Finding Your Voice

I’ve had a blog or journal since I was in elementary school. So, I can say I’ve always had some way to express my own voice, and only recently has it been made more public by things like this blog.

But I haven’t always had the same voice. I doubt I would have even expressed my views on politics and current events a few years ago, but now I’ve started to.

I think part of that is because I’ve realized that the more silent you stay, the more other people take your decisions for you. And that thought terrifies me as someone who values equality between sexes and the liberty to choose who I date, among other things.

So, I have decided of late to use my voice more for expressing what I value, and for those who may not have as much access to express what they value. However, that includes acknowledging the fact that I cannot speak on behalf of groups that have experienced life in another way that I have never been subjected to. Instead, I’m choosing to be an ally to those groups and help support them in the causes that are important to their them.

Not to mention, I think now more than ever the world needs to recognize we are all humans and all deserve to be treated with respect. This is not a time to tear each other down for being different, but a time to embrace those differences to work together for a better future.

So, I hope you all find your voice and use it for the good of humanity.

Peace and love,

Mel.

Living With a Roommate

If you’re off to university or have ventured off on your own for the first time, chances are, you have a roommate.

Lucky for you, I’ve been there, so here are my top tricks for dealing with roommates.

  1. Talk to them before you meet. That way you can figure out some things about them and they won’t be a total stranger.
  2. Respect their personal space. Ask if you’re borrowing things, or if it’s okay to invite over other people, etc. Especially in a small living space, both of you will probably need your own bubble to retreat to.
  3. Know who’s going to take care of what essential household stuff. Whether it’s cleaning or paying rent, be responsible for taking care of your share of household tasks.
  4. If there are any issues, make sure to try and talk to them first before involving anyone else. Communication is key to solving anything, and in a worst-cast scenario, you can move or transfer residences.
  5. Try to find someone who shares your interests. That way, you have enough common ground to get along most of the time. Keep in mind, living with friends can still end badly, and strangers can become your best friends.
  6. Get their number just in case. If there’s an emergency, you lock yourself out, or you need to tell them something important, you can always reach them.
  7. Know whose stuff is whose, and which items are communal. It also goes for areas of the place you’re living in. Trust me, people who hog the bathroom or steal your food are annoying, so it’s best to have some ground rules.

I hope some of this point help you guys with dealing with future roommates (or current ones)! Remember, so long as you have basic trust and respect for the person you’re living with, things should turn out well.

If you have any questions or other roommate advice, please leave them below!

-Mel.

When Home Just Isn’t Home Anymore

So…you’ve lived apart from your family for a few months, even an entire school year. And now, you’re back to their house or your hometown for a little bit. You’re happy, but coming “home” has somehow become different.

I’ve already experienced this feeling before moving away to university, after having done some traveling without my family. But it wasn’t until I lived in residence in university and visited my home for the holidays that I noticed how out of place I felt at home.

When you first see your family and friends, it seems like everything is the same. Same house, same car, same dog, same city. But they’ve really changed. See, the funny thing is, other people aren’t static. They grow up, get new hobbies or jobs, new friends or partners, and even if you know about all of that before you reunite, you’ll still have to get used to how those things affect your loved one’s daily lives.

But, the hardest part of coming home is being faced with how you’ve changed. After all, you’ve been away and learned some valuable lessons on your own. From friendships to things you learned in university courses, you’re not the same person you left home as. I know I came back from my first semester of university with new friends, a realization of how hard university can be, and with more independence. I’d even become a bit more extroverted, which is no small feat for me.

So, is there anything you can do about coming home and facing change or being changed?

To be honest, you can’t do much but to accept the changes and adapt to your new life. You’ll never be able to change the paths of others in your life, so you’ll either have to accept them as they are or set them loose. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let go of a friend in your life. It might be tough, but you’ll survive.

As for personal change, you’ll have to assess whether it’s good or bad, and then embrace what will allow you to become the best version of yourself. Take some time to have a heart to heart with yourself, and it’ll help you grow as a person. I hope that what you discover allows you to reach your goals and contribute to the world around you.

Just remember, change is a healthy part of life. You won’t be able to avoid it, but you can change how you react to it. So, when you feel out of sorts going home the next school break, go out and embrace the weirdness of change!

-Mel.

Lest We Forget

I had originally planned to post about my experience with Hal-con last weekend, however, I owe this great man for upholding my country’s freedom, and so it can wait.

