Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays!

So Christmas came and went and, as usual, it was lots of fun. Until the new year, it's still the holiday season so I'm in holiday season mode. Highlights of this week:
  • After our family Christmas dinner, we usually open Christmas gifts. My cousin's 8-year old son, Elijah, had saved up all his change to buy presents for his grandparents and his aunt and uncles. One present the little guy bought was a marker for his uncle, one of my other cousins. We later joked that the money must have run out when he bought that particular gift. Anyways, when my cousin opened the gift and proclaimed,
    "Oh, a marker! Thanks Lijah. "
    Elijah excitedly came over and said, "It's a special marker. See!" and he pulled off the cover of the marker to reveal a white tip. Too cute!
  • Christmas dinner was great! My mother's cake is also very good this year. Now looking forward to today's and New Year's dinner with just our family!
  • In preparation for France (just under 4 weeks left!), I bought a laptop for 699.99 from Best Buy's online Boxing Day sale - HP DV2618CA AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-58 1.8GHz Laptop, 250GB HD, 2GB RAM, 559MB video memory, Vista Home Premium, remote, headset AND it is bilingual so it's not bad. I was trying to get a Toshiba similar to it for $499.99 or a similar Sony for $599.99 from Future Shop's online Boxing Day sale but Future Shop's servers crashed for the first 3 hours of their online Boxing day sale and I didn't want to waste more time when I could be with family.
  • Shanae is making strides with sitting up. She's started making like she's going to sit up but only gets 1/3 of the way up. Very cute.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Good Times

This was a good week. The highlight was me getting the French visa! While waiting for my turn to speak with the agents, I was getting increasingly worried. This was because, of the 3 people in front of me, two were told they had to come back owing to something being wrong with their applications and one of them was from Ottawa.

I love how when I told my parents that I got the visa, my father warned me to try not to get roped into being a sex slave or normal slave. LOL.

Oh, my office Christmas party was yesterday - was planning to leave early but ended up staying til the end and then going to the lounge/club afterwards with people. Got home a little after midnight because had work today but hooray for taxi chits :) Fun night.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Today Shanae was sleeping when I got home around 8pm but woke up at 10pm all ready to face the world and greet the workers in the family who all came home at different points during her nap. She was responding to us, cooing, laughing and smiling and just making our nights one hundred times better by being so happy. Great way to end the night. I love love LOVE babies.

However, although I love her to death, I'm glad she wasn't in one of her miserable moods tonight. Man, when she's ready to cry she just wails on and on and is only appeased after you've spent some time walking back and forth the kitchen/living room singing to her to calm her down. I am so proud because I think that around 75% of the time I can now tell when she's hungry versus when she's crying about something else. Whenever she's hungry and crying, no make that wailing, it's always a mad rush to prepare her feeding. Some combination of two of us would be trying everything to get her milk ready as soon as possible so that we can ease her hunger pangs. Lately each time this happens I get very thankful, because if we get so stressed when she is crying and we KNOW that the food is forthcoming, imagine how all those women around the world who can't feed their kids feel. I can't even begin to wonder what that must be like, to hear your baby crying and know that you have no milk to give because you yourself haven't eaten much in days...

So I am thankful (to God) to have always had food and never been left wanting.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I've been a bit stressed this past week and will probably be for the next few days while trying to prepare my application for a one year Working Holiday French visa. The French are so doggone picky with what they want to be submitted with the visa application and they make it so hard to clarify anything. I can only contact them by email because they do not answer questions by phone. However, emails only get answered after 3 business days! I have an appointment at the embassy this Tuesday and, besides worrying about my french language skills, I'm worried that I won't have everything in order. I've read lots of other people's bad experiences having to go to the consulate more than once for minor things caused by filling out the application incorrectly or not having proper documentation, most of which were due to misunderstanding the questions/requirements stated on the application. I only want to go to the consulate once. I cannot afford to miss more time off work especially as I'ma need lots of dough to live in a country where the Euro is used. It is possible to submit the application by mail but that takes weeks to process, whereas in person, if accepted, I'd get the visa the same day.

