Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy 2009!...




Calvin & Hobbes!




Just dropping by to wish everyone a wonderful New Year, from cold, snowing Canada!


I thought it was pretty hilarious Calvin building Snowmen down the road, because heck, people here have to shovel snow every morning just to get to work, and there he goes adding more snow!




I'm still on my break (that includes blogging, actually) and am enjoying it thoroughly. It's great to sit at home and do nothing but sleep and watch episodes after episodes of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'!


With the rest of the family at work, it's just me and...the TV set...



Woohoo!



Puppy's pointing at you!!! ;)



Have a wonderful year ahead, you!


Happy 2009, everybody!





Friday, 19 December 2008

Icicles Outside my Window, and the End of Term...





Outside the Psychology Department, with what I believe, are called Crab Apple trees...




Y.E.S!!!

The Autumn semester is officially over. I finished my exams today, and guess what's going on to 'help' me celebrate?






Outside my bedroom window...



A SNOW STORM...


Oh well, it's just snow! Weather forecast estimates we'll have 25-30 cm of snow tomorrow, but oh well, just another day in Canadian winter...It's Canada, of course it's cold!!!

I wanted to show you the scene on the bridge (the one that connects the East and West Banks of the river on campus), but I didn't have my camera with me. Holly smoke, the wind was howling and the snow was blowing ferociously...There was no path on the bridge anymore!





Icicles...



I'm beginning to enjoy it actually...Lovely to see icicles hanging outside the bedroom window; I'm so tempted to climb out, coat it with juice, and suck it like a popsicle!





More Icicles!



On a lighter note, I have enjoyed my term here. It was hard work...I usually only finished work every night at, the earliest, 2 am, and at times, was on the verge of just giving up and not bother, but hey, it's been worthwhile!


I'm very glad I'm here, because the educational experience has been great. I enjoy the fact that discussions, however controversial, are always allowed and respected. People don't always agree with you, but they allow you to talk. And what's more, I was pretty surprised at how culturally sensitive people are, and they always look for people from other cultures to share their take on a particular topic (Hey, my Psychology textbook 'gives credit' that the word 'amok' is a Malaysian term! They actually specifically said Malaysian...).



I have made many friends here, from all walks of life. Some are people just like me, struggling through university, some happen to be professors of mine, and others are people whom I’ve met along the way.


But now, TO TORONTO for a HOLIDAY! There is talk that the roads might close, but oh well, I'll leave a day later then...No worries!


After browsing over 300 research papers, reading over 80 of them (ranging anywhere from 7-30 pages), writing 10 annotated bibliographies, 3 thought/critique papers, 2 abstracts, 1000-word essays, a seminar presentation, 2 lab reports, 16 lab papers, carrying out 2 field work studies, and surviving 5 interviews+training-sessions for my volunteer work placements, I am looking forward to a much needed-break.



If anyone thought studying Psychology was chicken’s feet, come to me, and we will have a discussion...



Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bereavement Counselling is Essential...



Today was a nice day. It was cold, but not cold enough to make me freeze. I went to work (volunteer work, that is) early on, so I could get back to study, and I went in humming to myself.


My chair looked very inviting, and I was looking forward to some quiet time alone, with nothing but piles and piles of papers.


Halfway through, a man dressed in shirt-and-pants (alot of people wear scrubs in the hospital) came in and asked me how I was doing, and if I was ok...

I initially thought he had gotten the wrong person, since I recently took over from a lady who had been working there for a long time.



I must have obviously looked very confused. Because he then explained that he was the chaplain of the hospital, and that early that morning, one of the staff members of my department had passed away in unforseen circumstances.


He then explained that as part of the services, the hospital was offering counselling and bereavement support to all who knew or worked with her, and needed someone to talk to. Since the news was still so fresh, they were making sure everyone who was in the building had access to support...


I didn't know her, but my mood did drop many notches. She was, after all, working in the office space directly opposite my room, and I could have even possibly passed her before.



