2018: The Year of Sunday Rest

If you make your way to the far side of the Toronto Necropolis, you will find a bench bearing a simple and deeply evocative inscription: “He was my Sunday rest.” It’s a sentiment that has so deeply resonated with me and personally revealed much about the way I think about love and affection.

I am currently agnostic, but I was raised religious. The part of my family that raised my brother and I while our mother was working abroad was Pentecostal. For me, the term “Sunday rest” holds layers upon layers of meanings, stacked together like a mille crêpe, holding up my life’s deepest traumas and deepest joys. It has been quite the exhausting effort to reconcile these two, and I only very occasionally take a closer look at that part of my life. There is a harsh contrast between how much I valued my faith and my church community when I was in my pre-teens up until my early twenties, and the sudden traumatic break from organised religion around the time that I moved to Canada. “Sunday rest” has many complicated nuances for me, as far as ideas go, but it also encompasses fond memories bathed in the warm glow of nostalgia: of my old church, bustling family meals during holidays, community events and celebrations.

Despite said trauma, I also still associate the feeling of “Sunday rest” with what is good and beautiful in life. I recently attended the book launch for Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries, an anthology published and co-edited by three Filipino academics in Canada: Robert Diaz, Marissa Largo, and Fritz Pino. Robert is one of my supervisors, and of the experience of the launch, I told him, “it felt like going to church.” The space at 401 Richmond was celebratory and wonderfully supportive, and I was teary-eyed for most of it.

More recently in my adult life, though, “Sunday rest” has come to mean quiet time for myself, intended to be used as preparation for the coming week. As I get older, it has become more obvious that I am a person who thrives within routine: having a pattern in life allows me to keep my anxieties at bay enough for me to function, and hopefully function well. The importance of maintaining my Sundays as prep days, especially as I come into the last few months of my masters, cannot be overstated. Ideally, Sundays are when I organise myself into the person I aim to be at work, whilst nursing a giant mug of coffee or tea. Here are some of the things I always want to be able to do for myself on Sundays:

  • Planning: I absolutely adore the combination of a Monday-start weekly planner and a daily agenda. I prefer having calendars that begin on Mondays, as it lets me have a clear break from “plan day Sunday” to “begin the workweek Monday.” I am fully crediting Passion Planner’s Undated Monday Compact for sparking the realisation that this is how my brain functions optimally – thanks, guys! Towards the last quarter of 2017, I found myself gravitating towards and eventually exclusively using my giant collegiate notebooks to set up my weekly task lists. The right side is where I have all the to-dos by category, while the left side is for additional notes throughout the week. Recognising (rather belatedly in my academic career, hah!) that this is what works and that I should steer into it, I intend to keep using this system, at least until I finish this degree. To complement this, I downloaded the Business Calendar for Android on my LG G5, an app which allows me to (a) have the agenda view as a widget and (b) not have to carry the giant notebook everywhere I go.
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My giant collegiate notebook, which is serving me nicely as a planner!
  • Meal prep: I have been raised on the idea of meal prep from when I was a child! In the Philippines, almost everybody brings baon to school and work – baon is the Filipino word for “packed meal,” and it is so ubiquitous that food containers (Tupperware and the like), are called “baunan”, i.e., something you put your baon in. It is so satisfying to put away my baon for the week stacked neatly in the fridge, ready for me to pick it up and go. Last year I prepped a lot of simple roasted chicken thighs and steamed rice, but this year I need to incorporate more veg in there. Roasted asparagus is nice and easy, as are mushrooms and cauliflower.
  • Coffee: I have found my Contigo travel mug so useful that I bought two more and gave them away as Christmas presents. Mikaius bought me mine at Shoppers Drug Mart, but it is also available on Amazon! I was pretty skeptical when I first used it, thinking that my coffee couldn’t possibly stay hot for nine hours as is claimed on their description page. Imagine my shock (and pain) when I arrived at my 10am class after a two hour commute, popped the top open, took a sip, and promptly burned my tongue on near-boiling coffee. I have since learned to have “make coffee” be the first thing on my morning routine list as soon as I wake up and even before I shower, pour it into my travel mug as soon as it’s done, and leave the top open as I go about my daily prep. This way, my coffee is still hot when I get to class or to my office, but has cooled down enough to enjoy!

