June 17, 2018

Outdoors kind of Saturday.

Thank goodness for good weather! Although it wasn’t sunny, the cloudy day was just right for a casual outdoor Saturday at The Forks and a downtown Jazz Festival.

My English language partners and I set aside this day to hang out at The Forks. It was only my second time at The Forks and this was my first summer here. The last time I was here it was still winter. Summer has a really different vibe here. The place was very crowded when I arrived at 2pm. There was an orchestra playing out at the tent which was lovely.

Kaho, Nauen and myself went around the mall, just looking around at the stores and things that they sell there. Besides the “food-court-like” stalls, there were also some retail shops selling locally made goods which I gave me some ideas for souveniers in the future.

Of course, there was also the regular international shop that sells all kinds of souvenirs and international items. In one particular shop I found a cute little keychain with my name on it!

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Kaho was craving for waffles so when she saw The Original Pancake house there, she suggested we have dessert for our late lunch.

Certainly would not recommend this place, not because of the service, but the amount of cream and nutella they put on their food just seems excessive.

I ordered the pancake with Banana and Nutella, but they’ve put too much Nutella that it ruined the wonderfully made Banana pancake. Both Nauen and Kaho ordered waffles but they also agreed that the cream was too much. I also did not like the coffee at all! It was terrible πŸ˜“

It was about 4:30pm that we noticed the crowd was dwindling down. I suggested to the girls that we stop by at the Jazz Festival downtown just to see what it’s like. Thankfully, they both didn’t mind the Jazz music and was game for it.

We didn’t spend a long time there since Nauen had to leave around 5pm when her host family invited her for dinner. So we all ended the day then.

We’ve still got about 5 hours to complete for the language program to get out certificate and references but I do hope they won’t give up on me. They’ve been such a pleasant company and I really hope I have helped them with their English learning to some extent. πŸ˜…

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June 13, 2018

Drama Marathon again πŸ˜“πŸ˜“πŸ˜“

Oh boy, going through that phase again with Youtube 😳

Sleepless nights and non-stop binge watching this new Chinese drama series called “Love won’t wait (ε¦‚ζžœοΌŒηˆ±) “.

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Just happen to saw the advert and marketing for this series on Instagram.

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I couldn’t contain my curiosity. Especially when my favorite celebrity is involved. I have always followed the work of Vanness Wu. It wasn’t long ago that I followed another tv series involving Vanness which I loved so much. So it was natural for me to want to see his latest project. As for the female protagonist, Cecelia Cheung, I used to watch her in my early twenties and followed her very famed relationship.

Seeing this show, I was rather disappointed with the voiceover they had done with the actors that I really wanted to watch. Also, the typical “victim” card they played with the female protagonist. Although they did transition and made her character more independent.

One thing that I did notice about the Chinese culture, it seemed that arranged marriage was still prevalent in the modern day. The expectation is that a married woman will do household chores and serve her husband’s family was very much the essence of the show.

I slept for only 4 hours this morning, and then woke up around 10am to continue the marathon. This is a terrible habit of a couch potato. Once I get hooked on a series, I just have to get it done and over with so I can set it aside and focus on my study!!! Urrgghh.. I only have this one day for a break, good thing there isn’t any test this week althouggh I do have just one more Resume assignment to work on.

I’m on the 18th episode now. Let’s see if I can get to the 30th by the end of today.

May 7, 2018

When you can hang out with people you live with. #awesomeflatmates #sundaynightchronicles

With Yuri, Erico and Fernanda at The Toad in the Hole pub just walking distance from our apartment. Spontaneous Sunday evening outing with my cool and awesome flatmates. I feel really blessed that I get to live with people that I actually like and enjoy having conversations with like this bunch.

Highlight of the night was when Yuri asked me,

“do you have friends in school/university?”Β 

I thought she was about to say that she might know one of my friends, but given the many times I tend to misunderstand her, I asked her what she meant by that, and she said that she hardly see me going out and I am always at home. Which was why she asked if I had friends in university that I actually hang out with and go out with. It was just hilarious. I know, writing it out now, doesn’t make sense why that sentence would sound so funny, but if you know Yuri and the way she talks, you’d understand why.

Of course, I had to explain that I indeed had “friends” in university, but I am a homebody and would rather spend most of my time at home than out at bars or drinking in pubs. Occasionally, like tonight, I wouldn’t mind giving some time to spend with friends and especially people I hardly get to spend time with since everyone gets so busy with work.

