Something awesome that I learned today

Sometime last year I decided it’d be a sweet idea to have a “something awesome that I learned today” wall. I love quotations and thought it’d be sweet to have awesome things to read while brushing my teeth.

Some of the stuff written down is from my academic readings, some from church, a lot from things I come across online, and then a bunch from random people. Don’t be surprised if you see something you once said!

Please note Steph’s insights concerning our crazy kettle. Very valuable information.

This is one of my favourite pages. I had the privilege of covering a Raps/76ers game this year, and I was blown away by how tall they all were.

I also love the fun fact about pointalism. Steph and I were thrilled when Elyse explained this to us. We still need to do a huge wall-sized pointalism self-portrait. Look for it in your closest art gallery.

“Be intentional” is one of the best life lessons. I wrote some features  for The Gazette this year, and I was always so inspired by people who had solid, well thought out answers for questions I would ask them. I have so much respect for people that do everything with a purpose.

I took a course called “The Culture of Containment: Post Cold-War America” and I remember my professor trying to explain containment by drawing a whole bunch of shapes inside of other shapes with a bunch of fancy words describing 1950’s America… The gist of the whole production was that consumerism acts as a container for Western culture. Interesting to think about when you’re not distracted by a guy with a bow tie squiggling things on a white board.

Another thing that I really learned this year was that if you take action, you’ll get results. Don’t sit around contemplating good ideas — act on them!

Oh Yoda. So wise.

After Liz explained debt to us with the porridge analogy, it made perfect sense! (Not really though…I still don’t know what she’s talking about. All I know about porridge is that it’s delicious.)

I thought the knowledge quote was really cool because as a student I cram so information (or “knowledge”) into my brain before exams only to forget most of it a couple of days later. Knowledge is only truly useful if it impacts you enough for you to be able to recall it, or as it is so eloquently stated, if it is “written on the soul of the learner.” (I read that quote while I was studying for an exam in April…I don’t remember which course it was for. Ironic?)

I read a cool article by Roland Barthes about how writers are special because they never stop “working.” I can absolutely relate to this. I’m constantly thinking about what I’m going to write about next and topics for the future. It’s not a bad thing though — it’s kind of nice.

Hmm… there’s a definite “goals” “dreams” and “take action” trend happening…

It was awesome when I realized that people change their minds. Change is healthy, and often exciting. Although change can be difficult when things are already good, it’s nice to remember that everything happens for a reason (right Iz?)

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ZUMBA! Plus awkward hips, smiles, and inspiration.

Lately I’ve been immersed in a Zumba-filled environment. You might be thinking “uh Grace, Zumba isn’t even a word…I thought you work at a newspaper. Shouldn’t you know how to spell?” Correct — it’s not in the dictionary and I should know how to spell. It’s actually the name of a company. ‘Zumba Fitness LLC’ is a Latin/international dance fitness program — and people are going crazy over it.

My sister Robyn is a Zumba education specialist (ZES) and I met up with her in Edmonton two weekends ago for a couple of workshops. My sister Nadine and I were her assistants as she taught people how to become instructors.

Nadine, me, and Robyn selling Zumba wear. hollllaaa!

The next weekend when we got back to BC I ended up taking her workshop (so yes, technically I’m now a certified instructor. I still need an excessive amount of instruction though, so I won’t be instructing any others any time soon unless it’s on how to take a break.) No, this won’t be a blog post describing how awkward it is to do body roles and how my hips are a little too connected to the rest of my body. It also won’t be about the time when I was doing a Salsa move a little too aggressively and ended up knocking over a woman in front of me… (don’t worry. That was only a horrifying dream.)

The best part of the Zumba training was seeing someone doing something they’re truly passionate about. Robyn is passionate about dance and fitness, but her passion for people and developing relationships is ten fold.

During the lecture portion, Robyn talked about the importance of the role of an instructor. She said that as instructors, they have the responsibility and privilege to make people feel special. She pointed out that some people go through a whole day without being acknowledged or even smiled at — it’s important to remember that you don’t know what people go through and what their life is about. By simply smiling at someone from the stage, saying “hi, how are you” or “I love your new haircut,” you can make an individual feel really special because finally someone noticed them. This doesn’t only pertain to Zumba instructors — this attitude can be a lifestyle. We all know dance is the universal language, but I’d say smiling is as well. One of my favourite pass times is laughing, and I love that no matter what language people speak, smiling and laughter always mean the same thing.

I discovered that no matter what your daily routine is, you can make a difference in someone’s life in just a couple of seconds — and I know this works. Everyone in the room felt special because Robyn made sure she took the time to acknowledge each person.

Afterwords I was helping Robyn by typing up the evaluations that the participants filled out after taking the workshop. There were many comments that said participants left the workshop feeling “inspired.” Being inspired is one of my absolute favourite feelings in the world. I love when I become inspired by someone or something. Robyn has a job where she is a catalyst for inspiration, which is the ultimate goal for me. I hope that I end up doing something I am equally passionate about where I can ignite some inspiration in others. Robyn could literally introduce herself like this: “Hi, I’m Robyn and I’m a catalyst for inspiration. My favourite colour is purple and I think it’s hilarious when people shake a floppy fist when they’re angry.”

People always seem to ask “what do you want to do after school?” or “what’s your career going to be?” To be honest, I only have broad ideas and don’t have a definite answer — and I’m not too worried about it. The most important thing to me is that I make a difference in peoples lives, and I can do that in pretty much whatever career I choose. I can even accomplish this by letting the public witness my awkward hips while doing Latin dance. Who doesn’t like a good laugh at something ridiculous like that.

Robyn doing in her thang in Edmonton