Together, meal prep and making my own coffee have allowed me to free up some wiggle room in my budget so that I can give to organisations I believe in and love. While I’m not donating life-changing amounts of money (let’s not forget that I’m a grad student with student loans looking at me from beyond my graduation day lol), I am able to save my coffee-and-lunch money and allocate it towards donations. Two that I’m currently giving to are Just A Story Pod through their Patreon, and Kapisanan Philippine Centre through the 13 for 13 #SupportK campaign. My usual order of a burrito bowl at Sid’s Café is $11 (!!!) but if I shop at the local FreshCo or Price Chopper, that is about a week’s worth of hot lunches for me, if not more. Similarly, a coffee at Tim Horton’s or Second Cup goes for $2, but buying a pack of coffee is $7 at my local Winners and a carton of milk $4 at the grocery store, which lasts me for about an entire month.

  • Reading: I have really tried to incorporate reading into my personal calendar by doing the Stephen King reading challenge, a name which is turning out to be a misnomer as it is more of a “reading Stephen King’s books and watching the movies and miniseries inspired by those books” challenge. Maybe I should change the hashtag to #experiencingtheKing instead? More to consider as I head into the new year! I’m currently on the last story of Night Shift, which I was initially reading via an ebook until a friend gifted me a thrift store copy of the book for our annual Friendsmas! The copy he gave me is the paperback edition with the bandaged hand as a cover, which is one of my favourite tales in the collection. Thank you lots, A!
  • Art and culture: Over 2018, I want to indulge my love of museums and art galleries more often. For Christmas, I asked my family for memberships to the Royal Ontario Museum and to the Art Gallery of Ontario! I’m very excited to see where this goes, as both of these institutions are within walking distance of campus, and I have always loved spending time there – even after seven years of living in Toronto and many dates taking place at the AGO and the ROM, there’s always something new to discover.

Coming up now on 2018 and looking back, 2017 was rough. I was recovering from my *dad’s death, but had not quite come back from the abyss yet. I was in very wild depressive cycles, and my anxiety has never been so terrifying. But, 2017 was also filled with little triumphs and joys: I lived by myself, for the first time ever, and the experience taught me that I absolutely can take care of myself. It makes me feel better for future me, knowing that I can handle living alone and all the responsibility that entails.

I have also been sending out applications to fellowships and submitting my writing to various places, collecting rejections along the way rather like how some people string up Christmas cards over the mantel. I wasn’t too stringent about my submissions in 2017, and more than once whipped up an application two days before the submission date – which is not how my mind works at all and so I screwed myself in the process, ugh. I’d like to believe that I’m wiser now, for that experience, and will continue to work on my writing. I would like to submit not just more, but more polished.

Having said all that, I want 2018 to be my year of Sunday rest. I want to invest time in myself – to work on the skills that I want to be better at in order to get to the career that I want, to submit my work for publication, to actually build my portfolio (which I have, but, you know, it isn’t as clean and beautiful as I would like it to be), to take more photos, to learn to be comfortable in my skin. I think that most of all, I want to learn how to truly love myself, which is proving to be a difficult task. I have had to train my brain to understand that I don’t need to be perfect. The anxiety in the lead-up towards submissions and meetings when I am overwhelmed in obsessive thoughts has actually negatively impacted me and the work that I produce.

As a daily visual reminder, I put some stickers on my laptop that are imperfectly overlapping just to remind myself that it is okay, that it will be okay, that I am okay.

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Starkanine is actually killing me with the placement, but I want to remind myself that it’s okay to not have a perfectly planned layout for these stickers.

Being in my late 20s, I am especially cognisant of the fact that I am effectively already in my thirties, and so before time actually catches up with me, I need to be prepared. I want thirty-year-old me to look back at twenty-seven year old me and think, she did well. As this year ends, and as I interrogate more closely why I’m doing what I do, I want to look at myself in the mirror and have a clear vision of what I need to work on to be my best self. That’s rather abstract, I know, so I set myself five goals for this coming year, and I want to be able to tick off this list by the time December 2018 rolls around. Here are my resolutions:

(1) I want to collect rejections. I don’t mean to say that I will submit applications to be rejected, but I wanted a way to think about submitting grant applications and poetry and other things without the inevitable rejection letters being too hurtful. I want to take this year as an opportunity to learn how to write better applications, and how to be more effective at the many different kinds of writing that I had not tried my hand at before.