But I was impressed enough that the hospital offered such services, and so promptly. The hospital boasts about 2350 staff, 600 volunteers, and serves about 300 000 people.

I was definitely impressed that the chaplain (like a priest/pastor/rabbi etc) approached all staff. Cos if I had known her, and well enough, I would have very much liked his presence, whichever religion-denomination he might be representing..


Bereavement support is very essential, especially when people are still coming to terms with the news...I'm glad they offer this service...



Sigh...Spare a prayer for her newly departed soul, will ya? May she rest in peace, and my dearest condolences to her family and loved ones...


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas Wish Lists in Knee-Deep Snow...



The snow is falling heavily today. It's nothing but snow everywhere...My friend Eva, who went out, swears the snow was up to her knees. It was -20 degrees today, with windchill; tomorrow, -24 degrees (with windchill)...


The Trent International Program had their Christmas Open House just two days back. As luck would have it, we missed it, because surprise, we had work!



But in the spirit of the season (we spent the entire last night listening to Christmas carols and singing along, with the wind howling outside and the snow coming down heavily), I am going to post up my Christmas Wish-List!




5 Things I Want for Christmas:-



Number FIVE:



Shaffer, D.R., Wood, E., & Willoughby, T. (2005). Developmental psychology: Childhood and Adolescence (2nd Canadian ed.).Scarborough, ON: Nelson/Thomson.


Textbook for my Child Psychology class...Whopping CDN$ 160.

The kid in the picture looks like a young Phua Chu Kang...;)




Number FOUR:





Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I.Q. (2006). An introduction to brain and behavior (2nd
edition)
. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.



Textbook for my Physiological Psychology class...CDN$ 174.50...




Number THREE:


A humidifier...I drink about 2 litres of water a day (not counting juices, or (decaf) coffee, or milk), and I still feel like I am dehydrated and my skin feels like breaking into pieces, despite the amount of moisturiser/emollient/vaseline I am applying. The air is just toooo dry here...




Number TWO:



The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), Fifth Edition...



It's the 'bible' of Psychology...I'm supposed to refer to it when in doubt because what is stated in it is final...Professors themselves readily admit they don't know the book from cover to cover because it has wayyy too many rules, so we were told to bring it to their attention if we were unfairly graded...



I hated the book initially because it's 439 pages, and lists the most impossible rules for writing a paper, including where to put periods and commas *Rolls eyes*...

BUT...

Having used it to claim marks this year, I am beginning to see its use!



Daphne: "But professor, Section 3.1.9 says that I can use that punctuation".

Professor: "Daphne...Are you challenging my marking?"

Daphne: "The bible says so, so erm...yes???".

Professor: *Laughs* "Ok, you're right. My mistake".


Another case:-


Daphne: "Professor, can I borrow that APA manual?"

Professor: "Sure. What are you looking for?"

Daphne: "I think my TA marked me incorrectly. See, it says in Mitchell & Jolie (concise, student version) that I should italicise this phrase"

Professor: "Let's check the bible then, although I believe you are right"


A few seconds later...

Professor: "Woohoo! You are going to be very happy because you are right! Go and see your TA!!!"


Conclusion? I NEED that book...



Number ONE:


Mummy, Daddy, and Nick...Here...In Canada...



***



Oh well...Some of those things will be achievable (not that I have a choice with my books, do I?) while others a bit more difficult, but the fun part was writing a Christmas list...


We're all busy writing lists for fun here. Not that anyone will actually get what's on their list from someone else, since we're all equally broke, but hey, it's fun!


So, what's on your Christmas Wish List?


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

And the Semester is Coming to an End...




November and December are the dreaded months of the Autumn semester, or so everyone keeps saying. I agree...

Assignments pile up, readings pile up as well, tests pile up one after the other, and professors' expectations get very high too!




From right: Me, Eva and Jessica Lee, a fellow Malaysian and recent Trent-graduate, who has been living in Canada for the past 4 years. She invited us over for home-cooked nasi lemak!





I am still alive, though, which is good...

