Online Dating For the Win
Hey lovebirds, I have a message for you all. Desperate for love? Still haven't found the one? Feel as if it is hard to meet people nowadays? Been single for a tad too long? Does your mom keep pressuring you to get out there and find a partner? Are you sick of being the third wheel?
Men Who Dance Are COOL
Men Should Dance Too. As a dancer who has been dancing my whole life, never once have I seen or danced with a boy in one of my classes. Not one. And that is saying a lot, since I have been dancing since age 5, in 3 different studios, of different styles such as ballet, jazz, musical theatre, broadways jazz, and now flamenco. Out of hundreds, maybe even a thousand (if I am being over-dramatic), people I have danced alongside, not one of them was a boy. How absurd! I always wondered why this was. Now I can see that it's because of the oh so popular stigma that boys cannot or should not dance.
Meet the most popular cat in my town, Kiko. He is a bengal cat, which means he is two generations domesticated from an Asian leopard, hence the rosette spots covering his beautiful pelt. My parents had bought him off a breeder who specifically bred Bengal cats. At the time we were looking for a bengal cat because we had heard that these cats not only look cool, like a true wild feline, but are hypoallergenic and act similar to dogs in that they love water, like to take walks, and can perform dog-like tricks. So we messaged the breeder on Facebook and found out that her cats had a new litter of kittens ready to be adopted in a few weeks or so. So my parents organized a day for us to go out to the suburbs and meet this lady In her huge house probably filled with cats. We went over and had a lovely visit crawling in bengal kittens, trying to get a sense for the kittens, and seeing which one caught our eye. Of course the one that had stood out to us at that time, was a baby Kiko! He was the most social and outgoing, and came right up to us to be pet. He also seemed to have the most distinct rosettes on his pelt, which was a huge asset, and something my dad was looking for considering he was not a cat person, and agreed only to get one if it was the coolest looking and acting cat around. So we made the decision to take him as our new addition to the family, and took him home. We had given him the name Kiko, which is the Hawaiian name for cat, because it sounds cool and we had travelled to Hawaii not long before. Well, we also thought kiko was a very very cute name for a cat. For the first few days of arriving at his new house, he had hidden away from us strangers and cried all night, upset at the departure from his mother no doubt. It was truly heartbreaking to witness that, but in no time Kiko was out and about exploring his new and strange house. He was still very tiny at this point, and made an effort to sit on our thighs and laps if we were just hanging out on the couch. He started getting very comfortable, and started playing with our toys, furniture, and shoes! He was a very playful kitten, and seized every opportunity to climb up our legs, and leave bloody scratches all over our bodies...but we could not stop him. He was adorable! Later in the year, we also started training him to walk on a leash, like we had seen in so many videos of other bengal cats. He was frightened at first at the task, but soon came to love the regular nature walks and city walks we would take him on. He went real fast from keeping up with us and meowing all the way until we got home, to taking his sweet time sniffing every yard and not moving a muscle when we tried to keep him on track! It was not the easiest task to take him on a walk, but as he got older he got a bit better, and now we just let him roam the neighbourhoods during the day on his own. At the time when he was first walking, we had also tried to make a YouTube channel for the amazingly cute kiko who could walk, and do tricks like shake a paw and jump over the broom, but it didn’t blow up as much as we expected it to. We thought the internet was much more cat crazy. We needed up just sticking to Instagram posts and Facebook photos. Kiko also never grew fond of water like we were told, so we have a couple hilarious videos online of him avoiding the bath! Nevertheless, Kiko has matured into a very outgoing cat, almost dog-like in the way that he loves to be outside, loves to follow us when we walk, and still knows his tricks very well. He is however obviously a cat at heart, and has some attitude problems we have come to realize over the past couple years. He deliberately seeks vengeance for when we go on travel and leave him to the care of strangers, and bites our toes for attention, only to walk away when we give him it. Typical cat behaviours on an extraordinary cat. Strangers also seem to appreciate his coat very much, and his company, as he travels across the neighbourhood visiting every house, sometimes picking fights with other people’s cats or dogs, making his name and presence well known in our area. And I cannot even count the amount of times I have been stopped by people on our walks together, asking about his breed and exclaiming how beautiful he is, while taking gazillions of photos of Kiko. It’s been quite a journey watching him grow up into a playful cute kitten, into a cheeky yet beautiful cat.