(2) I want to go to the Philippines, once, before I fully emotionally commit to a life as an immigrant. My family has something planned, but we’ve not had a good track record in doing it – myself especially! I have been intending to go home for a few weeks since 2015, but then graduate school happened and I wasn’t able to leave. I think that I need to be home one more time before fully accepting that while I will always consider myself to be Bacolodnon, home as I know it is no longer there. I cannot plant roots where I am not.

(3) I want to decide if I am to pursue a PhD or not. I jumped into my masters straight from my undergrad, without a break, and knowing now what was to happen in 2015, I would have been much better off had I taken a year off. I was so absent my first year due to grief that I didn’t get to make friends or interact more with my colleagues, and I dearly regret that. I want to be certain that a PhD is what I want to commit my life to, before I write my applications.

(4) I want to learn how to make bread. I’m already starting this! I made a basic white bread last week and Mikaius really enjoyed it, so that was fantastic. It does feel good to be baking again, honestly, and bread is something I had always been slightly afraid of. What is the wizardry of yeast? Why are people so obsessed with bread? I don’t know, but I have a bunch of recipes lined up and I can’t wait to learn more about it!

(5) I would like to be more productive with this blog! Instead of writing when I feel like it, I have created a schedule, a calendars, and planned activities. From around October 2017 onwards I started jotting down ideas for 2018, and I now have a pretty good chunk of the next calendar year planned out. Blogging has been a constant for me since I was in high school, but I think 2018 will be a good year to see if I want to take it towards something more involved than memory-keeping.

And with that, thank you for hanging around and reading this. May your holidays be full of warmth and feel-good moments. See you next year!

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Our Summer 2015 Part II: Mikaius

June 5th was a special day. During the summer of 2014, Dani and I had kicked around the idea of my vasectomy. We weren’t really sure of it happening at this point, but we realized it was covered under OHIP. With that, we set about making some plans. I was able to get a checkup in November, and in January 2015 a consultation with an urologist. With a three month “think before you leap” period, at the doctor’s behest, April saw the final consultation and June 5th was the day I made sure I wasn’t having little versions of myself running around this place, for good. The experience itself wasn’t a bad one — though it did cost me some people, and even now, three months after the procedure, my boys are fragile little flowers.

I spent the first month waiting out those stitches, and the first 10 days before I could use my parts again was perhaps the most frustrating period I’ve had regarding that. I mean, not using my stuff is fine, but not being allowed to? Well that is just torture! Second month saw me get back into a normal state, some more stitches to pull and all that goodness, but things are mostly healed. Haven’t been able to wear real pants since, mind you, but that may also be because I spent this summer eating my way through Toronto, and less because my boys need to breath more.

On June 11th, I went in for advisement regarding my first real semester at UofT. Put together a timetable and courses for the next year of my life; I was looking forward to actually starting to take classes in my real area of study, and desperately trying to flee from Classics.

When Dani and I first got together, there were so many things I had in mind. So many things to do, places to go, stuff to eat! Slowly but surely, we are getting to these things. After two years, I managed to take Dani to a cemetery over in Thornhill Village that I’ve wanted to visit with her the whole time. She loved it. It was wonderful! We got to a good few cemeteries this summer, and this was the first. (15/06/15)

Thornhill Cemetery Summer
Sombre reminder at the bottom, delicious Golden Star on the left and lovestruck fools on the right.

June 21st marked Dani’s last day working for McDonald’s. Just short of five years, which is a long time to mark. For our two and a half years together, it’s been her place of work. I’ve picked her up a number of times there, sometimes for movies, sometimes just to go home and sometimes because she fell ill and I wanted to make sure she got home fast and safe. I had a bit of a moment recently (September, as of writing this), where it dawned on me I haven’t picked her up from work in a while. Last time I did was her last day, we sat down for a nice big lunch of nuggets and were going to see Jurassic World, but felt too tired and went home for a nap. It feels like its forever ago that she worked there, but it’s only been a couple months. This summer has been so big, so full. It’s been a good summer.

Might as well have been another cemetery, with me buried in it, on June 22nd: my first exam at UofT. It didn’t matter how easy the course itself was, I do not test well, and I am universally awful at assignments. Nonetheless, I killed the course and got an A. Before the exam, though, Dani and I enjoyed Kensington for a bit. After some mediocre sandwiches at the Grilled Cheese, we spent some time at the Blue Banana Market, which has come to be a bit of a place for us because we love kitschy things, especially kitschy kitchen things.