I can't believe the year is coming to an end...My finals are next week, and it's been four months since I came to Canada...



I have been very tempted to lock myself in my room (and my roomate and housemates out!) to get all my work done in peace and quiet, but all work and no play will pretty much kill me, so I took some time off during the weekend to go outside and be silly...






My good friend, Eva, and I out playing in the snow...It was cold, but oh well, who cares?




Eva and I volunteer with Market Hall, a community Performing Arts Centre. On days when we volunteer (we usher those with disabilities), we get to watch performances too...

So we got to watch Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew just last week. It was fun!





Part of the cast of The Taming of the Shrew...



Remember my pen-pal project with little Natalie? Well, she has replied, and this week, I was hard-pressed to write a letter to her in return. It turned out to be a good thing for me though, to unwind...She loved the first letter so much, so told me in capital letters! Turns out, we both love cats, so go figure the theme of my letter this time ;)






Letter Number 2 to Natalie...



Another thing which I recently did was meet my professor's dog...I was just very excited because her dog, Roy, is 180 pounds (about 80kg's!)! It's a mix Great-Dane and Australian Shepherd. You would think a dog that size would be a monster, but Roy is amazingly tame...






Roy and Me!



Roy and I have arms that are the same size!



I am so excited for the semester to be over...One of the reasons would be so I could get some good rest and some good home-cooked meals...



But I am also sad because many of my new friends who came on exchange would be leaving for home soon.





Malebogo and me...Malebogo is from Botswana, and she, along with many others, will be leaving for home soon...





Oh well, these are things we can't control, and we can always keep in touch online, right? And I can always make new friends, right?


On a more positive note, although the schedule is hectic, I am looking forward to next year (after I get good rest!)...





I have settled nicely into my puppet roles (making all kinds of silly mistakes, but oh well), have slowly familiarized myself with the hospital where I volunteer, am very happy volunteering at the disability services office on campus, and next year, one of my professors has given me the green light to help out in her research involving children!




Altogether, I must say that I am enjoying life in the community here. Am missing home and family very badly, but at least there's Skype!




Saturday, 22 November 2008

Auschwitz: Revisited...




Dr. Eva Olsson, Holocaust-Survivor...



I have never heard the lecture theatre that quiet before. The silence was deafening. It was so quiet, I could hear my own heartbeat...

My university hosted a visit by a Holocaust-survivor for two days. Dr. Eva Olsson, a tiny lady, all 84-years of her, was our guest speaker. Born in Szatsmar, Hungary, Dr. Olsson started her speech by telling us that she was here to "bring awareness about hate, and the power of hate".




"I hear the word 'hate' frequently, and I don't like it. 'Hate' murdered my family; it murdered millions of innocent people, one-and-a-half-million of which were children less than 12 years of age. 5 of those children were my nieces", she said in her opening speech, as the theatre fell silent.


"When I leave here today, I will be grateful if I have touched one heart in this hall, because if I did, then 1 more child would not have died in vain", she said.

I heared sniffles all around.




Her speech lasted slightly longer than an hour. She showed us pictures of concentration camps, of the box-cars where lives were taken, the gas-chambers where her mother was led with her 5 nieces, the place where her father was killed, and the mass graves where millions were shot brutally and bulldozed.



"Those are not my pictures. They were taken by the Nazi's who documented almost everything", she said, reminding us that behind the horror, were real people.





From left: Eva Yap, Me, Dr. Eva Olsson, and Shirin...





"Not every German is a Nazi, and not every Nazi is German", Dr. Olsson told the crowd. And I must note that sitting in today's crowd were some of my German friends who were in tears.



"The worst thing to have are bystanders. Bystanders are never innocent. Not doing anything is a choice. Remaining silent is as much as condoning it", she said to the crowd, and she reminded us to never be a bystander when someone else is getting hurt.



Dr. Olsson has been speaking to schools, universities, colleges, churches, community halls and conferences for the past 12 years. She has addressed thousands of people, and received about 11 000 letters from students who have written to her thanking her for sharing her story.






