Happy New Year!

It’s already halfway through January, and I’ve neglected my blog (and consequently, photo project posts) since about midway through November. I do have a lot of ideas that have been stacked up waiting for me to take the time to elaborate on them; I really hope that I find more time to stop, think, and write this semester than I did last.

Today, I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Perhaps I’ve seen you already since 2016 began and had the chance to say it in person. Perhaps I haven’t seen you in a long time, and certainly not yet this year–in this case, I hope to see you soon and have the opportunity to say hello and catch up again in person. Regardless, I hope everyone is well, and continuing to seek out the people, things, and places in their lives that bring happiness, peace, and love. New Year doesn’t inherently necessitate that we “re-make” our lives, but it does provide an inspiration for us to reflect on what has made us happy and fulfilled in the past arbitrary chunk of time. In that sense, we make it meaningful, and sometimes that’s okay.

Some of you know that these past couple months have been immense for me. It’s meant that I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and where I can take it from here. I’ve been thinking about my university experience–what I’m grateful for and what I’m happy to do away with. I haven’t always had the easiest time at university, but far too many good things came of this choice for me to ever regret my decision in the slightest. Now, I’m in my last semester before graduation, and in some ways (just a few), it’s a little bittersweet. But I’ll leave that for another time.

Easthaven.
29 December 2015. 80/366.

I was in Scotland for Christmas and New Year, and had the chance to enjoy 12 or 13 mostly rainy days and one night of clear skies. I don’t tend to ascribe significance to chance events, and I won’t do it now. I will say, however, that it doesn’t get much better than spending New Year’s Eve with many lovely people on a cold Scottish beach, fireworks lighting the sea in front of us and the Northern Lights hanging in the clear sky behind. The joy was indescribable; a friend and I once called such joy a “Sweeping feeling of well-being.” I was rather swept-away.

Aurora
1 January 2016. 83/366.

For now, I’ll wish you a Happy New Year, with love, joy, and happiness abound in the coming year.

McGill graduated my best friend!

Graduation
10 November 2015. 31/366.

Today, after one last hurrah of a struggle with McGill bureaucracy, Zoe graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts in Honours English Literature.

I’m so proud of you, Zoe. I feel like we grew up together, which is why it’s always a surprise to realise that we only met three years ago. But in a way, we have grown up together. We’ve shared experiences, trials and tribulations, study sessions, study abroad, stories, laughs, and on more than one occasion, panicked late night Skype calls. We’ve grown through it all; now you’ve graduated, and I wouldn’t have missed this transitional day for the world.

I know how much work you put into this degree, and I can see how much work you put into anything and everything that you’re passionate about. That kind of dedication will take you far; no matter what you choose to do in the short term and long term, you have this amazing capacity to succeed and to be happy.

Your happiness rubs off on everyone around you and your laughter is infectious; I have never met anyone with such a joyful outlook on life, even when things are tough and nothing seems to be working out. You are a reminder to anyone you meet that together, we can make it through anything and make the most of it while trying.

I have you to thank for so much, but mostly I want to thank you for being there for me, and for others, whenever. I can’t wait to see you spread your joy in this next stage of your life!

I’m proud of you, mon amie. Go do whatever you can dream of! I’ll always be there to cheer you on.

This evening, I left an extraordinarily complicated talk on computing isochrons (still don’t really understand what they were) to head straight home to give my brain a rest.

Instead, I was stuck behind a police cordon on Sherbrooke. It seems that somebody had gotten into a disused office building and was systematically smashing all of the first floor windows, one-by-one. With nowhere to go and hundreds of confused pedestrians around me watching as window after window was shattered, I pulled out my camera, because this project has me carrying it wherever I go.

crime scene
5 November 2015. 26/366.

 

I am a sentient human being, and I am conscious that I am conscious.

Or at least, that was the thought that struck me when I ambled into the kitchen an hour ago to get some cake. While this may not seem like an appropriate time to face existential questions and realizations, it’s all the more meaningful when it happens at apparently meaningless moments. It’s a reminder that you can oversee your own actions, that there is some level of control to be exercised, even when it doesn’t quite feel like it.

(In case you’re curious about cake, this is the cake, except do yourselves a favour and halve the sugar.)

Here’s today’s photo, taken on the corner of Université and Sherbrooke.

Université
4 November 2015. 25/366.

Today, I shamelessly self-promote; yesterday, I had my first article printed in a newspaper. Ok, it’s a campus newspaper. But I’ve never been published (in print) before, and it’s a bit exhilarating.

I wrote about the state of health insurance for international students at McGill. I won’t bore you with the details (read the article for that!) but suffice to say, evidence and experiences indicate that it’s inconvenient at best, and dangerously limited at worst. I’ve got opinions on the matter that don’t suit an investigative news piece, but I’ll leave that for another post, another time.

The biggest lesson I learned from my first journalism experience is that it’s difficult to manage midterm season and gather up enough evidence to do the job justice. Maybe at another time, I could have delved even deeper into the sticky history of Quebec healthcare law, but like I said: another time.

The second lesson I learned that how I write it is not how it’s going to be published: the finished piece is a jumbled puzzle of what I originally drafted (or, perhaps, it’s more appropriate to say my draft was a jumble of the final product). Point being: I have a new respect for editors and completely impartial, unbiased, informative writing. There’s a lot of work that goes into gathering the information, and to truly capture the entire scope of the story is no trivial task. I know I didn’t even really scrape the surface of this one.

Published
27 October 2015. 17/366.

Nothing quite so interesting happened today, so here’s a picture of the Nahum Gelber Law Library (which is actually a pretty cool building).

Law Library
28 October 2015. 18/366.