A Year Ago

At midnight tonight I turn 20. It’s a bit surreal to be honest. I thought I would know everything by this point — that I’d be self-assured like the grown-ups I look up to. But age brings an ironic wisdom: that despite aging, I’ll never be entirely wise.

This year I’ve matured and grown through rewarding and wonderful, and sometimes trying experiences. I look back on all of the things that 19 year old me was yet to learn.

A year ago I didn’t know what missing a person could feel like. I couldn’t imagine having something I treasured taken abruptly and unapologetically away. I’ve learned to be grateful for the incredible people in my life.

A year ago, I was enamoured by the idea of someday changing the world through math. It would be a challenging realization that this “someday” may indeed be very distant. Nevertheless, I would learn that I don’t have to wait until “someday” to change the world. Kindness and selflessness, like math, are gifts that I can develop to have a positive impact on the world. Those that truly want to make a difference aren’t fixated on fame or glory.

A year ago, I would never have guessed at the joy that my first teaching job would bring me. I would soon discover that patience and preparation would equip me to help university students, and I would realize that teaching will bring me happiness in my future career.

A year ago, I hadn’t yet considered my independence. Soon I would question whether the relationships in my life were propelling me forward or holding me back. I would weigh the people I cared for against my autonomy and I would make some difficult decisions.

A year ago, no one had ever told me a secret I was genuinely honoured to keep. I didn’t know what it was like to be completely trusted.

There’s always more to learn.

As I start this next decade of my life, I have to be open to new experiences and hardships and miracles. I have to forgive the people I’d rather forget, and leave my regrets behind. I have to smile more, work harder, drive slower, pirate less movies, read more books, and stop lying to my dentist about how often I floss. I need to tell the people I love, that I love them, twice as often, and I have to double the number of people I do.

I’m up for the challenge!


What to do on Valentine’s Day part 2

Last year around this time I put out a blog called “What to do on Valentine’s Day”

That blog was ridiculously fun to write. So I decided to do another one this year.

The general premise: while radio commercials remind men that they’re inadequate if they don’t get their girlfriend diamonds, and while ladies get dolled up for a night that probably won’t live up to their unrealistic expectations, us single-folk have the opportunity to have a wonderful evening. Here are 10 of my suggestions for an awesome “single” Valentine’s Day.

1) Write your future self a letter! That way lonely-you today, can make lonely-you in the future feel special!

2) If you live with your parents: go chill in the laundry room. I.e. enjoy a part of the house you’ve never been to before! If you don’t live with your parents: go ahead and chill in their laundry room anyway! They’ll probably think you’re going through a quarter life crisis, but that’s okay! That just means you’ll get a second slice of pie at dinner.

3) Water a plant: that’s sure to satisfy your need to take care of somebody! Also feel free to imagine that the plant is taking care of you… It IS turning all that nasty carbon dioxide into something you can breathe. (Pffft who needs relationships?)

4) Plants need water and so do you. Drink a bottle of water. It’s fun to hydrate!

5) Spend two hours trying to fix a whiteout that’s hopelessly unraveled itself!

6) Turn the corners of your toilet paper in and learn how to make swans out of towels. Behold! You find yourself in a complementary 5-star hotel. How’s that for romantic?

7) Penguins wait their whole lives to find a partner. Go to a public place and pretend to be a penguin looking for love! Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing though, because that ruins the fun.

8) Embroider a pillowcase with traditional Swedish patterns!

9) Cut out small squares out of magazines, and piece them together to form a mosaic of a life-sized Harry Styles on your bedroom wall. You’ve got yourself an incredible piece of modern art!

10) Take this extra time to study for the test that’s coming up next week… Nah I’m just kidding. Don’t do that.

“Animal” Print

I think that I only ever post three different types of blogs.

1) Somewhat philosophical ramblings that I come up with when I’m tired and need to rant. (Through which I show you how deep I am, and how enticingly mysterious my mind is.)

2) Stories about exciting nights or events. (Through which I show you that I have a booming social life.)

3) Silly joke posts. (Through which I show you that I’m not very mature.)

This entry is definitely of the third type. Although it’s useful to be able to jot down my musings about life and my life’s amusements, once in a while, it’s nice to write about something silly.

This is the post in which I admit that I’m obsessed with animal print.

You probably just conjured up some tacky image of a leopard print handbag or zebra pants, so let me put those horrible thoughts to rest. My preferences are anything but tacky.

I don’t simply like animal print… Oh no. I like actual “animal” print.