The man above is my great grandpa, who fought in World War Two for the Canadian Navy doing supply runs in the North Atlantic. He is a hero, and one of my role models. Unfortunately, he passed away almost ten years ago, but he lives on in my memories.

Like many WW2 heroes, he was more than just a member of the Navy. He gave the best back massages, guaranteed to put my younger self to sleep, even though his hands were covered from calluses from years of hard work. He teased me about being shy to practice my French whenever I visited as well. His house was always a safe place, and you would leave stuffed with food, and hopefully a bit of lefsa. He and my great grandma were a strong couple, and I can remember them dancing together at one family gathering, looking so happy together.

So, every November 11th, I thank him for his service, and for the time I got to spend with him. His memory reminds me to live life in a way that embodies the positive qualities of life, from courage and perseverance, to love and giving back.

Lest we forget those that have fought for Canada and those who still fight.

-Mel.

10 Things You Learn When You’re Single

  1. You can order whatever food you want, whenever, and nobody will judge you.
  2. You can go on a lot of first dates.
  3. You have the freedom to do whatever you want, including travelling the world over.
  4. You are never alone, there’s always someone who has your back.
  5. You may not be a perfect person, but you have the power to become a better person.
  6. You’re stronger and more independent than you thought.
  7. Treating yourself is just as important as any other priority.
  8. What you actually love doing.
  9. You are capable of meeting new people or being in new situations and not making a fool of yourself.
  10. You don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy.

-Mel.

I’m Tired…

…of seeing another person shot and killed by the very people meant to protect them.

…of seeing yet another headline about an attack on civilians.

…of hearing hate filled comments about other races and cultures, bred from ignorance.

…of seeing some leaders around the world put their goals before the wellness of their citizens.

…of seeing countries refuse refugees, just because they can.

…of seeing constant talks of war, but very rarely talks of peace.

…of seeing so many people exploiting this beautiful place we call home, just for profit.

…of seeing our differences tear us apart, instead of helping us come together and achieve so much more.

…of going to read the news, and being worried about what I’ll read about today.

…of hearing one positive thing, only to hear a thousand more negative things.

…of seeing so much violence in this world, that I only feel numb.

…of seeing the present, and worrying what world my future children will be brought up in.

 

But mostly, I am tired of seeing this world full of hate and fear, instead of love and peace.

 

-Mel.

Philosophy Party

Imagine you’re invited to a party with a bunch of philosophers, and you don’t know what to expect. Here’s what some of them would be doing when you walk into the room…

Descartes: Doubts everything is real, and when somebody convinces him he’s not a thinking thing, he disappears.

Plato: You introduce yourself, and he tells you that you don’t know what exactly a party is because you’ve never spent time with the Form of Party. Also asks you if you’ve managed to escape the cave yet.

Marx: Is trying to convince some members of the working class to join together internationally with their brothers to overtake capitalists and put the means of production into the worker’s hands.

Hume: Is getting impressions of everything at the party so he can truly have an idea of what a party is. Later seen arguing with Descartes about the existence of God.

Nietzche: Rides up in a tank, kicks a few people he assumes are weak out of the party, declares himself a übermensch and that only he is fit to govern the party.

Mill: Is going around trying to increase the general happiness of the party, as a good utilitarian. Gives the workers some supplies and money after Marx harasses them so they have better footing to succeed in an unequal society.

Kant: Is stuck evaluating the moral worth of every single action he could make, so is sitting doing nothing most of the party since he’s afraid of doing something that isn’t out of moral duty.

Lucretius: Is trying to explain how atoms swerve using different balls made out of food to Anaxagoras, who in turn keeps trying to prove that things have tiny things of everything else in them by cutting food open.

 

Bilingual Problems

 

1.You sometimes forget words in your first language.

2.Other languages have better words to express things, but you can’t use them to explain things unless you’re with another bilingual person.

3.The amount of verbs you’ve memorized in your life is slightly ridiculous.

4.You understand another culture by its’ language, but you still feel like an outsider.

5. You know what it feels like to switch languages when the teacher walks past in your language class.

6. Accents are the weirdest thing on earth to understand, but it’s cool to know you can understand weird ones.

7.You can surprise people by switching to their language, and you’ll become a better person in their eyes quickly. It honestly makes some people’s day when I’m at work.

8.You’re asked to be the translator while traveling for your friends or family.

9.You know the difference between having an ELA class and an FLA class.

10.You’ve read some pretty weird books in language class.

