February 20, 2014

Beautiful Sylvan Lake

Thursday, February 20, 2014 Posted by Mary , , No comments
Every time I watch a movie or TV show that's set in a quaint little European-looking (but actually North American) town I always go, "I wanna live there!" I get even more excited when, in said fictional town, I see a body of water with a few small boats or yachts docked here and there. Unfortunately, I don't think such a place exists in this part of Canada. I'd probably have to go to Nova Scotia, or maybe Newfoundland and Labrador to find such a charming place. Or so I thought, until I visited Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake is a fast-growing town of around 11,000 people in Central Alberta. It is approximately 20 minutes west of Red Deer and is named after the 15 kilometer long freshwater lake in the area. Being in a land-locked province, Albertans get pretty excited about water. So you can imagine how Sylvan Lake becomes so popular in the summer. It is said that the lake gets over 1.5 million visitors each year. Because of its popularity, Sylvan Lake has been beautified and maintained. It has an esplanade with a marina, and quaint shops and restaurants lining the street. It apparently even has a lighthouse, that I have yet to see!

I love living in Red Deer. With its population of around 100,000 people, it is the perfect size for me. But visiting Sylvan Lake has put thoughts in my head. Wouldn't it be cool to live there? Maybe buy a small boat and turn the lake into my playground? When the time comes for us to buy our forever home, the question will definitely arise: Red Deer or Sylvan Lake? The good thing is, they're really close to each other.

Right now, the lake is frozen. I did take a few pictures when we visited the other day. It's beautiful, but I'm sure it will be more beautiful and super fun in the summer. And for that I cannot wait!

February 19, 2014

I Volunteer

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Posted by Mary , , , , 2 comments
One thing I've always wanted to do and is an item on my bucket list is to volunteer for a non-profit organization. Strangely, and for reasons unknown to me, I was never able to do it in the Philippines. Recently, I was able to volunteer for a local animal rescue society.

Hope Lives Here Animal Rescue Society is an amazing rescue organization in Central Alberta. Over the holidays, they needed a graphic designer.  Having some designing capabilities, I jumped at the opportunity to help out. Here are some of the designs I came up with:

Designing does not come easy for me. I also know I'm not very good at it. I feel that my design process is forced and I have to squeeze out the results. Unlike my former classmate and colleague, Kat Michelle, who is an amazing graphic artist, I don't feel like I have the artistic talent at all, but is just someone who knows how to use the Adobe Creative Suite more than others. Nevertheless, designing makes me really happy. There's nothing like the joy you feel at having come up with something (somewhat) beautiful. To be able to use it for a greater good is even better.

February 18, 2014

The Blind Side

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 Posted by Mary , No comments

Today, I watched The Blind Side. I'd heard a lot of good things about the movie for the longest time but just never had the chance to watch it previously. All I can say is, wow. What an inspiring tale.

For those of you who have not yet seen it, The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, an NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens. Oher used to be homeless, but a well-to-do family took him in, adopted him, and paved the way for him to become the pro-footballer that he is now.

The movie makes me wonder: "Who does that?" Who takes a random person off the street, to live in their home, not knowing what kind of person they've taken under their roof? It takes a pretty special person to do that, and obviously, Oher's adopted family are pretty special people.

To be honest, sometimes I feel like I've lost faith in humanity. You help people, they stab you in the back. You're nice to someone, they take advantage of you. The Blind Side lifts my heart. It shows me that there are still kind people out there, and most especially, that there are still people who don't take advantage of the kindness of others.

February 17, 2014


Monday, February 17, 2014 Posted by Mary , , No comments

I love it--the hashtag that has caught on for so many Canadians following the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I never expected to be so caught up in the games either, but here I am.

In the Philippines, very few care about the Winter Olympics. We are followers of the Summer Olympics all the way. This year, we have our first Winter Olympian in the figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, and he has brought a huge sense of pride to Filipinos around the world, as well as increased the popularity of the Winter Games in Filipino homes. But this was never the case before Sochi. My husband therefore, found it quite understandable when I vehemently expressed that the Winter Games were lame and no one cared about them. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I now know the truth. The Winter Games are awesome. It's like watching one adrenaline-pumping extreme event after another. One week into the games, and I'm hooked. My husband is amazed that I now know more Winter Olympians than he does.

Canada has been doing really well in Sochi. And as I have adopted this land as my new home, I am extremely proud of how the Canadian athletes have been doing. I am so excited, you can see it through my Facebook profile and Twitter feed. In fact, I seem to be more excited by the Winter Olympics than your average Canadian.

Among all the Canadian athletes, figure skater Patrick Chan has amazed me the most. He is so good! His silver medal finish just a couple of days ago was almost devastating. He was so close to the gold! But despite finishing only second, he has won the hearts of so many Canadians all over the country

There are still a few days left in this year's Winter Olympics and the best is yet to come, with games such as Curling, and Ice Hockey still under way. Here's hoping that Canada will kick ass! #WeAreWinter, after all.