Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Last post in Trois-Pistole. Today is the last Monday I have here. I am sitting my Madame Hostess’ kitchen, at her dining room table typing this. I really should be going to sleep, cuz I’m super tired, but I’m not. Soon…
Before typing this I read and looked up words I didn’t understand the dedication of “Le Petit Prince”, a children’s book in French that I bought today to provide me with something to use to work on my French after I leave TP. As the end nears it has been a good experience, although extraordinarily tough. I have found a new respect for French, and I love the artisticness of Quebec culture, although don’t love so much the unhealthiness of the traditionally food. Very few ppl in Quebec are veggie, and the staples are poutine, processed meat and beer…at least from what I have experienced! However, there also does seem to be a love for “veggie pate” in Quebec, which I’m down with.
It has been raining and shitty weather for the past 3 days which is rough on my mental well being. I need to be outside, especially here in TP, but we have been spoiled with gorgeous weather for the 3 weeks prior to this one. I leave this Friday, and although exciting, I am sad to leave the St. Lawrence and all my new friends! But new adventures are already being formed; I plan to catch a plane to Halifax at the end of June to WWOOF on farm(s) for a few months! Stay tuned!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Another update from TP (aka Trois Pistole)! Commencing the third week here I am approaching mid-way point, and although there has been definitely a lot of great things about the experience and program I am also excited to be almost midway done! Why? Well…let me start at the bottom(bad) and work my way up to the top(good).
- being paralyzed and trapped in language that you suck at! Although I am getting better I am still not very good and can’t be my self, communicate my desires, or take control of my life when I can only speak French. I see how hard it must be for immigrants in Canada who don’t speak English very well, and why they flock together to speak their mother tongue whenever they get a chance!
- The food here sucks. Well, ok, perhaps that’s SLIGHTLY harsh, it could be worse, but its definitely lacking. For example tonight was “spagetti” however the tomato sauce was more like tomato water with a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds in it with ice burg lettuce salad. Who likes iceburg lettuce salad, really, who?! The food hardcore lacks nutrition and paluability, but much to my shirgrin I have grown used to it…can’t wait to come home and be re-united with spices, fresh veggis, and cooked (rather then raw) tofu!
- Lastly for the whine fest, is …
Now for the Good:
- there are tons of super fun activies, such as tonight when I finished my sweet mask for the maskerade ball next Friday! Its made from bandage plaster and painted and I love it.
- weekly movie nights, although in French, its still pretty sweet to aller, and its at the school aditorium, so its like going to the movie theatre for free. This week was this crazy messed up movie with this guy that fantasized about women…
- Although class kills me every morning, I am happy to have it and to be learning. I do love learning, yes I am a nerd, and I am happy to be one. I am so grateful for the sun though, when we have our breaks and I am able to sit outside with my friends in the sun on the grass. Ok, computer about to die, that’s all for now.
- meeting lots of really interesting other people from all over Canada! We all seem to have such diverse lives its really awesome! This weekend there was a trip to quebec city that I went on and it was absolutely fabulous to have a break to speak English and actually get to know one another…and to be in a big city. And what a beautiful city, its like your in Europe, so many ppl out and beautiful architecture! Ahhh!!!
- the gorgeous exterior here! Just spend 2.5 hrs outside tonight biking and sitting and journaling and its so calming and grounding. I love it!
- although I don’t think I could do a small town, I love the community feel of it. Everyone saying hi to others as you walk, recognizing people, etc. although annoniminity is nice sometimes…but I guess when that is wanted is when you go off for bike rides in the woods!
- I also love the water. I have found my sole mate, the ocean.
I could go on, but I will stop here! The experience is a challenge, and its got its bads, but also its goods. And its important to keep the goods bright and shinning, cuz those are what are really important (cheesy but I really thinks its true…although I have to remind my self of this!)!
Well, thanks for listening! 2 weeks left in Trois-Pistoles before I come home, I will try to make another post before I leave, but if not, desolate (sorry in French).
Sunday, May 16, 2010
So here I am in Trois-Pistoles, the town of 3 200 people, yet it contains many suprises! 1st of all, there is a shopping mall, containing 5 stores (dollarama, Harts, Ardenes, a pharmacy, and a grociery store)!! I was so surprised that there was even a shopping mall, this is very exciting stuff! Also, the grociery stores (of which there are two!!) carry tofu, soymilk, and other fairly hippee-ish things, again the surprise!
