Archive for February, 2017

February 12, 2017

Snow Giants!

Just before Christmas Jen, Chris and I went to Kate’s annual Christmas party. Jen and Chris stayed at my parents place that night, and a few days later they posted an epic photo on Facebook of two gigantic snowmen that they had built together with Mom and Dad in the front yard. I was sad I missed out! My family is so cool!



February 10, 2017

Rattlesnake Point

Although it was already the beginning of November, there were still a few last colourful leaves clinging to the autumn trees. I went with a group of friends from Grace Toronto to Rattlesnake Point, a conservation area in Milton. It was absolutely wonderful! We wandered around the trails not totally paying attention to where we were going, but we ended up at a lookout, where the real scene to see was not the view from the lookout, but the trees right there around us. It was like the forest was on fire. The trees were all maples that had turned yellow and miraculously still had many of their leaves despite many of the other trees being barren. But what really made the scene were thousands of these tiny little maple saplings that flooded the ground with yellow as well! I have never seen anything like it in my life! And what a great place to terminate our walk. We hung around there for a while, drinking in the view and taking a lot of pictures! Most of these photos are compliments of Leemarc who is such an amazing photographer! You can tell that we had a fun time trying to take photos while throwing leaves! Those proved a bit more successful than the boy band cover photo we tried to pose for… never again!






Another unique autumn moment I had was during my walk to work on a day that there had been a thunderstorm earlier in the morning. I felt like I was walking over a gigantic piece of art because every sidewalk was covered in freshly fallen leaves, still glissening with water. The sidewalk was the ideal canvas because the light grey disappeared and only the leaves stood out. The sun had also come out and was making all of the colours light up. Red-green, green-yellow, yellow-orange, red-purple! Every section of sidewalk had a different palette of shapes and colours furnished by the canopies up above. Since I didn’t have my camera, it was an experience I decided to commit to memory and is why I try to describe it here. Hopefully you can now paint a picture in your mind!

February 4, 2017

2016 in Books

Now that I’m finished school, I have grown a new love for reading! It’s not like I wasn’t reading (in fact university helped make me into a reader), it’s just that all my time was taken reading either required material or material for my thesis. Here are the books that I read this past year. I would recommend all of them, but the books with stars by them are the ones that had the greatest impact on me and I eventually want to write reviews of them.

Books read in 2016:

  • Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis*
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  • The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Prayer by Timothy Keller
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison: Piper Kerman
  • The Unquiet Dead: A Novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • A House in the Sky: A Memoir by Amanda Lindhout
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand*
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer*
February 3, 2017

Ann Arbor Reunion 2.0

From October 26th to 30th I traveled to Ann Arbor for the ACADIA 2016 conference. BeniAtlas was accepted as a project and I was still able to register as a student. I even received one of the student scholarships so that the only expense was the cost of traveling there. Because ACADIA was held in Ann Arbor this year I felt like I had no excuse not to attend! It also meant that I could visit and stay with my good friend Lauren who I lived with when I was in Congo and visited in Ann Arbor last year. I also got to meet her husband Ben. Once again I stopped at my parents place to pick up the van. Once again I left my passport in Toronto and had to go back and get it (so mad at myself!!)! Once again I dropped in on Katelynn and Mike in Windsor before heading across the border. This time I had no trouble at the border! Hooray for having a more official reason for traveling! I arrived at Lauren’s quite late but we still chatted for an hour or so to catch up a bit on life. I knew already that this time with her would be too short.


Feeling very at home on what used to be Jon and Kate’s couch!

I spent the next three days attending conference sessions and events. I will outline my favourite presentations/projects in my next post! On Friday evening Ben and Lauren took me out for dinner. After a long discussion (there are many good places to go in Ann Arbor), we ended up at Zimmermans, a classic deli that is famous for it’s incredible sandwiches. They were as good as advertised! We even stayed for dessert and I tried some delicious spiced hot chocolate. The next day I skipped the morning sessions so that I could spend a bit more time with Lauren and Ben. They took me for breakfast to Cultivate, a cafe/bar/community non-profit where Lauren used to work and where Ben sometimes offers free physics tutoring. Lauren went behind the counter and made me my first ever flat white (yes, please add another shot of espresso to my cappuccino)! I had such a wonderful time conversing with these two incredible people! Lauren was hoping to arrange a time to introduce me to Sush and Morgan, a couple who are friends from their church and have supported the work of the Congo Initiative. We didn’t hear from them and so started walking home, only to run into them on the way! So back we went to the cafe to meet and talk for a little longer! I learned about a small initiative called Neema (meaning Grace in Swahili) that they started along with Jon to provide start-up loans for small businesses in and around Beni, DRC. It goes to show how much you can love and serve a community even from the other side of the world!


Zingerman’s: An Ann Arbor rite of passage


Hanging out at Cultivate

I went back to conference events for that afternoon and evening. We had planned to maybe go to a halloween party with Ben’s physics friends (Ben suggested we could dress up as the two up and one down protons that make up an atom…so awesomely nerdy lol!), but the conference banquet went much later than I thought. Even though I didn’t arrive back at their home until close to 10pm, Lauren and Ben were still up for concluding the evening by watching an episode of Doctor Who! The following morning I joined them at Grace Church and then afterwards began the long solitary drive home. What a fantastic few days! The conference was inspiring and you will hear more about it shortly! From now on I am trying to separate my personal posts from posts relating to design or research.