Students lining up to give Dr. Olsson a hug after her speech.




"For many years, I kept quiet because I was afraid. I was in denial. I was afraid that if I spoke about it, it will happen again. BUT the grass will grow again. We must not forget the past, because otherwise, history will repeat itself. And we will never move on", she said.



"When the occupation was over, we were given a choice. To go back to where we came from, or to remain in special camps till someone came for us. I didn't want to go back; they didn't want us or the would do what Bulgaria did and protect their Jews and now allow the box-cars to leave. My sister Elona and I left for Sweden", she said, sharing that she recently returned to Germany to revisit her past and make her peace.

"I visited the Bergen-Belsen memorial site. I was touched to see so many tour buses of young people from all over Europe, who had come with their teachers. I was touched because it is these young people who can prevent the past from happening again", she said.




*Note: Dr. Olsson noted that Bulgaria and Denmark, among others, protected their Jewish people and did not allow the Nazi's to take them away. Countries like Sweden, on the other hand, 'smuggled' the Jews in and offered them protection*




Dr. Olsson's closing speech struck me: "The Nazi's stripped me of family, of human rights, of dignity. But they cannot strip me of my will to live. And the purpose of my living now is to bring awareness. As for all of you, what example would you live behind? Because the only thing worth keeping is what we have to give away, and that is our love"...



Dr. Olsson was given a standing ovation at the end of her speech, which was followed by a Q&A...

Students later, of their own accord, lined up to give her a hug. I don't think there were dry eyes in that theatre today...



PS: You may visit her at www.evaolsson.ca...



Thursday, 20 November 2008

"Let's Go Out, It's Snowing!"...



It is SNOWING...

Big time...

I don't see anymore green land...It's a blanket of white today morning. Even the trees are white...


Yesterday evening, the snow was pretty heavy, and the temperature was -10 degrees. By night-time, most of the campus had been covered in snow. It was not tooo cold, so we managed to throw snowballs at each other for a while. It was a spur of the moment thing. Tired from studying, one of my friends suddenly said, "Let's go out!".


And decked in only ONE sweater, we went out, threw a couple of snowballs and came running back in...



Pictures soon! I am going out today for my volunteer work, so I might as well take pictures...=)



Remember how I said I promise to enjoy snow when it comes officially? Well, I plan to...

If I don't psyche myself into enjoying it, I am in deep trouble. Faculty, Staff and Students (who come from around Canada) swear Peterborough has some of the worst winters ever...


So, yeap, I plan to enjoy the snow...And I will survive that -30 degrees (or more!) which this place is so famous for!!!


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Of Puppet-Shows and Missing-Teeth Smiles...



As some of you know, I've been involved with a puppet troupe here in Canada. Our 'job' involves travelling to nearby towns and communities and performing for the schools, community centres, children's libraries etc. Topics covered include health, bullying (various forms, like how to report, what bullying is, types of bullying etc), epilepsy, divorce in parents etc...



I've attended a few shows already, and last week, we travelled to an elementary school in a town about an hour away for a performance.




Y.M.C.A...



The school was a small one, and every day, the children, the teachers, staff and principal gather for DPA (Daily Physical Activity), where they exercise together. This is followed by announcements by the principal (she even reads out names of children who are celebrating their birthday for the day!), and the little ones even finish her sentences for her!


Like when she goes: "Remember to..."

They will echo: "Be kind to each other..."



Awww...


I was tickled by their DPA. They were exercising to YMCA and Macarena, and three boys (maybe about 10 years old) were leading the kids on stage.




The puppet-troupe coordinator...



We joined in. It was fun! Even the principal and teachers were all dancing away...During the more popular parts of the song (like Y.M.C.A!), the children were all singing along at the top of their lungs...



Everytime I drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn for a performance, and see my roomie and close friend (who has been bunking with me for the past month) snoozing away happily, I always ask what I got myself into. And I always wish I could go back to sleep too, and not have to walk to the other end of the building to get my cup of coffee to perk me up.


