Jane the Virgin: An Addicting Flick

Netflix has the power to hold my attention for hours on end and when I say that I was addicted to this show, I mean my entire spring break revolved around watching Jane The Virgin.

For the entire week of spring break I was up until about 4 am in my room, cozy in bed, laptop propped up on the mattress beside me clicking “play next” ever 50 minutes and it was worth every second of lost sleep.

Jane The Virgin has all the good makings of an incredible TV show. The drama, the life lessons, the romance, highlighting serious political issues, family relationships, and so much more. It’s hard not to get hooked, even if you’re not into certain parts of the show the quality of the rest of it will pull you in. I’ve been sitting in the living room binging and my father has come in and stood for as long as 20 minutes watching along with me having no prior knowledge of what’s going on in the show because it’s that good.


The show focuses on the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a young waitress in Miami. She is an incredibly organized individual, in college with a 2 year plan with her boyfriend so you can imagine how her life is flipped upside down when she becomes pregnant by being accidentally artificially inseminated. And let’s not forget that she saving herself for marriage because of her Catholic upbringing.

The show often flashes back and forth to the present Jane in her mid twenties to the past when she was an adolescent and times when she’s a teenager. It’s packed with family drama, relationship drama, even some crime drama which was very unexpected for me, but I love how it all ties together so well.

The show first aired in October 2014 and the final season is airing on Netflix now, with new episodes being released every Wednesday. Back in 2014, the world was in a better political climate than it is now, but with events that have since taken place in the past 5 years, with a new president taking the lead in the US and many different tragedies happening throughout America, the show has touched on certain topics which makes it that much better. Jane’s grandmother is undocumented in the states and the series highlights her application process and then goes on to show some of the horrible things that are happening in the country. A dramatic show that focuses a lot on romance and family is using their platform to talk about serious issues happening and I think it’s brilliant.

And of course, let’s not forget the incredibly attractive human beings that star in the show. First and foremost Rafael Solano played by the beautiful Justin Baldoni. And his character, Rafael is a womanizer at first and then after certain life events he turns into a caring, respectable hunk which makes him that much more attractive. 

Jane is played by the young and successful Gina Rodriguez and her mother in the show, Xiomara is played by the unbelievably attractive Andrea Navedo, who is 41 I might add and looks amazing for her age.

Both beautiful women with very attractive love interests in the show. Their chemistry as mother and daughter in the show make them even more lovable. Jane has a few different love interests throughout but hands down Rafael takes the cake for most gorgeous and Xiomara is often focused on telenovela star the charming Rogelio De La Vega who is played by Jaime Camil and he is pretty fantastic looking also. 

 

I think the main reason I’m so in love with the show is because even though my life is crazy and I have a lot of intense things going on, I can tune it all out and focus on Jane and the craziness in her life. It’s nice to see because it often brings me back to the reality that although my life may be crazy I’ll find a way through it, just as Jane does. She is a good person to look up to and I see a lot of myself in her and it’s nice to see someone I can relate to on screen. 

Vaisakhi a.k.a Not Halloween

This weekend marks one of the most important days of the year for the Sikh community; its Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi is a harvest festival for the people of Punjab, where farmers pay tribute and take time to thank God for their harvest while also praying for good fortune for the coming year.

Vaisakhi

It is also the celebration of the birth of Khalsa. Khalsa is a branch of the Sikh religion where those who are faithful are baptized and must not cut their hair and carry certain religious symbols with them. One of our Guru’s, Guru Gobind Singh Jii founded Khalsa and baptized the first ever Singhs. For more on the birth of Khalsa this page describes it excellently: https://www.canteach.ca/elementary/sikhism3.html

So to celebrate, every year thousands of Sikhs gather for the parade, there is lots of food, dancing, prayer and everyone is welcome.

Vaisakhi

The biggest Vaisakhi parades outside of India happen right here in our backyard, with Surrey’s parade attracting over half a million people last year and the same if not more will be expected this year. With the Sikh community large and still growing in BC, Vaisakhi is a parade that has become something everyone can enjoy regardless of religion or race.

This being said, there are still some misconstrued ideas about what Vaisakhi is. Much to my dismay, I found this article in The Cochrane Times and the Vancouver Sun, thanks to a friend who tweeted out this screen grab of it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, a sacred holiday, celebrated by millions was compared to Halloween, a day where kids walk around receiving candy. Now while I’m not super educated on the history of Halloween, I know enough to be offended by this comparison. The writer of this article highlights Halloween because of all the food that is given out, but what they may not have known is that at temples we have something called Langar. Langar is a meal and it’s given to anyone who visits the temple, regardless of race, gender or social class. Everyone eats together and everyone also has the opportunity to serve the food because equality is practiced in the Sikh religion. The same goes for Vaisakhi, while we may be outside on the street, Sikh people still make the effort to make food, chai and snacks for those who are out to celebrate. In fact there are many people who are not Sikh that come out solely to enjoy the good food that is shared at the festival and they are never turned away.