My appointment is in 5 days but I haven't even filled out the long-term visa application properly yet. One question asks if I intend to work in France and another asks if I plan to study in France. I plan to do both of those things but apparently people online have reported that if you check work they'll assume you need a work visa and if you check study, they'll think you need a student visa. Although with the working holiday you're allowed to do training/studying and, as the name implies, work. Why they gotta make it so confusing? In addition, the French want me to give them names, citizenship, addresses and contact info of all family members AND acquaintances in France. I can understand family, but acquaintances?! Imagine if I were a guy asking my female acquaintances in France for those details. They'd think I was a stalker. I just hope I can get responses from two of my closest relatives in France (at least one of whom I've never met) in time for my appointment, or else there goes one lie.

Yes, I know that I should not have procrastinated but I've long come to accept the fact that Procrastination and I are joined at the hip. If only the world would just recognize that I deserve special treatment because of this disability. But I digress...

Truth be told, my original appointment was for last Tuesday but I postponed it because I was having difficulty finding travel insurance and personal liability insurance, one of the requirements stipulated by the French consulate. I had to buy travel insurance for a year although I plan to stay there for only 4 months because that's what they require. I don't really mind that because knowing me if I find a great job I'd stay there. Also, I've been hearing that the French consulate officers have been refusing those who say they're going to stay less than 6 months so I'ma tell them I'll be staying for a year. As for personal liability, no Canadian company seems to offer it so I'll be submitting an affidavit saying I'll get it when I arrive. This, despite the fact that I'm not even 100% sure what it is exactly.

I can't postpone my appointment any more because I would like to leave Canada sometime between Jan. 13 and 22, that's just a little over a month from now!

I would love to have everything in order before I go to France. I'd like to have my ticket in hand at least one month before I leave. I'd like to have paid my rent downpayment on an apartment, hopefully shared with young native Frenchies in a decent Parisian neighbourhood near my school. I'd like to know that I have travel insurance AND this unknown personal liability insurance paid before I leave Canada. Instead of not even knowing which language school I'll be attending, I'd like to have paid my language school fees. I would, of course, even prefer to have found some sort of job before leaving Canada. However, at the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky if I step foot out of Toronto by getting chosen as one of the recipients of the working holiday visa for France.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in the USA. Having first celebrated it there, I think I rather prefer Thanksgiving in the States than in Canada. My main reason for this is I believe that date on which it falls in the States is much better than the Canadian one.

Thanksgiving to me is similar to Christmas - It's a time to be thankful for all that God has given us, to reunite with family and to relax. I love Christmas time because once it hits December everyone on the streets start looking happier. There is more hustle and bustle of people shopping for things or excitedly talking about presents. People share their funny stories of family members and the city looks more Christmas-y.

When I lived in the US, I knew that once it was close to Thanksgiving time, everyone started acting like it was close to Christmas time. So Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the Christmas season.

Canadian Thanksgiving, however, is in the first week of October. That means that it occurs when all the stores and everyone is gearing up for Halloween. So once Thanksgiving rolls around people do not get into the Christmas spirit as easily because Halloween is next on the agenda and, to me, it is the opposite of Christmas. Everything is dark and gloomy for Halloween versus happy and cheery for Christmas. So in Canada, families re-unite for just that short Thanksgiving weekend. Then we have a whole month before people start really getting into the Christmas season. No looking forward to many family gatherings or parties or nothing.

Anyways, I'm just glad that Christmas is now on everyone's minds.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I just found out that a high school classmate of mine was senselessly killed in Jamaica on Thursday. He and his girlfriend were trying to be good Samaritans after hitting a cyclist on Wednesday. They took the cyclist to the hospital and made arrangements to help him out. The next day, my former classmate and his girlfriend were last seen as they went to bring crutches and medicine to the man. Later on that day, in the early afternoon, my former classmate made a call to his father asking him to send him a large amount of money very urgently and his girlfriend's debit card was shown as having withdrawn $15,000JAM (the max daily limit). Their bodies were found with their throats slashed on Friday. See the newspaper article here.

