May 2014 – A Life Changing Month

This past month has honestly been the most life-changing month of my entire life.

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More events have transpired in May 2014 than in the entirety of 2014 combined, and as I sit here on a beautiful Sunday evening in Toronto, I am taking some time to reflect before launching myself into another crazy month.

I have been here just under 3 weeks, living by myself for the first time ever. To say that it has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. It’s definitely not all glitz and glam- I’ve had to do some pretty humbling things- but I’ve definitely flirted with the fast life in my first couple weeks. It really has been full of ups and downs.

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I’ve had to rebuild my life and my home from the ground up. I arrived by myself with literally nothing, and quickly realized that I had a lot of settling in to do. I’ve needed to do a lot of adjusting to get used to my new surroundings- I wasn’t able to sleep for five nights in a row, while simultaneously starting a new job, meeting hundreds of new faces, and feeling out the corporate culture. At the same time, I had to learn how to live on my own and with roommates for the first time, and even try to master basics such as laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

I’ve gotten sick twice already, the first lasting 2-3 days, and the second lasting a whole week (I am still sick right now!). I’ve unfortunately had to miss out on a lot because of my body’s inability to keep up with me, but I realize that health comes first and that I need to take better care of myself.

I had a lot on my plate, and each day I felt overwhelmed, with new challenges thrown at me. It hasn’t all been amazing, contrary to what people might think. Sometimes it was surreal- is this really happening? Even three weeks later, sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m here.

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However, there were many high points. My first day of work was honestly just unreal- there was so much to take in and get to know, the views from the office were amazing, I braved Toronto rush hour for the first time, and to top it all off, I actually got to spend that same evening at the Shangri-La with my new boss, drinking champagne and being wined and dined. We listened to a jazz band that she thought would be perfect for our August event, and talked business at 11pm.

Since that first day, I am blessed to have met the people that I have, to build new relationships, and experience Toronto as much as I can. I have a whole bucket list of things I want to do this summer, and I am so excited for what’s to come.

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The first two weeks seemed to drag on for ages- it has felt like a lot longer than that! But as time passes, I become more and more adjusted to TO life, and things get better and easier. Today, as I returned from my first Sunday brunch in the city, as well as my first time attending a bridal shower, I walked through the streets and I just felt this calming realization that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I am finally happy to be where I am. Living my dreams didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned at first- but it has been a whirlwind, an adventure, and a lesson. I am learning new things every day, and my personal and professional development has shot up exponentially.

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I have a feeling that the next 3 months will move by so quickly- the best things in life are also the most fleeting. I am excited to see where this adventure of a summer takes me!

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What Are You Thankful For?

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As Thanksgiving weekend races by much too quickly, and my midterms loom near on the other side, I still choose to carve out some time to sit and reflect on what the meaning of Thanksgiving is, and what I am thankful for.

Thanksgiving originated from old English traditions dating back to the Protestant Reformation, and was traditionally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest, and of the past year. Here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in mid-October, whereas the United States observes the holiday on the fourth Thursday of November (and then follows it up with Black Friday- why delay Christmas shopping and rampant consumerism any longer, eh?)

Although now in urban cities we do not hold an actual “harvest festival”, giving thanks for the past year is definitely still applicable to us. In a way, we reap what we sow, and we should be grateful for what we’ve been blessed with. Life moves very quickly, and if you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you may take the little things for granted and only notice in the wake of its absence.

This year, I am thankful for:

  • My family and friends, first and foremost. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for being my rock when life gets really tough. This year has been just that. Thank you for putting up with me, for knowing me so well, for blessing me with your presence, laughter, and warm hearts. Thank you for looking out for my best interests, listening to me, giving me advice and help when I need it, and being a part of my life.
  • Community. Of all sorts and sizes.
  • A roof over my head, and all my basic needs met.
  • An education and various jobs in which I am able to continuously learn and grow, and challenge myself to be the best that I can be. The fact that I am complaining about midterms means that I have the opportunity to pursue higher education, and that’s not something that should be taken for granted.
  • Music. For being able to listen, and play it myself. At this rate, I will likely suffer hearing loss at an old age, but I start and end my day with my headphones in.
  • Random acts of kindness. Even the smallest things can touch your heart and make a big impact.
  • John Green.
  • All the personal development I’ve gone through this past year. Those who have both helped me, and hurt me, thank you for helping me grow in character.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! May you spend it in the company of those you love. Or study simultaneously, if you’re also in my shoes. Wear loose-fitting pants, indulge in that turkey, and take a moment to give thanks for the blessings in your life.

Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery is the Most Delicious Partnership Ever

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I think I’m a little late on this news, but a few weeks ago while commuting to work I noticed that a Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery opened up on Granville Street.

In addition to making my mouth water a little, it kind of baffled me. Why would a coffee chain and an ice cream chain decide to partner up? When I go into a coffee shop, I seldom crave ice cream, and vice versa (Besides, when I eat hot and cold foods immediately after each other, my stomach hurts). I mean, I wasn’t complaining. I remember back in the day, Cold Stone was only available in the U.S, so I’m happy that it’s finally come to Canada.

I was so curious that upon arriving at work, I googled news about the partnership between the two companies. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, co-branding will “offer customers a reason to visit … locations morning, noon, and night”, because Tim Hortons drives up tons of traffic during the morning and lunch-time periods, as it offers coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and soups, and Cold Stone peaks in the afternoon and evening as a mid-day snack or after dinner dessert.

“Our intention is to fill each other’s non-peak periods with new or even repeat customers.” says David Clanachan, Tim Hortons’ Chief Operations Officer.

Some may think that because Tim Hortons’ is more of a daily convenience good that easily fits into a busy lifestyle, while Cold Stone is an indulgent treat where customers are typically not in a rush, it would not work. But these differences actually benefit the company, as they do not cannibalize each other’s products, and draw both types of customers into the store, whereas normally they would not attract the other segment into paying a visit.

I visit Tim Hortons for my morning coffee on a daily basis, but now I would be tempted to pick up a treat because it’s conveniently placed and doesn’t require any extra effort. I am excited to see where Tim Hortons and Cold Stone takes this business partnership!