We are on the St. Lawrence, so the weather here is pretty cold and crazy, although today was beautiful, clear skies and no rain that is. Unfortunately the food sucks, and I wish I could cook for myself, but alas the facilities are not available. I am learning to love the taste of raw tofu with peanut butter, something on a regular bases I wouldn't eat, but I need to get nutrition somewhere (I am constantly eating nuts and raisons during the day too). However, the lady that makes our food seems to be really happy to have us there to cook for.
Everyone here is super nice, both the towns people and the students, and I have met soo many people already, I can't believe its only Tuesday!! Yet being social is an extreme challenge when I can only speak French and my French is extremely limited!!!!
The picture above is of a concert I went to on my first night here, it was hip-hop-ish, but in French of course!! The guy singing is rapping, and he apparently is the mayors son. After him a group called Radio-Radio came on. Apparently they are famousish...also were very good! The concern was in an old blacksmith shop, which was pretty sweet! Well thats all for now mon aimee! this is a week late due to my shitty access to internet...but next time.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Based on this love, a friend and myself decided to go on a long bike ride, and bike to Guelph to visit our friend for lunch. What started out happy and cheery ended exhausted, with ACHING bum muscles!!
Let me explain, the bike ride was suppose to be 35 KM, but after going the wrong way 3 times it ended up being 55 KM!! To make matters worse it was a very windy day, and we had to bike of 2 busy highways!! Plus, I think I now have several areas of sun-burness!! But we did get to guelph, ate delicious lunch at the Cornerstone, got to hang out with our friend, and walked half-asleep around for a while before my amazing parents picked us up saving us from having to ride all the way back to Waterloo.
It was fun, although slightly painful, and I DO look forward to doing it again, since next time we WONT get lost!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Bake Sale was a great success, and I look forward to it becoming an annual Kitchener Waterloo event! Thanks to everyone who made the day ROCK!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I have captured a few shots of fun times/food though, here they are:
A few weeks ago I went to guelph and we ate at Cornerstone, a yummy veg. resturant, and here I am with my wrap, I look like such a crazy hippie, I swear I don't always look THAT crazy!
This is a shot of a delicious lunch I made a few weekends ago, isn't it pretty?! Its fried silken tofu with a veggi/noodle stir-fry, YUM!
Here are the delicious desserts I made (recipe from VegNews) blending together soycreamer, cashews, liquer, oranges, and sugar, and freezing it! What more could you want?!
Hope you enjoyed, hopefully i get better at both remembering and the photo taking itself!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Even chopping vegetables had so much more enjoyment in it! There something to that concept where when we are constantly worrying about whats next that we forget to experience the moment, and the joy that every task (like chopping vegetables) has!
Not yesterday, but the day before, I also made some wonderful muffins with a little adaptation due to limited ingredients. The original recipe was from "Eating with Less" but of course I veganized it and changed it a bit based on what I had on hand. The muffins became Whole Wheat Rhubarb, Peanut Butter, Pinnapple!! Actually really good!
Monday, March 15, 2010
People tend to think that cows milk is a human right, we are suppose to drink it, I mean, after all, why else would cows produce it? But wait a second, why do humans produce milk? To feed new borns, that is why women are not constantly lactating, but rather they only lactate after pregnancy. Humans arn't cows, but we are both animals, and cows, similar to humans, only produce milk to feed their young. Thus to keep those cows producing the milk they have to be impreganted, and then their caves are taken away from them when they are only a few days old.
I know this may all sound a little extremist, but really, I'm not being extremist, even wikipedia talks about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy_cattle. There you can learn about the hormones that are used too!
Wait, but isn't milk needed for calcium? Again, lets evaluate this concept. Calcium doesn't appear from no where, cows get it somewhere, and that SOMEWHERE is grass and green leafy vegetables. However, with factory farms, most cows don't get to eat such yummy green things, thus the diet of the cows are fortified with calcium. So, really, as long as we eat those green leafy veggis then we are getting what we need.
Whats more, drinking cows milk can actually, potentially reduce our calcium in our bones rather then increase it. Now this surly must be a lie right? I mean, we get plummet with all those "Drink Milk" ads all the time, however...no its not a lie! Cows milk has a large amount of amino acids (acidic-ness) that your body needs to neutralize. Since calcium is a base, your body often draws calcium out of your bones to neutralize these amino acids. Plus, your bones need a lot more then just calcium, check out the msn health article http://health.msn.com/health-topics/cholesterol/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100153762! No she's not some radical vegan!
Well, I think I will end here...so next time, think twice before reaching for that cows milk and opt for soymilk, almond milk, or even oats milk instead. It helps you, the cows, and the environment!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Someone stops you on the street and urges you to buy fair-trade, the activist tells you that by not drinking fair-trade coffee you are keeping thousands of people in poverty. What is going on? What are these people talking about?
