Bilingual Brains, Geriatric Gains: How learning a new language can help slow age-related cognitive decline by Donna Sherman

languages

WHAT?

Learn a New Language!

 
senior momentA
sk people what their number one fear of getting old is, and many will say they’re most afraid of “losing their minds.” Losing our memory, our ability to reason, our very sense of self, is a horror that makes Alzheimers and other dementias some of the most frightening diseases out there. Everyone knows that incidence of dementia increases with age, but scientific researchers is only slowly managing to untangle the why some people get it, and some people don’t.

The Mayo Clinic lists several well-known risk factors that you can control, such as not smoking, limiting heavy alcohol use, and controlling weight and blood pressure. But did you know research shows that simply learning a new language can act as a buffer for resisting cognitive decline?

So what, in short, are the benefits of being bilingual?

But seriously.

 

word map learn a language

WHY?

The Benefits of Being Bilingual

At one point, people actually thought that teaching children two languages stunted intellectual growth! But while it’s true that there are some signs that bilingual children have temporary delays in some language skills, due to confusion between languages, or time spent switching between languages, they are usually able to catch up to their peers (Marian & Shook, 2012). In fact, it is precisely that exercise in mental switching that strengthens the brain in areas commonly affected by aging (Kroll, 2009; Ramscar et al., 2014).

brain workout

Like neural exercise!

Learning a second (or third, or fourth) language can help you improve your native tongue, and language skills in early life are associated with lower levels of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive declines in old age.

 

why learn a language infographic

Scholars and artists have lots to say on the wonders of language learning.

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” – Frank Smith

“He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne

“There is one very important advantage of learning other languages that I think beats any gains in cognitive control or delays in the onset of dementia. When you learn other languages you can then actually speak those languages, read those literatures, talk to new people in their native language, eaves-drop on their conversations on the bus, order off the menu, pick up that gorgeous stranger in the piazza.  I think that’s cooler than having a few extra points on the Wisconsin card-sorting task.” – Lera Boroditsky, psychologist at Stanford

One website asked older people why they chose to learn a new language. Here are some common reasons people gave:

reasons pie

Learning a language opens your mind, takes you deep into the history and flavour of a culture, makes travel more meaningful, and, of course, is an impressive skill to show off.

There’s the increase in social interaction that comes with attending new classes and being able to talk to a wider variety of people. Studies have shown that learning a bilingualism can increase your empathy and make you smarter – speaking more than one language increases the ability of the brain to reason, make decisions, and switch between different tasks (Marian & Shook, 2012).

But you’re worried about your health. Specifically, your brain’s health. And learning a language takes care of that too! People who speak more than one language are diagnosed with dementia an average of 4 years older than people who speak only one (Bialystok et al., 2007). It may increase your cognitive reserve, a popular theory in determining ways to decrease cognitive decline (Stern, 2009). And Birdsong (2006) reports that second language use is “less automatic and less efficient” than native language use, and therefore declines in performance as a result of aging are “likely to show up earlier and to be more pronounced” in the second language. So your new language can act kind of like the canary in the coal mine when trying to detect signs of cognitive decline.

canary

Yay?

WHO! WHEN!

You. Now.

BUT!

“That’s great,” you might say, “But so many of these studies talk about learning a language before adulthood. What if it’s too late for me? What if it’s too hard?”

I have some exciting news for you.

It’s never too late.

you're never too old

You’re never too old.

“Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the ageing brain.” – Dr. Thomas Bak, University of Edinburgh

The Study

Bak et al.’s 2014 study was widely reported by the press (some of those news reports are listed in the links at the end of the article). The study used participants from a pool of subjects from the Lothian Birth Cohort, who were first measured in 1947. The Cohort, which consisted of 1091 Edinburgh natives born in 1936, were 11 years old when they initially completed the Scottish Mental Survey (Scottish Council for Research in Education, 1947). Between 2008 and 2010, Bak and his colleagues followed up with 866 of them to test their hypothesis that “bilinguilism improves later-life cognition and delays the onset of dementia.” Some 853 participants (about half of whom were female) completed a bilingualism questionnaire, as well as cognitive tests including measures of memory, fluid intelligence (the ability to access and use knowledge), speed of processing, and vocabulary.

This study was notable because unlike many others testing similar hypotheses, it controlled for childhood intelligence, which many people worried might lead to bilingualism, rather than the other way around.

They found that people who spoke more than one language had better cognitive abilities in older age than their monolingual peers. What’s more, age of acquisition was not a factor! The measured areas that showed the greatest impact were general intelligence and reading.

Bak et al. said that the effect of learning a second language was “comparable to those reported for […] physical fitness, and (not) smoking” (Bak et al., 2014).

“It’s not the good memory that bilinguals have that is delaying cognitive decline. It’s their attention mechanism. Their ability to focus in on the details of language.” – Dr. Thomas Bak, University of Edinburgh

Although it is quite well known that second language acquisition gets harder as we age (you know how hard it felt to learn French in middle school, even!), harder does not mean impossible. You may never speak like a native, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be fluent (Birdsong, 2006; Doidge, 2007, pg 86-87).

We learn differently as adults than we did as children. Children learn languages implicitly, from being immersed in them. Ask a native speaker to explain the rules of their language’s grammar, and that person might have difficulty putting it into words. They know what sounds right, but they don’t know why. Adults are better at learning explicitly, studying and making sense of rules (Dekeyser, 2013). Because implicit learning happens implicitly, it doesn’t feel like work. But it is.

Let’s look at it this way: a baby is learning a language from scratch. It still needs to learn how to distinguish different types of sounds and then make them itself. It needs to learn body language and tone and to understand context. It needs to develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills. It needs to practice making the thoughts in its head become words and motions with his body. You don’t have to worry about any of that.

creepy baby

Think of all the work you’ve already done!

Apart from the base work you’ve already completed, think of all the stuff you can do that a kid can’t. You can choose which language to learn. You can choose how. You can form groups with people to practice, travel to a new place and immerse yourself in the language and culture. You have control!

“…[L]earning a new language in old age is so good for improving and maintaining the memory generally. Because it requires intense focus, studying a new language turns on the control system for plasticity and keeps it in good shape for laying down sharp memories of all kinds.” – Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author (The Brain That Changes Itself, pg 86-87)

 

STILL!

Caveats and Cautions

caution

So learning a second language is hard. You know your native tongue like the back of your hand, which can highlight the effort involved in learning a new one.

