Appreciating The Power To Vote

Black cats downtown Toronto.

Black cats downtown Toronto.

My mother left India, her home country, at a very young age. She travelled around the Middle East, following my father as he moved from country to country, as his engineering contracts changed. She always told us that she always felt like she missed out on a lot of things because of all of this movement, but one of her main things was the ability to have a say in the workings of a democratic government. Living in the Middle East, she didn’t really have a chance to participate as she wanted.

When we moved to Canada, and we became Canadian citizens, the rest of the family didn’t really think too much of it. But for my mother, it was a chance to participate in the glories of voting and having a say in the election of the leaders of our country. She was ecstatic and her enthusiasm was infectious. In the beginning, my mother used to drag us kicking and screaming to the voting stations. We would complain about the time it took up – we were busy people, with school, work, and a vibrant social life. Even if we were just sitting at home watching dreary sitcoms, we still didn’t realize the importance of the power we had as voters.

When my mother told me the story of how she caught the bug of democracy, I finally understood what drove her to participate. For me, getting my Canadian citizenship was a momentous occasion, only because I was a Canadian citizen, and protected by the Canadian government. I never thought about the power I had now as a potential voter – I now had a say in electing future governments. I decided to volunteer for a city councillor, Anthony Perruzza, after my mother infected me with her political enthusiasm. I enjoyed the experience a lot – I learned more about politics and the inner workings of our government in those 3 months spent canvassing for our city councillor, than I ever had before.

This time around I was an eager beaver. My mother, father and I went to the advanced voting station in our Ward, on Sunday, October 19th. It was my mother who reminded us that it was advanced voting – and even though, she had a sprained ankle, hobbled her way to the voting station to vote yet again. She had been following the mayoral debates as much as she could, with her busy schedule and she knew exactly who she wanted to give her vote to.

This time around I didn’t complain – my mother didn’t have to drag me out to vote. I went willingly. Slowly, but surely, my mother has made me realize the importance of my vote. I have been told that a single vote can change the fate of an election, but I never really believed it before. My vote seemed too inconsequential in the whole scheme of things. But looking at the eagerness of my mother, and how much she believes in the democratic government, I have changed my mind. My vote has the power to change the world and I used that power to vote for the candidate that I believe is the best out of all of the ones that are standing.

I hope that all of you in Toronto have voted in the advanced polls, or will go to vote on Monday, October 27th, for a mayor, city councillor, and public school trustee. It is your one chance to have a say in who runs Toronto for the next four years. Use your chance wisely. Do not squander it.

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Waiting For The Perfect Blog Name

Stormy skies in Toronto.

Stormy skies in Toronto.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

People assume just because I write a blog that I am a good writer. I should be good at it, because I have a blog. The cause and effect stream doesn’t really seem to work in my favour, because in reality, I am a disjointed writer, who has a long, long way to go. My blog posts are written in a frenzy of passion, but end up not running properly from paragraph to paragraph.

I know that I am not an amazing writer yet, but I keep on writing. There are moments where I just want to give up and die. There are moments where I feel ashamed that there are so many pieces of my terrible writing on display for the world to see. There are moments where I want to go back to the first few posts that I wrote, and rewrite them so they don’t sound like a 2 year old wrote them with crayon. Would it really matter if I stopped writing? Continue reading

I Am Afraid To Eat In The US

A burnt down house in Detroit, Michigan.

A burnt down house in Detroit, Michigan.

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are. – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Recently, I went to the US with my father, to check out Detroit. We stopped for breakfast in Canada, before we crossed the border. Even though, it was fast food at Tim Horton’s, I was still reasonably sure that this food was made from reasonably real ingredients. But as soon as we were in Detroit, I was fearful to eat anything that was sold in the supermarkets or restaurants there. We stopped at Starter’s Bar and Grill for a late lunch around 4pm. I rummaged through the menu for something real and as close to organic as possible. But I knew no matter what I picked it would be filled with GMO (genetically modified), hormone-filled, crazy-inducing ingredients.

The sandwiches were all packed with meats that were covered in a cornmeal paste, filled with Monsanto GMO corn, I’m sure. The meats, and chicken were factory farmed, as were the fishes. The salmon that I finally settled on, with a salad, seemed the least threatening option. I’m sure I am being overly paranoid. It isn’t as if I eat extremely healthy when I am back in Toronto, but for some reason, I feel safer consuming the products from the grocery stores, and restaurants in Toronto, than I do when I am across the border. Continue reading

10 Ways I Am Going To Stop Being Insane

Beautiful pink clouds above Downsview Park, Toronto.

Beautiful pink clouds above Downsview Park, Toronto.

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future. – Anonymous

I was chatting with my mother about my job search experience this time around as opposed to 5 years ago (the last time I came back from a long-term trip). I have had a really positive experience this time around compared to last time. Last time, I barely got any callbacks, and when I did, I would fumble through the interviews, not knowing what to say. In addition, it took me 1.5 years to find a job in my field, at which point, I felt I was desperate enough to take anything. Thank goodness, I got a really great job, with good people.

My mother said something that really interested me. She said, ‘The last time you were searching for a job, you were arrogant about it. You didn’t get your resume checked by anyone. You didn’t ask your friends, and previous colleagues for help. You had all of these impossible rules that the company had to follow in order to hire you. This time around you have changed all of this around, resulting in more callbacks and more options.’ Continue reading

Tell Everyone You Are Looking For A Job

Fall colours, Toronto.

Fall colours, Toronto.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

Let’s start with a story. When Thenix and I were looking for a renter for his condo, we were stumped. We had been waiting for a friend to sell his home and move in, but the housing market was slow, and in the end, we had to find someone else. But before we could put an advertisement out, we went to our going-away party.