In Jamaica, we always used to say when you hit someone, especially in certain neighbourhoods, the best thing to do is to continue driving then call the police or go to the police station. My former classmate, RIP Taiwo, and his girlfriend were trying to do the right thing by not only stopping but also offering as much help as they could. They ended up dead.

There were 300 murders in the last 70 days in Jamaica. 300! That's over 4 murders PER DAY. I didn't know Taiwo personally, i.e. I never really talked to him, but I certainly remember seeing him in class & around campus and I know others who spoke to him often so I can put a face to the story in the paper. While all the murders have an effect on each of us, it is, of course, these ones that hit close to home that hurt the most. The sad reality is that with such a murder rate, it is very difficult to find someone in Kingston, Jamaica who has not been personally affected by the frequent murders.

A few years ago, while still in Jamaica, I remember reading about a a survey done in Jamaica which showed that crime was the number one thought on Jamaicans' minds - 24/7. Sometimes, because I now live in safe Toronto, I forget how I used to feel but trust me, I have not forgotten the actual feeling. That constant fear - It would overtake me while waiting for my father to pick me up from school in the evenings when there weren't many students left on-campus, while waiting at the bus stop, when walking down my street by myself in the evening (even in a residential neighbourhood), when going to sleep at night...It was always there. In my last few years in Jamaica, my parents' nerves were shot. They got so scared they used to take turns staying awake keeping vigil for strange noises at night. Our car was broken into twice before it was stolen, clothes were stolen from our laundry room while we slept and we'd heard far too many stories of people being held up in their garages. And we lived in one of the safer neighbourhoods! Plus, that's not even counting other incidents. My cousin's throat was slashed (a very bad time for our family). My uncle (his father) had previously been shot but, unlike my cousin, had miraculously survived. My aunt was held up at knife point while shopping down town. I even remember, when I was little, my mother being held up while my cousins and I were in the car.

So, as far back as I can remember, the murder rate and crime in general has always been bad in Kingston. While the crime is spreading to the other cities, tourists who come to the island don't know about any of this because they're kept insulated from everything in those all-inclusive resorts. I'm not knocking those resorts because I know that tourism is one of the few things we have that help the Jamaican economy and is one of the things we can feel good about. So to tourists, please continue going to Jamaica - for you it is the land of wood and water.

Anyways, with regards to crime, all Jamaicans agree that murder is the number one priority. It's funny and sad how we Jamaicans are always thankful if someone was only held up or only got stuff stolen because that means the perpetrators LEFT THEM ALIVE. Although it happens far too frequently, we are equally or even more angry when they take all the victims' money and other valuables yet still end up killing them, like they did with my cousin, my classmate and many others.

Jamaicans love our country. I would go back to live there in a second if stuff like this didn't keep happening. This was the reason my parents left the country. We had a good life in Jamaica but the crime was getting to be too much. When murders are committed, we feel so helpless. I ALWAYS FEEL SO HELPLESS when I think about the murder rate. How do we get people to stop committing these murders with wanton abandon? How do we get others to inform when they have information? How do we stop others from hiding information after being bribed? How can we assure the ones who have information that their life will not be in danger if they share the information? How do we stop the corruption which helps in keeping the criminals hidden? How do we change the mentality of a country?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

John Brown's baby

I mentioned the songs I had stuck in my head yesterday. My sister was telling me that for the past week she has only one stuck in her head - a song my father sings day in and day out to the baby to put her to sleep. It's a J'can song I guess he learnt when he was young as my aunt used to also sing it to her preschool kids at her school in Jamaica. It's sung to the tune of that Glory Glory Hallelujah song with the chorus being the Camphor camphor... part.
Anyways, I know exactly how it sounds because I hear him at nights singing it in his thick Jamaican accent. I can just see him trotting back and forth our living room singing it. I should have taped it and post it up on here but I'm too lazy.

It goes:

John Brown baby has a cold upon his chest.
A cold upon his chest.
A cold upon his chest.
John Brown baby has a cold upon his chest.
And we rub him down with camphorated oil.

Camphor camphor camphor-aaated!
Camphor camphor camphorated.
Camphor camphor camphor-aaated!
And we rub him down with camphorated oil!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Red Red Wiiiiine...