Erico didn’t like the warm beers that they served at the Toad, so we moved on to the Cornerstone after just one drink. Glad to have the chance to try out a new place and their food. Since I hadn’t had a proper dinner, I took the opportunity to try their Lamb Shank for $18.00. It came with spinach, risotto and mushroom and it was not too bad at all. Wouldn’t mind having it again in the future. Actually, I spent about $42 dollars in one night and I would do it again if it was with this bunch. Time spent with them is worth the money! Erico and Fer had some meatballs while Yuri ordered some good old honey garlic chickin’ wings. >.<

Surprisingly, one of the topics we talked about was having religion and a belief in God! Yuri is an atheist so she explained why she didn’t believe that God exists. Fer did most of the explaining, and said how God exists but He gave us the freewill to make our own decisions although He does have a plan for our life. I guess we did share the same values even though she’s Catholic.

It is never a dull moment with this bunch. We can talk about anything and everything and the conversation can just keep going. I like the fact that we are all in our 30s and so kind of have a common thing so we are not a bunch of millennials that just want to party all night. By the time it was 12:30am, we were all either too sleepy or too tired to continue on and all agreed to retreat and call it a night.

This is by far one of the most memorable flatmates I have lived with. I can’t thank God enough for sending them in my path…

May 3, 2018

Mid-week day off

It’s only the second day of May, but boy am I glad I already get to take a day off for the week. Since we didn’t have classes for a day, the ladies said we should get together anyway for Wings Wednesdays. As it turns out, people weren’t really up for chicken wings as I thought they’d be πŸ™„πŸ˜’, so it was just RJ and I that went ahead and not let the wings deal go to waste.

We didn’t stay for very long at The Pint, just a bit over an hour and at a non peak hour too. One o’clock in the noon time was when everyone went back to their office so it was nice not to have the place overly crowded and noisy like how it usually is. They even played No Doubt songs today! Spiderweb!

RJ had some errands to run, and I had plans for the rest of the afternoon too so we went our separate ways after indulging in our chicken wings. I took a stroll down Portage, passed by Dollarama and as usual, just had to buy something and couldn’t leave that dollar store empty handed! πŸ˜… At least I got food stuff so it was not all to waste hehehehe

Arrived back at the Buhler Center to volunteer for the new Spring intake PACE students. Didn’t have to do much except help with serving the food and just talking to the students. I ended up talking with the university staffs more than I did with the new students. I suppose new students were shy too. They were asked to play a game of Bingo, had to talk to and take the names of people with some criteria according to a list. Apparently, everyone was hoping I was from Hong Kong πŸ˜’


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They were more excited about getting the list completed rather than eating! There were lots of leftover food, mostly sandwiches, and there was a bit of a drama about the non-veg and veg sandwiches getting mixed together. Anyway, the bunch of new students looked more like mature students than our winter batch did. This was a group from the Human Resources Program and the Project Management Program. Everyone looked very serious and professional, certainly doesn’t look like young hipsters. There was one creepy black guy sort of staring at me though. I tried to avoid eye contact. Urgh.

The event went pretty well, just simple and straight forward. The bunch of students just looked like they wanted to get this thing over and done with as fast as possible. I don’t think they were very interested in networking although it was the main purpose of the meet and greet. However, I am glad that I went to this volunteer thing even though I was initially planning on bailing and just go off to watch Avengers. Little did I know, I was actually meant to be there. Because I got freebies!!!

After the whole event was over, there was about 5 of us who volunteered: Avinesh, Harsh, Azhar and Navdeep. Rhonda and Stevi, the coordinators, got us all an “I heart pace” T-SHIRT! Which was exactly what I needed to add to my very limited wardrobe. On top of that, the ladies got to have the plush Beaver. Awwwww… now I really do ❀️ PACE!

May 2, 2018

We feel Pretty!

Spontaneous movie date with my bunch of lovely ladies from class!

After last weekend’s hectic preparations for two consecutive tests and exams, this unplanned moment gave us a bit of a break to have a student/life balance :-p

With Nozomi, Xinyue and Cristina outside of the ScotiaBank Theatre at Polo Park after the movie ended. Funny story, we had planned to go to the movies right after class, and Xinyue backed out saying she was not in the mood to watch a comedy today. Little did we know, we were to bump into her at the cinema hall itself! Apparently she changed her mind at the last minute after we left and decided to travel solo to the cinema hoping to meet us there. Good thing we didn’t change OUR minds! πŸ˜†

It was too dark inside the cinema before the movie started but that’s Xinyue beside me.

