Wow, what a crazy week it’s been. Feels like nonstop from Wednesday till now. On Wednesday evening, I went to Toronto (road trip with my neighbour) for a Salesforce conference. The conference took place at the Beanfield Centre all day Thurday. It was pretty good – I networked, learned about how the software is used in universities, went to a session on Salesforce in healthcare, and learned a bit about their Artificial Intelligence module called Einstein. But I must say that the highlight of the day was winning Cody the Bear, a plush stuffed animal that I had to wait in line for 45 minutes for (!!), and also successfully complete a training module.
Thursday night I went to Scaddabush restaurant with my brother, and we were both very impressed by the quality of food. I had an amazingly yummy peach & mango belini that looked like a birthday cake.
Friday morning I went to my old-time favourite coffee shop, Balzac’s at Yonge & Bloor, and then spent some time reading at the Reference Library. It felt so good to be back in that place of peace and wisdom, leafing through new finds, and reading a chapter from one of my favourite books, “The Great Work of Your Life” by Stephen Cope. (a must-read if you haven’t read it already).
That afternoon I met up with my friend Cybele and we went to the OCAD design fair (showcasing student projects and artwork) and hung out in park… it was the perfect day to bask in the sun, lounge in the playground, and stroll through the park. Around 5 PM we went to grab some nachos at Margarita’s on Baldwin, and that’s when the fun began. The wind picked up pace, objects started flying about, trees started to sway violently, and people started to get frantic. We walked towards Queen’s Park, feeling as though we were going to be blown away! We came across one tree that had fallen down onto the street, blocking traffic, and taking a hydro line with it. Luckily someone was already calling the police as we passed by, so we continued on.
We met up with Jasmine at Innis Town Hall, and watched the Finnish documentary “Entrepreneur”, about two very different businesses that are trying to scale up and become successful. One sells meat from a truck, and the other sells a popular meat replacement product which they call “pulled oats”. We were not impressed at all (it was so slow moving and not at all engaging). After the movie, Cybele headed home, and Jasmine and I went back to her place for a fun evening getting sushi (late celebration of her bday!), watching movies, and catching up.
Saturday I went for a walk by the harbourfront and then caught my train home from Union. I met an amazing woman from Lebanon and we chatted for a lot of the trip. My parents and neighbour picked me up, and a few hours later we went to the International Fair at a local church, where we were dazzled by amazing entertainment, representing many different cultures, and sampled delicious food from across the globe.
Today was Easwaramma Day at the Sai Centre, celebrating the birthday of Sathya Sai Baba’s mother. We got home in the afternoon and were totally spent!!
What is it about poetry that just makes time stand still? It gets me every time! National Poetry Month continues, and I find myself paying more attention to poems and poets – new and old. I came across this beautiful poem by Margaret Atwood just now (is there anything this woman can’t do?!), and I love it. Not sure I totally get it, but love it nonetheless. ;-)
Somehow even though she writes about unfurling, holding back, taking away, it makes me feel the opposite – letting go, exhaling, being at peace.
“the birds take back their language, the cliffs fissure and collapse, the air moves back from you like a wave and you can’t breathe.”
I like the imagery of the pivotal moment, after years of a long voyage, standing in the centre of your room, house, or whatever anchor you have, and reflecting on how you got there, and owning your journey and the moment.
I love how she draws a parallel between the moment and layers it with the idea of trees unloosing their soft arms around you…
Layers and layers and layers of words, that create a poem. Actually Margaret Atwood says exactly this, in a quote of hers that I love:
Words definitely have power, and she knows how to spin them, craft them, rearrange them, to give them power that last a lifetime.
In this dramatic and often dark film, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a troubled couple on the verge of destruction (funny how life often mirrors art isn’t it?). The movie was filmed on their honeymoon in 2015. Jolie plays Vanessa, a former dancer – now depressed and unable to commit herself to anything, and Pitt plays Roland, a struggling writer. They have been married for 14 years, and things have taken a turn for the worse.
The cinematography in this film is absolutely stunning. Set in a French beachtown, with gorgeous beaches and expansive views, the dark mood is in stark contrast with the beauty that surrounds them. Or is it? It is often said that beauty is most vivid during times of pain. The movie is filmed in Malta on the island of Goza, and if you’ve never been there before, this film will motivate you to add it to your bucket list.
There are many tension-filled scenes throughout the movie. It is almost cringe-worthy to witness how Vanessa berates her husband over his lack of success as a writer. She knows exactly how to get him where it hurts the most. And on his end, he is often very forceful and unsympathetic about her depression and growing distaste of him.
A big part of the movie is the relationship that Vanessa and Roland have with the young, happy couple that are staying in the room beside them. The couple are light-hearted and carefree, and ooze sexuality and playfulness. Vanessa discovers a peephole from her bedroom, and watches them in fascination, getting a glimpse of what her marriage could be, or maybe what it once was. Roland tries to stay away from the beautiful blonde, perhaps because he has been drawn to indiscretions in the past.
Throughout the movie you wonder, what on earth could have brought Vanessa and Roland to this state? We do eventually learn the cause of their pain which helps the viewer make sense of their level of hostility and downright hatred towards each other at times. It’s hard to tell if they even love each other at all – maybe they did once, but the love became twisted because of the hardships they experienced – rather than sticking together, they somehow turned against each other.
In terms of the acting, Angelina and Brad are at their best. It always amazes me that super famous celebrities can still manage to convince us that they are other people, despite the fact that we know so much about them and they are so familiar.
SPOILER ALERT: One of my favourite scenes is when they finally make love, and he gets into the bathtub with her while she is taking a bath. There is nothing sexier than a man who isn’t afraid to get a little wet. ;-)
I wonder how Brad and Angelina would feel re-watching this movie now. Although I hear that actors often don’t watch their own work, so maybe they won’t ever watch this film. Although if I was an actor, I would probably watch my films over and over.
Overall I would give this movie a 6/10, which is pretty generous. The movie definitely makes you reflect on the tumultuous nature of relationships, and reflect on your own patterns. There are moments of depth and reflection, and of course there are those beautiful views.
When we die on the inside, the outside is left wandering dangerously by the sea.
It is by the sea, that sometimes a sense of peace arrives… and at other times, all it reveals are troubled waters beneath.
Sometimes at the end of my tutoring sessions, I will work with my students to write a poem about a random topic, or any topic that interests them, or about the current season or holiday. The other day, Miraya and I came up with the following poem about spring. She was delighted today when I asked if I could share our poem on my blog! Here it is:
A Plummy Spring
I thought spring would come,
So I could eat some plums.
But everywhere I look,
I see snow on the ground —
I tried to listen for birds chirping,
but couldn’t hear a sound.
I looked out of my window, and thought:
“Surely, my plums will rot!”
Just then, a little robin flew past my view —
A sign I’m sure,
Perhaps spring is on its way for you too!