The songs playing over and over in my head right now are:

Ashes and Wine by A Fine Frenzy (LOVE this song!)
Strawberry Wine by The Dixie Chicks (cover of Deana Carter's song)
Red Red Wine by UB40

From the list above, you might think wine, or at least alcohol, is on my mind. It wasn't really - until I realized the theme. However, now that I think about it, I should get some wine for the holidays.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lessons Learnt

I've recently begun teaching Sunday School to the toddlers at church. I'm not sure of the official age group that I should be teaching but the kids in the class are 2 - 4 year olds.

I love kids and although I think that I am the worst teacher (have always avoided teaching anyone), I love interacting with them. At that age, I don't really consider myself teaching them. It's more like having conversations with them about stuff. Plus, the actual Bible teaching time, or at least the time I think I have their attention long enough for something to get through to them, in the entire 45 minutes is probably 7 - 10 minutes max, and not all in one go. I actually think I'm getting more from this setup than they are....At the end of the lessons, yes I feel tired from keeping up with them and their hyperactivity but most of all I just feel so much happier from hanging out with kids who, for the most part, really seem to have the eternal joy thing down.

Little things they do that make me smile:
  • One kid started crying because she had a cut on her upper lip and it was hurting. I told her to lick it, then had her come over and gave her a hug. While hugging her, I asked her if she felt better now. With the honesty that kids seem to naturally possess she shook her head and said no.

  • Another kid who came to us last time was very quiet for most of the first week he was here. My sister (who helps out) and I, tried to coax him into talking as much as possible his first week. He participated but didn't speak much. This week, the little fella was up and about showing us everything he did, talking to the other kids and commenting on everything.
    I love how, often when they come to Sunday school and have to let their parents leave, for the first few minutes they look like they are about to dissolve into tears if you touch them but once you talk to them a little, encourage them to listen to your story, colour or play with the play dough they forget that they were even crying.

  • I love that the kids all mimic the speech patterns of their parents. There is one who always says things like "but I sure does like to..." (Guyanese parents) or another who says "Mi like to..." (Jamaican parents) or yet another who tilts his head and talks the way his father talks.

  • As the kids are very young, when a lot of them speak it sounds like a cross between incomprehensible baby talk and words that I recognize. My sister and I will ask them to repeat words over and over until we can figure out what it is that they are saying. However, their patience is amazing! They NEVER get angry or frustrated. They just repeat the word over and over until we figure out what it is they are trying to say or until WE give up.
    I wish I could be like that when I try to speak french. I wish I could just accept that although people will not always understand me I should still TRY.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Take On Online Video Sharing Sites

Recently, I was very distressed to find out that my favourite website, TV Links, was shut down and its owner arrested by British authorities because his website consisted of links to other websites hosting illegal video of films and popular TV shows. See the Guardian article here.

I am not going to deny that, based on current laws, what he was doing is wrong, even if not definitely illegal. However, I do not like that the authorities seem to have a double standard for the ordinary guy versus big corporations. I think that if they are going to arrest people for sharing videos, they should spend more time arresting the real perpetrators instead of the middle men. Major sites like contain video clips that violate copyright laws but their owners are not persecuted like ordinary owners of websites such as TV Links. In fact, TV Links linked to illegal content hosted on sites like

Even stronger than my belief that the middle men should not be hunted is my feeling that broadcasting and film distribution companies all over the world should work together with content copyright owners and whosoever else they need to work with to make these types of sites available to all users legally. This is because no matter how often they shut down sites like TV Links, another site just like it will appear soon afterwards and users will flock to the new site in the same large numbers. From what I understand, TV Links had millions of users monthly so this means that millions of users worldwide are looking for their own on demand access to TV shows and films.

Currently, different sites such as and provide legal access to shows and other video content. However, often, this content is limited by the users’ geographic location. This leads to a large number of users from other locations resorting to websites like TV Links or illegal downloading sites to get the content they desire. Corporations often give the excuse that they are limited to whom they can show their content because of copyright restrictions in different countries. They are also reluctant to provide full streams of their shows online as they claim that they will be losing out on advertising revenue. I disagree with their reasoning. While some users would rather watch illegal content online owing to no advertisements, many users prefer the convenience of being able to watch whatever they want WHEN they want. Therefore, I believe that if all the major players involved were to work together, it would be possible to provide video streams of TV shows, films or other content with location-specific advertisements. In fact, I am certain that many users would not mind watching their shows online with advertisements as long as the advertisements are of the same length or less than the ones currently on TV.