But everytime when I'm actually at the school and see the kids all so thrilled by the puppets, and enjoying the performances, and looking at you and bursting into missing-teeth grins and giving you the thumbs-up (the coordinator introduces us (the student volunteers) and tells the kids we take time off university to perform for them), I'm happy I dragged myself out of bed...


Those missing-teeth smiles? Priceless!



Note: Sorry guys, due to the confidentiality agreement, I cannot post pictures of the puppets or name the organisation...= (


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remembering Chee Keong...




Chee Keong...



Sigh...



I woke up last night in the middle of the night, feeling queasy, and I could not figure out why at first...

And then I remembered why...



The day before, while out shopping for groceries, I saw a little boy who looked like he had Cerebral Palsy, and he was sitting with his head lolled to one side, in a tiny little pram that looked like it was for a doll...

He was tiny...

And his parents were chatting away happily and playing with him...



And as I walked pass him, I missed my little boy so badly...


I forgot about the boy I saw in the pram until last night, when I dreamt about him...


Sigh...

But unlike a year ago, this time, I managed to go back to sleep after a while...I miss him terribly, but this time, I managed to sleep...


I guess what they say is true: Time does heal you a little...




Thursday, 6 November 2008

Of Burnt-Out Professors and Missing Test Papers...



Phew...I have been horrible with updating this blog, haven't I?


My past few weeks have been very packed...I just finished all my midterms and a couple of heavy-duty assignments, and am anxiously waiting for my marks...


One of the assignments went horribly wrong because the computer system crashed...The result was my poor professor sitting in her office till nearly 1am (on her BIRTHDAY!) on a Friday to calm panicking students, answer emails at a rate of 60 per hour, making phone-calls to the publisher-company and trying to untie the mess.

Did I mention she was teaching a class of about 1000 students, split into 3 sections?



This same poor professor spent the entire (following) week having students bombarding her with questions on the 'chatroom' and some sounded like they were having panic attacks because they could not get their submissions in and the deadline was up, and each passing day meant a deduction of 5% (due to glitches beyond our control, the penalty was subsequently removed).

I must note she entertained everyone and from what I heard from fellow friends, apologised to each and every student (for the upset) who came knocking on her door...She even Black-Berry'ed us throughout the night...



This same professor too was visibly burnt-out by the end of the week, and when someone proposed a thank-you during lecture for her dedication, she was moved to tears...


And I was left wondering why there isn't Teacher's Day here in Canada (I wiki'ed it, but could not find a date). Professors (and my Malaysian teachers) like this deserve to be recognised, don't you think? I'll figure a way to convey my thanks, anyhow...



Meanwhile, I was in a state of shock this morning when my other professor emailed me to say they could not find my test paper. The marks for the rest of the class had been posted but my mark was obviously missing from his list.

He was very sweet though...He apologised for the stress and assured me they would find it as no paper had ever gone missing before...



Turns out, we figured out why my paper was missing. I sat for my paper in a different part of the building as I had two papers back-to-back which caused some clashes, so they isolated me. Between that and the TA's (Teaching Assistant) office, something went kooky...


But all's well that ends well...The TA and Prof were sending me frequent updates about what was going on (who they checked with, who verified what etc), and by mid-afternoon, I had gotten my marks...So Daphne's happy once again!



I also finally got approved to volunteer at the hospital, the Puppet-troupe, and got my interview with Kinark Child and Family Services down pat, too...So that's another stress out of the way...


Now to tackle that assignment of finishing 10 annotated-bibliographies, 1 abstract, 1 essay and 1 final thought-paper...



Now if anyone thinks I'm drowning and deadly behind schedule, well, I'm not! Right on target and on time, according to my calendar of deadlines...;)

And now Daphne needs to go to bed...Puppet show tomorrow!




Thursday, 30 October 2008

Trent Pen-Pals...



Hey everyone...

Sorry for taking so long to update this blog. Have been extremely busy with my midterms (Thank God, all over!) and alot of other work.



