Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Freezing Fingers in a Biting Chill

By: Madhur Prashant, Humber Student & International Centre Student Ambassador

Toronto has lately experienced a variety of weather conditions.

Thundering heavy clouds darkened its skies as the city soaked within a day a month-full of downpour. Equally raging was summer that saw it steaming and sweating wrapped in a hot blanket. Such weather conditions are, according to locals, rare here.

Despite the deluge and heat wave, and with due respect to winters, I did not once long to live a winter day. Having experienced winters more than once, I can safely call them ruthless, and not just cold. And since I am in the midst of a recurring heat wave and cool showers, I can safely talk about my winter experience.

Weather here changes more frequently than my moods and I am not sure if it will still be warm by the time I finish writing this!

Let’s cool down!

You know, it’s the kind of cold that silences even the birds . Every exposed part of our body freezes and eventually stops reacting anymore to any further fall in temperature. The entire face with its gleaming smile, sparkling eyes and chattering mouth, stiffens and refuses to gleam, sparkle and move.

People appear weightier in their winter gear- with many layers of clothes, heavy long jackets, fur coats and hats, thick gloves, and bulky boots.

Fresh, white snow takes shape of the things it falls upon. White rooftops, white roads, white trees and white everything, the world suddenly becomes brighter, if not colourful!

Frozen Fingers

How is winter ruthless? Here’s how…

Many of us are stuck to our electronic devices, like flies on sugar, when walking on road or when dining on a date during warmer days. This scene changes drastically during winters. Our use of electronic devices reduces significantly when outdoors. Reasons can be many.

- Touch screen phones respond to stylus, which comes with a few phones, and to our fingers in the case of others. Screens usually do not recognize the touch of woolen-covered fingers. And, it is a terrible idea to text with exposed fingers, even if for a few seconds. Not only will those (fingers) freeze and hurt to the point of being numb; your text will end up speaking Greek and Latin!

- Many electronic devices require utmost focus which, during this time, is needed more for balancing oneself on icy road, and navigating through howling winds and flurries

- Seeing through fur/woolens covering half your face is not easy and so, devices remain generally inside.

I remember, one Fall I was walking home biting into tiny brownies when the chill froze my greedy, bare fingers and stopped me from eating anymore. My fingers turned stiff and refused to move, lift and hold. I was forced to wait until I reached home to finally get back to eating. That day I rebelled and finished six soft and creamy brownies!

New and potential students, please note. This is not meant to scare you into changing your plans. Winters can be troublesome only when they do not get the required respect. If you are layered adequately and prepared as winter sets in, there is less to fear! Everything, including local public transport, offices, schools and shops are well-heated. You might even end up sweating in your winter gear!

You must research on ways and tricks to befriend winters. It is altogether a different season, and one can never get used to it. But, we can learn to create laughter, color and warmth around us even in severe, biting cold.

By Madhur Prashant

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Sunday Antique Market

By Chloe Jang, Humber Student 

Nowadays, I usually like wearing fancy accessories instead of dressing in long sleeves or pants since it is too hot to put them on. And whenever I wear my jewellery, my friends ask me where the jewellry is from. They commonly expect that the accessories are from my home country, South Korea; however, more than half of them are from here, Toronto. Today, I will let you know the secret place, my treasure house.

The name of the spot is the “Sunday Antique Market”. I discovered the market last February. Last winter was too long so I tried to searching for an interesting place to visit, which was close to home. I found the market when I visited the St. Lawrence Market on a Sunday. The antique market always opens in the St. Lawrence North Market for 12 hours every Sunday from dawn to 5 p.m.

The market is a flea market held by local residents who sell their used items such as pieces of silverware, candlesticks from at least 50 years ago, antique maps, labels, LP records, toys, clothes, plates, drawings, post cards, and much more. It is really hard to list one by one because of the diversity items found there. There are even some master craftsmen who assemble a pocket watch according to customers’ choice!
I go there at least once a month because I feel as if I have just arrived in a time machine. While visiting the market, I can as well get unique items that are rare on ordinary markets. I bought some vintage coffee cups, clothes and accessories there, and I use them often because they catch my fancy. If you are planning to go to the Sunday market, don’t worry about your meal. In the St. Lawrence South Market, there are small but great snack bars which have various foods. I’m sure you will enjoy visiting this secret treasure found at the St. Lawrence Market on Sundays.
By: Chloe Jang

Friday, July 19, 2013

Curiousity might kill a cat, but it sure did change my life!

By: Tiara Samosir,and International Centre Student Ambassdor 

In fact, curiousity is the main reason why I decided to go all the way to Canada to study. I'm curious about a lot of things, but the world and living life to the fullest are on the top of my list.

They say if the life you live doesn't make your heart race, you don't live dangerous enough.