Today, a service called began its beta testing. seems to have the right idea in terms of content. However, unless they make this service available worldwide like almost everything else on the web, then I for one will not be a supporter. Actually, if has no plans to make their content available to non-US users as soon as possible (not years down the road), then I’m calling on all other like-minded Computer Science grads or computer-savvy individuals to come up with a site that I can support. Heck, if you need help on developing this site, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh Mummy

On Saturday I took my mother, father and little sister to the bank so that my sister could open a bank account. We reached about 10 minutes before the bank closed. However, shortly after they went in, my father ran back out and told me they forgot all the documents (id, SIN number, etc) they needed to open the account for my little sister. He had apparently left my mother and little sister in one of the bank person's offices. We only live 5 minutes from the bank so he jumped in the van for me to take him home.

On our way home, my mother called and my father kept telling her to stay inside the bank so that when he gets back he can just pass the documents to her through the front door as she would already be inside even if the bank is closed. At our bank, like most banks, there is a 24-hr ATM section which is always open, then past those doors is the main bank area which has the lobby and offices. We were trying to tell her to stay in the lobby area. I don't think she was understanding what he was saying so he passed the phone to my other sister. I heard my sister's side of the conversation. According to her, this was the general gist of it:

Liana: Mummy stay in the bank OK?
Mommy: How I must stay in the bank with the bank person? I going to sit and look in his face not doing anything?
Liana: No Mummy, you can come out of his office and stay in the main area and wait.
Mummy: But the bank going to close
Liana: We know Mummy. That is why we say that you must only just come out of the man's office and stay in the main area, the lobby. This way when we come back with the documents we can just ask to pass them inside to you.
Mummy: Of course I come out of his office. I couldn't stay in there and not do anything.
Liana: Good
Mummy: It's a good thing I come out of his office a little bit too because the bank is closed.
Liana: Mummy, what do you mean by a little bit? Where are you now?
Mummy: I am outside his office.
Liana: Mummy are you outside? In the lobby or the 24-hour access ATM area?
Mummy: No I'm not in the bank.
Liana: Mummy, are you where the ATMS are?
Mummy: Yes

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Here Comes The Cold Again

Nature has decided that it is time for the season to really change here in Toronto. It is getting cold and I am getting more miserable. The funny thing was that a few nights ago I slept only in my underwear because I was so dang hot. The very next night, I had to go dig up my thick blanket because I was freezing. Just like that it went from being hot and sticky (lovely weather in my opinion) to cold and dreary (at least to me).

Although I am the only one in my family not born in a tropical climate, I think I love the heat more than the rest of them. Well....maybe not more than my mother. At the first whiff of cool weather, turtleneck sweaters make a comeback to our daily wardrobe, our winter clothes are placed in the most easily accessible parts of our closets and drawers, and our thick blankets return to our beds. Our thoughts naturally turn to Christmas time because in Jamaica when you start to feel the cool breeze during the day, aka the Christmas breeze, this is a sign that Christmastime is near.

Nonetheless, the cold temperature is the single most thing that I dislike about Canada. When I just arrived, I thought Toronto was bad but then I went to Montreal during the summer....I thought Montreal was bad until I stayed in Quebec City this past summer. I have to say, to me, Quebec City was entirely too cold during the summer. The locals tried to make it seem better by saying it was the coldest summer ever but I had stayed in Montreal 2 years ago and they didn't fool me. During the summer in Montreal and Quebec City it was barely ever warm all day. In the mornings and nights it was ALWAYS sweater weather. Man, if it wasn't for good company and a little alcohol on some of those nights to warm my stomach, I would have been miserable.

Granted, I'll admit that I am a bit extreme in my definition of cold weather. Once I cannot feel the sun's caress on my skin and the temperature goes below 22C then that is cold.