Since it’s hard, motivation may be a factor, so choose a language you’re interested in. Maybe you want to learn Russian to read the classics in the original, or Korean to understand those K-dramas you enjoy. Pick something you’ll stick with! Some research has indicated that bilinguals who do not actively use one of their languages do not experience the same benefits as those who use both, although Bak et al.’s 2014 paper found the opposite.

Bak and his colleagues also admit that their bilingualism questionnaire, as a self-report measure, has inherent risks of bias (people misremember events or misrepresent themselves), and measured people’s view of their own fluency, rather than any objective measure of their language proficiency.

We also need to keep in mind that there is no magic bullet. These studies show trends among large groups of people, and so can’t predict the outcome of an individual (Calvo et al, 2015; see this article for an exhaustive list of problems with many studies of language acquisition).

Bak et al.’s study specifically raised some questions. Although they started with a large sample size of 853 people, only 262 participants in the study reported learning a second language. That’s still a pretty decent size, but 195 learned the language before age 18. but only 65 learned the language after 18. From over 800 people, the sample size for the particular group that we’re interested in has been whittled down to under 70, not even a tenth of the original.

Most importantly, “late” language acquisition, in most studies, refers to people who learned a new language after the age of 18. Although the samples theoretically could involve people from age 18 to age 112, the average seems to be around the early or late twenties, depending on the study. Age tends to blunt effect sizes, not eliminate them, (Yang et al., 2015), but I would love a large, longitudinal study focusing on people learning a new language in late adulthood (for example, age 50 and older).

I would also be interested in further research examining ways to teach language that are effective for older adults, and see if any of these methods lead to better improvement in cognitive function, or bigger effect sizes.

Finally, what kind of language is preferable? One with the same alphabet, or a different one? Similar grammar, or something entirely foreign? And precisely how well do you have to learn it for it to ‘count’?

(See Antoniou et al., 2013 for more suggestions for future research.)

world languages

There are lots of questions that still need to be answered, and lots of areas left to explore, but let’s end on a high note:

Evidence has shown that multi-modal methods for slowing age-related cognitive decline, and strategies targeting specific activities of day to day living, are usually the more effective than single-modal methods, or strategies targeting tasks you would only ever find in the lab. Language is something you use every day, and it leaks over into other areas of life – working memory, fine motor skills (writing and speech), visual and auditory functions, attention switching, and more, as we’ve discussed above. These are far reaching effects; getting better at a new language improves so many aspects of your brain! What’s more, Bak et al. found absolutely no negative effects of bilingualism. So why not learn a language? What have you got to lose?

 

HOW!

Next Steps

This is all good news! You feel so excited! So motivated! Now what?

There are thousands of websites out there offering strategies for language learners of different types; why wait? Here are some to get you started.

Online language learning resources:

Online guidance:

Further reader:

And, if you’re interested in some more technical info, this lecture on “Age effects in language learning: controversial, but crucial to understand,” by Robert Dekeyser.

References:

Main Article:

Bak, T. H., Nissan, J. J., Allerhand, M. M., & Deary, I. J. (2014). Does bilingualism influence cognitive aging?. Annals of neurology75(6), 959-963.

 

Books:

Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science. Penguin: New York

Snowdon, D. (2008). Aging with grace: What the nun study teaches us about leading longer, healthier, and more meaningful lives. Bantam.

 

Journal Articles:

Antoniou, M., Gunasekera, G. M., & Wong, P. C. (2013). Foreign language training as cognitive therapy for age-related cognitive decline: a hypothesis for future research. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews37(10), 2689-2698.

Arkin, S. (2007). Language-enriched exercise plus socialization slows cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias22(1), 62-77.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., & Freedman, M. (2007). Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia. Neuropsychologia,45(2), 459-464.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., & Luk, G. (2012). Bilingualism: consequences for mind and brain. Trends in cognitive sciences16(4), 240-250.

Birdsong, D. (2006). Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview. Language Learning56(s1), 9-49.

Calvo, N., García, A. M., Manoiloff, L., & Ibáñez, A. (2015). Bilingualism and Cognitive Reserve: A Critical Overview and a Plea for Methodological Innovations. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience7.

DeKeyser, R. M. (2013). Age effects in second language learning: Stepping stones toward better understanding. Language Learning63(s1), 52-67.

Keysar, B., Hayakawa, S. L., & An, S. G. (2012). The foreign-language effect thinking in a foreign tongue reduces decision biases. Psychological science23(6), 661-668.

Kroll, J. F. (2009). The consequences of bilingualism for the mind and the brain. Psychological Science in the Public Interest10(3), i-ii.

La Rue, A. (2010). Healthy brain aging: role of cognitive reserve, cognitive stimulation, and cognitive exercises. Clinics in geriatric medicine26(1), 99-111.

Li, P., Legault, J., & Litcofsky, K. A. (2014). Neuroplasticity as a function of second language learning: anatomical changes in the human brain. Cortex,58, 301-324.

Lustig, C., Shah, P., Seidler, R., & Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. (2009). Aging, training, and the brain: a review and future directions. Neuropsychology review19(4), 504-522.

Mahncke, H. W., Connor, B. B., Appelman, J., Ahsanuddin, O. N., Hardy, J. L., Wood, R. A., … & Merzenich, M. M. (2006). Memory enhancement in healthy older adults using a brain plasticity-based training program: a randomized, controlled study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences103(33), 12523-12528.

Marian, V., & Shook, A. (2012, September). The cognitive benefits of being bilingual. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2012). Dana Foundation.

Ramscar, M., Hendrix, P., Shaoul, C., Milin, P., & Baayen, H. (2014). The myth of cognitive decline: Non‐linear dynamics of lifelong learning. Topics in cognitive science6(1), 5-42.

Scottish Council for Research in Education. Mental Survey Committee. (1949). The Trend of Scottish Intelligence: A Comparison of the 1947 and 1932 Surveys of the Intelligence of Eleven-years-old Pupils (Vol. 30). University of London Press.

Stern, Y. (2009). Cognitive reserve. Neuropsychologia47(10), 2015-2028.

Yang, J., Gates, K. M., Molenaar, P., & Li, P. (2015). Neural changes underlying successful second language word learning: An fMRI study.Journal of Neurolinguistics33, 29-49.