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The end of my first UofT exam! Where better to be jubilant than outside of UC?

The real doozy, the big bang for the summer, came for me on June 25th, during the time between the first and second half of the semester. It was my birthday earlier in the month, and on June 25th Dani treated me to Medieval Times! It wasn’t just Medieval Times, though, we went on an almost four hour walk from campus to Medieval Times. The first thing we did was get a little bit of frozen yogurt, but found it uncomfortable with all the little kids running around. We enjoyed it outside as we traded some Pokemon and back off we went! We went through Little Portugal, and we even passed through a small farmer’s market down Dufferin. We made sure to stop in a few places, a BMV there, an Midoco art store here, and another book store called Seeker’s. With a quick pit stop at Popeye’s to refuel, we kept our pace and got to Medieval Times just in time to enjoy yet more kitschy stuff! Their adorable gift shop full of crap only a kid or myself could enjoy! Dani got me a sword! I have a sword. It’s my sword. I love my sword! One day I will get the axe, the big sword, the dagger and the shield! One day! The ride home was even nice, it wasn’t a special ride, we just took a bus up from Medieval Times to Wilson subway station, but resting on her head as she rested on my shoulder and just traveling was great. We parted ways at Dufferin & Steeles, as we went up the 105 from Downsview. A beautiful night with a beautiful woman and I couldn’t have wanted more.

Medieval Times Summer
The big day! The real big day! Medieval Times!

Now came the second half of my summer. I had two courses, one of them I was great at, the other completely beat me down. Yet somehow I ended up with a B+ in both courses at the end! Bombed one assignment taking away my almost-90-something%, and I somehow pulled through my exam on the other to draw up from my 60-something%. What a strange semester!

On that first day my second semester, though, June 29th, Dani and I made for the Distillery District. Another great summer walk to remember! What a walk! We didn’t really anticipate the distance between campus and the Distillery District, but there’s nothing we love quite like a good walk. So we marched from campus on down, and marveled at the strangely clean streets in the ritzy areas we were walking through, and some of the old architecture the city has kept around. Dani loved a particular building, this little thing jutting into the intersection and separating two one-way streets.

We also stuffed our faces with some delicious Cinnamon Apple Pie popcorn from yet another kitschy kitchen-stuff place. I can’t remember the name, but we probably spent most of our time in it, giggling at silly little things. We went back up town and found ourselves at Kinton in North York, enjoying it for the first time. Remains the best I’ve had in Toronto.

Distillery District Summer
The best ramen I’ve ever had on the left, the tastiest popcorn in the middle, and the happiest two fools on the right.


Our Summer 2015 Part I: Mikaius

(The next group of posts will be a 5-part series from Mikaius. Learn a little more about the city of Toronto, student life at UofT, and how it feels to eat your way through the summer from CSDD’s reclusive editor, Mikaius!)

From April 2014 to May 2015, I was stuck in purgatory. I had graduated from Seneca College’s little diploma program of Liberal Arts, without any intention of carrying it further. After graduation, I tried getting into trades and figuring out what I wanted to do, but I spent a year in that stateless way, not knowing what the status of my application was. In the end, I decided to carry my diploma further. May 2015 marked my return to school: I was now attending the University of Toronto at the St. George campus, taking some Classics courses as a visiting student.

Before my first week of classes, I was able to get a few days of Dani to myself. These kinds of sleepovers are always the best. If we can swing them, we get an empty house to ourselves, and we cook and cuddle to our hearts’ content. She had just finished a four month Hell-semester at school, though, never getting the sleep she needed. So for the first day of our long weekend, I put her to bed and left her to nap undisturbed while I went out with some of our friends to watch Age of Ultron. The next morning, we made ube French toast! It was amazing. (05/05/15)

 

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Taken on our walk to find my classes.

 

The week after, as I said, my classes started. Nothing complicated this time, just a 100-level Classics course. Not a single new tidbit of information for me, but it was what I needed, something I could breeze into and through as I got back into academic-shape. Dani has always made sure to show me the buildings where my classes are on campus. UofT used to seem so big and intimidating before I started there. I wouldn’t say I know it like the back of my hand now, but I certainly know it well enough to walk end to end quickly and know which subway stop pops up where. That first day of class, I took a looooooooong route to where my building was and kind of wandered off track, back and forth. Google Maps wasn’t working well and without it I have the navigation sense of a deaf bat.