Now, on to the movie review. I must say that the moral of the story was good. Girl power and all that celebration of being different and imperfect is trending right now so good on Amy Schumer to tackle this growing market. On the other hand, I felt that there wasn’t enough “laugh out loud” moments though. There were some funny parts, but it was just more like a little giggle but like halfway laughs that were meant to be loud but it didn’t quite got me there. But nevertheless, it was alright. Like a 2 star out of 5 for me. Although, I must say that I was surprised at Amy Schumer’s serious scenes which I wasn’t used to seeing her being so serious. I have to say that, in comparison, “Snatched” was probably more entertaining than this movie. Just sayin’. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Anyways, it was good to have Cristina back among us, and look what she brought for us “muchachas“! We actually had to randomly pick the bracelet without looking at the color so we wouldn’t fight over it I think, but it turned out alright. Everyone seemed to get the color that somehow suit their skin and seemed “to be the right color” for each one.

Guess which hand is mine? Hehehehe..

April 29, 2018

Dinner at Jeba’s

So after canceling on Jeba for two weeks, (met Jeba through Kijiji, and I now live in her former room!) we finally got to visit her and her husband Sajib at their new home.

To be honest, I was really expecting to eat some authentic Bangladeshi food that night. Unfortunately, it was not in the menu for that night. Understandably, Jeba explained that most Bangladeshi food were spicy hot and she was worried that my Brazilian flatmates Fernanda and Erico might not be able to handle the heat. Fair enough.

It had been a loooong day of just practicing and revising for a Math exam that I was about to have on the coming Monday. Although I was initially not really keen on going due to the stress of exams, I felt it was just time to get it over and done with. Plus, I had a free ride with Erico and Fernanda so it was all good. Hehehehehe.

Jeba made us lots of wonderfully baked chicken drumsticks!!

Aaaaaand, the menu for the day was spaghetti! Which was her first try too and she did amazingly well!

And this starter was the reason I couldn’t stuff myself silly with more yummy chicken drumsticks and pasta! Jeba served chips, pretzels, cheetos, honey dew and grapes before the main course so we were not exactly famished when we started dinner.

It was a simple dinner with no awkward silences thanks to Mr. Chatty Erico. It was a lovely night spent with very mature adults and covered topics of conversations that I was able to relate to. Talk about getting into the golden ages .. urgh..

I thank God for this divine appointment really. I am blessed to have met strangers that are so kind and willing to welcome me into their homes with open arms and these few bunch of people I hung out with this night are the very rare ones. Thank You Lord for these strangers that became friends πŸ˜‰

April 28, 2018

Perks of living with flatmates that loves to bake πŸ˜

Having some pão de queijo, thanks to my Brazilian flatmates. Freshly baked cheese bread anyone? 😁

Feeling really blessed; my heart and stomach is full! It’s such a nice surprise when food comes knocking at your door. (literally my housemates when they gave me this bowl of goodness!)

Happy Friday people!

April 28, 2018

Turning Japanese. by MariNaomi

I went on a trip down to the Public Library here in the Peg last week. Got myself a free library card and off I go and got me a graphic Novel to indulge in during the week long Spring Break.

However, I did not manage to read it until today. The novel is a graphic memoir by MariNaomi, a half-Japanese half-white lady whose art style is simplistic but what caught my attention was probably because it was about learning a culture. Japanese culture of course. Sometimes I wish I have the artistic skills and talents to be a comic artist and I would make comics about my ethnic culture, the Kadazans. I wonder if there are Kadazan comics out there?

Before having much exposure to graphic novels, I always thought cartoons are so easy. You just need to draw and create art. But after reading a few of these graphic novels, I began to realize that “writing” and “content” is very much a part of the story telling as the art is. I have new found respect for comic artists since.

Anyway, this page is one of the memorable skits from the whole novel, about the time where Mari found out that Giuseppe really did want to have kids in the future. It is such a reality in life that can become such a controversial topic that would make or break a relationship. There was also a part in the novel that Mari told her grandparents she didn’t plan to have any kids and they got so upset and disappointed with her.

I personally am unsure about having any children in the future. Getting annoyed with them is one thing, but for the most part, I think it’s the fear of the responsibility of another human being that gets to me. What if I become a terrible mother? What if my kids hate me? What if they are as “complete”/”whole” as I thought they would be? Would I love them any less? Would I feel burdened? Just thinking about these questions already made me feel like I cannot qualify as a mother. Which is why I think I can never be ready to have kids.