11.You’re always intimidated to speak in front of other people in your second or third language.

12.When you tell someone you speak another language, they always ask you to say something, and all you can think of is something stupid to say.

13.You definitely *don’t* learn any swear words first.

14.You can speak franglais or spanglish.

15.Your search history involves lots of: What is x in y language?

So, that’s a short list of bilingual problems, what ones did I miss? Leave them in the comments!

-Mel.

 

Je suis bilingue

 

Vous savez déjà la Melissa qui écrit ce blogue, mais vous ne savez pas Mélissa.

Mélissa est une personne critique, qui donne son opinion (même si ce n’est pas populaire), mais qui a un côté inspirant, artistique, et amusant.

Elle est une partie de Melissa, et Mélissa est une partie d’elle.

Elle est devenue une personne depuis la première journée de maternelle, quand j’ai appris mes premières mots en français. Ces mots étais les mots simples, comme des nombres, les saisons, etc., mais ils sont les mots qui ont commencé un voyage extraordinaire.

J’étais en école d’immersion française depuis la maternelle, et j’ai continué mes études jusqu’aux douzième année de l’école. Je crois que je suis bilingue, mais mes connaissances dans la langue française sont en train de disparaitre, puisque je ne parle pas français à tous les jours. Je n’écris pas en français, je lis pas en français, et j’écoute les chansons ou les filmes Françaises rarement.

Je veux que mon Français retourne. J’ai besoin de quelqu’un qui va me parler en français, ou me texter, pour que je n’oublie pas. Puisque j’ai mis l’effort d’apprendre le français pour 13 années, avec plusieurs obstacles, et ça disparaisse.

Peut-être les postes en français vont être mon outil pour s’en souvenir de mes capabilités dans la langue française. Mais, je veux savoir s’il y a les personnes qui s’intéressent à lire des postes d’une personne qui perd leur français, qui n’est pas un expert sur la culture ni la vie francophone.

Bon, je pense que j’ai écrit assez. Mais la question pertinente de cette pièce un peu pathétique en matière de niveau de langue en mes yeux: y a-t-il les personnes qui voudrait lire les postes de blogue en français, et de quel genre? Laissez vos opinions dans les commentaires SVP!

-Mel.


To those who don’t understand French, I’m bilingual, and I’m wondering if there is an interest in French blog posts on my blog, because I’m slowly losing my French skills and want to retain them. Leave your comments below if you’d want to see more French posts, and what about!

 

Bliss

Almost a year ago, I was riding on the back of a pick-up truck towards Totogalpa, where I would stay with my host family and counterparts for the next five weeks. There wasn’t anything extraordinary about the day, just a lot of travel, and the big reveal of counterparts and host families later on in the day.

But then riding on the back of that truck, holding on for what seemed to be dear life going up and down the mountains of Nicaragua, I experienced a feeling that I’ve never encountered. It was like happiness because I was travelling to a new place to do volunteering, one of my favourite things. It was like freedom, riding on the back of the truck with the wind in my hair, with no idea where I was or where I was going. It was a stress-free moment, as the only things I needed right then were taken care of. And even though I was totally out of my element, I knew I needed to be there at that moment. It was bliss, it was peace, it was tranquility.

To this day, I don’t have a name for what I felt that day. And there probably is a word, but I don’t really want to know what it is. Instead, I want to savour that moment forever, and the feeling of being on the top of the world.

So, since then, I’ve strived to get to that feeling again, but in the right way.

By that, I mean living each day to the fullest I can and living each day with as positive a mindset as I can. I want to live life appreciating the small things, and knowing that as long as I have food, water, and somewhere safe to but my head at night, I’ll be fine. Everything else is extra, but welcome in my life. I want to take chances, to explore, to spend that extra minute talking to a special person in my life, because I believe this world needs more positivity brought into it.

I know I’ll have bad days too when, it will be a struggle to get out of bed, when I’ll want to punch someone. However, the most important is knowing that I have the things I need in life, and as much as the bad stuff will drag me down, I am stronger than it.

At the end of the day, I hope to have made myself happy by what I’ve accomplished. And hopefully, if I do enough good things for myself, my impact on the other people in my life will be positive as well. If not, at least, I can go to bed knowing that I have not gone out of my way to hurt others, and bring negativity to another life.

And that’s enough for me, because I know that’s all I need now.

So, Nicaragua, you taught me an important lesson in the place I least expected would change my life. Thank you, a million times over.

-Melissa