California Dreaming

If you had asked me around this time last year if I would be on academic exchange, I would probably say no. I had a lot of other SHIT going on in my life. But, a turn of events caused me to spontaneously apply to study in California this Fall. I applied exactly one day before the application was due. I received my acceptance letter almost immediately. And just like that, my life was about to change.

The Anticipation

Leading up to exchange, it almost seemed as if everyone was more excited than I was. Everywhere I went, people I knew would stop me and say the most generic travelling things:

“You’re going to have so much fun!”

“You’re so lucky, I never got to do that when I was in college!”

“You’re never going to want to come back home!”

I would usually dismiss these statements. For me, this exchange is was merely an opportunity to study abroad. Whenever people would say I was “so lucky” and was “going to have so much fun,” I would get annoyed. I wasn’t travelling for mere leisure, I was here to go to school. Little did I know that only 2 weeks abroad, I would already feel like a changed person.

The Beginning

I can’t say I really liked California much my first few days here. I was feeling homesick already. I spent my first day alone in a hotel then the following few days in an Airbnb. I was alone in a new country. I didn’t have anyone to call or hang out with. My days were spent lying down in a bed that wasn’t mine, watching Netflix, and ordering in food. I felt as if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life coming here.

This all changed a few days later during “International Student Orientation.” I completely forgot how hard it was to make friends. There was this HUGE line of International students. Over 300 of us. All of them clearly from different countries. But, being the ambitious little woman that I am, I approached the Swedish girl in-front of me (She is now my roommate hehe). One friend, turned into 2 friends, and later that day I already had a whole crew of friends from all over the world!

The Change-Up

It’s funny how meeting new people and FINALLY settling in changes your perception of your environment. Only 3 weeks into my exchange and I already want to call California home. My professors are AMAZING, the weather is beautiful, and my mindset has been nothing but positive. Other than missing my family, close friends, and my dog, I haven’t experienced any sad, anxious or negative thoughts recently. I am truly happy. I see California as a land of opportunity and all I want to do is experience everything.

Stay turned for my new travel series – First stop, CALIFORNIA.

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My First Bit Of Hate Mail

Being an aspiring journalist is hard.

Kind of like being a celebrity, it takes A LOT for a journalist to get noticed in the digital age. As much as I want to sit around at home and write about all my morally correct, feminist views – I know I can’t. Being correct does not get you views; being controversial does.

So I decided to go to the dark side and got a gig as a click-bait journalist… I know, I hate myself too! And it makes me kind of upset that all my profit is coming from stupid, Buzzfeed type articles, instead of articles that actually mean something to me. ANYWAYS, the other day I wrote an article that stirred up a bit of controversy. It was assigned to me by my editor and no, I do not agree with anything that I wrote. It was a challenging article write because it went against ALL my morals. I even made that clear in the introduction of the piece.

Within minutes of this piece getting published, I received SUCH HATE from sooooo many women. I can’t help but feel kind of upset that my morality is being questioned because I agreed to write such a controversial article.

On one hand, I know this article will get me a lot of views because of the questionable content. On the other, I kind of regret writing it. I wish young, aspiring journalists did not have to turn to such extreme measures just to get views and profit for their content.

I Stopped Thinking About You

I thought about you everyday.

You were the first thought I had when I woke up in the morning. You were the last thought I had before I went to sleep.

Wherever I went, you were on my mind. I would walk through a store and imagine outfits I might wear when we are together. I would plan what club, restaurant, or bar I went to in hopes that I would run into you there.

I would imagine scenarios of us in my head. You in bed with me. You at this party. You having dinner with my family. None of these scenarios ever played out.

When you would message me, I would get butterflies. When we would hang out, I lived in the moment with you. And when you would leave, I would think about the next time we would be together.

I thought about you everyday. Until one day, I didn’t.

I was out living my life. Out, thinking about me. Then, I felt as if I was missing something. I felt so whole. I felt so clear-headed.

Then it hit me, I stopped thinking about you. I wasn’t missing you anymore. You were no longer part of my everyday thoughts and routines.

I felt a little uneasy about this new feeling. This new life, which you were not apart of.

And then, I started thinking about you again. But this time, it was because I knew it would be the last.

A Thank You Letter to Western University

Upon finishing three full years at Western University, I decided to write a letter to the school itself. Three years ago, this was my dream school. I was an excited, ambitious, and courageous 18-year old, ready to start my new life at a university I was already in love with. I experienced such difficulties and regrets throughout my three years attending Western. But, none of these ever had to do with the school itself. I often thought how great it would be if I could drag the school, and my wonderful program back to my hometown, Toronto, with me. I can’t believe my journey at Western has already ended. And how it ended way too soon. Maybe I’ll go back and write a thesis, maybe I’ll go back and take a few easy and interesting classes I never got to enrol in while I was a student there. But for now, Here is a thank you letter to the University of Western Ontario.

Thank you Western for opening up my eyes. For showing me that identities can be questioned, changed, and shattered. My white-washed, heteronormative, patriarchal lens has been broken. I thank you. I thank you for showing me the people I knew existed, but never got to see. I thank you for making me even question me. For showing me that life doesn’t exist in binaries and that conforming is totally lame. For showing me love, and challenging me with hate. For giving me fake friends, and a few real ones. For making me cry. Oh, how you made me cry. I don’t think I ever shed a tear before university. My highest highs and my lowest lows were spent here. Because of you Western, I am the person I am today. Because of you Western, I will be able to face any challenge that comes my way.