Vaisakhi parade 2017

Comparing the festival to Halloween wasn’t the only thing about this article that caught my attention in the wrong way. The writer then goes on to describe the pretty cherry blossom trees that happen to be on the route for this years parade in Vancouver. The line reads “One of the best places to see the cherry blossoms at their best is during the Vancouver parade route”. So instead of talking about the importance of Vaisakhi or the history or the rich culture, he instead decides the focus on something else that’s happening that day, which in my opinion kind of discredits the Sikh festival making it seem less important.

The title of the article is 5 things you need to know about the Metro Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade and this writer could have written about many different things that would have honored the Sikh community, instead he chooses facts like the route the parade takes and the fact that it’s the largest single-day festival.

While talking with some friends about the article, one of my friends referred to the article as “tone deaf” and I think that pinpoints it. The writer mentions it’s an important festival once and then goes on to talk about how traffic is really bad and for the people trying to get around to take transit. They aren’t really taking into consideration that Vaisakhi is a big deal to many Sikhs around the world, it’s not just about the traffic and eating. All in all, I was very disappointed while reading about something that is hugely celebrated in my culture and has been celebrated here in BC for years. You would think Vaisakhi would be a well known about event but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the articles next year will say about it. Here’s hoping.

Vaisakhi

Link to article in The Cochrane Times:
https://www.cochranetimes.com/entertainment/festivals/vaisakhi-day-parades-in-metro-vancouver-five-things-to-know/wcm/59240025-6d80-43c0-98ac-f1c1c4c21a50

Link to the same article in The Vancouver Sun:

Vaisakhi Day 2019 in Metro Vancouver: Five things to know

Declutter Your Life

I am someone who is notorious for changing the layout of my room at least once a month. I’m talking full rearrangement of furniture including bed, desk, sofa, sometimes I’ll even move my posters to different walls or rearrange my collage of pictures of me and my friends and family. I mean that’s what a collage is, a collection of pictures all put together but in the past few years of my life I’ve noticed small changes in my habits and what I keep in my room and my surroundings.

Less is more. That’s what I’ve learned about a lot of things in my life. The objects/clutter/nicknacks one has in their house, the amount of clothes in ones closet and just the general amount of possessions any person has. I noticed that the clutter was getting to me and throughout the last few years I’ve majorly decluttered my life. Purging clothes and objects is so relieving. When you have too much stuff it can be annoying and make you feel stress that’s unnecessary.

When there’s a constant pile of things to pick up or dust around your house, you’re going to feel stressed about it. There’s no need for some of that stuff so why put the energy and effort into cleaning it.

Same goes with things on your desk. Maybe you have your own cubicle or computer area where you work and if it’s full of clutter how are you supposed to get any work done and not be distracted and annoyed by all of the clutter on your desk. The only thing on my desk is my laptop, my pen cup full of pens, my notebook and my lamp and when I feel like it flowers in a vase. The less clutter the better you’re going to feel about yourself. Say you have lots of work to do, lots of things around you isn’t going to make that better and will add to your stress.

Even taking 5 minutes a day to dust off or declutter your work area can make a huge difference so set aside that time and watch as you become not only a cleaner person but a less stressed person with less clutter in your life.  

And if you’re finding yourself with just too much stuff that you don’t have a use for anymore; donate it! If it’s still in good condition why shouldn’t someone else you could find a use for it, use it!

I find myself in stressful situations a lot being a student, having a job, maintaining relationships with friends and family and having less clutter has helped immensely. It’s less stuff to clean, pick up after and worry about. So go ahead and donate those dusty things that have been sitting on your shelf for far too long, you’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards trust me!

Pros and Cons of Long Distance Relationships

Throughout my short lifetime, I have been in total of 4 relationships. Two that have been serious, one that was an inconvenient, dreadful decision on my part looking back at it now and one that was that perfect high school romance that lasted a grand total of 4 months. The two serious ones lasted longer than a year and in my opinion that’s a respectful amount of time to be involved with someone for an early twenty year old. Now of course on of those relationships has ended, and yes it was sad. I cried and experienced true heart break. I was in love and then dumped. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but it can be years later. Looking back on it now, if I hadn’t been in that relationship I wouldn’t know what I look for, what my type is and I wouldn’t know what being loved felt like. He loved me, as deeply as one person could love another and while that love has been lost, I believe it existed and burned brightly during that time. However as the saying goes, thank you next.

Along came my next and current man and I have been head over heels for the past year and a half we’ve been together. I mean I already know the location of our wedding so you could say it’s pretty serious. It hasn’t been all easy though I’ll admit, mostly because of one thing; living 1.5 hours away from each other.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Amara, really? An hour and a half is nothing, that’s not even long distance at all”. And while you’re right, it’s not really long distance, when it’s love, even 10 minutes away can feel like far away.