In my university, there is this project called the 'Trent Pen-Pals'. If you're thinking it is a project where we write to our peers around the world to share experiences, well, it's not that. This project sees university students from various disciplines (but mostly education-students, I heard) are paired with elementary students from schools around the area.

So, we basically write to children!




My envelope to her.



My pen-pal is a 7 year old girl called Natalie (all other information is private lar, k?). She wrote me the cutest letter with coloured leaves, but for privacy reasons, I'm afraid I cannot show you a picture of it as it has information about her and family.

I tried to keep my reply to her as simple as possible (we have a lot of 'rules' we have to follow, like number of sentences, and yet we need to answer all the questions they ask).





She said her sister likes to bug her, so I thought oh well, I'll play along. My brother is pretty cool though. =)



This project is quite cool, huh? I think it's pretty interesting...






The drop-off box for letters...





And inside!




It's just so relaxing to write simple, plain English. I had a really nice time using my colour pencils too! My friend Eva, who helped me draw since I can't draw to save my life, was laughing the entire night as I coloured my time away.



She said this is the happiest she has seen me doing any 'school work'. Usually (while working at assignments), my face is very intent and serious, but while colouring, I had my tongue stuck out and eyebrows perked! Hahaha...




Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Awww, Come On...Snow Already?!?...




Real snow...No kidding...



Come on...


It's only the 21st of October, and already it is snowing? Come on...


Only one month of Autumn (which officially comes on the 20th of September, or so I was told)? Most of the trees still have leaves!



I was walking towards the hospital to hand in my volunteer work police clearance forms when it started to rain on me. Since it was so cold, I hurried into the nearest entrance.


And when I arrived at the main floor from some jalan belakang, someone remarked: "It's snowing", and I was thinking: "Yeah, right, I was just out and it was just rain"...



But when I got out 10 minutes later, IT WAS SERIOUSLY SNOWING...

I went: "What?!?!" out loud...

And 3 old people around me turned to me and said: "Disgusting, eh?"




It snowed the whole of yesterday, and there were even traces of snow on the ground. Not all turned to water...Some people even made a tiny snowman, I heard...

But today, yes!!! The ground is clear! Whoopee! I'm going out to soak in the sun!


Please don't come so soon, winter...I still want to play in the leaves...I promise to enjoy the experience of winter as much as possible when I'm done with my Autumn...;)



Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Of Thanksgiving and Plenty of Food!...



Ah...



Bilen and I brought some flowers to our host-family...



Now I know what the fuss is about Thanksgiving! It reminds me very much of our Chinese New Year reunion dinners back home, just with different types of food...





Two excited people who've never experienced Thanksgiving...



Anyway, I was very lucky a Canadian friend of mine invited me back home with her to celebrate Thanksgiving. My friend Bilen (who comes from Kenya) and I were guests of Kathleen Simpson and her lovely family.

The lovely family, by the way, also consisted of 3 very well-behaved dogs who go by the name Smore, Bo and Sebastian. They are huge in comparison with the dogs we're used to seeing in Malaysia. Smore looks like a black bear (if she's sitting upright and I'm sitting, we're the same height), and Sebastian is a Labrador-Great Dane mix, so figures he's the largest of the lot...





By the lake: Me, Bilen and Kate...



The Simpsons have a lovely cottage by the lake, and we managed a quick stopover to have a look at that as well, on the way to their home...The water was ice-cold, needless to say...But we've been invited to spend time there during the summer if we so choose! =)




First Night Dinner...




Second Night Dinner...



Dinner was a wonderful time. It's been a while since we had proper home-cooked food, and it's been a while since I saw my favourite fish, the SALMON! Oh gosh...It was gooooood...I didn't even mind that there was so much parsley and mint on it, which I despise (in the words of my cousin Ee Lynn, 'despise with passion')...