Korea Bucket List

And now, things I still HAVE TO DO before returning to Canada (if it’s crossed out, it means it’s booked and paid for, but not achieved just yet; italics means it’s planned)…

Korea Bucket List (Still To Do):

  • Hiking:
    • Taebaeksan
    • Odaesan
    • Sobaeksan
    • Seoraksan – Dino (Gongryong) ridge
  • Cities:
    • Wonju
      • Hanji theme park
    • Seoul
      • Deoksugung
      • Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
      • Naksan and Public Art
      • Gwangjang Market (have I done this?)
      • Myeong-dong Cathedral (have I done this?)
      • Seoul Forest
      • Buamdong
      • Two more palaces
      • Samsung D’Light
    • Busan
      • Gamcheon Village in Busan
      • Aquarium – shark diving?
      • UN Memorial Cemetery
      • Samkwang Temple
      • Beomeosa Temple
      • Geumjeongsanseong Fortress
      • Dongnae Hot Springs
      • National Maritime Museum
      • Busan Museum
      • Nurimaru and Haeundae Beach walk
      • Busan Citizen Park
      • Bokcheon Museum
      • Amnam Park
      • Amisan Observatory
      • Eulsukdo Eco Centre and sculpture park
      • Busan night tour (Suyeong River, Geumryeonsan, and Marine City)
      • Haeundae shooting range
      • Busan Cinema Center
      • BEXCO
    • Ulsan
    • Incheon
    • Gimhae
    • Jinju (Chok-suk Pavilion)
    • Gyeongju (Gampo’s the ancient Twin Pagodas of Gaeunsa Temple and the underwater tomb of King Munmu)
    • Inje (Min’s Cabin and tofu with seawater?)
    • Yangyang – Naksanguk temple
  • Other Places:
    • Islands
      • Muuido
      • Namhae
      • Bajindo
      • Saryangdo
    • Kwanghan Pavilion
    • Garden of the Morning Calm in spring/summer
    • House of Sharing
  • Food and Drink:
    • Eat live octopus? larvae?
  • CNN stuff (maybes):
    • Ggotji Beach (near Boryeong)
    • Darangee Village (southern tip)
    • Upo Marsh (go from Busan)
    • Daegwallyeong Ranch (Gangwon)
    • Seryang-Je in Hwasun
    • Seomjin River Train Village
    • Cheongsando
    • Young-san River
    • Yongam Temple
    • Suncheon Bay
    • Sambuyeon Falls (Gangwon)
    • Gobungun, Changyeong
    • Wanggungri
    • Soyang Lake (Gangwon)

Republic of Korea UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Gyeongju
Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa Dolmens
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
Haeinsa Temple
Jongmyo Shrine
Changdeokgung Palace Complex
Hwaseong Fortress
Jeju
Royal Joseon Tombs
Hahoe and Yangdong
Namhansanseong
Baekje Historic Areas

A Pretty Fantastic Half-Year

My god, it’s been a long time. In my defence, a lot’s been happening in the last 6/7 months, after moving to South Korea to teach English. I’m working on a Bucket List for my last 5 months in this wonderful and under-appreciated place, but for now, here’s what I’ve done so far…

Korea Bucket List (Awesome Things I’ve Done):