I was studying English Literature in a University in Indonesia before I left and moved to Humber. I was doing great, academically, but that wasn't enough.
I wanted more. I wanted an adventure. I wanted to see the greatness the world has. I wanted to know how strong I could be.

I wanted to be excited everytime I woke up because I know I'm going to do something thrilling, something that will make my heart race, something that I love. I didn't feel that way back home. That's when I knew I needed to get out. I needed to not only discover the world, but also to discover myself and what I wanted in this life.

I didn't say that I wasn't happy back home. I was. I had a great life. I had great friends and great family. My mom is practically a hero. She always makes sure I get everything I need. And my dad, he's awesome. He always makes sure I get everything I want. I love them and I'm very much grateful of everything they've done.

Leaving them was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Maybe that's why I'm always scared of airports. Not because of the place, but because of the feelings I get. I remember getting my heart shattered when I saw my whole family and friends watching me leave. My whole body hurt, I couldn't breathe. It took me awhile to calm myself down. I said to myself, there is no going back.

My first days in Canada were tough, but they were nothing compared to my first day at Humber. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. I was terrified. My head kept on thinking what ifs.
What if I'm not good enough? What if I'm not as good as I thought I was? What if this all is a big mistake? What if no one wants to be friends with me? I'm going to die alone and no one will find me until a month later when my body has turned into corpse! Oh my God! What have I done??!!!

A year later, I realized that day was the last day I doubted myself. I realized that if I can survive by myself in a country that I've never been before, surrounded by people I don't know, there's nothing I can't do. I can proudly say that today, I'm alive. Not just physically, but every inch of my body feels alive. I get to experience and learn so many things. I feel like I've grown so much within a year.

I like writing and I'm obsessed with movies and tv shows, which is why I chose the Journalism program. I want to be able to share my experience and thoughts with the world, and hopefully have a career in that area. Humber helps me explore writing in a way that I had never thought before. As much as I like writing, I sometimes feel like I'm writing nonsense, like I'm just blabbing about everything. My program helps me focus on that. I know my writing is still far from perfect, but I'm still curious to know whether I'm good enough to be a good writer. With the unconditional help from friends and helpful teachers, I'm confident about it.

To say the least, I'm very happy with how my life turned out. Now I can go to bed with a big smile on my face, because I know I'm living a good life and I'll be learning something new every single day. :)
By: Tiara Samosir

Monday, July 15, 2013

July Recipe of the Month: Bibimbob

Bibimbob is a South Korean healthy cuisine, which can be cooked within 5mins. All you need to do is chop, chop, chop, and sauté, sauté, sauté!

1/3 carrot
1/3 zucchini
1/3 onion
3 mushrooms
Green pepper
1 egg
1 bowl cooked rice
Salt and pepper
Sesame oil
Red pepper paste

1.    Chop all the vegetable into long strips

2.    Warm up the frying pan with oil and put a bit of garlic and green pepper. You should sense a healthy and herbal smell to it

3.    Add carrot and onion and sauté until slightly cooked

4.    Add zucchini and mushroom and continue to sauté until cooked. You will see that the color of the veggies has changed

5.    Add salt and pepper to taste

6.    In a separate frying pan, break 1 egg directly into the pan and cook over-easy

7.    In a bowl, place the sautéed veggies on top of the rice

8.    Pour a bit of sesame oil over the veggies and rice and a spoon of red Pepper paste on the side

9.    Place the fried egg on top

10. Garnish it with chopped lettuce and serve hot

And here you have your healthy veggie Bibimbob! You can follow me as I make this delicious recipe at Bibimbob Recipe
Why don't you try it this afternoon for yourself!

Don't forget your healthy life will make your academic life successful.

Bye now and we’ll see you next time! :)
By: Namki Kang

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Playground for Animals, The Toronto Zoo!

By Chloe Jang, Humber Student

Have you ever been to the Toronto Zoo? I believe if you live in Toronto, the Toronto Zoo is one of the famous places where you have to visit at least once. Because the Toronto Zoo is the biggest zoo in Canada, it has huge natural habitats for over 5,000 animals, including more than 460 different species. It is also ranked 5th in the world. How colossal it is!
Since the date when I visited the was Family Day in Canada there were a number of people coming with their families and friends. It was quite crowded but I could secure a clear view thanks to the spacious fields, which I really loved because they provided the animals natural environments that looked like a playground for them. Compared to the animals which live in the South Korean zoo, the animals looked much more comfortable and wilder.
There were so many lovely animals such as sleeping polar bears, giraffes playing with a bird, sunbathing lions, and hopping monkeys, which made me excited and happy. When I walked along the path of the zoo, I could feel as if I was in the forest, because in the zoo there are a lot of flowers and trees as well. Although the walk was long, I was not tired and even felt refreshed.
The zoo has a swimming pool for children and beautiful spots for a picnic so you can spend a pleasant and meaningful day. If you go with your family or friends bring delicious finger foods.
It is even easy to get to the zoo. You can go by bus or you can get a chance to visit the zoo when the International Centre at Humber has the trip as an event.
I strongly recommend you visiting the Toronto Zoo, especially if you are sick and tired of your daily life. All the happy animals at the zoo are waiting for you to share their energies and composure with you. J

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bloating Chapatis, Blaring Alarms

By: Madhur Prashant, Humber Student & International Centre Student Ambassador

A change of place needs numerous adjustments to be made on behalf of the mover. Here’s one of my learning experiences in my new city, Toronto.