Turkey! No picture of the person carving the turkey as I didn't ask for permission =)



The turkey was of course a huge hit. They didn't carve the turkey at the table as it was too messy, but I managed to sneak my camera in as Kate's uncle (I won't mention names as I don't know if he would mind) did the carving. Turns out, he was (retired a while back) a world-renown Pediatric Nephrologist who has travelled round the world and was professor at the University of Toronto. He even treated some very-important royalty in Brunei...He sure had some interesting stories to tell, and I had a great time chatting with him after dinner...



We also got to try their traditional pumpkin pie, and being guests, we got the portion with the most whip cream! Haha...





Fake snow! ;)



And one of the mornings, Kate took us to meet her friends, and we had a very good breakfast together at a place called Fresco. My whole meal of a huge plate of toast, eggs, sausages and fries (and coffee) cost me about $6, which I would say was a good deal, considering the size of it.






Newfound friends (clockwise from left): Bilen, Me, Sam, Alex, Robbie, Breanne, Erm-Can't-Remember, and Kate...




All in all, I had a great time! My tummy was very happy (the hips and waist not though!), I was very happy, and it was a great experience...

Next stop? Halloween!


Hey, anything for chocolate man...Now, I better go figure out if that uber-cool Psychology professor of mine has drop-in office-hours for candy...;)



Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Toronto's White Night~Nuit Blanche...




Halloween came early? Nah...People dressing up for 'White Night'...



Oh dear...I have been neglecting this blog, haven't I? Sorry everyone, but have been immensely busy here...That and the fact that it's getting so cold I feel like hibernating with the bears...;)



I actually wore 4 layers the other day, with gloves. By the time I was done, I looked like I had put on 5 kg's overnight. Such a dent to the ego!


I managed to take a trip down to Toronto to see my aunts, uncles and cousins over the weekend though. It was a VERY necessary trip as besides missing some family-faces, I was also desparate for some good spicy food, and in dire need of warmer clothing, all of which were sitting in my Aunt's basement (Thank God for very generous family who have clothes I can wear)...

I was very lucky as that was the night where Toronto had the arts and cultural festival called the 'White Night' or 'Nuit Blanche' in French. The city was alive throughout the night, and the subways ran till 7am in the morning! We visited some interesting sights, and even had a chance to attend the 'Deja, Presque, Jamais' presentation at the University of Toronto (U of T) Music School. They played some lovely jazz music, opera performances etc...



Here are some pictures...Sorry for the quality though...My flash is no good when things are all so far away...




Some building (Sorry I can't remember the name of the building) which did a 'presentation' using light-formations. It was actually really cool to watch!




A mime doing her statue-ish depictions...She reminds me of Bjork, in her famous tutu...





A musician from Japan playing a few instruments simultaneously...





Some people from the circus vowing the crowd with fire-play...





A 'fountain' made from recycled material...I believe it was a U of T initiative...





Rubber duckies in a pond, by York University! It was a big hit, although I have no idea what the purpose was...I managed to get a ducky too ;)





House of Leaves...I must say it was a novel idea! It challenged people to experience books from a different perspective...






People in the House of Leaves...


Phew...It was a tiring and cold night, but worth it to see Toronto in the dark...And worth the trip to see my aunts, uncles and cousins, and to have good old Malaysian food...



As for the weather, now I know what people mean by 'seasonal depression'. It's hard not to get depressed when there's so little sun and so much cold air...Hey, just wearing so many layers of clothes and feeling very heavy all of a sudden isn't that great either...

My Senior Tutor, whom I work with every Monday night (I volunteer at the office, and he is the only one on duty on Monday night) was telling us this year's Autumn has the chill of Winter...And Autumn is barely a month old!


But...I'm getting a little more used to it...I even managed a 25 minute walk from Tim Hortons in temperatures of about 8 degrees! Yippie!



Anyway, I'm going to Ottawa (capital of Canada) this weekend for Thanksgiving with a friend who has invited us home. It's gonna be my first Thanksgiving!