  • School Experiences:
    • Taught full-time at 4 different schools:
      • High School: Yukminkwan (moving classrooms)
      • Middle School: Sangji Girl’s School and Shillim (my own English Zone!)
      • Elementary School: Seoguk
    • Taught winter camp at Dun Dun Elementary and Yukminkwan Middle Schools
    • Played saxophone in band with Korean students (!!!)
  • Festivals:
    • Busan Fireworks Festival
    • Seoul Lantern Festival
    • Taebaek Snow Festival
    • Hwacheon Ice Festival
    • Maehwa Blossom Festival (delicious maesil ice cream!)
    • Jindo Sea Parting Festival
    • Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
    • Nonsan Strawberry Festival
    • Gwangalli Eobang Festival
    • Icheon Pottery Festival
    • Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival
    • Wonju Rose Festival
    • Boryeong Mud Festival
    • 70th Independence Day Celebrations
  • Hiking:
    • Chiaksan (Birobong Peak and Ipseoksa Temple, the beautiful Guryongsa Temple with mom, dad, and Mr. Kim; Birobong Peak via Ipseoksa Temple, Seryempokpo Falls, and Gyegokgil Valley with Yeollin Taekwondo)
    • Seoraksan (Daechungbong Peak and Chunbuldong Valley; cable car to Gwongeumseong, Sinheungsa Temple, and short hike past the Gyejoam Hermitage to Heundeulbawi and Ulsanbawi Rocks)
    • Jirisan (Nogodan Peak and Piagol Valley – stunning; my favourite hike so far; Cheonwangbong Peak)
    • Mindungsan (with the YMK Teacher Hiking Club)
    • Deokyusan snow hike (Hyangjeokbong Peak)
    • Inwangsan and Bugaksan (Seoul Fortress Hike)
    • Daedunsan (Geumgang suspension bridge and the terrifying Samseon stairway)
    • Hallasan (Seongpanak trail – aka “Endless way of patience” – to Dongneung Peak) and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak on Jeju
    • Bukhansan (Baegundae Peak)
  • Skiing:
    • High 1
    • Yongpyong (my favourite – plus, 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics!) and Peak Island Water Park
    • Phoenix Park and Muju (seen the resort)
  • Cities:
    • Wonju
      • Chiaksan National Park
      • Guryongsa Temple
      • Nambu Market
      • Lotte Cinema street
      • Doggie cafes
      • Herb and Rose Garden Christmas Lights
      • Rose Festival
      • Park Kyongni Literature Park
      • Museum SAN and Oak Valley
    • Seoul
      • Everland
      • Lotteworld and Folk Museum
      • Kimchi making!
      • Fortress hike (Dongdaemun (East Gate) to Seodaemun (West Gate)) and Seodaemun Prison Museum
      • Inwangsan Mountain, Seonamjeong Temple, Inwangsan Guksadang (shrine), and Seonbawi (a literally hole-y rock)
      • Dongdaemun market
      • Myeongdong
      • Namdaemun Gate and market
      • Ping Pong Party!
      • Insadong and Ssamji-gil
      • Poo Cafe
      • Tapgol Pagoda Park
      • Olympic Park and Stadium
      • Namsan Park (and Korean traditional fighting performance) and N Seoul Tower hike
      • N Seoul Tower and Cable Car at night (with Nataly and Kevin)
      • COEX Aquarium
      • Nanta!
      • Seoul National Palace Museum
      • National Museum of Korea
      • National Folk Museum of Korea
      • Jogyesa Temple
      • Banpo (Rainbow) Bridge and fireworks
      • Gyeongbokgung Palace and changing of the guard
      • Changgyeonggung Palace
      • Ginseng Center
      • Cheonggyecheon Stream (with and without lanterns!)
      • Independence Gate
      • Bukchon Hanok Village
      • Namsangol Hanok Village
      • National Cemetery
      • Hongdae (and spent a night out)
      • Gwanghawmun Square (statue of Sejong the Great)
      • Seen the Blue House
      • Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (Seonjeongneung)
      • Bongeunsa Temple
      • Hello Kitty Cafe
      • Sheep Cafe (The Thank Nature Cafe)
      • 63 City Building (beautiful views, Sky Art Hall, IMAX, and Sea World)
      • Yeouido Hangang Park
      • The floating islands, known collectively as Some Sevit (Island 1: Vista – Some Gavit, Island 2: Viva – Some Chavit, Island 3: Terra – Some Solvit, and Some Yevit Media Art Gallery)
      • CNN Cafe
      • Kimchi Museum
      • Hanbok Cafe in Insadong
      • Dongguk University Campus (main stadium Buddhist Cheer Rally)
      • Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden
      • Ewha Womens’ University Campus
      • War Memorial of Korea
      • Jongmyo Shrine
      • Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Culture Park
      • Yongsan Electronics Market
      • Yongma Land
      • Namhansanseong – visited the Emergency Temporary Palace, Gaewonsa Temple, and Fortress Wall (hiked from 2nd South Outwork to East Gate)
      • Korea House – royal court dinner and performance
      • Gangnam
        • Shopping
        • Sinsadong (Dore Dore rainbow cake and K Star Road)
      • Lotte World Mall and 1600 Pandas
      • City Hall
      • Dragon Hill Spa
      • Deulmusae Restaurant (Penis restaurant in Pocheon – Seoul-adjacent)
    • Busan
      • Gwangalli and Haeundae Beaches
      • Gwang-An (Diamond) Bridge fish festival with mom and dad!
      • Haedong Yonggunsa Temple
      • Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park)
      • Spaland
      • Jagalchi Market
      • Taejongdae Park
      • Busan Harbour Bridge
      • Oryukdo Islets
      • Hwangryeongsan Bongsudae (the peak at Mt. Hwangryeong)
    • Gyeongju (old capital)
      • Bike tour
      • Daereungwon Tombs