Take my mini dilemma of an hour and a half and throw it in the garbage, because my brother wins hands down when it comes to long distance. We live in the lower mainland here in BC, Canada. You know that BC is in Canada but I had to specify because my brothers girlfriend doesn’t live in this country. That’s right, they’ve taken long distance to another level. She is from Toronto originally so yay for being Canadian, but currently resides in Kentucky. Yes Louisville, Kentucky in the United States of America. That’s a 38 hour drive. Their relationship consists mostly of Face time dates, which can be super cute at times, but come on, if you want a hug you can’t have one! Unless you jump on a plane, which in theory would be super romantic, but not super realistic.

 

While there isn’t a large supply of hugs with the whole long distance thing, there are some perks. That’s why I’ve decided to compile a pros and cons list on long distance relationships.

Let’s start off with why it sucks.

Cons:

-don’t see each other often (pretty obvious I know, but it’s a big one)

-limited supply of physical contact

-no one to go with you on outings (dinner/clubbing/out with friends/plus one to events)

-expensive phone/internet bill

-more fighting because you get tired of not seeing the person

-lack of/mixed communication (sometimes it’s hard to decipher what people mean through texts)

-don’t know what they’re like during everyday life, only during the special weekends when you see each other

Pros

-you can hang up the phone and walk away during an argument and they won’t be around to stop you/chase after you

-you can do what you want, when you want (no I don’t mean cheating, I mean like getting Chinese food at 2am because you want to and you don’t have to cater to your significant other not wanting Chinese food at 2am)

-having the bed all to yourself (I hate sharing my bed tbh)

-being able to be out with friends without having someone at home worried about/nagging you

-more time to spend working on yourself or to do things you enjoy doing by yourself

-not having to watch what the other person wants (it’s your Netflix, if you want to re-watch The Office for the 6th time do it, there’s no one around to tell you not to)

-distance makes the heart grow fonder…you’ll miss each other so much which means when you finally see each other it’s even more special

And there will be many more pros and cons dependent on your long distance relationship situation. Some people can make it work and good for them, it takes a great deal of patience and understanding. For those who can, I commend you and for those of you who can’t, I’m with you. I can’t stand to not see my man at least once a week, life gets busy but remember to make time for that special someone in your life, it’s worth it.

Where to NOT get stuck in traffic

I’m someone who spends a lot of time driving. Everyday I spend on average about 2.5 hours in my car, so you can imagine just how much traffic I’ve sat in, the highway I take is now etched in my brain and whenever I get the opportunity to not drive I take it!

All of this driving has also given me lots of time to think. I think about everything from normal everyday things like my schedule and things I have to get done to my future, and coming up with crazy scenarios in my head that will probably never happen like when I get the chance to meet Elias Pettersson.  

Anyways, you get the picture, I think a lot. The one thing my mind, for some reason always wonders to, is all of the awful places to be stuck in traffic. Makes sense considering how much I sit in traffic, but there’s a lot of negativity when I hit this subject, mostly related to death, being crushed or severely injured.

Everyday I cross the Port Mann Bridge. For a while it was the widest bridge in the world, being 10 lanes wide, but has since been dethroned. Regardless of its size, I’ve found myself stopped on it many times. It’s a cable bridge so I’m thinking of the havoc that would ensue if an earthquake were to ever hit while I’m on it. BC has been due for a pretty massive quake for a long time now, and I really hope I’m not on the bridge when it does. It wouldn’t be the worst place but still with the amount of cars and people on it, it would be disastrous. The Fraser River runs below, so I could just jump and make a swim for it but then again, that’s not exactly a safe alternative either. I’m a positive thinker, so every time I’m stuck on the bridge I don’t automatically think “Okay Amara, get ready to jump” but I wouldn’t be happy if the last place I existed was in traffic on the bridge I drive on to go to school everyday.

And I can only imagine what the Lions Gate bridge would be like. With the location being directly underneath where the Fraser River pours out into the ocean, a tsunami would probably hit if there was a giant earthquake so everyone on the Lions Gate would probably be toast. Have you ever seen the movie San Andres? If you haven’t, it’s a stellar flick and I recommend it because it’s pretty wild with the amount of chaos that happens after a natural disaster that causes more natural disasters.

This last location is the worst in my opinion; a tunnel. But not just any tunnel, the Massey Tunnel. It’s a tunnel located in Richmond, near the coast and the tunnel is long. When you enter the tunnel it descends downwards. It’s like you’re going further down into the earth which is scary in itself. And it keeps going downhill until you’re deep into the tunnel and you cannot see the other side which is the worst part. This part of the highway in Richmond can get pretty busy, but I can’t imagine being stuck in traffic inside the tunnel. You can’t see the exit, it’s dark except for the fluorescent amber lights lining the concrete walls. I can’t help but think of how insane I would go if something like an earthquake or a flood hit. Being trapped in a long tunnel with nowhere to go, being blocked in and slowly dying would be my worst nightmare. Every time I drive through it I hold my breath and count my blessings.