And I just got accepted to volunteer (yeap, passed the interview) with a Puppetry Troupe that travels to schools in-and-around Peterborough performing for children in Grades 1-6, on issues like bullying, divorce in parents, feelings, epilepsy etc. I'm really looking forward to this as I love kids, story-telling and puppets...They're life-sized (about 3/4 metres tall) too!


So, more later!


Friday, 3 October 2008

Welcome to daphneling.com!...



Ah-ha! I bet you didn't notice anything different when you came to the blog today...



Well, http://www.daphneling.blogspot.com/ has now officially become http://daphneling.com/.


Yeap, I got my own domain name *Syiok Sendiri*! Hehe...Which means, this domain now actually belongs to me, although it still will be hosted by Blogger.com (so thanks Blogger!)...

In case you're wondering how come I can suddenly afford to buy my own domain, well, I didn't! I'm being sponsored by a Malaysian Web-Hosting company called Surf Seven Network. You can visit their website here...So thank you to Surf7.net as well...=)



You don't have to change your settings or edit your Blogroll as typing the old URL will automatically send you here anyway...

Gotta go! Have a good weekend, everyone!


Sunday, 28 September 2008

Some Colourful Friends, and Autumn is Here!



And again, what a week it was!


Workload is piling up nice and round, and I was just moaning good-naturedly "Ah, how glorious, more work!", when my professor overheard me, grinned and said "Ah, enthusiastic, are we?"...Oh well, she has a sense of humour ;)





AIDS walk...See the big guy in a red suit and a papier-mache at the back? Creepy, eh?



Anyway, I volunteered to marshal the AIDS walk in downtown Peterborough last weekend, and oh my, it was a great one! The crowd was small, but they managed to raise around CAN$ 20 000 in total! I was impressed alright...Dogs took part in the show too, so I had a nice time making friends with all of them...





Brother and Sister Cocker-Spaniels waiting at the traffic lights during the walk. One is Sky and one is Arayan. I can't remember which is which though =)




Street musicians are a part of city-life in Canada too...I saw them in Toronto, in Rama, in Niagara, and now in Peterborough. They play good music, you know...





And they pose too...=)




As some of you know, I love animals. I'm dearly missing my Hazel and Sheba doggies back home, and even my terrapins...So I paid a visit to the local store that sells animal products to say hello to their host-cat...See how gorgeous he is! And he's just a mix-breed...





Heavy little kitty...What do these cats eat???



And today, my new 80+ years-old friend took us to her house to have lunch. G.G Maddie (G.G means Great-Grandmother) lives in a quiant little cottage, and I loved it. Her walls were lavendar, and she had light violet-ish curtains, and pretty little butterfly and bird ornaments all around...Even her bathroom and towels were all in the purplish hue...

Being a big fan of all shades of purple, I adored her home...





Me, G.G Maddie, and Nika...



She has a dear little bird called Newbie, and he's a Jardine's Parrot, native to Africa. G.G Maddie told us Jardine's are very rare in this part of the world, and she has one of the first-bred-in-captivity Jardine's in the area.





Lookie! A muffin!



And I had the greatest honour of having almost-2-year-old Newbie on my shoulder. According to G.G., mine is the first shoulder he has ever sat on, besides hers...And he spent a good 15 minutes on it before he accidentally mistook my finger for a muffin...





There goes my lemonade...





Newbie enjoying baby carrot sticks...





And the best thing? Autumn is here!


I'm not thaaat excited about the cold, but oh dear, it's soooooo pretty. My campus, which has one of the most amazing grounds (I heard it has the biggest grounds in North America; a big part is made up of nature trails), is getting so beautiful.


The leaves are turning hues of all kinds of colours, and it's like someone went wild with the paintbrush overnight! Some leaves are falling too already...






One side of the river on campus. The tower in the distance (and surroundings) was a film-location for the movie Urban Legend: Final Cut...




Anyway, I've got to get down to work again. I've got 3 interviews next week for my volunteer-work placements, and I got to go through the forms!


Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Hari Raya, and a safe balik kampung...

By the way, does anybody know if Blue Hyppo made it home this Raya?