      • Cheomseongdae Observatory
      • Bulguksa Temple
      • Seokguram Grotto
      • Anapji Pond
    • Gwangju (5/18 Memorial)
    • Changwon (Kyeong-Wha Station and Yeojwa stream in Jinhae)
    • Jeonju Folk Village (church, bibimbap, museum, city overview hike)
    • Sokcho (Abai North Korean Village and rope boat) 2015 New Year Sunrise
    • Yangyang (Naksan Beach)
    • Gangneung (Gyeongpo Beach, Tongil Unification Park and Warship Pavilion)
    • Daejeon (KT Estates for orientation)
    • Daegu (Seomun Market, Suseong Lake, Eworld and Tower 83, Duryu Park, CatDog Cafe, and delicious eats downtown)
    • Suwon (Hwaseong Fortress hike and trolley; Mr. Toilet House and Haewoojae Culture Centre)
    • Icheon (ceramics with a master’s son, and a pottery festival)
    • Chuncheon (whatever we did on that first day; Gangchon Rail Bike, regional dakgalbi, and Gugok Falls)
    • Samcheok (Downtown, Samchoek Beach, and Haesindang Penis Park with Nataly and Kevin; Jangho Fishing Village snorkeling and glass-bottom-boating, and Hwanseongul Cave)
    • Danyang (Gosu Caves)
    • Yeongwol (Donggang River Rafting)
    • Andong Hahoe Folk Village and mask museum
  • Other Places:
    • Jeju Island
      • Loveland!
      • Manganggul Cave
      • Cheonjeyeon and Jeongbang Waterfalls
      • Jusangjeolli Lava Rock Formations
      • Sanbangsan Temple and Dragon Head Cliff (Yongmeori Coast)
      • Jungmun, Hamdoek, and Hyeupjae Beaches
      • Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Crater) and Hallasan Hike!
      • Udo Island beaches, peanut makgeolli, peanut ice cream, and Olle Trail walk
      • Women clam divers (Haenyeo)
    • Nami Island (or the micronation of Naminara)
      • Zip-wire entry, row-boating, and strolling
    • Geoje Island
      • Windy Hill, Sinseondae Pebble Beach and rock formations, and Haegeumgang Theme Museum
      • Botanical gardens I can’t find the name of (no, not Oedo’s gardens), ATVing up Gyeryongsan Mountain, and forest paintball
    • Ulleungdo Island
      • Island tour (temples, beaches, and rock formations)
      • Lighthouse hike
      • Dokdo museum
      • Dokdo Island
    • Gapyeong
      • Nami Island
      • Pension
      • Garden of the Morning Calm
      • Cheongpyeong River Land Bungee Jump!!
      • Petite France
    • Boseong Green Tea fields (plus green tea making and green tea chocolate making, and adorable puppies!)
    • Damyang Bamboo Forest (bamboo ice cream!)
    • Christmas lights at the Garden of the Morning Calm
    • The DMZ (Imjingak in Paju and Cheorwon areas, and Nuri Peace Park, and the 3rd tunnel)
    • Bugok Hawaii Hot Springs and Buddhist Hell
    • Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon
    • The JSA (Panmunjom, Camp Bonifas, the Bridge of No Return, Freedom House, and a step into North Korea)
  • Other Experiences:
    • Ran the Chiak Marathon 10k (only foreigner there!)
    • Went to the Taekwondo Center (Taekwondowon) in Jeollabuk-do
    • Saw a Korean baseball game (Doosan Seoul Bears!)
    • Saw a Korean basketball game (Dongbu Promy Wonju!)
    • Saw a Korean jazz concert and opera at Chiak Art Center
    • Saw a movie in a Korean theatre (Kingsman at CGV- I demand more Firth!; Mad Max at Lotte Cinema)
    • Stayed overnight in a folk village (Naganeupseong Folk Village in Suncheon)
    • Stayed in a jimjilbang (several, at this point!)
    • Temple stay at Seonamsa (traditional vegetarian breakfast, forest hike, tea with a monk, 108 prostrations, and bead-making!)
    • Winetrain (tasting and footbath) and Korean Traditional Instruments Museum (and show!)
    • Dog cafes! And now a cat cafe, too! And sheep!
    • Taekwando lessons at Yeollin Taekwondo!
    • Stayed in a Love Motel
    • Paragliding above Seongju Forest Reserve
    • ATVing up a mountain
    • Paintball in the forests of Geoje
    • Took the KTX, finally!
    • Practiced archery in Suwon (aka “archery archery OH MY GOD ARCHERY”!!!)
    • SAW PAUL MCCARTNEY AT JAMSIL OLYMPIC STADIUM!! #OUTTHERE
    • Saw the awe-inspiring “Galapagos” narrated by David Attenborough in IMAX
    • Got done up in traditional Korean hair and makeup and tried on traditional Korean hanbok for a photoshoot
    • Had a Luxury Movie Experience (Spy at Megabox)
    • Became an honorary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibit
    • Traveled with WinK, Meetup, Seoul Hiking Group, and Adventure Korea
    • Saw Jurassic World in 4D (CGV)
    • Got a selfie stick!
    • Stayed in a goofy themed pension for an hour, then got kicked out for not being part of a couple! (The dumb tourist card did not work this time)
    • Went bungee jumping. !!!.
    • Went rafting
    • Mini Mud Marathon, mud slide, mud obstacle course, mud face painting, mud bath and the Boryeong mud flats and beach
    • Went flyboarding!
    • Saw a K-Pop concert (Sistar and others)
  • Foods and Drinks:
    • kimchi
    • shabu shabu
    • pajeon (Korean pizza)
    • spoon pizza
    • Monster Pizza
    • mandu
    • ddeok-guk (rice cake soup)
    • bulgogi and delicious hanoo/hanwoo bulgogi
    • bibimbap, dolsot bibimbap
    • gimbap
    • hanjeongsik
    • samgyetang
    • ddeokbokki
    • dakgalbi
    • doenjang jjigae
    • ramyeon
    • al tang (fish egg and intestine soup)
    • hotteok
    • makgeolli
    • soju
    • takoyaki (octopus)
    • hoeri gamja (tornado potato chips)
    • darggochi (chicken skewer)

