Chicagoem & A Song Inspired by Indiana

Last weekend I went to Indiana (via Chicago) to celebrate my sister’s graduation from Nursing School. This is what I created. Inspired by a delightfully humid and soft drive (or two).

Chicagoem:

A suburban paradise

With 1 tree for every street

and 1 wish for every dream

An elegant escape

for the corn-belt’s just a drive away.

Or so, they say.

And as we landed I loved all the little Chicago houses, with the little Chicago cars and the little Chicago streets and the little Chicago bars. And so I landed on the American Dream (but I just wanted to sit in Holliday Park and read).

A Song Inspired by Indiana- Make Today Great (in development)

VERSE 1

The lightening strikes without a clash or a clap

A silent vigilante, always coming back

The thunder screams every once in a while

It roars, it roars but it smiles

and the fields are smiling too.

They smile for me and you….

CHOURS

So come run through the storm with me

Come splash through the puddles and please

Remember,

You are a part of me

Come dance in the yard while it rains

Don’t forget we’ll never live a moment

that is

the same

Let’s live for today

Let’s fly a little out of our way

Make today great (double clap)

Make today great (double clap)

VERSE 2

The sun beats down, hot on our backs

Summer is here, there is no reason to slack

A cool breeze finds us

it reminds us

now’s the time

now, now now’s the time…

The Fault in our Cancer

Untitled

The Fault in our Stars.

Gosh, even the name of this book is beautiful. I typed it several times to quote my favourite passages into Tumblr and never got tired of entering those five gorgeous words into my laptop. I was both moved and bothered by this book.

Moved because of the witty banter, the eloquent wordplay and the finely crafted innocent romance that drew far too many parallels to my own life like all John Green novels I have read. I related to TFioS so much. In some ways it was like my life story. In others it was dramatically different.

Bothered because much like 50/50 (the movie where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has cancer), it completely disregarded any alternative cancer treatments or therapies. Though Hazel, the protagonist in TFioS, was a vegetarian, throughout most of the novel she ate SAD (Standard American Diet) meals of pizza, mac & cheese and other dishes slathered in animal fat.

Movies like forks over knives and my own research into alternative therapy have convinced me that there are other ways to deal with disease. I wish

Though I think movies like 50/50 and books like TFioS likely paint a very accurate picture of life as a conventional cancer patient, I can’t help but want the best for the characters, to see Hazel heal and grow old. I want her to eat plants, stop taking medication and having tubes put in and out of her… I think it is all very unnatural (Google G-Tube to see what I mean) and I wish that no one had to subject themselves to that.

I am a bit scared to post this and write about my thoughts on the cancer topic… I may not be the best person to write about how we should treat cancer, after-all I have never had cancer and am not a nutritionalist or a doctor, however I have seen the differences in my own health. When I was in grade 11 I had chronic bronchitis and was constantly sick. I lived on antibiotics and I was SO TRIED ALL THE TIME. I was depressed and had no energy. And congested, couldn’t sleep. Awful. But since then I have switched to a compassion-based lifestyle and a plant-based (vegan, now mostly raw vegan) diet and I cannot express how much of a differences these changes have made and continue to make for my quality of life. I have also noticed that some people get very defensive and very upset when I mention alternative treatment and therapies. My intention in sharing these thoughts is not to upset anyone, but rather to communicate my wish for the world to be healthy and nourished. And I think we can do it… an apple a day (but not in a twilight way.. literary joke haha).

Vocab

endgame
Yesterday I read two plays and I learned the following things…

From The December Man by Colleen Murphy…

  • Crisse means Christ in Quebec French Profanity
  • Va Chier means “fuck” or GTFO in French haha.

From Endgame by Samuel Beckett

  • Engender is to give cause or rise to something (such as a feeling).
  • Elegaic is having a mournful quality.

Alternative Education

Education

There are some really innovative program offered at my university, many of which I have/will take part in. My initial major, Interactive Arts + Technology, involves a trip to Seattle for one course and most course use group projects and hand on applications instead of exams and mid-terms. I just auditioned for the acting program (aka: BFA Major in Theatre Performance) which is also highly immersive. I love that when I go to an acting class I learn so much about life and humanity just by observing other people and reflecting on my own experience. Yay!

Outside of these “special” programs there are also some courses which are quite innovative. Next semester I am taking SFU’s Semester in DialogueAccording to their site…

The Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue addresses what we believe is the principal challenge for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, encourage their passion to improve Canadian society, and develop innovative intellectual tools for effective problem solving. Each semester we develop an original and intensive learning experience that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues.

Our topic is Sustainable Food Systems and after my studies in permaculture I am quite excited to explore this topic. We have already planned a camping trip for our first week to visit a farm on Vancouver Island! Cool!

SFU also has some really cool geography courses that go on trips for learning, in addition to field studies (such as ItaliaDesign) and exchange opportunities. And I have a couple friends that did an experiential learning course called The Change Lab. I am so lucky to attend a school with so many opportunities!

Thinking back on it, I have had a number of alternative education experiences in my lifetime. In elementary school I was identified as “gifted” and received special support throughout my education as a result. In grade three I got to be part of the “challenge” program which basically meant I got to skip class once a week and the principal would drive me to another school where I got to learn about a special topic with other kids in the program. My topic was circus! In grade 6 I did some special testing and was accepted into Surrey’s first ever MAC class where I stayed for a few months before returning to my “home” school. It was really cool to connect with other kids who learned the same way I did. I am still friends with some of them today! Then in high school I considered joining Inter-A (a largely self-paced learning environment with independent research opportunities) when I entered high school, but I had already established friends and volunteer commitments at my home school so I chose to stay where I was. At my home school we had a gifted coordinator and about once a semester we would meet with her, and the other gifted students in our year to discuss our “issues”. I really valued the opportunity to meet with other kids who were “like me” and I always thought we had a special bond. We all got to make Independent Education Plans (IEPs) and the coordinator tried to put us in classes with other gifted kids, and tried to support us in doing special projects and other initiatives. I got to skip one year of high school social studies through this method. I was also a year ahead in Math. Online courses were another opportunity I took advantage of. I took English 11 online and some other courses later on (Math 12 and Chem 12 to upgrade my marks) through Surrey Connect. I also recall a district Gifted Education Coordinator (staff person). She supported me in joining a gifted environmental conference planning committee. I got trained to be an SFU Philosopher’s Cafe facilitator as a grade 10 student which was pretty cool. I am realizing that I always felt really connected to other “gifted” students and educators. I think it was my idea that we were somehow the same and had something in common if only through or labelling.

Moving forward

In my own city we have the discovery school

Discovery School is a unique program of choice within the Surrey School District. The school draws students from around Surrey and other parts of the Lower Mainland.  Approximately sixty percent of the students come to Discovery from outside the Whalley area.  This is a public school, and there are no tuition fees.

Classrooms are free of clutter.  There are no desks, tables or chairs.   Toys, books, manipulatives and other equipment are stored on shelves lining the rooms.   This uncluttered environment allows for maximum flexibility in arranging small groups for a variety of activities and, most importantly, allows the whole group to sit in a circle, which encourages inclusiveness. Students’ artwork, and other art related to the themes being studied, is treated with respect; mounted and hung on the walls of the classrooms and in the front hall.  Otherwise, walls are generally clear and free from distractions. Even the playground reflects the ideas of cooperation, imagination and tradition. Along with the common adventure playground, Discovery has ‘logs and rocks’, string games, hand games and other areas where children learn to play timeless games with their peers.

I have also heard of Windsor House School, a democratic school in BC! Cool! I am sure I will continue to discover alternative education mediums. Vancouver has a whole brochure of them!