My Problem

Food tends to give me trouble in more ways than one. I prefer to talk of only one.

My mind often conjures delectable food images that juggle in my head. It gets troublesome during meetings or lectures where I can’t do much, except get grumpy and jumpy. When in Toronto, I am reminded of tangy, flavor-full, drowning-in-gravy Indian food (Not all Indian food is overflowing, spicy and oily). South Asian Indian food is diverse with umpteen tastes, palates, whims and regional cuisines. It takes a while before a meal is ready to be stuffed into our bellies.

My Fun

To beat homesickness caused by the garish images tormenting me, I and my brother decided one free evening to cook an Indian meal. After a couple of hours, our feast was ready to be served, except for Chapati (South Asian unleavened bread), the vital show-runner without which our meal is hardly complete (rice is another contender). A chapati is made by rolling out a small portion of kneaded whole wheat flour into CD sized, almost perfect circle (sometimes even bigger) cooked on a skillet and then directly over flame.

I was soaked in the aroma and smoky fumes of curry, probably a thing of pride for a South Asian, and a mind-numbing sensation for the neighbors. This heady mix of smells made me proud and assured me of my culinary skills.

I rolled out a portion of dough into a circle-lookalike and placed it delicately on the angrily fuming, simmering skillet. It started to fill slowly with hot air, rising gradually in parts. I gently dabbed it with my clean kitchen cloth and waited until it had puffed! I picked it gently, lest it burst open, and put it on a serving plate.

So, here it was - my first bloated chapati in Canada. I slathered ghee (clarified butter) all over it, which melted instantly, forming a thick, shiny puddle in the slowly deflating Chapati.

I repeated this procedure with the rest of the Chapatis, oblivious to my skillet reddening over a very, very hot stove. From it was building some smoke, invisibly rising and sneaking into open space. The chimney wasn’t turned on. Of course I wasn’t noticing, for I was busy gloating at my bloating chapatis!

The Melodrama

A few minutes later, TTTRRRNSNNNSNNNN! A sharp, jarring, devilish, loud sound pierced through my self-congratulatory oblivion.
‘What’s that?’ Stunned in the middle of giving a half-rolled out lump of dough some shape, I looked up. Above me was smoke, staring down at me like devil. ‘Ohhh Noooo!’ I ran towards my brother in his room. He was smiling, looking calm. I was not smiling and I was not calm.

‘Oh! Is it the alarm? Stop it! The neighbors will call the police! Stop… they may send me back home (India)! Stop it!’ (It is shameful to be sent back home for creating smoky disturbance by, of all things, bloating chapatis!) I wasn’t thinking, only fretting all the more so since I saw my brother calm and laughing inside.

I ran back to the kitchen, turned off the stove, put the smoky skillet under running water, opened the door to our balcony, pushed open the window, and tried physically to push out the smoke, all at super speed.

Meanwhile, my brother looked around for a cloth. ‘Relax! Relax!’ I was sure a fire truck would soon be speeding towards me, with alert firemen accusingly pointing fingers at my puffed chapatis. The smoke had gathered around the white round smoke detector. He looked up and waved the cloth vigorously under it, trying to clear away the smoke. The alarm blared, until it finally calmed down!

Ten seconds later. ‘Oh!’ I said, suddenly hearing myself in the deafening silence. Inside me, something was still shaking.

‘Just wave a cloth when the alarm sets on, and it will stop blaring. And please open doors and windows when making food! Keep the chimney on if you can’t open these.’ He pacified me, and laughed at me staring at the now peaceful smoke-detector on the ceiling.

Logic behind My Drama

Why this worry, you might be wondering. I am horrified at alarms because these draw everyone’s attention. For me, an alarm signifies, well… alarm! False or real alarms during my undergraduate years at residence saw us run out into the open and watch fire trucks arrive immediately. The rest we know. I had imagined the same here.

Tempering and seasoning of food is usual back home in India, but then we generally don’t have smoke detectors installed in homes.

My chapatis and other food items have not been affected by smoke alarms. I know; if there is smoke, there is also a cloth nearby to silence it away. So, I roast, bake and temper at my own will!
By: Madhur Prashant