When you walk into a store to buy your week’s worth of delicious, yummy, potassium rich fruit (which, by the way, are the 4th most important staple food in the world) you are faced with the decision to buy the standard, perhaps Dole brand, bananas for $0.59/lb, or you could buy the fair-trade (usually organic too) bananas for $0.85/lb, your thrifty side urges you to reach out for those Dole bananas…I mean come on they are cheaper! But lets take a moment to think about this decision. As citizens of the world, often the best way to get ourselves heard is where we put our money, so where is our money going when we buy the, say Dole, bananas? Well…
1. Currently 85% of the banana industry (including small farms and large plantations) are owned by 5 banana industries (Chiqueta, Dole, Del Monte, Noboa, and Fyffes)
2. In Costa Rica, a major banana growing country, there are 280 different pesticides approved to be used on bananas. This amounts to 44kg/hectare/yr of active pesticides being used, that’s 10 times the amount of pesticides used on agriculture in industrialized countries. These pesticides grossly contaminating both the environment and workers.
3. The run off from these pesticide saturated plantations kills millions of birds, animals, and fish in surrounding wetlands and coastal regions. The run off is so toxic because banana plantations are situated in tropical regions, where lots of rainfall occurs, thus resulting in 60-85% of the pesticides used actually leaching off into the water and surrounding environment.
4. However, environmental degradation doesn’t stop there, because these bananas industries are so large, they often have no means to properly deal with their organic wastes, which on smaller farms could be composted, thus it is thrown away, dumped in massive piles at the edges of plantations or rivers, killing more fish and animals.
5. Surprisingly, extreme amounts of plastic is used in the banana industry for encasing banana stalks for protection, and holding the stalks erect to not collapse from the weight of the bananas. Massive banana companies discard the plastic waste into the environment, choking and smothering many fish, birds, and turtles.
Okay, so you get the point, those $0.59/lb bananas aren’t so great for the environment, but what about the workers? Well…
1. Many of the major banana companies in South America having close ties with the government making it possible to manipulate the countries minimum wages and rules to ensure the company, not the workers, get most of the profit.
2. It is harder and harder to keep family farms, because banana producers pressure such farms to sell their land to the companies, using threats to make sure they abide. Commercial producers apply such stringent rules on small farms that farmers are often forced to turn to wage work on corporate plantations to survive.
3. As the commercial price of bananas continues to drop, workers are forced to work longer and longer hours. Often workers will work 12-14hrs a day, with no weekends or holidays.
4. To keep costs down, and wages low, commercial producers only offer 6 month or fewer contracts, making income very unstable for the workers. This makes it impossible to save money for the future or invest in education with no stable income.
Hmm, well, you decide that maybe you should reach for the fair-trade bananas, but how do you know that extra dough you are shelling out really is going to help the workers and improve the enviro. Is your extra money going to actually change any of these social and environmental problems? Well, yes…
1. Each fair-trade box of bananas carries with it a US $1 “fair-trade premium” which is invested in social and economic projects in the plantations and surrounding communities.
2. On small farms, the fair-trade premium is evenly split between all workers, however on larger scale plantations a joint body is formed to decide what to use the premium for. The premium must be used to improve the living and working conditions of the workers themselves.
3. Fair-trade banana producers must guarantee the growers a fair-trade price that covers the sustainable cost of production. This is why the cost of fair-trade bananas is more expensive then conventional ones.
4. On the plantations, all workers have a say in any major decision making process, this ensures that everyone’s voice is heard. If desired, workers are allowed to unionize to further their power and influence in the business.
5. Children under the age of 15 are not allowed to work. If they are older 15 they may work as long as it does not interfere with their schooling.
6. Finally, the workers must be paid at least as much as the regions average or minimum wage.
Buying fair-trade really does mean more then getting your bananas with a fancy sticker on them. It means providing a sustainable livelihood for thousands of individuals. It means decreasing the number of toxins that are leached into the world. It means saving the wildlife struggling to survive in these tropical countries.
If you demand fair-trade, then companies will provide. As a consumer you have a lot of power that should never be underestimated. Most health food stores and natural food stores sell fair-trade bananas, even some standard grocery stores do! And if they don’t, ask them if they would consider carrying them, you never know!
1. How Your Money Helps the Workers (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/consumer/caring/article.html?in_article_id=417773&in_page_id=511)
2. Where does the money go (note, that although this article refers to coffee, it is very similar when considering bananas) (http://fairtrade.change.org/blog/view/fair_trade_morning_perk_where_does_your_money_go_-_the_coffee_calculator)