I’ll be frank, I hated that class. It was summer, it was 100-level, no one taking it knew a damn thing about Antiquity, and it was all things that had for so long been known to me, that I can’t help but think of it all as “common knowledge”. The better part of taking this course, however, was it was only three days a week, and campus is close to where Dani was doing work with the Kapisanan. This meant that after my days of class, on absolutely beautiful and stunning Toronto summer days, I’d get to waddle over down College Street to Augusta Avenue and pay her a visit (along with paying a visit to all the delicious food places there). The two months that I took this course gave us tons of days together, just walking around and visiting places. (11/05/15)

During that first half of the summer, Dani and I got to go for a nice little walk over at High Park for Victoria Day. All in all, it was a good day, we walked through the little wooded area before meandering off to Ten Editions just off St. George campus, and concluding our day after riding up and down Spadina on the street cars. We went to a little book store called Ten Editions for a bit, walked around that area for awhile. I think we got ice cream, I can’t really remember what we ended up doing around there, just remember riding the street car. (18/05/15)

 

High Park
Preparing the cookies and walking around High Park.

 

Later in the month we finally did something we’d been toying around with, in part because it was relevant to my courses, Friday Night Live at the ROM. What a wonderful night! We got there good and early with our pre-bought tickets (we even got to be front of the line!), so it was like our own private night there. We tried on some armours and outfits, dug up some dinosaur bones and strolled around the Hellenic and Italian ancient art exhibits. When the place got loud, we got out, and concluded that wonderful night. (22/05/15)

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Ceiling of the ROM near one of the entrances.

 

 

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Inside the ROM, enjoying the Greek collection.

I finally got all my courses together!

Class is starting again in September, and I am so looking forward to getting back into the student grind. I love my summer Intern experiences so much, because I feel like they have given me a new perspective on where I want my life to lead, but I also feel like I need more knowledge if my goals are eventually to be reached. Hopefully, this degree in Diaspora/Transnational Studies and Urban Studies will help me get there.

My course list for September looks really interesting!  Here are the classes I will be taking in the Fall and Winter Semesters:

  • DTS401H1 S – Cosmopolitanism, Diaspora, Literature
  • GGR320H1 F – Geographies of Transnationalism, Migration, and Gender
  • GGR327H1 F – Geography and Gender
  • HIS263Y1 Y – Introduction to Can History
  • HIS312H1 F – Immigration to Canada
  • INI235Y1 Y – Interdisciplinarity
  • JGI346H1 S – Urban Planning Proces
  • JQR360H1 S – Canadian Census

As you can see, it is now more tightly focused on the Diaspora/Transnational Studies and Urban Studies part of my degree. I have finished my English minor, and I am finally free from the clutches of courses like Medieval English! While both DTS and US are rather broad in their approach, taking them together as a double major has allowed me to tailor the courses I am taking into what I want to focus on in my undergrad – the immigrant community in Canada, and more specifically, in Toronto. I am going to try and approach a couple of professors for my final year (’15-’16, hopefully) and see if I can have an Independent Study course which will focus on the Filipino community, as I have found a dearth of classes dealing with Filipinos in Canada. The invisibility is rather disturbing, but I believe that this will get better.

Time-wise, my schedule is rather forgiving. I have earlier classes in the Fall, and later classes in the Winter – which works really well, because I do not want to be walking against the icy wind, in the knee-high snowdrifts that the Canadian winters bring, at 8 o’clock in the freaking morning. They say that Tim Horton’s coffees are the Canadian version of mittens, but I’m telling you, it’s hard to hold a cup of coffee when you have tiny hands and your gloves are bulky.

I’m also planning on getting a new backpack, because the one I’m currently using doesn’t have quite enough space for all the things I want to bring. If it was only my Macbook Air and my wallet, then I’m good to go – but I have an insulated tumbler for water, my pencil case, looseleaf binder, lunch… You get the picture. I’m in love with these two bags from Roxy. Hurray for free shipping for Canadians!

I can’t wait for September.