Let me show you what I mean.

animal print

Above you see parakeets, sharks, deer, and an awful picture of me trying to do a duck-face to match my duck shirt.

As you can see, I try not to take myself too seriously. Hope y’all are having a good start to 2015. (:

Wea’re So Smart

At long last. We’re all back together. I’ve mentioned my close group of high school friends before. At lunch, instead of talking about boys or celebrities we talked about the ethics of abortion and the flaws of today’s aviation laws.

And yet… When we got together over the holidays… brains fried from being overworked throughout the whole semester, our conversations were less than impressive. Utterly hilarious though! Here is a selection of things my friends said during our sleepover, presented with minimal context for maximal effect.

There are more nipples in the world than people.

I has made you beautiful… (Emma says after sticking a bobby pin deep within my tangled bedhead hair, where you can’t see it at all.)

Yeess… Zee mustache brings all the boiz to the yard. Also your displaced unibrow. (Erika has a theory that the scar on my forehead came about when I surgically removed my unibrow and then got a facelift.)

You kissed my eye.

Please stop touching my buttcrack.

You smell like Julia (Says Emma to Julia).

Hi im gabba thuuuuu. (One of my friends writes in my quote list when I leave my phone unattended.)

Can you have a singular goosebump?

My face isn’t very soft right now because I eat chocolate for meals.

The huns are coming! (Erika texts most of my contact list.)

Also my friends left these two selfies on my phone: (the latter one as my background and screensaver.)

PicMonkey Collage1And Julia sent these two snapchats of my brother’s Rob Ford bobblehead that resides in the basement we slept in. (Yes… my brother owns a Rob Ford bobblehead…)

PicMonkey CollageI hope that, whoever you are, you’ve had a lovely holiday break filled with friends and family! All the best to you from me and my wacko friends.

What do you want?

One of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer is, “What do you want?”

I think we go from day to day with a vague idea of what our desires are. Like, I know I want to get a degree, and move out of my parents’ house. And I know I feel like going out for dinner this weekend…

But very rarely, when you ask a person “What do you want?” will they say, “I want to eat salmon and rice for dinner, and then watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and while we’re at it, I’d like to be done my computer science degree in 2 and a half years and move into the apartment on Bloor street and have three children with Jennifer.”

“What do you want?” is a difficult question!

Other, comparably difficult variations of “What do you want?” are:

“What do you want for your birthday?”

“Where do you want your relationship to go?”

“What do you want to do with your future?”

God-awful questions!

You think you know what you want, until somebody asks you one of these and you try to verbalize your thoughts! All of a sudden, you’re second guessing yourself and in fear of answering with something that you’ll later regret, you give a very vague answer.

“I’ll love anything you get me!”

“I’m keeping an open mind, we’ll see where the relationship goes.”

“I want to have um, a job, and um, a family.?…”

In the course of one seemingly simple question, your life goals and guttural instincts are diminished to an unintelligible mess of thoughts, you give an ambiguous answer, and, in a panic, you wonder, “What in the world DO I want?!”

Blog-Ception… A Blog Within A Blog

Before starting this blog I wrote a diary. In my diary, I found a trusty friend/ therapist who never complained about my overly philosophical musings. Honestly though, I think this is a better platform since the knowledge that actual human beings may read it prevents me from starting dreadful, depressing ramblings.

Having time to myself this holiday I read through some of my old diary entries. It’s always curious to look over your own old writing. Mostly because anyone, in the moment, believes that their ideas are good. It’s only when we look at them in the future that we realize how our ideas have changed.

Without further ado, here’s an especially thoughtful diary entry from about two years ago.

April 10th 2013

        So it’s raining again today, and although it’s somewhat of an inconvenience, overall I don’t mind. As long as I am not excessively cold or wet, I’m quite content. Watching the rain from inside, or from a bus or from under an umbrella is good. Sometimes, when I’m in the right mood, even dancing and spinning in the rain is great.

        Having said that, there are two quotes relating to rain that I really like. Chandler said the first one. “Why don’t we make a bigger deal about the rain? It’s literally water that falls from the sky!” I agree! Had there been no such thing as rain, and water started falling from the sky, we’d be terrified! We’d probably worry that we’d all drown!

        The second quote is by Bob Marley. “You say you love rain, but you use an umbrella to walk under it. You say you love sun, but you seek shade when it is shining. You say you love wind, but when it comes you close your window. So that’s why I’m scared when you say you love me.” This is true. We claim to love so many things but we don’t love them really. We should be careful with that word, I think.

