This weekend is known as the May 2-4 weekend where we celebrate the late Queen Victoria’s birthday by indulging in a day off. This year, I get to make my way back to Kingston to spend time with my roomie of four years, Alytron (@alyedwards)! Kingston was the original capital of Canada and is a beautiful lake side city where the sailing events took place during the Montreal Summer Olympics. This small city has a lot to offer and join me and Alytron as we re-explore Kingston this May 2-4 weekend.
Victoria Day is a statuary holiday celebrated only in Canada. This holiday was created on Queen Victoria’s 35th birthday. After her death, the holiday was known as Victoria Day where we remember her birthday as she was deemed the “Mother of Confederation.” Usually the May long weekend is celebrated with parades, various activities along with fireworks. Let’s see what this Victoria Day has in store for us. Follow my blog to keep up to date with The Adventures of Alytron and Yvo3.0.
Happy Victoria Day!
It’s been four years of tears, sweat, happiness and laughter. My undergrad has finally come to an end and I don’t know what to feel; should I be relieved? Should I cry? Or maybe I should cheer and dance around in circles! Instead, I have some reflective thoughts on the last four years since leaving my hometown behind for the big city.
Often I’ve been asked if I regretted choosing Toronto over staying in Edmonton. My initial instinctive answer would be, yes. Home is just so much more convenient, all my friends are there and my family is in Alberta-who would want to leave the comfort of their own home for a big foreign country *cough* CITY I mean CITY (just seems like a foreign country sometimes)!! *Ahem* But the more and longer I’ve been thinking about it. No. I have absolutely no, nada, zero regrets coming to Toronto. I probably have had my hardest four years up to date, but now I see how essential the move was to me developing as a person. These past four years in Toronto has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Toronto is definitely not the city for me to settle down in, but I’m not ready to settle down! So it doesn’t matter! What is awesome is that my university experience in this city has been an incredible journey. I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay here, but there are absolutely no regrets and here’s why:
- Growing up: Sure, we all mature with age (well, most of us anyways *coughchriscough*) but, there is something about the transformation of being “the big fish in the small pond” into the “small-medium-sized fish in a really large lake” which is so important in shaping me. There is something humbling about falling flat on your face when you are 18, after years of relative success, then succeeding exponentially in different areas you never thought possible. Sure I’ve gone through cycles of ups and downs (but who or what doesn’t, the economy is a testament to that), but in the end I always triumph and learn something more about myself and the people and world around me.
- Putting independence to the test: Not only do I have to walk to the doctor by myself, I have to figure out bank investments, residential situation, job postings, food, ALL decisions all by MYSELF. This may seem like a lot of fun in the beginning, but I know there are times when I wished my mom could have make me congee and driven me to the doctor or even something as simple as making sure I wake up on time so I do not miss my exams. Beyond that, you are also provided with the independence to figure yourself out without the influences of your close friends and your family. Now this may be a bad thing if you fall in with the wrong crowd, but being in a competitive environment like at the University of Toronto, you figure a lot about who you are, what makes you tick and what really drives you. I know through this experience I didn’t want to become a partner at KPMG, but instead maybe a partner at Fleishman-Hillard or Hill+ Knowlton.
- Networking opportunity from a business perspective: I live right beside Bay Street. That’s kinda awesome. So many companies are HQ’d in Toronto and to be able to meet CEOs and EVPs like Arlene Dickinson and Kirstine Stewart has been something I would have never even dreamed of back in high school.
- It’s cheaper and easier to travel to the States: I love Boston and it’s a relatively short ride down to Massachusetts. New York is also a bus ride away and so it is easy to plan a trip with friends to take off for the weekend.
- There is so much to do in the city: From theatre, to ballet, to red carpet premieres and unique eating places, there is no shortage of things to do in the city! You just need to know where to look. BlogTo has been a bff of mine’s these past 4 years. It has information about EVERYTHING in Toronto.
- THE PEOPLE: While some retail workers just need a new perspective on life and not hate on world so much, the majority of people are really friendly. There is someone in the city who you have some kind of commonality or distant relation (not necessary by blood) to. From friendly (*coughcutecough*) baristas to friendly coworkers and welcoming suitemates, I have built so many relationships in my four short years here. I know these will carry over through life because we all went through so much together. We come from all over the world and have various backgrounds and interests. So much of Toronto is enjoyed because of the friendships you make with everyone during your university years.
So there you have it! The saddest thing for me in life, is to hear that someone holds regret. Life is all about growth and experience. If we had all the answers, then why are we even here? So look back, and reflect to see how all the dots have connected and the equation has added up to who you are today. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only collect them looking backwards.”
It’s that’ time again people: EXAMS. And this year, these will be the very last undergrad finals I will ever have to write. FOREVER. It should be cause for celebration! I should have banners all over the place telling the world I have completed my B.Comm. Really. I finished my last business exam last week! But no. I have done the stupid thing and had refused to credit/no-credit my Slavic Folklore class. And so instead of chilling out, slowly packing my room away, figuring out my summer plans, I am studying quite hard for Slavic Folklore. So, if there is anything you can take away from my ongoing rant, it is to no-credit courses that have no way shape or form relate to your study area of interest.