Falling In Love With The City of Toronto

I may have fallen in love with the city of Toronto, bit by tiny bit. Beautiful was not really the first word that came to mind when thinking about Canada before I lived here. What came to mind was vast. Cold. Alien… And yet, one of the things that I first noticed when I arrived on 1 May 2010 was the amount of greenery everywhere. There are trees, flowers, and plots of grass all around! I was overjoyed at this, because coming from a tropical country, I had thought that greenery was one of the things that I’d sorely miss in my new home. While my initial perception of Canada being a land of dead trees, winter storms, and glinting icicles wasn’t entirely wrong,  (see: the Great Ice Storm of 2013), I did realize that it was wrong to judge a country by only one aspect of it. When I arrived in Toronto in 2010, it was warm, everything was blooming, and there were barbecues in backyards and parks almost every weekend. Good memories, my first summer here. I got fat real quick.

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The little sidewalk cafes that Mikaius and I passed all had planters on the railings. This pretty little thing was in one of them. (c) DM

On the subject of Toronto being beautiful – I’m not ashamed to admit that one of the factors that influenced my choice of Uni was architecture. I like beautiful buildings – gothic, Victorian, modern, red-brick, steel, glass, cottage, skyscraper, whatever it may be classified as, I absolutely adore buildings that carry themselves with grace and strength. Toronto’s buildings have this odd but endearing mix of red-brick-and-vines beside steel-and-glass edifices that I think is wonderful, and the University of Toronto has a particularly eclectic mix.

This is University College, the main reason that I fell in love with UofT’s downtown campus. I ended up being in Woodsworth College, but that doesn’t take away from my love of that old, gorgeous, historical building. I am fascinated by the stonework and the wooden stairs, the stained glass windows, and the stories of the ghost roaming the halls. It didn’t help that I had a class that used to be in one of the towers, with a giant round stained glass window set in one of the walls – it was beautiful up there.

When Mikaius and I walked around the city for almost three hours yesterday, we ended up in sections that we hadn’t been in before. He said that he, “felt like a tourist in my own city,” and you know what? I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all. Armed with a bottle of water and a camera, we explored alleys and main streets, roamed around Chinatown, dropped by a 7-11 for a Slurpee and an iced coffee, and ended up at the Courtyard of University College just sitting and soaking up the sun. And taking many, many photographs.

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You know what was wonderful, to me at least? When we hung out at the UC Courtyard, there were no less than five people just sitting under trees and reading. Here are two of them:

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And here are a few shots of the courtyard/Uni itself. Isn’t it beautiful there?

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I think that my attachment to all things green stems in part from my grade school/high school campus. There were trees everywhere, sometimes there would be sheep wandering on the the football field, and at one point I swear I remember a water buffalo just idly munching on grass, too. My school offered a degree in Agriculture, so it wasn’t a surprise seeing animals around the area. I don’t know how it looks like now as I haven’t been back in about seven years, but my memories of that school has a lot of trees in it.

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Mikaius trying to preserve his anonymity. He has a gloriously wavy, messy head of hair. I love it. I love him. (c) DM
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Thank goodness we came across a 7-11. Their iced coffees and slurpees are pretty good at helping sun-drowsy people keep their cool. (c) DM

I’ve only been in Toronto for four years, and while I am half-in love with the city, I know that situations are less than ideal for many of its inhabitants. Studying Social Inequality, especially for immigrants of colour, has made me realize that while I may think the city itself is gorgeous, there are many issues that still plague the population. That being said, I also believe that things will get better, glass ceilings have the possibility of being breached, and while it is not projected that immigrants’ wages will ever reach the level of Toronto-born Canadians anytime soon, things can be done to work towards it. I got pretty depressed writing my papers for social inequality, what with all the sources showing me only the stark truth of numbers and nothing of the back stories of the people. Yet this additional knowledge, bleak and depressing though I found it at times, has spurred me towards attempting to try and make things better. I’m only twenty-three, I still have time.