Also got to travel to Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore.

Final 100 things list

When I first made this list, I was coming off a terrible year. In June of 2010, I wrote a massive pity party post on this site (which has since been taken down because, really, no one wants to see that). Well, things continued to get worse right until September, when my wonderful dog Fudge died at 15 years of age. I spent the next two and a half months in a bit of a fog, but in December, something finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start waking up fully, doing things, and enjoying life again. That thing was the ethereal moment of clarity that sometimes comes after a bout of depression, when your body and mind have been slowly gathering their strength for weeks and are finally ready to use it. And in order to keep that feeling present for as long as I could, I made a list of 100 things I had always wanted to do but, for various reasons, had never gotten around to doing.
On September 21st of 2013, the arbitrary time period I had assigned myself because it sounded cool, the 1000th day since I began my list, ended.
  1. Get my stupid degree [In progress since the dawn of time] [completed November 10th, 2012]
    Bachelor of Journalism with a Minor in Classics, bitches!
  2. Take a voice acting class
  3. Take a singing class [completed January 29th, 2013]
    I did take one class. I think I’d like to take more.
  4. Finish the first draft of my book (The King) [In progress]
    This is…still in progress.
  5. Get my driver’s license [In progress] [completed April 28th, 2014]
    OH MY GOD I GOT MY G2! Counting this as complete for now, the G will go on another list.
  6. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  7. Sustaining Memories program at Ryerson University [In progress] [completed May 29th, 2013]
  8. Play an instrument in a big band
  9. Learn to play Rhapsody in Blue on piano
    This is way, way harder than I thought. I’m not sure I can learn it without some help.
  10. Learn to play Somebody to Love on piano [In progress]
    I can play it, but it’s not yet memorized, therefore it does not get crossed off.
  11. Paint something [completed February 20th, 2011]
  12. Start drawing again (buy a sketchbook [completed March 27th, 2011] – fill it up)
  13. Stop picking [In progress]
  14. Do some fun creative baking (ask Po for help if needed😛 ) [completed April 1st, 2011]
  15. Finish a scrapbook                                     -> 0/3
  16. Finish another scrapbook
  17. Finish another scrapbook
  18. Join an improv class
  19. Act in a play
  20. Do an archaeological dig [completed June 15th, 2012]
    I had such a great post planned for this, but how do you distill 6+ weeks of Italy into one blog post? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do it one day. Until then:
  21. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter [completed December 26th, 2010]
  22. Watch all of Farscape (an 11th TV show for #65, since my movie list also had a random extra title) [In Progress]
    Technically, this is also done, but I wanted to re-watch, and also watch the special features, because I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.
  23. Go to a San Diego Comic Con [completed March 9th, 2013]
  24. Participate in a NaNoWriMo [In progress] [completed November 30th, 2012]
  25. Get computer organised once and for all [In progress]
  26. Make website for photographs (e.g. travel photos, portfolio photos) [In progress]
  27. Learn to Scuba dive (note: this means go one time; if I like it, I’ll take the certification classes) [completed in spirit on August 2nd, 2013]
    I tried so hard, you guys. I booked a lesson in Hawaii, and it was cancelled. I booked it again, and it was cancelled. I tried to book one for Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and I couldn’t get a bus in time. I tried to book one in Toronto and I couldn’t make the first couple of classes because of work. Now I have no money, and therefore won’t be booking one for a while longer. BUT! In this time, I did manage to go parasailing (a fun and exciting quasi-water sport that I’d never done before) AND SNUBA diving (which was amazing, and is half way there, after all), and as soon as I have the moolah I will be signing up to get certified, so I consider this item completed in spirit.
  28. Stop biting nails AND start doing nail art [completed January 22nd, 2012 to present]
  29. Volunteer at a Toronto Distress Centre
  30. Get TEFL OR Live in a different country (i.e. not Canada; pay rent; longer than 2 months) [completed February 14th, 2014]
    Taking a 140-hour online course plus 20 hour in-class component through i-to-i TEFL. Got TEFL. The rest will happen in August.
  31. Play paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s) [completed August 8th, 2012]
  32. See The Daily Show live
  33. Visit Marina in Hawaii [started June 30th, completed July 5th, 2013]
  34. Watch 20 [21, apparently] great old movies (I haven’t seen a LOT of the classics, so this is a selection from IMDB’s Top 250)                    -> 21/21 [In progress] [completed July 28th, 2013]
  35. The Shawshank Redemption [completed November 12th, 2012]
  36. The Godfather [completed July 17th, 2011]
  37. The Godfather Trilogy [completed July 28th, 2013]
    This one also contributed to me getting truly drunk for the first time.
  38. 12 Angry Men [completed January 28th, 2013]
  39. Goodfellas [completed April 1st, 2013]
  40. Se7en [completed February 17th, 2013]
  41. Silence of the Lambs [completed February 26th, 2013]
  42. Memento [completed February 20th, 2013]
  43. Dr. Strangelove [completed July 20th, 2011]
  44. Citizen Kane [completed February 28th, 2013]
  45. The Shining [completed January 19th, 2013]
  46. Spirited Away [completed April 1st, 2011]
  47. Alien Quadrilogy [completed May 14th, 2013]
  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [completed February 4th, 2011]
  49. Requiem for a Dream [completed February 8th, 2013]
  50. Back to the Future Trilogy [completed January 1st, 2012]
  51. Ghostbusters [completed December 31st, 2011]
  52. Die Hard [completed August 5th, 2012]
  53. Annie Hall  [completed February 13th, 2013]
  54. The Social Network [completed March 27th, 2011]
  55. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [completed December 24th, 2012]
  56. Run a marathon of sorts [In progress] [completed in spirit on May 26th, 2013; will be completed in name on October 20th, 2013]
    Ok, it might take a little bit longer than I’d hoped, but I still intend to run a marathon before 2014 is over. However, due to multiple injuries (the ones I can pronounce: fallen arch, right tibial tendinitis, and shin splints; the one I can’t: piri-motor-something something – whatever, I hurt my hip rotating thing, okay?), I’ve had to downgrade my big October marathon plan to a half-marathon. I’ve still run a 5k and a 10k since writing this list, though, which is more than I’d run before, so, again, mission accomplished (in spirit).
  57. Knit something [completed October 17th, 2012]
  58. Whiten teeth [In progress]
  59. Go two weeks without drinking coke (shut up) [started March 16th, completed March 30th, 2011]
  60. Participate in/skate in a Winterlude in Ottawa [completed February 19th, 2011]
  61. Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day (yeah, some of them I just stole right from Heather of gofugyourself fame) [In progress] [completed July 29th, 2011]
  62. Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books                 -> 36/36 [In progress] [completed December 31st, 2013]
    Still have two more shelf-books to read, I’m afraid: Exodus and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I so would have finished this one if I hadn’t read 10 OTHER books during the same amount of time, though. Still, I’m getting there. Complete. And I read 76 books that year, too.
  63. Complete a Cannonball read (pajiba.com)                            -> 46/52 [In progress]
    Six more reviews to write before I can count this one as complete. I am on track to finally read 52 books in one year, though, so that’s something.
  64. Get past fear of diving
  65. Watch some finished/cancelled TV shows                            -> 7/10 [In progress]
  66. Watch all of Terriers [completed January 31st, 2012]
  67. Watch all of Battlestar Gallactica
  68. Watch all of Better Off Ted [completed January 9th, 2012]
  69. Watch all of Slings and Arrows  [completed February 12th, 2013]
    This has to be my favourite of all the shows I watched for this project. Please, everyone, give it a chance. And don’t judge by the first two episodes.
  70. Watch all of the West Wing [In progress]
    On season 4 of 6.
  71. Watch all of Blackadder [completed June 2nd, 2013]
  72. Watch all of Buffy and Angel [completed January 11th, 2013]
    I watched TWO LONG-ASS shows for this one. No one can say I was easy on myself for this list, okay?
  73. Watch all of the Wire [In progress]
    By September 21st, I’d seen the first three seasons. I’m mid-way through the fourth season as I write this.
  74. Watch all of Freaks and Geeks [completed January 17th, 2013]
  75. Watch all of Spaced [completed March 16th, 2013]
  76. Take a long-exposure picture [completed June 26th, 2013]
  77. Learn to juggle
  78. Solve a Rubik’s cube [completed December 29th, 2012]
    And I can still do it, too!
  79. Donate blood [In progress]
    I TRIED! They didn’t WANT my blood. I’m working on building iron now. Sort of. I will, I swear. And then I’ll try this again. At any rate, I’m putting it down as in progress – I went to the damned clinic and they pricked both my fingers and told me to go home.
  80. Witness an eclipse [completed May 24th, 2013]
  81. Do pottery (make a pot or a vase) [In progress] [completed April 6th, 2013]
  82. Learn 5 card tricks                             -> 2/5 [In progress]
    I’ve bought a trick deck for those last three. This oughta be fun.
  83. Go camping [completed May 3rd, 2013]
  84. Do the splits (every day) [In progress]
    Ugh, I did this every. single. day. For about a year, and I got nowhere. I’ll try again with a trainer or something, because just stretching everyday didn’t get me much closer to being able to do the splits (which was the actual, albeit poorly stated, goal of this item).
  85. Learn glass blowing (take a course)
    Again, lack of funds is a problem when these courses cost a minimum of $300.
  86. Renew CPR/first aid licence [completed October 14th, 2012]
  87. Make a candle [completed July 27th, 2013]
  88. Finish Learn French in 10 Days book [In progress]
    I have done…3 more pages since I made this list.
  89. Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film [In progress] [started February 11th, completed February 27th, 2013]
  90. Creatively ice a cake [completed July 20th, 2011]
  91. Throw bachelorette party for Nataly [completed January 22nd, 2012]
  92. Make a gravy train
  93. Learn to do that two-fingered whistle [completed July 15th, 2013]
  94. Spend a day tree planting [completed June 1st, 2013]
  95. Allow a spider to crawl on me without screaming
  96. Do a 1000+ piece puzzle [In progress] *asterisk* [completed July 26th, 2011]
  97. Get my ear cartilage pierced once and for all [completed September 23rd, 2012]
  98. Pay back mom and dad [In progress]
  99. Donate $10 to the Cyril Ross Nursery for each goal not completed by the end date [To be done after this post]
  100. Begin world traveling [Completed, but in progress]
    Since writing this list, I have been to Barbados, Finland, Thailand, Italy/Vatican City, Various North America cities and states including: Montreal, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, AND Molokini), Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. So even though I haven’t quite reached 26 by 26, I think I can safely count this item as complete, with the understanding that it will never be really complete, and it will always be on my list.