Seems like grade 12 me wasn’t a complete air-brained idiot. Although, the fact that I have no recollection as to who this Chandler guy is makes me sad. He seems pretty cool.

Thanks for joining me for this blast from the past. I invite you to share some of your younger-self ideas, but commenting is hard so feel free not to. 🙂

I’m So Fake

Here’s a question that I’ve always found irritating: “Is that your natural hair colour?”

Although the reason this question irritates me may seem trivial on the surface, I think it leads to a greater issue surrounding self-esteem and social expectations.

Why does it matter if my hair colour is natural or not? Does having dyed hair change the fact that it’s mine? Does it diminish its value, or MY value?

Am I wrong in saying that my hair IS my hair whether it’s dyed or not? Furthermore, by choosing to be blonde or brunette (or to have purple hair for that matter), aren’t I embracing my true preferences and thus becoming MORE myself?

Same goes for makeup. Countless pop songs remind girls that they don’t need makeup to be beautiful. Which is one hundred percent true! But does that mean they can’t be beautiful with makeup? Is a girl (or guy) who wears makeup worth less? Does it make them vain?

Excuse all of the rhetorical quemakeupstions. But I’m trying to figure this out…

This push to be natural reminds me too much of the archaic tradition of basing a woman’s value on her virginity or perceived promiscuity. Ya know?

I think we should accept everyone for who they choose to be. Nobody should be pressured into doing their hair a certain way, or wearing makeup, however nobody should feel ashamed if they choose to do those things. Dying your hair is okay! Not dying your hair is also okay! Your hair does not define you, so you should do with it whatever you want!


A girl with blonde hair which is very much dyed.

The Mona Lisa’s Secret

The curious thing about writing is that it’s very much an art. You can practice writing and you’ll most definitely get better at it, but inspiring writing comes from an innate talent. The talent of telling a story without actually telling it.

The Mona Lisa doesn’t flat out say, “I’m a cryptically smiling young lady, who has a secret and is embarrassed by her toothy grin.” She makes you infer these things instead. We revel in the illusion that we’ve discovered that Mona Lisa has a secret. The illusion being that, all along, the artist intended us to discover that she has a secret. We seldom realize that we should attribute the conclusions we come to about art to the artist rather than to ourselves.

Good writing also tells a story without explicitly telling it. There are concrete tools writers use for this, like allusions and metaphors, and a lengthy list of other rhetorical devices whose names everyone learns in high school and quickly forgets. Yet, in a truly good piece of writing, you can’t decipher the use of these tools. It’s easy to believe that good writing can’t possibly employ dirty strategies and tricks such as these, because they are so well hidden that we only perceive the ripple effect that they have on our reading experience.

I wish I could write like that… to be able to tell a story without actually telling it. I only ever come close to feeling that I’m capable of this when I’m writing about something that makes me sad. Heartbreak makes for good artistic fuel. And does anybody want a broken heart? Isn’t that cruel? To have two desires that refuse to coexist?

Unqualified Life Advice with Hanna: Listening

Sorry about the long time since the last post… I’ve been too busy brewing up this next installment of Unqualified Life Advice with Hanna/ my colloquially reworded teaching-class journal.

In today’s lecture I learned several new facts about listening. Specifically, I was surprised to discover that a person’s ability to listen is sometimes out of their control. I used to think that people who didn’t listen were just being rude. But I learned that listening actually requires a lot of effort. A person can be preoccupied or tired, and It’s natural to be inattentive after a long day.

I found it a little ironic when I stopped listening to the lecture… I  justified it by reminding myself that listening takes effort and I’ve had a long day… (;

Just as I tuned out, I thought about something that happened this past week.

I was at a friend’s house and we were about to have dinner. Being an unfortunately messy eater, I foresaw that I would need a napkin. I didn’t want to pester my friend, so I decided to find one myself. As I stood up, my friend told a sarcastic joke. When I didn’t laugh, he said, “I’m only joking, don’t take it seriously!” I realized that while I was desperately trying to not look like an idiot spinning in circles in the the kitchen, I had completely neglected to listen!

Usually, I consider myself a good listener, but clearly I hadn’t been listening very well. Looking back on the experience, it consoles me to know that even good listeners can’t listen all the time.

This is a relevant topic for future teachers. Mainly, it’s important for us to understand that children may not listen for reasons other than misbehaviour or stubbornness. And for all you non-teacher folk, the same can definitely be said about the awkward girls who ignore your jokes because they’re looking for a napkin.

… And I suppose in other situations as well, maybe.

Thanks for joining me on another narcissistic reflection on how to be more understanding of others. (: