Friday, 11 August 2017

Dare to Walk in the Forest!

Squad Atten-tion, Stand At Ease, Stand Easy.

The all too familiar commands I've gotten accustomed to with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. My journey with the Air Cadets started just a little over a year ago, and yet the friends I have made and lessons I have been taught will certainly last a lifetime. I can’t begin to explain how impressed I am with not only the level of knowledge and discipline they have taught my peers and me, but also the wide array of diversity that I experience day after day with this fantastic program. Many assume that the air cadets is a boot camp or military academy, but really it’s an organization, that helps shape you and tailors your future. Before I joined the cadets organization I wasn't too sure about the structure of the program, despite having 4 cousins graduating as some of the highest ranking positions offered to cadets. It was only when I turned 12, I decided to attend the information night and learn more. Equipped with that newfound knowledge, I decided to enroll. And once I did, there was no turning back.The Tuesday night meetings are epic, nights filled with friends, aviation, drill and for those who want more, there is the in-house band and even the public speaking and debating team. There are so many platforms to do absolutely anything you want,  I got the freedom to choose and pursue my passion.

Opportunities regularly present themselves to cadets and with them we learn how to excel. My squadron gave me the opportunity to put my speaking skills to the test and I went on to win 3rd place at the regional competition. I also got the chance to be on my squadrons debate team. Both were amazing experiences that really helped develop my skills and gave me the chance to interact with cadets from all over. The program also offers cadet camps that you can take over the summer allowing you to meet like-minded people who are passionate about cadets. As a first year cadet, I went to General Training, the 2-week course is designed to show you a little bit of everything through practical and more importantly fun activities that engage you and your friends. On the day of graduation, I left with the award for Top Cadet in Golf Squadron and some of the memories of the best 2 weeks of my life. It gave me invaluable insights about the kinds of camps people took. Some of my cousins that successfully went through the program were also high achievers – for instance, one learned to fly gliders before he learned how to drive a car, another went on an exchange program to Australia while another received medals for her passion for effective speaking. Yes… I do have many cousins!!! To me, that’s where it all began. It was those stories that motivated me to soar. This journey that began last year, will continue to be an adventure full of surprises waiting at every turn. I’m so glad I decided to Walk in the Forest.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Going Swiss.....

This past May, my family and I went for a 4 day stay in Switzerland. During our trip, we scaled 2 different mountains and visited 2 cities. There were boat tours, train rides, lots of walking and most importantly some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen in my life. On previous occasions, I have been to England, France, Italy and a handful of other countries in Europe, however, Switzerland will remain one of the most picturesque. In this blog, I will be going over my experiences in Switzerland and the tips I would recommend if you want to visit Switzerland.
 The first place we visited is the world renowned Mount Titlis. We took a 45-minute train from our hotel in Lucerne to a station called Engleberg. As soon as we stepped off of the train we found ourselves in a small town and the summit of Titlis was not far ahead of us. We went to the ticket booth and presented our Swiss Pass. This brings me to my very first point, if you plan to travel even a little please consider buying a Swiss Pass. Whether you're experiencing the country solo or with a large group, traveling like many other things in Switzerland is very expensive. The pass saved us approximately $700 is 4 days.  Back to the mountain, we decided to go up by a cable car, quite a scary experience for me considering at certain points we were well over 100 feet from the ground and it was my first time. However, once I got over the initial fear factor the scenic views were breathtaking. The cars allowed for a 360-degree panoramic view of the mountain. Many people also decided to scale the mountain freehand and then snowboard or ski down the mountain. As soon as we stepped off the cable car, we followed a flight of stairs up to an observation deck. There were views of many other mountains in the distance. We went approximately 8,000 feet high at the summit. The glacier at the top was a fantastic sight and the air outside was a great refresher from the temperature on the ground. The mountain was absolutely amazing and as a traveler, I would recommend it. 
The second mountain we went to is called Mount Pilatus, this mountain boasts a summit over 2000 meters above sea level with a cable car capable of carry approximately 30 terrified people to the summit. This cable car experience was my second and definitely the most fun I've ever had on a cable car. This time around the car never went under 500 feet and to add to that, there were yodellers singing the whole way up. The experience seemed straight out of a movie. The mountain was different from Titlis because there were many things to do even at different levels of the mountain, the first level was mainly for pictures of surrounding mountains, however there were also many bike trails and even a forest stunt course. You could even zip-line! when we reached the second level we had opportunities for photos but also to look at the country below. The view was impeccable and it was truly a fantastic experience.
 The second place I really enjoyed was our home base for our time in Switzerland, Lucern. In this city, we visited Lake Lucern, a peaceful lake surrounded by many homes and smaller cottages. Great area for taking pictures, however, for this city, the food and drink is quite expensive so I recommend bringing along some for the day. Hot Dogs will now make tip #2, if you're looking for a quick bite hot dogs serve as a cheap and convenient to way to purchase your food and will get you around. Another place we went to in Lucern was the Chapel bridge. This bridge built in 1333 is the oldest truss bridge in the world and was originally used by civilians as the way into the old main town. There were many pictures that described the rich history of the bridge and its significance in Switzerland's history. 
We also visited was Interlakken, we took a train from our main station and experienced a panoramic cabin in the train that allowed us to see the quaint town of Interlakken in the day. We got enjoyed our pizza and swiss ice-cream. We saw many picturesque sights, strolled through town, taking in all in. Between the many ice cream stands and the luxury cars, I had a hard time keeping up. It was pretty town and I wish we had more time to explore in and around. The city was breathtaking and I definitely enjoyed it. This beautiful city is a must see.

There’s more than just cheese to Switzerland!!!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Why Middle Schools Should Have an Elective Program

Did you know what career you wanted to pursue when you were a child? I know I do, but the problem is that kids earlier that grade 9 don’t have access to resources that will allow them to find out about their dream job. I know that incorporating an elective program in grade 6 will allow students much more choice not only in their education, but also in their future endeavours. If students earlier than grade 9 were given the opportunity to customize their education, they wouldn't waste time of subjects that don’t matter or apply to them in this “One size fits all” school system.

Personally I want to be a lawyer or an entrepreneur when I grow up, but school does absolutely NOTHING when it comes to my education to help me prepare for court cases or how to get investors to invest in my potential company. I believe that schools are distracted when it comes to students and want to focus on subjects like math and science when they are completely irrelevant to people who want to pursue jobs that wouldn’t entail exponents or chemistry.

Electives would allow students to be exponentially more productive in school because they’re surrounded by people with similar interests who are focused on subjects that they like and are good at. It also gives lots of opportunities for kids who aren’t sure about what they want to do to  get a better understanding about what the job is really about. Students will gain a better understanding of what they’re good at while also striking a balance about what they like as well. I believe that like every other industry, the education sector must evolve and embrace new changes with an open mind. Subjects like Law and Business are only offered in high school, which for kids who want to pursue law or business studies they have to wait for 9 years to even get a grasp at the career they think seems interesting.

The happiness and motivation to succeed will go off the charts should the District School Board implement programs which allow students a broad range of choice and customization to their individualized learning.
In conclusion, I strongly believe and encourage that electives be incorporated as part of standard learning because it will help students gain a better understanding of their ideal job, enhance the way they learn and grow and give them the element of choice they need to succeed.


Monday, 7 November 2016

The Atlantic Road trip


Summer is filled with road trips and vacation plans, but as an experienced traveler, I would without a doubt recommend visiting the eastern provinces of Canada. Alluring, engaging, and ravishing are all words, I would use to describe the 3 most stunning provinces Canada has to offer. Atlantic Canada, the 4 provinces commonly referred to as the Maritimes, comprise Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick. 

My trip started out driving to Quebec, while the ten hour drive was quite lengthy, to say the least, however it was nothing short of stunning. When we got to Montreal we stopped at a small restaurant to get a taste of Canada's national food, poutine. I can honestly say it was the best poutine I have ever had-and that's coming from a Canadian! While in Montreal, I got to see first hand the impact the French had on the city. The city greatly reminded me of Paris. The streets had a special charm and had little quaint shops on the sides of the streets, it really struck a chord with me. The place we stayed in Montreal was really exquisite, our "backyard" was a view of a lake with classic rural farms in the background. 

We then headed to Nova Scotia, I personally was extremely excited to see the world-famous lighthouse Peggy's Cove. The drive to the lighthouse from our cottage was extremely impressive because the rocks that surrounded the lighthouse gave lighthouse a beautiful, picture-perfect look. The less famous, but equally as impressive tourist destination we visited in Nova Scotia was the Bay of Fundy, if you've ever wanted to know what it's like to walk on the bottom of the ocean, then you'd love the Bay of Fundy.

And finally as we made our way back to Quebec on our return journey we stayed in the house of former Prime Minister Hon. Sir Mackenzie Bowell in Saint Andrew's, a beautiful inn called Tara manor. The inn was very old fashioned, but all the while really cozy. During our time in St. Andrew's, I went whale watching, something I had never done before. I got to see whales, porpoises, dolphins and even some seals.  After whale watching we went to go get some traditional Lobster and mussels from a nearby store. The beady-eyed lobsters came out of the pot and then were served, topped with melted butter. We scarfed them down and even had room for the follow up mussels. I even found a starfish in one!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation to the East Coast of Canada and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who visits Canada.   


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Viva Roma!