Reasons I am hitting myself over the head because I didn’t no-credit this course:
- I could have enjoyed the gorgeous sun. A rare phenomenon in Canada circa 2013: the sun was shining and glowing today. It did not rain, there were no clouds in the sky. Instead, I was sitting inside Starbucks studying. Didn’t get too much done, and ended up smelling like coffee. (Luckily Taylor the Latte Boy was there to say, “Hi” to me.) I had Michael Buble’s It’s A Beautiful Day on repeat, trying to convince myself life’s going to be ok. (It’ only worked until I actually had to start studying.)
- Sleeping-in would have been nice. With graduation and move-out anxiety, and the fact that I am recovering from a nasty 4-week sickness, any additional sleep would have been nice.
- The pool of Hart House is calling to me. I need to swim! I need water almost as badly as fishes do. Yesterday was the first time I swam since the beginning of February. It was wonderful, but today, I had no time for the pool because my books were taunting me.
- I could be reading about other things. Things that do not require me to know the difference between a vila and rusalka, Julian Calendar vs. Gregorian Calendar, and most of all, what the heck is a skomorokh? Very out of my league I’m afraid…
- I would have been in NYC! At Tribeca! Yup! I said no to Tribeca because I have to study…Seriously…I could have met people like Clark Gregg. Maybe.
Anywho, point being, I am regretting not no-crediting this final course (even though I had a rational reason not to), and if you can’t tell I am trying to procrastinate. But alas, only 2 more nights and 3 more days before my undergrad years will be officially be behind me! So I shall trudge through, buckle down and get studying.
Happy studying! (Thanks for listening to me rant! I shall now commence 5 minutes of headdesk-ing then will resume studying.)
Me in my room wishing Thursday was already here.
An assortment of mini-desserts.
The Windsor Arms Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotel in our little neighborhood of Yorkville. The original home of TIFF and the destination hotel for celebrities, couples and dignitaries alike for when they visit Toronto.
This hotel is known for having some of the best foods in the city. The Windsor Arms Hotel is best known for their High Tea and I finally had the opportunity to go enjoy the wonderful afternoon delight with my team from work. It was absolutely delightful and even @SepKhanbeigi enjoyed it!
Deliciousness comes in the form of tiny savoury quiches.
As a Tea Lover, I was overwhelmed with the choices of tea that they had. I wanted to order one pot of everything! They had various selections from their basic breakfast Earl Grey to an exotic chai blend and my personal favourite, “Once Upon a Tea.” (A delicious mint rooibos blend.) Overall the experience was amazing. Because we were a party of eight, we were seated in a Red Room with pictures of the Romanov family for decor. The server was pleasant and the entire experience is definitely one I would love to try again (perhaps for my birthday, anyone?)
The food was also incredibly delicious. High Tea opened with a savoury warm goat-cheese quiche. With tiers of mini-sandwiches and assorted desserts, I don’t know what more the experience needed. O! Delicious light fluffy, flaky scones. Yum! The best scones I have ever had, so good I had THREE!
If you have the chance, make a reservation and spend your afternoon sipping on tea and being transported to a different place.
@SepKhanbeigi enjoying his cup of tea.
Monday has arrived! The weekend was once again eaten and consumed by the monster named “Finals”. Thank goodness I had already finished studying for my exam today and only needed review, but my Thursday exam material is a little dense and packed and slightly too wordy… My brain is literally about to explode with different theories in negotiations….
Here are some observations from my weekend study session with @katherinepedia:
- Your favourite Starbucks will make sure you remain loyal to her. Yup. @Katherinepedia and I tried to go to two other Starbucks (which were jammed packed) before we admitted defeat and ended up at our usual place (which oddly enough was EMPTY).
- Have a guilt free Barista Love Affair at Starbucks. It involves your Barista and You having a conversation that goes something like this: *Y: Oh! You’re making my drink today! B: *smiles* Yes. I remember the drink, but that’s not how I spelled the name…You mean I’ve been spelling your name wrong all this time?! Y: It’s ok. B:*grumblemanegoabitdamagedgrumble* How are you doing? Y: I’m good. Thanks for the drink! B: Take care!* Annnnnnnnd end. Something to that effect. If you keep going, it might escalate to this. It could happen…
- Study buddies! It’s always good to know that you don’t have to tackle the monster by yourself. You can keep each other company and laugh over things like Vampire Weekend and Grouplove during your break time.
- It’s crucial to spend time with friends more frequently. Crystal and I had a binge fest today and it was because we hadn’t seen each other in THREE weeks! So combined with the stress of Finals and life planning, we both were just slightly ill in our stomachs after dinner…
- Tea solves all problems. If you don’t know this by now you haven’t lived yet….
