I often hear people say that they love to travel. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in China and have already experienced a culture different from Western culture, but I never saw the appeal – or rather the benefit – of traveling. I couldn’t understand how escaping one’s own life to find meaning in a stranger’s life could benefit the traveler once he or she returns home. Interestingly enough, through a series of events, I found myself solo-traveling in Thailand for the past two months. My experiences were far from what my biases predicted.
I was an inexperienced, dependent girl from Montreal when I chose to make a change. In the summer of 2011, I made the decision to work abroad on a cruise ship as a Seasonal Youth Counselor. When I arrived onboard the Norwegian Pearl in Seattle, I quickly realized that my lodgings consisted of three roommates living in a small room and food that was so greasy it looked like it came right out of the oil tank at the bottom of the ship. It was a new, fast-paced life that involved lots of energy and constant awareness. I came into this novel environment, having no prior ship-life experience and knowing no one. Originally, when I applied for the job, I assumed I would be ready to step outside of my box and tread water in the real world. I thought that this job would give me the independence that I needed in my life, but I was very wrong. Many co-workers immediately labeled me as the “weird new girl.” I received no eye contact, no friends, and rare enjoyments. (more…)
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver. Brilliantly written and critically acclaimed, it’s been mentioned by dozens of famous followers and quoted in many -many- movies. In Stuck in Love (2010), the character William Borgens quotes the “human noise” that Carver describes at the end of the book. Borgens says that, as writers, it is our job to decipher that human noise to the best of our ability and create from it great works. The whole movie actually focuses on this family of writers and make it look so easy, deciphering the world and creating an opinion. I’m here to say that in many ways it’s much more difficult than that, and lend a few tried and true pieces of advice from my own experience.
So it’s summer. The perfect time to catch a break from a year of hard work.
For sure! But to a pre-med, there’s plenty to do for a fulfilling summer plan.
Big changes are coming my way for the 2016-2017 academic year – I’ve been accepted to attend Durham University in England on a McGill exchange! This is going to be a huge life change, but one for which I am extremely excited to begin preparing. (more…)
Whether it is a quick trip to Quebec City, or a long flight to London, England for a week during the summer, traveling alone is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, especially in your 20s. Recently, I told my friends and family that I will be spending Reading Week in Paris. The first question everyone asked was the same: Who are you going with? When I told them I was going alone, their reactions varied from “Wow, you’re so brave” to “That’s so scary! I could never do that!” I have been privileged to do quite a lot of travelling at a young age, both alone and with others, and I have learned that sometimes, the best travel companion you can have is yourself. Here are a few reasons why:
Brrr isn’t it cold outside? Temperatures are quickly approaching subzero, and the freezing descent has just started. It’s a hassle to put on winter attire between classes just to take them off a few minutes later. You will be pleasantly surprised there are plenty of ways to get around campus without ever exposing yourself to the chilly air.
One of the hardest things to do when you’re in undergrad is balance the present with planning the future. But I find that one of the best ways to come up with strategies is to be efficient about your summer planning. The competition for summer jobs and internships starts now and though it may feel like you have a ton of time to figure it out, the reality is that the deadlines are right around the corner.
Over the past week, I have been fighting to hold onto the last bit of heat and sunshine! Clad in my summer dresses, sandals and sunglasses, I would happily strut to class, all the while convincing myself that the huge gush of cold wind that enveloped my exposed skin was simply a ‘cool’ summer breeze! Today, I checked the weather forecast, and as I read 8°C, I told myself my phone must be going through another one of its tantrums and forgot to place the number ‘1’ before the ‘8’. Even though September 23rd signaled the official end of summer, I still find it hard to begin my transition into the fall season. As you can tell, I am in strong denial!
Summer is a time that I (and many others) eagerly look forward to and since I am a teacher, July marks my two-month period of relaxation. As I was considering what I would blog about this month, it took me back to my summer travels – specifically, the time I decided to work for a summer camp abroad. Working during the summer, especially if it requires venturing outside of your element, is a fantastic way to discover new things you never knew about yourself. Since I am currently taking several summer classes, beginning a summer job is not in the works for me this year; however, I always aim to start a new hobby or pastime since I have the extra time to invest.