Recently, my family and I went to Italy. We visited the four beautiful cities of Rome, Venice, Assisi and Orvietto.
In Rome, we visited many famous landmarks including the Vatican, the Colosseum, and we even visited a city called Assisi. For me, Rome represented a place to appreciate architecture,visit religious monuments and to see what how the history of Italy was formed. Rome was a place of relaxation and scenic views. From the time I got out of the airport, the scenes were a constant reminder of how beautiful Italy really was. While Rome is a busy place, there are plenty of opportunities to find Rome’s peaceful aura and vibe. One of my most favourite places in Rome was our visit to the Colosseum, there we got to imagine the long and difficult process, that was building the Colosseum. Our tour took us across the 5 levels of the Colosseum and we learned many interesting facts there.  Another place we visited in Rome was the Vatican. The Vatican is an amazing place, filled with centuries and centuries of art and history. The Vatican is rich with history and full of scenic views. We even had a day trip to Assisi. On our day trip, we encountered a more rural and traditional version of Italy. We were on a hilltop with spectacular views of the land below. We visited  many Churches  and paid tribute to Assisi`s patron saint, Francis. To finish off our day, we walked the cobblestone rock that Saint Francis likely walked, hundreds of years ago. In conclusion,  Rome is an amazing place with beautiful architecture, amazing scenery and is a must visit for Italy. Another place we visited was Orvietto. In Orvietto we drove across many narrow cobblestone roads. The experience was something new for my entire family and is one I’ll never forget.

My second half of my trip was spent in the majestic city of Venice. To say Venice is absolutely stunning is an understatement because in my opinion, Venice is probably one of the most beautiful places on the face of planet Earth, and that’s coming from a frequent traveller. Venice has this special charm that made me feel happy wherever I walked. In Venice, we roamed the quaint city in search of classic Venice traditions. Whenever we weren't walking, we were on a boat, more commonly referred to as a gondola. Gondolas are a major mode of transportation in Venice as the city is built on water. We spent most of our free time on Piazza San Marco, a town square where tourists and locals can, enjoy music and even grab a gelato or two from neighbouring gelato shops. While Venice is a small place, there will never come a time where the city doesn't cease to take your breath away. From Doge’s palace to the Grand Canal, Venice really does have it all. All in all, Venice is a beautiful place and also is fantastic for tourism and relaxation alike.

Monday, 11 April 2016

5 tips and tricks to follow when learning a new language

Languages are great, they enable us to talk and communicate with others, they even  open up a world of job opportunities and can improve your brain power. But when learning a language, it can get frustrating, a lot. I have compiled of here are 5 tips and tricks to follow when learning a new language.
1. Patience, I get it,  when you start a new language  you may feel helpless. Not knowing what to say or do. Where to put the accent and why masculine and feminine are a thing.  There are plenty of ways to remember the facts you need, one of them being time. With time, you'll practice and get it easily, it's all a matter of patience. 
2.  Cause, know why you're learning the language. When you learn anything,  especially a language, a cause will keep you focused and motivated. Even setting weekly goals can go a long way if you have the right combination of determination and focus. Committing to a language is hard, but you need a genuine reason and a passion to learn it.
3. Shows and movies, probably the best way to learn a language. Watching shows and movies in your newly developing language is great when you want to learn the language informally. Starting with absolute beginner videos can be great and will help you a lot. In my experience, I've started with shows that are slightly above my level and gradually made my way up.
4.  Talking to people will help a lot too. When you learn a language with a person you can both talk to eachother and use eachother to practice your speaking skills. Then after speaking to your friend you will feel more confident when speaking to people who speak the language everyday.
5. Listening, a huge part of learning a language is to watch other people speak it. It's why we have two ears and one mouth, to listen twice as much as we speak.  From personal experience, it taught me to pronounce certain words with more flare or less expression.  Listening will be huge on your journey to a new language. Languages will sound weird for the first, but by exposing yourself to the language your actually familiarizing yourself with it and understanding it more throughout.
All in all, my main message is to keep at it. You'll have your highs and lows but it'll all pay off when you realize that there is nothing more rewarding than that sense of completion. Good luck and have fun with it. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Muskoka and me

This past week my friends and I went to a camp up north in a small rural town called Muskoka. In Muskoka, the experiences I had and the new friends I made were amazing. We told scary stories around a campfire in a dark forest where wolves roamed all around, or even the time when we went to the  aerial park with ropes and bridges suspended from 60 foot tall trees. At night we even stayed in log cabins that really gave us an idea of what Europeans would've had to do when coming to Canada. But the best part: NO DEVICES

My absolute favourite event at Muskoka was the time when we had a major event called survivor Muskoka! Survivor Muskoka is a 2 hour long project that really tests your survival skills but more over team work and partnership abilities. Our tasks during the activity were to elect a leader, make a chant and a group name. Once we did that the teachers would assess our creativity from our chants. We would then get  time to build a fire that would burn through a thick rope. We also had to find food and water for our team in order to survive. We also built a hut that supported ten people for people who got cold.

Another cool thing we did at Muskoka was going to the aerial park. In the aerial park we climbed a 60 foot tree and went across rickety bridges, steel cables and even suspended logs. It really tested my risk-taking abilities but also my physical abilities and my mental abilities. 
All in all, I think that it's important to attend camps like this because in our lives we use devices so much that it's important to sit back and take a break from all the games. Along with all the fun I had, Camp Muskoka  also integrated some amazing survival skills with the great outdoors. The experience was truly once in a lifetime.