bit of a vacation, as well as holidays that were keeping me busy as ever. I’m going to devote my next few posts to updates on what I’ve been up to, holidays, and whatever random words I feel the need to put on the Internet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately, and how I often seem to fall into blogging ruts. I know that everyone gets them from time to time, but I especially feel like they’re there more often than not for me. After thinking for the past few weeks on this subject, I’ve decided to try a new spin on this blog; something that will make it more exciting for me, and hopefully for my readers as well.

I am an International Development and Environment student currently, which basically summarizes my passions. I know that some who are students are studying only which academic they find to be the most relevant or interesting, or even which they have a passion in, but for me, this is not just an academic decision. This is wholeheartedly the way I wish to live my life and fulfill my happiness and that of those around me; by living the ways that I explore and discover through this program.

I often get the response when I explain what program I’m studying: “Oh, cool….um, what is that exactly?”. So here we go: International Development has no definition. You can’t really explain it. And whenever I try to explain it, I feel like I’m putting limitations on it. The best way I can describe it is that it is a multi-disciplinary (most commonly through the fields of social sciences) and holistic approach to the study and promotion of human development, which, for me, generally involves the promotion or increase of human rights and quality of life. Additionally, I have also chosen to do a specialization in Environment within International Development, which basically explores the relations, interactions and impacts between humans and the environment. I’ll stop with the academic terms and explanations now.

My point (yes, there is a point to all this confusing-ness!) is that I love these subjects and areas with a great passion; and have come to decide to write more blog posts related to these. I hope that by doing so, I am better able to keep on track with my posting schedule and just ENJOY this blog more!

So! Starting this week, expect more posts on human impact on the environment, as well as development-related topics. But please, don’t fear, I am quite liberal and accepting of alternate opinions and views, and am not going to write posts that aim to strike fear and guilt into your hearts, or pressure readers to make unrealistic changes in their lifestyles. I just hope that along with my other post topics, readers are able to connect with and find interest in these subjects as well.

That’s all for this post (thanks so much for reading all the way through if you did!). I’ll be doing my best to keep on track and make Sweeter Music the best that it can be :)

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Vancouver Riot 2011

As many of you may have heard on the news almost two weeks ago, following Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver, BC, Canada, rioters overtook the city and took it upon themselves to smash, loot and burn to their heart’s desires in the downtown core.

I, along with thousands of others, watched Game 7 on big outdoor screens at Georgia and Hamilton St downtown, and decided to leave seven minutes before the game officially ended (when the Canucks were down by several goals to the Boston Bruins). I was definitely upset with the outcome of the game, and a little wary of being in a fenced-off game-viewing area downtown crowded in with so many people.

Although I did expect that some disheartened fans would take to the streets in anger, mostly in the form of fist fights and empty threats, I didn’t expect the rest of my night to become what it did. During the next two hours, I ran (which seemed like for my life) away from screaming mobs and crowds of fights, through tear gas, past cars and buildings on fire, witnessing destruction in the forms of smashed building windows, looting, explosions, and some of the ugliest, scariest behaviour I have ever seen from people.

Luckily, I safely got home (before midnight, even!) unharmed, with just the disbelief of what had happened. My city, which I love so dearly, was ugly for the first time in my eyes. Living in Canada for most of my life, I have never experienced a riot, or such volumes of angry, nasty actions. It was embarrassing. People all over the world take to the streets in riots for womens’ rights, for democracy, the right to education, for FREEDOM, and what happens in Vancouver? Our government buys us some big screen TVs, throws us an awesome party, and we destroy the city.

But, there was a silver lining. Unsurprisingly, most of the rioters were not Canucks fans; they were semi-anarchists, determined (no matter the outcome of the game) to have a little bit of their idea of fun, and sent fire to police cars, or loot stores, or fight police officers. Firefighters that were set to battle the first car set on fire, in a crowd of hundreds of people, were attacked by the bystanders and were ordered by the police to leave, for their own safety. (Just pause for a moment here. Who throws things at/attacks FIREFIGHTERS? I didn’t even know people with that mentality exist).

Back to the silver lining. Before midnight on June 15th (the night of the riot) a Facebook event had been created, with already over 100,000 attendees. The event called for the “true Canucks fans” and lovers of Vancouver to take to the streets the next morning and clean the city up. Before noon the next day, downtown was spotless. The boarded up windows of businesses that had been smashed were now covered with messages from those who helped clean up, those who were shocked and appalled by the attitude of those the night before.

Photos and videos taken of the riot are still being examined by the police, and many have already been convicted of the crimes they committed.

I’m not proud of my city for what happened that night, but I am proud of my city for what happened after; for the people who took it upon themselves to go out of their way and help. The people who know the real Vancouver and love it enough to protect it. 

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Childhood Favourites

Something I absolutely love to do every summer is re-read books that were some of my favourites as a pre-teen and teenager. There are the obvious classics, like Harry Potter, but I mostly like to bring back the more eclectic, lesser-known novels that I discovered and loved.

I recently realized I had a fascination with books that had a fairy-tale element; that may have taken place in kingdoms with fantastical creatures, or involved imagery of lush forests, clear waters and blue skies.

I just finished reading Once Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris, which isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it has always been such a light-hearted and fun read for me, even nine years after I first read it.

It was also hard for me to ever start the Golden Compass when I was younger, though I know countless people who have told me it’s by far one of their favourite books, and series. So I took it out of the library the other day and am ready to start it today. I really hope I can get into it this time, because I’m ready for literature to blow my mind again!

What are some of your favourite books you read when you were younger, that may or may not have been on the bestseller list? Any recommendations?

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Summer Solstice

Welcome to summer, friends! We’ve finally made it.

So many happenings and activities have kept me crazy preoccupied this month, preventing me from blogging the amount that I would ideally like to. My little brother graduated from high school (I guess he’s not “little” anymore), I was present during the riots in downtown Vancouver after the final Stanley Cup game, got a new job, and am still keeping up with my 30 day yoga challenge.

I just have to say, though, that I am beyond ecstatic that the sunshine has finally come out for good on this first day of summer! I plan on spending the day practicing yoga, hiking and reading outside. Ahh, the life of the barely employed.

 

This is a photo a friend of mine took with their PHONE (can you believe it?) off Lions Gate Bridge after the final game of the Stanley Cup, clear from any riots and angry fans.

 

Enjoy your first day of summer, friends!

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Weekly Favourites 29

Yet another incredible week! I have so much to be thankful for in my life.

1. Spending an amazing day at Italian Day in my dear city, eating plenty of carbs in the sunshine

2. Watching more and more Canucks games in cosy bars downtown with friends and plates of nachos

3. Playing soccer and practicing yoga every day! I haven’t been this physically active in ages!

4. Job interviews, and the little things in life that really make you realize God is totally on your side :)

5. My younger brother’s high school awards ceremony and graduation. He won a ridiculous amount of awards as well as scholarships and I’m so proud of him

6. The most amazing night downtown; heading down after the Canucks won the hockey game, high five-ing hundreds of people along the streets, bar hopping like a pro and running through the streets late at night.

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Getting Past Slumps

Confession: I find Vancouver summers to be frustrating at times. For example, right now. During the last month that I’ve spent here, I’ve had sunburns, gone swimming, been way too hot outside and drank margaritas. But lately, it’s been a bit different. Clouds, a little bit of rain, and warm temperatures make me want to do anything but be outside.

When the sun’s out, I make plans and go out and actually do things! I feel like I can do anything, and have motivation!

So last night, when I had successfully finished watching 3 Gossip Girl episodes in a row on my computer, I decided I needed to turn towards a collection of quotations that always makes me feel determined and ready to be productive.

The first one is something I have posted on this blog about two years ago. It’s basically what turned my life around completely last year and made me a much happier person:

Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live with unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and incredible beauty.” — Jon Krakauer

That’s all I wanted to share for now; I hope that if you’re in a slump right now, you’re able to challenge yourself in your own ways and get past it. It is summer, after all!

 

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Weekly Favourites 28

Summer has finally arrived in my beautiful city! The weather, the events, the music, the whole feeling of summer. Here’s a few things I’ve been loving this past week

1. Improv shows and drinks on Sunday nights

2. Seeing Wicked in Vancouver last week was absolutely amazing! I’ve been wanting to see this show for ages and ages, and it has finally come to my city. The cast was, of course, amazing, and I would recommend seeing this when it comes by your city.

3. On June 1st, I started a thirty day yoga challenge. Which is pretty much what it sounds like; you do yoga every day for 30 days. It’s been pretty exhausting so far but I’m already seeing and feeling amazing results!

4. Impromptu coffee dates after yoga classes

5. This week was filled with choir, which I miss very much. I was part of the alumni choir singing at my brother’s final choir performance, and was a server at the school’s annual jazz/cabaret dinner and auction event.

6. I spent my Saturday in the amazing sunshine and heat walking around Stanley Park’s seawall with a friend; something I do many times every summer.

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