Anyways, here's to fall and all that it brings.

By the way, I cannot wait for Christmas - my favourite time of year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I HATE Commuting

I live in the north east end of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the commute is a killer. I leave my house at 6:50am in the mornings to get to work for 8:30am. My usual journey to work involves me trotting to the bus stop (sometimes I even go at a full sprint - heels and all) as I am always late - to catch the 7 o' clock bus. It is a 20-minute bus ride to the Scarborough Route Train (aka RT) which is an above-ground subway - i.e. the blue line on the pic below. When I hop off the bus I have to walk at a quick pace, with all the other passengers trying to be first up the stairs, to get the first available RT. Sometimes I have to wait a minute, sometimes five. This morning it was a frigging 20 minute wait before a train came.

Anyways, when I finally get on the RT, without stopping delays, it is a 10-15 minute 5-stop ride to the end of the RT line. Then I have to again jostle with the crowds coming out of the RT and trying to get down the two flights of stairs or escalators to get the subway level to take the subway train. At the subway level, again if there are no delays, there is usually a train waiting that is fairly packed. People coming down the stairs always make a mad rush for it and if one is not careful one WILL bump into others or get bumped by others. I usually wait for the second train to arrive so that I can get a seat. However, if there is a delay, then that means that when a subway train finally arrives, I have to try and get on regardless of the number of passengers that will be on it.

If there are no delays on the subway then I can get to the yellow line (the one going North-South) in 25 - 30 minutes. Lately, it seems there is always some delay and us passengers are left wondering why the train has stopped in between stops for 5 - 10 minutes often with no explanation from the drivers...but I digress...

Once I reach the intersection of the yellow and the green line (Yonge/Bloor station) then I am at the busiest subway stop. By the time the train reaches this stop people are packed in as tightly as possible - this is why at the beginning of my ride on the green line I try to wait for a fairly empty train so that I can get a seat. Okay back to my arrival at the Yonge/Bloor station...

Making my way to the stairs to get the southbound train takes me at least 7 minutes, although with no traffic it would have been a 1 minute walk. However, waiting on the train is the problem. Waiting on the southbound train almost always causes problems. It seems that it is never on time. Because this is the busiest subway stop, when the trains are late the platform fills up quickly. If one train is even 5 minutes behind schedule then this creates a domino effect for the trains behind it and in a matter of minutes, the Southbound platform at Yonge & Bloor station is full. When I finally get a train, and I usually have to wait for one or two trains to pass me by because they are usually at capacity, I am squashed in with the other passengers like sardines - forget about me even thinking of getting a seat. I then take this southbound train to the second to last south most stop on the line. Without much delays, this is usually a 10 minute ride. However, it can take up to 25 minutes. The last part is a 5-minute walk to my workplace.

Because of all the variables involved with me taking 1 bus and 3 different trains then I can get to work anywhere from 8:10am to 9am. The most reliable part is the bus but even that has its problems. The bus is supposed to come at 7am. Often it comes at 6:55am. Thus, although I only live 5 minutes away from the bus stop, I aim to make it to the stop at 6:50am. I have had far too many incidents of watching the bus blaze right past me as I am running to the stop, 5 minutes or more earlier than it should, all in -30C weather. Also, when the bus is late then this has an adverse domino effect on all the other parts of my journey. Added to this is the fact that if I miss the bus then I have to wait 20 minutes for the next one.

One would think that coming home would be easier but that would be an incorrect assumption. It might be a little less stressful because of not having to get home at a certain time. However, I can never time my return journey perfectly enough to reach the bus station in time to quickly catch a bus. Often, I arrive just as it is pulling out of the station and so have to resign myself to an extra 20 minute wait. It is heartbreaking when one arrives at the bus station and knows that one just missed the bus because the stop is empty but it is even more heartbreaking when one sees the bus just pulling out of the station. As this often happens to me, my journey home usually takes 2 hours. If there is any slight delay, it is oh so much longer.

On the way home today, I had the misfortune of sitting beside a lady who was noisily chewing gum with her mouth open and who kept popping the gum at regular intervals. I swear, while I was there trying hard to distract myself by reading the paper, all I could think about was grabbing her by the throat and telling her to stop chewing so loudly and to STOP POPPING THAT GUM!