Where I was and what was playing: Safe in bed, and Maroon 5’s Never Gonna Leave This Bed

*lolo = grandfather in Tagalog

Lessons From A Laptop’s Death

I am nothing if not prepared. I have back-up plans, and back-ups to my back-up plans. I have become the kind of student who schedules the entire semester to the day, working with the way my brain functions and trying to make things easier for future-me. When I write, I rewrite four or five times, which is time consuming but seems to work well for me. Thus, I cannot cram all my writing into a single weekend. My laptop troubles began about a month ago, when my beloved Macbook Pro began showing weird barcode-like glitches on its monitor for a split-second and then reverting to normal. Hmmm, the extreme planner part of my mind thought, I should back everything up right about now! But I was in the middle of writing a paper on sinigang and immigrant identity for my Intro to Diaspora and Transnational Studies course, and my mind was too caught up in lay-outs and analysis and research. Maybe the glitch was a one time thing. Maybe it’ll go away. 

And so I continued to slave away at my independent project, and setting up for a second paper, this time for my Literary Theory class. This ups the count to two massive papers for as many courses; my Macbook was chugging along fine, with the occasional glitches now stretching from a split second to fifteen seconds + a restart. But my brain, enmeshed as it was with my papers, kept convincing me it was perfectly fine to put off backing up.

Into the horizon came the deadline for a third paper, this one a discussion of the Collaborative Colonialism of Hong Kong for my Global Urbanization class. I was on top of things for all three classes: my sources were compiled, read and annotated; my drafts were on their second (or third) incarnations; my thesis was evolving into something coherent. Then, the day before my sinigang paper was due, a mere twenty minutes before I was supposed to walk into a class, my Macbook Pro died.

I was distraught to the point of calmness. This was the calm before the storm hit, and I needed all my wits. I called Apple’s Customer Service, and since the agent could do nothing for me without charging me $60 as I had neglected to get Applecare, she scheduled me for a meeting at the Genius Bar the next day. Knowing I had to get my bases covered before deadlines crashed into me like a tropical storm, I immediately emailed my Intro to DTS professor and attached a photo of my dead laptop (for those interested, my monitor only showed me a grey screen with a flashing question mark). I managed to get an extension for five days, two of which I was working eight-hour shifts at McDonalds, and all five of which I would have no laptop since I was getting it repaired.

Thankfully, my friends came to my rescue. Aldrin, who had himself just gotten his own Mac fixed, lent me his computer. I had to go through the hell of (re)digging up all my sources, laying my content pages out again, and working on analyses that I had lost with my Mac (I was on draft 3/4 at the time). I pushed to the breaking point, got my paper done, and had my Mac back three days after I sent it in for repairs. I gave Aldrin’s computer back to him after only 4/5 days.

However, the worst was still to come. Remember those two other papers that were due, as well? When I got my Pro back, I still had all the information on it. Trusting that my computer was good to go (I was told that it was only a connection wire issue), I wrote and rewrote drafts. The day after I got it back, my screen froze, the freakin’ barcodes showed up again, and my Macbook died once more. It was a fried motherboard (and from what, I have no idea, as I only used the computer for photos and word documents). This time, though, I was better prepared: I had saved some of my work on Google Drive, which saved my life, but the drafts I had been working on at my computer’s time of death I could not access. Another friend, Chris, lent me his computer this time.

I know, right? I struck gold. My friends are amazing.

This time, the situation was bad. It was really, really bad. I sent my Urban Globalization professor a photo of my Macbook, and again got a 5-day extension. Hurray for nice teachers, right? My problem this time was, since I had not counted on my computer collapsing again, I was booked to work for the weekend. And the following Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, I had two final exams (Classical Mythology and Intro to DTS) and two final papers (Literary Theory and Global Urbanization). Four separate mammoths of requirements, that I had to prepare for in five days, where I was working for two, and using a borrowed laptop. Once again, my friends had saved my life – they cheered me on and supported me, and more importantly, let me borrowed what I needed to get through those harrowing five days. I got through it and by the time it was over, I was a dead woman walking. But I survived. And here’s me hoping I passed my exams and papers!

So now, I have learned my lesson. I am trying to be more conscious of backing up my data. I got a new laptop, which was necessary because of all the papers I needed to write (I will be paying it off this summer, thank god for my job). I got a Macbook Air, but this time, I got the three year warranty. The lovely girl who took care of me when I went to buy this baby left these words of wisdom resounding in my head, “I can’t afford a new laptop, but I can afford Applecare.” And I could, because she knocked off a couple hundred dollars from my bill. Perks of being a student.

Where I was and what song was playing: In the 9th floor of the Robarts Library, and John Legend’s All of Me.