My family is known for spontaneity, adventure, and hikes. This photo was taken on one of those many spontaneous adventurous hikes we have been on. As if I could not prove our commitment to these values any better, hiking in the middle of winter in the snow shows just that. On most Sundays when I spend time with my father, the first thing he always does is ask what I’m up to that day. If I reply that there is nothing on my schedule, it is fair game for him to decide what feat we will take on to seize the day. This particular time, he chose to take me and my sister to the Brandywine waterfall lookout. I have been there many times as a fellow Vancouverite, but only in the summer and never down below to the rushing rivers where you have to climb down the cliff side to see it. My father just bought four new pairs of snow shoes for the kinds of journeys he planned to take us on, and he took this as the perfect opportunity to put his money to good use! Since the waterfall can only be appreciated at an angle far away to the top right from the lookout, the only way to see the spectacular view was to ascend the trail, despite the ice and snow covering the ground. This is where the snow shoes were going to come in handy! We walked the first part up until the ice and snow became unbearable to walk over with the proper frilly hiking boots, which only gave us a few steps to spare free from the extra weight. When it came time we strapped on the snow shoes and continued down the trail that appeared somewhat steep and in my opinion risky, as I always seem to think hikes that go up or down are. We took our time maneuvering over frozen branches and rocks, and eventually made our way down to the level of the river, only to realize there were many groups of families that had the same idea. However when we met with them, they had told us they could not go any further due to the melting icicles falling down from dangerously high locations atop the cliff. They told us not to keep going, since these chunks of solid ice were the size of our heads or more, and at those heights the speed and weight would probably run down the cliff side and knock us out one by one, kinda like bowling pins. But a few pieces of falling ice was not enough to scare us into missing the grande finale view we had all been waiting for. The plan was to run past the one section that was surrounded by fallen icicles, and if we heard a chunk rolling down the hill we were to duck and cover our heads. It was a scary thought, but I tried my best not to think about the melting ice right above us. So we sprinted across the section of danger, and all survived safely further ahead where the danger section had ended. We had made it, and it was time to take our final steps towards the best view possible. I was famished at this point, as we had waited to eat until we got to our final destination, so at this point I was mostly excited to eat than to reach the waterfall itself. But once we got there, the view took us all by surprise as we were looking up at a gorgeously giant waterfall framed with icicles. The water kept running down the cliff, and fell right down into a whole in the ice that had once been a stream. Since we arrived a tad too late to see the sun completely illuminating the waterfall, we were still lucky enough to catch the golden lighting of sunset on the far wall of the cliff. We sat on the rocks by the waterfall in silence for a while scarfing down our sandwiches, and taking multiple photos from our phones. We hadn’t brought professional cameras, we didn’t know the view would be this amazing. We also prefer not to bring them, as that adds extra weight to the trip, and on the way up, everyone would regret bringing the damn thing as we have to rotate carrying it. But yet this gorgeous photo taken by my iPhone is enough to capture the view in its full glory.
If I were to choose one picture from the thousands taken on my IPhone and Camera on my trip to Italy to be my favourite, it would be this one. This photo captures a perfect frame of what we as tourists associate as the essence of Venice and tourism. This man has been working with his Gondola boat for his entire life, paddling families, to tourists, to lovebirds on a romantic date down the very channels of the city surrounded by water. His boat was passed on down from his father, which had come from his grandfather. These boats pass on for generations, and may undergo some fine tuning and upgrading for durability, they remain as important heirloom through the generations of Venice residents. These gondoliers line up at the ant docks situated across the city, and wait for the next guests to board the boat and take on this journey they have set sail many times over in their lives, making a decent living from it, and reproducing the very Venetian lives their fathers lived.