Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life Lately | September

September was the month of finally, finally settling into a routine - the constant, familiar chaos interspersed by moments of calm, both accompanied by numerous cups of coffee. Autumn came a bit earlier than I remembered which has eased my frame of mind. With the start of exams it's nice to have some crisp air in the mornings and the excuse to wear my favourite Banks sweatshirt every evening. As with every September, a number of good bands put on shows in my area and I attended each with a few good friends. I finally felt like myself again, surrounded and slightly deafened by the glorious imperfection of live music. I did a bit of traveling as well, driving up to Virginia to enjoy Busch Gardens during their first weekend of Howl-O-Scream.

In the middle of the month I succumbed to the ever-present quarter life crisis - what am I doing with my life? what I am doing in this degree? can I get a job with this? - and when I had managed to talk myself out of my mental slump, an internship with an environmental nonprofit emerged.  My first week started the last week of September so there isn't much to say about it yet, but I'm excited to acquire some experience in a field within my major. September was, as always, a transitional month, and I'm excited for the adventures October will bring.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Shindig

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dealing With Reverse Culture Shock

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.4

I have finally, finally made it to the end of my library book stack... for now. I'm happy to have some extra desk space but I know in a few days I'll miss the pile of literature waiting for me. This latest set has been particularly good, and I had the chance to read a few of this year's most popular nonfiction reads.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3

Image via ABC News
16. A book that made you cry - Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Ashley's War - the true story of a group of women who in 2010 joined the US Army's Cultural Support Team in Afghanistan - was one I picked up on a whim at the library, never anticipating the impact it would have on me. The Cultural Support Team is a newly created group of female soldiers who work in connection with Special Operations; the women work to protect the women housed in compounds and question them about locations of insurgents and weapons, a task the men are unable to perform due to social barriers. Ashley's War goes through the creation of the group, the challenges the women faced as they went through training and and talked through some of the operations in Afghanistan. Most importantly, the book gave the individual perspectives of many of the women on the original team and really brought out their real-life personalities. I don't want to give away the ending, but I cried my way through the final few chapters. By the end it had hit me hard that these were real stories about real women, and I haven't had a war story hit me this hard in years.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 | Summer Favourites

With the start of the new semester and the busyness that ensues, I nearly skipped posting this. I ultimately decided I would appreciate the effort in the future, and thus I've compiled everything I've loved the most in the months of July and August and the tail end of June. I've also diversified my list to include some items that I don't usually include, so this is more of a list of things I enjoyed this summer rather than the best of the best.


Via Pixar
Inside Out
While I enjoy Pixar films, it's been a while since I've fallen in love with one, so I went to the theatre not expecting much more than a cute kids' movie with some funny lines. Instead I was completely captivated. Despite being marketed towards kids I felt the film was better suited to teenagers/adults as it was emotionally deep - much more so than you would expect - and it hit me right in the feels. The filmmakers perfectly struck the balance of the emotional spectrum that moving away from everything familiar into an unknown place  gives while still keeping the movie fun and kid-friendly. The choice of actors for the voices was spot-on, the animation was incredible, and I am not ashamed to admit it was my favourite movie of the summer.

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