daily walks

There’s this one line I love from one of T.S Eliot’s poems, and it goes, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” Now that the summer is coming to an end, I realize that I have been measuring out this season and the passing of the past 5 months not with coffee spoons, but instead with my daily neighbourhood walks. In my neighbourhood, there’s a circular path you can follow, which has been the route for my daily walks. Walking one lap is a little over 1.5km. I remember on the second day I got back from my exchange at the end of March, I was so eager to be outside, breathing in the cold fresh air, that I walked 4 laps, which is the equivalent of almost 7 km. After that day, the habit of going on my walk hasn’t left and for 5 months, I’ve been…

View Post

togetherness

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much this coronavirus pandemic has changed day-to-day life. News about lockdowns, unemployment claims, and state of emergencies is constantly inundating our newspaper headlines, our devices, our lives. I see presidents, prime ministers, and Ministers of Health on the TV every day, answering the same questions. I’ve also seen pictures and videos of cities — Rome, Paris, New York City — once bustling but now barren. I’ve seen an empty Champs-Élysées during mid-day, a Times Square that broadcasts bright advertisements for maybe three pedestrians below, cathedrals in Rome that sit empty, collecting dust. That change has been startling to witness but what has been even more dramatic for me to see has been the change when it comes to interacting with another human being. Everything that was once so normal and standard — a hug, a handshake, a quick kiss on the cheek…

View Post

Adventures in Asia: Tokyo, Japan

And now, we’re onto the last stretch of our week-long journey in Japan. On the morning of February 26th, we walked to the station early in the morning at 8 AM to board the shinkansen, which would take us to Tokyo in 3.5-hours. It was the first time any of us were taking the shinkansen, which is the Japanese bullet train. I’ve heard a lot about how great they are – the cleanliness, how on time they are, and mostly how fast they travel (320 km/hour). I was so excited to finally be on one. Our ticket from Kyoto to Tokyo was around $130 CAD from what I remember. They’re definitely not cheap, but it’s one of the main ways to get from one big city to another far city. The shinkansen was a great experience. I loved how on-time and how efficient everything was. If your ticket said that…

View Post

Adventures in Asia: Kyoto, Japan

We took the train to Kyoto on the morning of February 24th. The trip, departing from Osaka, would only take 1 hour and cost us 440 yen (we had gotten a metro card for our week in Japan upon arriving in Osaka and so, each time, we just had to top it up). After we got there, we decided that we were going to see the sights in Kyoto that were a bit further away from the main downtown core; we wanted to get them all out of the way so we could stay closer to the city the following day. We checked into our Airbnb (the cutest place ever that even had beds and a tea set on a traditional tatami mat), dropped off our luggage, and then took the bus to our first, much-anticipated stop of the day: the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. This place felt magical. It felt…

View Post

Adventures in Asia: Osaka & Nara, Japan

Japan, like Cambodia, was another trip that I knew I was going to prioritize and end up doing during my exchange. I had wanted to go to Japan for years and now that I was finally physically “close” to it (or at least closer than a 14-hour plane ride from Toronto), I was going to make the trip happen. I was so committed to the idea of it that I made sure to pack warm clothes with me back in December – jeans, sweaters, and even my light winter coat. Luckily, I found an amazing group of people who also wanted to go and very early on, we committed to a Japan trip for our school’s reading week in February. Our itinerary was as follows: We were going to be in Japan from February 21st to February 29th. We would spend the first 3 days (Feb 21-Feb 23) in Osaka,…

View Post