Back to the novel (sorry for side tracking completely!), what I liked most about the novel is the travel and exploration of Mari’s culture. I wished there were more content with regards to the Japanese culture but unfortunately there wasn’t enough for me to feel completely satisfied. It was also kind of sad and disappointing that the genuine interest in her own culture in the beginning sort of faded away towards the end (spoiler alert!).

But yes, overall it was a “feel good” kind of novel for laid back, chill reading. I have to say though that Lucy Knisley’s wedding memoir was much more appealing to me than this novel was. However, I guess I shouldn’t compare it that way directly since they are both on a completely different pathway and live very different lives.

I just might check to see if the Winnipeg library also has MariNaomi’s other graphic novels πŸ˜‰

April 27, 2018

Narcos.

Following up on my Wagner Moura fever, I decided I should finally watch Narcos after months of contemplating whether I should watch it despite hearing lots of hype about it when it first showed up on Netflix.

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(By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55364322)

The theme was very much like Tropa de Elite. Having a narrator tell the story as the scenes unfold. It was an effective way of catching the audience, and getting them to connect to the story.

I must say, what is a narcotic movie without sex and cigarettes right? That is probably the one thing I wasn’t so pleased about this movie, some of the boobies and sex scenes are pretty irrelevant to the story. They could have very well do without them.

I wasn’t surprised to see that there were only 10 episodes to the first season. The story also moves pretty rapidly from episode to episode in terms of timelines and the events surrounding those times. I loved how they connect real footage and videos of history and true events that revolved around Pablo Escobar. As much as history being one of my worst subjects in high school, growing older, I find myself appreciating history more than I ever did before.

Thinking that I would at least see Pablo being caught by the end of season one, I went on another overnight marathon and ended up going to bed at 4am. I was rather disappointed although not surprised that it was not the case. Of course theyΒ had to pro-long the story cause otherwise how would they make more money out of the series right?

It was alright though, I cannot wait to continue the series, since I have to focus on the upcoming exam at the moment. Also, I would definitely be doing some research on Escobar and find to what extentΒ is the standard deviation of the true story versus the depiction of his life in this series.

 

April 22, 2018

Tropa de Elite. (2007)

I cannot believe I have not heard of this movie until today. Thanks to my Brazilian housemate Erico, I had an awesome movie night in, which just made my Saturday night in even more complete.

The story is about an honest elite cop, who was trying to find his replacement because he wanted to retire and start a family. I wouldn’t say it is an intense movie throughout, but there were moments that were just … mmph… is how I would express it. I didn’t expect it to be such a great movie but I was happily surprised that it was.

It all started with me just playing with my Duolingo app in the living room when Erico came out and said, “hey are you using the Duolingo app?” and I went yes, and proudly told him that I was trying to learn Spanish. Of course, he had to convince me to learn Portugese saying that he would happily teach me the language and I would be able to practice it and pick it up in no time. In that brief conversation, I told him that I learn languages by watching the foreign movies, and he was quick to suggest Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad) to me.

I was not disappointed at all! It was so intriguing that I even went ahead and watched the sequel to the movie, Tropa de Elite 2 (Elite Squade: The Enemy Within). The sequel was more advanced, more political in nature and I would say “leveled-up” from the first story line, but it was nonetheless just as exciting as the first. I was glad it was not a downgrade from the first movie like most sequels are. So if I were to rate the two movies, I would say they are both at the same level and almost equally good!

Erico interrupted me twice during the movie because he wanted to make sure I really enjoyed it. I think he was also surprised that I actually liked the movie. He even said that I didn’t have to continue watching it just cause he told me about the movie but I think he doesn’t realize how much I genuinely enjoyed the movie even when I told him I was a movie fan and would watch anything someone recommends to me. I was glad this was one of the good recommendations.

I have to mention the protagonist here though, played by Wagner Moura (famous Brazilian actor according to Erico). I only found out from this movie when I started Googling the guy, that he actually played the Pablo Escobar character in Netflix’s Narcos series! And he doesn’t even speaks Spanish! But he speaks English pretty well though from his interviews with Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon (I just realized they are both Jimmys!). Even though I didn’t watch Narcos, (many times I was curious though) I have to say that his acting was just spectacular. He was just so brilliant in Tropa de Elite as Captain Nascimento. I cannot imagine anyone else who could play that character and fit in so perfectly.

Needless to say, I only have rave reviews about this movie and would highly recommend it. In fact, it is one of those movies that when you just finished watching it the first time, you want to have a second look and watch it again!!!