Thenix being the open and generous human being he is, started chatting with everyone about his need for a renter. After two such conversations, he happened to talk to this friend, who had a friend who was looking for a place. The next day, that individual came to look at the condo, and the next week, we had a renter.

All of this came from the power of conversation, networking, and telling people what you are looking for. I am not as open as Thenix, so I usually do not talk about everything that is going on with me. But I am learning from him, and I am becoming more and more open. I have found that everyone knows someone who is looking for someone like you. In a party that I would go to, or a pub crawl, just throwing it out there with my friends that I am searching for a job, caused me to get three different business cards, with promises of forwarding my resume to someone in Digital Marketing, the field that I am in. Continue reading

I Deserve Nice Things, Or Do I?

Unpacking and repacking my stuff, La Paz, Mexico

My wardrobe for 10 months of backpacking – La Paz, Mexico

We spend a lot of time trying to get more and more things, not realizing that those things can never fulfill us. Learn from those who have gone before you – stuff can never satisfy your desires, so focus on THE ONE who can. ― Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid

Recently, I got a new smartphone. I have never owned a smartphone before, so that was a first. But more so, I haven’t bought a new phone in six years, so that was a novelty that I wasn’t used to. I have had cast-offs and old phones, but not a new phone in a long while. I had the new phone in my hands after the purchase and it was so shiny. It worked so well.

It was functioning at its optimal level and for the first time, I could hear the person on the other hand as clearly as they were sitting right next to me. To say I was pleased was an understatement. I was ecstatic. It had been so long since I had owned a nice phone that I forgotten the feeling. I called Thenix as soon as I figured out how to and exclaimed to him about my new phone. Continue reading

This Ad Is Offensive To Me

CN Tower at sunset, Toronto.

CN Tower at sunset, Toronto.

Anyone who knows Thenix knows about his disdain for Anti-Piracy Laws. He believes in freedom of information, and he is a regular supporter of the Pirates’ Party. Despite all of this, Facebook thought it would be a great idea to serve him an ad about anti-Piracy laws and how he could support corporations who are trying to fight against Piracy. He was offended, of course, but then he was delighted to be served an ad that he could declare offensive. He informed me that if enough people declare an ad offensive, that Facebook will try to reduce the number of people it serves that ad to.

We were at a table with our good friend, Emily, at the time, who is a vocal feminist. She said that there are at least 4-5 ads a week if not a day, that she declares offensive to Facebook.

In one way, this is a declaration upon the world that we live in – we are using a free service like Facebook, so we have to be subject to ads, parties, groups, and other information that we do not directly agree with. In another way, it shows the power that we have as a consumer of Facebook and other products. We have the power if we rise up as one, to annihilate the corporations’ whose ideals we do not agree with. Continue reading

Space – The Final Frontier (For Early Retirement)

Sunlight filtering through the clouds, Toronto.

Sunlight filtering through the clouds, Toronto.

So what can you do if you are so unfortunate to live in a place with plenty of closet space, extra bedrooms, and car-less garages. – Early Retirement Extreme

I am 31 years old, and by society’s standards, far behind where I should be in accomplishments and successes. I ‘should’ be married. I ‘should’ own a house in the suburbs. I ‘should’ a child or two. I ‘should’ be in a management position in a big company.

Where am I right now? I am in a relationship, but not married. I still live with my parents, and I rent out the condo that I own to a couple of teachers who are currently paying off my mortgage for me. I am childless. I am not in a management position by far. As you can see, I am quite a failure compared to the standards set for me.

I used to feel bad about still living at home with my parents. I used to feel bad about not having my own space, and being independent. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that living with my parents is a godsend in so many different ways. Continue reading

A Food Truck Festival Ontario Event

Food Truck Festival Ontario line-ups, Toronto.

Food Truck Festival Ontario line-ups, Toronto.

On the same Sunday that I attended a clothing swap, I was able to integrate my other love into the weekend – Food. I was able to get tickets to the Food Truck Festival Ontario (FTFO) for 50% off due to a discount email they sent out. For the two of us, it came up to $13 something. I was excited as they were predicting that there would be 40 food trucks that would attend. The day, unfortunately, started off with a lot of rain, which meant that I was fearful the event would be cancelled. But the rain stopped, and the day ended up being warm and beautiful.

Thenix and I walked the 15 minutes from his condo over to Ontario Place at around 4pm. The FTFO started at 1pm, and was supposed to last until 8pm. We got there, and as we passed the parking lot, we heard that the ticket for the parking lot costs 30 CAD! Thenix and I both laughed at the exorbitant rates, and the 0 CAD walk that we just took over from his place. I couldn’t believe people were actually willing to pay 30 CAD to park for this event. Yikes! Continue reading

A Swap Don’t Shop Event

Clothing Swap, Toronto.

Clothing Swap, Toronto.

Over the weekend, on September 21st, I was lucky enough to go to yet another great clothing swap. This one is organized by Swap Don’t Shop, and it was located at the industREALarts room at 688 Richmond Street West. It is walking distance from Thenix’s apartment, so I decided to walk on this beautiful Sunday morning over to the swap.

The room is located in a co-working space, where lots of creative artists, meditators, and yoga teachers collaborate and use the space. The reason I like this swap over other ones, is because the people at this swap, both the organizers and the attendees are really polite, well-behaved, calm and happy. If you grab something that another person is looking at, by mistake, they are more than happy to let you have the item. There isn’t any animosity towards another. Getting one item or another isn’t a matter of life and death in this swap – unlike other swaps, where I am sometimes fear for my life and for all the items that I have been lucky enough to snag. Continue reading