But not to worry! The week may seem like an uphill battle, but, TEA will always help save the day. That’s just something I have to keep in mind. With the craziness of my final (OMGyoumeanI’mgraduatingOMG) undergad exam period, I must remind myself that the evil of exams cannot take away the good in life (synonymous with tea). So plow forward with a cuppa to help you along!
It’s that time of week again. Things are starting to slow down and there is STILL one more day of school, work and more work. Everyone in the office is sighing and the gloomy snowy weather in APRIL does not help your case. It’s time for a pick me up! Coffee seems like a good choice but we all know that tea is the better option.
I am starting a new series (Thursday Pick-Me-Up) for all you tea junkies who need a little extra boost near the end of the week! The first featured tea is DAVIDsTEA Vanilla Orchid. This amazing light oolong has a delectable soft orchid taste infused with the sweetness of vanilla. This perfect blend will relax your shoulders, put a smile on your face and help ease you through to the end of the week. This oolong has the right amount of caffeine as well. Nothing to drive you to hyperness or to a caffeine-high, just with enough push for you to stroll through the rest of the day peacefully.
This cuppa definitely put me at ease when I was stressed about having to complete a million and one things. Sometimes, we don’t need something to drive us to power hard through the rest of the week, sometimes a cuppa with a gentle push is all we need to enjoy the end of the week so that TGIF nights start off on a happy note and we all leave the office with a smile on our faces.
A little goes a long way. Keep Calm and Steep Tea.
It just hit me yesterday that I am GRADUATING! This is an exciting yet daunting thought. For all of this year I have contemplated and stressed over what to do after school. There is no safety net of more school, no security of a full time job, and no guarantee that I will even get an interview any time soon. I have probably cleared about 1/5 of my tea draw downing cup after cup of tea trying to figure out what path to take. But as graduation and the true near grows closer, I find that I am more relaxed and excited than anything else. Sure everyone left, right and centre has been asking me what I am going to do with my life. For the longest time I didn’t have an answer and I could see the disappointed look on some people’s faces and to some extent, some unimpressed faces. People just do not realize how much pressure graduating university students experience. I didn’t know either until this last year. Our parents are constantly asking what we are going to do about our futures; It’s time for their ROI to start showing as education is concluding; Friends who have jobs constantly want to know what you are doing; Profs are looking to see that their students are successful and have a job before school is out; Bosses and employers are all trying to help out. A lot of people are involved and it can feel like you are in a pressure cooker all alone ready to be cooked and eaten by the scary monster called “REALITY”.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
More than anything, I have learned this year that I know who I am, no one else does (though there are always a couple of your friends and mentors who will keep you grounded). All throughout life I always felt that I had to achieve things above everyone else. Everyone can see that I had ambition beyond belief (and I still do), and that added unknown stress into my life as I kept trying to chase after something that would eventually become unattainable. I still want to be one of the few female CEOs in the world, but now not for money and glory, but because I honestly believe the world needs more female CEOs and more examples of incredible leaders. Realizations like that made me see that if I listened to every one else, my life will become unfocused and I will lose sight of myself, values and true aspirations. As one of my profs said to me back in my second year, “take my word as a grain of salt.”
Today as I sit here reflecting on my university years, here are a couple of things that helped me keep grounded and real:
- Extensive support network: I am probably one of the most independent person you will ever meet, but that does not mean I do everything alone. I love figuring things out on my own and a lot of times it takes a lot for me to ask for help. However, if I did not have the friends, mentors and family that I do now, I know I would not be anywhere close to where I am today. I need mentors to bounce ideas off of, to help with job hunting, to tell it to me as it is and to keep my head screwed on straight. My friends are awesome amazing people who stick with me no matter how bad my temper gets, or how excitable get when I go to the ballet. They allow me to enjoy life and to see the world differently. We laugh, cry and live together. Most importantly my family loves me for who I am and they support me through every step and decision I make even though they might not always agree. They want to see me successful and being the “little princess” of the family they do not want to see me fall flat on my face. For that, I am grateful and so blessed to have the support that I do.
- Finding my passion: Throughout life I have always been a passionate person wanting to do everything, but it wasn’t until university that I found different ways to “decompress” and “destress” from the pressures of life and university. Too many times, I have heard that people live in the library and live for academics. Trust me, you will go insane and life will have no purpose or meaning for you any more.
- TEA: Every day I need a cuppa. I am probably a bigger addict to tea than most people to whatever they are addicted to. Tea has kept me going and my friends know when I do not have tea (I am cranky and non-functioning without it). Tea has also given me a gateway to the world. I talk about it online, to potential employers and I am even starting a company with tea as the foundation.
There are so many things to look forward to in life. I am in no rush to have my next years all planned out. I am excited to figure things out along the way and to see where life takes me. Ultimately, I cannot wait for all the new people I will meet, the world that I will see and all the challenges I will conquer.