2017 Invictus Games in Toronto

I have to admit, I’m the worst Canadian ever: I don’t love the Monarchy. That being said, I’ve developed a soft spot for Prince Harry. This past week and a half, Toronto has hosted the Invictus Games, and it’s impressive to see what he’s done for the war veterans-turned-athletes.

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During the games, I attended three events: the flag raising ceremony at City Hall, wheelchair tennis, and rowing. It was so inspiring to see all the athletes give it their all. Especially when you see athletes with no arms and legs pushing themselves to represent their countries. We were waving Team Canada and Team Ukraine flags, but we cheered for all the countries, because the country boundaries don’t matter anymore: this is all about the human spirit pushing through adversity. And surviving through healthy competition.

The moment that brought tears to my eyes was during the flag ceremony when one of the delegates told us a story about a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress, and how playing the sport helped him talk for the first time in six years. It’s easy to dismiss sports as just a game, but it’s great to learn how focusing on a goal can help you get over the memories and experiences that are haunting you.

The other moment that stands out was at rowing. A huge group of Ukrainians came out and would switch spots throughout the arena to be positioned behind the Ukrainian athlete. At the end, one athlete won a gold medal. Through tears, he saluted the crowd saying “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine) and the crowd responded, “Heroyam Slava!” (Glory to the Heroes!).

We even got to see traditional New Zealand Haka. So we kept cheering for their team so we could see more!

Haka! #NewZealand #InvictusGames

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Thank you, Prince Harry, for organizing this special event in my city. Thank you for staying the entire week, and honoring the heroes with medals and support.

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It’s been quite a week, and I’m grateful that I was able to attend the games and cheer on these special athletes.

Music For the Masses – Happy 30!

Thirty years ago today, my favourite band, Depeche Mode, released one of my favourite albums: Music for the Masses.

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This album contains some Depeche Mode classics like Strangelove, Behind the Wheel,  and Nothing.

The American tour also featured the documentary movie 101, which is often known as The First True Reality Show.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I went through a summer of my life where I watched that documentary every single night. It’s weird to admit, but they all felt like friends to me!

My ultimate favourite song from this album, and all-time favourite Depeche Mode song, is definitely Never Let Me Down.

The chords from the start. The wheat field visuals. The lyrics.

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This is why I love this band so much.

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Book review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Why I Picked It Up

Not sure why I thought this was going to be a light and funny chick-lit type of book. Maybe because apparently Reese Witherspoon has picked it up to produce it into a movie, and my mind has unfortunately type-cast it into being something a bit lighter. I had just finished reading a real downer of a book and needed a pick me up. While a great book, this was not a pick me up, and now I need an even lighter pick me up with my next book!

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Finally, a book not set in New York City! It was refreshing to read a book set in Scotland. Eleanor grew as a character, and as a reader, I was really pulled into her world so that I felt like I was learning things about life that I already know in a fresh way. What I mean by that, is I’ve become a rather jaded, cynical person. When Eleanor discovered things about life that I already know, it was refreshing to see her unique perspective on that. I liked that she had a goal in mind and did not let herself get derailed. And even when life did knock her down, she pulled herself back up. I was really rooting for her the entire way, and happy for her ability to make peace with her past.

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At times, the book made me feel rather uncomfortable. But I guess that was the point.

Final verdict:

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Be different. Be headstrong. Be yourself.

Where do you get your ideas from? – Part 1

One of the best places I browse for inspiration is PostSecret.

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I remember back in the day when it was huuuuuuge. Me and my friends would wait every day until new secrets were posted on Sunday, and then we’d scroll through them all and discuss our favourites or ones that made us think.

I even submitted a few secrets once before that were actually published, and they had no idea! There’s this strange thrill of putting something out there that makes you feel free, like you are not the only person who knows about it anymore. And when someone says “that’s a silly thing to be worried about”, it makes you stop and think that maybe something that has had a powerful hold on you, might not actually be that powerful.

Anyways, I still look through it from time to time and save my favourite secrets. Ones that are shocking and others that are ordinary. Then, when I’m writing a new character, I have a look and see if it’s something I can use to create a psychological roadblock for my character.

You never know what will hold someone back. And how easy it is to let go!

Here is one of my latest favourites:

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