Of Candles and Determination

Below is something I wrote down last week Tuesday...

Yesterday I came home from work to a blackout on my street. This was at around 7pm. For lack of anything better to do in the dark, my sisters and I passed the time by singing for our supper – literally – and chatting until around 10pm when we went to bed with the blackout still in effect. I’d like to think that baby Shanae enjoyed our singing as she was wide awake during our singing session and seemed to be listening to everything. However, this is not the point of my story. The main thing I’d like to share is that…my father had cooked the meat portion of our dinner, chicken with cauliflower, before the lights went out but he didn’t get a chance to reheat the rice & peas that we had in the fridge. Rice and peas taste great with the chicken that my father makes but there was no light so we knew that we would probably have to eat dry food, such as sandwiches, for dinner. My mother, on the other hand, was determined to have us eat rice and peas. She decided to heat the rice using candles and set about doing so. Yes I wrote CANDLES. My mother was reheating the rice using the flames from 7 tealight candles.

So if anyone had come by our house last night at around 7:30pm they would have heard 3 horribly out of tune voices singing and seen my mother stirring with all her might the contents of a pot which she held hovered over 7 candles that she had put in a baking pan to rest on the dining table. Later on that night, had anyone passed by the back of my house at around 8:30pm they would have seen another funny sight if they looked through our open screen door. After my mother finished reheating the rice - yes she was successful and it tasted great – she threw water on the candles to put out the flames. This had the adverse effect of making a HUGE flame of fire which got worse when she threw a wet cloth on it. The smoke alarms were going mad and there was a frantic rush to get the baby out of the house and to try to put out the fire. The fire only subsided after my sisters found a can of baking powder and threw it all on the blaze of burning candles.

Oh what a night!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

This is me

My friends have often encouraged me to write a book or at least short stories about the things that happen in my life as I'm always telling them about some dramatic event that happened to me or my family. The stories that they've heard have included having my house surrounded by a SWAT team, being that girl at the office Christmas party, praying that our car will not explode after catching on fire with the whole family in it, having our roof blown off during a hurricane, bathing in the rain when there was no water in my house, getting lost driving to school even after 2 years practice, climbing up a steep grassy hill (cliff really) at the Plaines D'Abraham in Quebec IN HEELS, having a sketchy French guy really come on to me while staying in Montreal, and complaining about my family's love of going everywhere together even to get milk at the supermarket (we're 5 now 6 of us in the family AND one of my sisters and I are both over 21).

Truthfully, I don't think that my stories are all that different from many other people's but maybe if I tell you a bit about my life you will understand the background to the stories and thoughts that I will be posting...

I was born in Belgium to a Haitian mother and a Chinese-Jamaican father. I lived in an inner-city neighbourhood in Jamaica until I was eleven then we moved to a very different residential neighborhood. My move to the upper middle class area also coincided with my beginning high school, a high school filled with students from the upper echelons of Jamaican society. During high school, with my father's encouragement I decided to go to the USA for college. I left Jamaica at 18 years old to go to a top liberal arts college in the the middle-of-nowhere Iowa in the States. I did two years there before my parents success in getting approved to immigrate to Canada, prompted my transferring to a university here in Toronto. I transferred because I wanted to save them some money and also to live in a city and be closer to my family. It turns out that not much money was saved because I was getting a nice grant from my old school and I had failed to factor in other costs besides tuition into the picture when looking at Canadian universities. Anyways, I just graduated with a degree in Computer Science this past June. Yes I was one of very few females in the graduating class. I did a 16 months co-op as part of my degree. All in all with the transfer from the States and co-op it took me 6 years to graduate. I'm currently working on contract with the hope of going to France next year. Oh, another thing about me, I am constantly striving to become fluent in French and so I always try to do things that will bring me closer to this goal.

Today I decided to start my own blog and share my personal reflections and (sometimes) outrageous stories with the world. I may even tell you, in entirety, some of the stories I mentioned earlier.

Many people have big dreams and hopes for their blogs.

I just hope you like it.