So what this means is that I have completed 64 things (which is just barely a passing grade), am in the middle of 19 still, and have not even attempted 17 yet, which is actually way better than I was anticipating. For #99, I will give $10 for each un-attempted item, and $3 for each item in progress, for a total of $227. Half ($113.50) will go to  the Cyril Ross Nursery in honour of Mr. Gillman, half to the Alzheimer Society of Canada in honour of my grandfather.

It has been almost three years since I first started crossing things off this list, and a lot has changed. Five of my friends have started lists of their own (which is awesome). I’ve graduated, I’ve been to 8 countries, I randomly have 41 awesome WordPress followers, I have a new dog named Shado, and I’ve started running fairly regularly. Some things have changed for the worse; my grandfather died last September.

A lot has stayed the same too, though (or become the same again); I’m living at home again, I’m working at my old job again, I have another unfinished degree to add to the top of another list of things to do.

And there’s a lot still to come. I’m currently applying for TESOL jobs in Korea and Japan, and intend to leave Canada to live in another country in February. I’m going to South Africa for the first time in 11 years in January, I’m chipping away at that second degree by taking correspondence courses, and some time next year, I will run a full marathon. I’d like to start a new list.

But before all that happens, I’m giving myself a bonus round. New Years is the perfect traditional and cliche time to start off a list like this, so I’m giving myself until December 31st, 2013 to see if I can’t cross a few more things off this list. I’m considering it a bonus round. Anything left over will be carried over to the next list, which I’ve already started planning.

So all in all, not a bad little project.

Oh, and by the way:

OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done While Attempting To Do 100 Things In 1000 Days

  1. Gone on a submarine
  2. Gone ziplining
  3. Learned to surf
  4. Made a card
  5. Finished entire phone Sudoku game
  6. Attended a Pride Parade
  7. Attended a Jazz Festival
  8. Attended a Just for Laughs Festival
  9. Attended Pixar animation masterclass
  10. Broken a world record (albeit accidentally)
  11. Learned chopsticks! (INCLUDING FOR SOUP!)
  12. Was maid of honour!
  13. Went to Casa Loma
  14. Appeared in a commercial (next time – do it while not looking like a complete fool)
  15. Went to tiff! (But I did it wrong – I didn’t see any celebrities)
  16. Saw Avenue Q
  17. Posted once a day for a month
  18. Did a mindfulness course
  19. Started/completed (so far) watching: New Girl, Raising Hope, Go On, and Elementary
  20. Went to Stratford (saw Tommy: The Musical, and it was amazing)
  21. Snorkeled with Manta Rays! In fact, did quite a lot of snorkeling!
  22. Drove the Road to Hana! (Well…was driven. But I provided directions and stopping points! Well, I say directions…there’s really only one way to go on one road…NEVERTHELESS!)’
  23. Watched the world get formed (lava hike)!
  24. Went zip-biking!
  25. Ran a 10k!
  26. Went to FanExpo! MET NATHAN FILLION!
    AHHHHHHHHHH

Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude

This actor, with this piece, has convinced me to not only watch Hannibal, but also everything she’s ever in, ever. It’s thoughtful, sensible, intelligent, and passionate. If you’re interested in the fridging of ladies and minorities, and the privileged white hetero male show-runner, please read this.

Eat This

headshotimdb_
I’m an American actress and I play Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL created by Bryan Fuller. (Spoiler Alert coming right now!!!) And she dies in episode 4 of Season 2. That episode got a lot of positive reviews, but it also incited an on-line storm of vitriol directed to Fuller himself for killing off Katz, or more specifically, for being racist and sexist. I caught wind of this myself via Twitter from our beloved Fannibals. And I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it.

Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine…

View original post 1,658 more words

100 Things, 1000 Days Report and Bonus Round

When I first made this list, I was coming off a terrible year. In June of 2010, I wrote a massive pity party post on this site (which has since been taken down because, really, no one wants to see that). Well, things continued to get worse right until September, when my wonderful dog Fudge died at 15 years of age. I spent the next two and a half months in a bit of a fog, but in December, something finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start waking up fully, doing things, and enjoying life again. That thing was the ethereal moment of clarity that sometimes comes after a bout of depression, when your body and mind have been slowly gathering their strength for weeks and are finally ready to use it. And in order to keep that feeling present for as long as I could, I made a list of 100 things I had always wanted to do but, for various reasons, had never gotten around to doing.
On September 21st of 2013, the arbitrary time period I had assigned myself because it sounded cool, the 1000th day since I began my list, ended.
  1. Get my stupid degree [In progress since the dawn of time] [completed November 10th, 2012]
    Bachelor of Journalism with a Minor in Classics, bitches!
  2. Take a voice acting class
  3. Take a singing class [completed January 29th, 2013]
    I did take one class. I think I’d like to take more.
  4. Finish the first draft of my book (The King) [In progress]
    This is…still in progress.
  5. Get my driver’s license [In progress]
    This is also still in progress.
  6. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  7. Sustaining Memories program at Ryerson University [In progress] [completed May 29th, 2013]
  8. Play an instrument in a big band
  9. Learn to play Rhapsody in Blue on piano
    This is way, way harder than I thought. I’m not sure I can learn it without some help.
  10. Learn to play Somebody to Love on piano [In progress]
    I can play it, but it’s not yet memorized, therefore it does not get crossed off.
  11. Paint something [completed February 20th, 2011]
  12. Start drawing again (buy a sketchbook [completed March 27th, 2011] – fill it up)
  13. Stop picking [In progress]
  14. Do some fun creative baking (ask Po for help if needed😛 ) [completed April 1st, 2011]
  15. Finish a scrapbook                                     -> 0/3
  16. Finish another scrapbook
  17. Finish another scrapbook
  18. Join an improv class
  19. Act in a play
  20. Do an archaeological dig [completed June 15th, 2012]
    I had such a great post planned for this, but how do you distill 6+ weeks of Italy into one blog post? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do it one day. Until then:
  21. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter [completed December 26th, 2010]
  22. Watch all of Farscape (an 11th TV show for #65, since my movie list also had a random extra title) [In Progress]
    Technically, this is also done, but I wanted to re-watch, and also watch the special features, because I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.
  23. Go to a San Diego Comic Con [completed March 9th, 2013]
  24. Participate in a NaNoWriMo [In progress] [completed November 30th, 2012]
  25. Get computer organised once and for all [In progress]
  26. Make website for photographs (e.g. travel photos, portfolio photos) [In progress]
  27. Learn to Scuba dive (note: this means go one time; if I like it, I’ll take the certification classes) [completed in spirit on August 2nd, 2013]
    I tried so hard, you guys. I booked a lesson in Hawaii, and it was cancelled. I booked it again, and it was cancelled. I tried to book one for Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and I couldn’t get a bus in time. I tried to book one in Toronto and I couldn’t make the first couple of classes because of work. Now I have no money, and therefore won’t be booking one for a while longer. BUT! In this time, I did manage to go parasailing (a fun and exciting quasi-water sport that I’d never done before) AND SNUBA diving (which was amazing, and is half way there, after all), and as soon as I have the moolah I will be signing up to get certified, so I consider this item completed in spirit.
  28. Stop biting nails AND start doing nail art [completed January 22nd, 2012 to present]
  29. Volunteer at a Toronto Distress Centre
  30. Get TEFL OR Live in a different country (i.e. not Canada; pay rent; longer than 2 months) [In progress]
    Taking a 140-hour online course plus 20 hour in-class component through i-to-i TEFL.
  31. Play paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s) [completed August 8th, 2012]
  32. See The Daily Show live
  33. Visit Marina in Hawaii [started June 30th, completed July 5th, 2013]
  34. Watch 20 [21, apparently] great old movies (I haven’t seen a LOT of the classics, so this is a selection from IMDB’s Top 250)                    -> 21/21 [In progress] [completed July 28th, 2013]
  35. The Shawshank Redemption [completed November 12th, 2012]
  36. The Godfather [completed July 17th, 2011]
  37. The Godfather Trilogy [completed July 28th, 2013]
    This one also contributed to me getting truly drunk for the first time.
  38. 12 Angry Men [completed January 28th, 2013]
  39. Goodfellas [completed April 1st, 2013]
  40. Se7en [completed February 17th, 2013]
  41. Silence of the Lambs [completed February 26th, 2013]
  42. Memento [completed February 20th, 2013]
  43. Dr. Strangelove [completed July 20th, 2011]
  44. Citizen Kane [completed February 28th, 2013]
  45. The Shining [completed January 19th, 2013]
  46. Spirited Away [completed April 1st, 2011]
  47. Alien Quadrilogy [completed May 14th, 2013]
  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [completed February 4th, 2011]
  49. Requiem for a Dream [completed February 8th, 2013]
  50. Back to the Future Trilogy [completed January 1st, 2012]
  51. Ghostbusters [completed December 31st, 2011]
  52. Die Hard [completed August 5th, 2012]
  53. Annie Hall  [completed February 13th, 2013]
  54. The Social Network [completed March 27th, 2011]
  55. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [completed December 24th, 2012]
  56. Run a marathon of sorts [In progress] [completed in spirit on May 26th, 2013; will be completed in name on October 20th, 2013]
    Ok, it might take a little bit longer than I’d hoped, but I still intend to run a marathon before 2014 is over. However, due to multiple injuries (the ones I can pronounce: fallen arch, right tibial tendinitis, and shin splints; the one I can’t: piri-motor-something something – whatever, I hurt my hip rotating thing, okay?), I’ve had to downgrade my big October marathon plan to a half-marathon. I’ve still run a 5k and a 10k since writing this list, though, which is more than I’d run before, so, again, mission accomplished (in spirit).
  57. Knit something [completed October 17th, 2012]
  58. Whiten teeth [In progress]
  59. Go two weeks without drinking coke (shut up) [started March 16th, completed March 30th, 2011]
  60. Participate in/skate in a Winterlude in Ottawa [completed February 19th, 2011]
  61. Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day (yeah, some of them I just stole right from Heather of gofugyourself fame) [In progress] [completed July 29th, 2011]
  62. Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books                 -> 34/36 [In progress]
    Still have two more shelf-books to read, I’m afraid: Exodus and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I so would have finished this one if I hadn’t read 10 OTHER books during the same amount of time, though. Still, I’m getting there.
  63. Complete a Cannonball read (pajiba.com)                            -> 46/52 [In progress]
    Six more reviews to write before I can count this one as complete. I am on track to finally read 52 books in one year, though, so that’s something.
  64. Get past fear of diving
  65. Watch some finished/cancelled TV shows                            -> 7/10 [In progress]
  66. Watch all of Terriers [completed January 31st, 2012]
  67. Watch all of Battlestar Gallactica
  68. Watch all of Better Off Ted [completed January 9th, 2012]
  69. Watch all of Slings and Arrows  [completed February 12th, 2013]
    This has to be my favourite of all the shows I watched for this project. Please, everyone, give it a chance. And don’t judge by the first two episodes.
  70. Watch all of the West Wing [In progress]
    On season 4 of 6.
  71. Watch all of Blackadder [completed June 2nd, 2013]
  72. Watch all of Buffy and Angel [completed January 11th, 2013]
    I watched TWO LONG-ASS shows for this one. No one can say I was easy on myself for this list, okay?
  73. Watch all of the Wire [In progress]
    By September 21st, I’d seen the first three seasons. I’m mid-way through the fourth season as I write this.
  74. Watch all of Freaks and Geeks [completed January 17th, 2013]
  75. Watch all of Spaced [completed March 16th, 2013]
  76. Take a long-exposure picture [completed June 26th, 2013]
  77. Learn to juggle
  78. Solve a Rubik’s cube [completed December 29th, 2012]
    And I can still do it, too!
  79. Donate blood [In progress]
    I TRIED! They didn’t WANT my blood. I’m working on building iron now. Sort of. I will, I swear. And then I’ll try this again. At any rate, I’m putting it down as in progress – I went to the damned clinic and they pricked both my fingers and told me to go home.
  80. Witness an eclipse [completed May 24th, 2013]
  81. Do pottery (make a pot or a vase) [In progress] [completed April 6th, 2013]
  82. Learn 5 card tricks                             -> 2/5 [In progress]
    I’ve bought a trick deck for those last three. This oughta be fun.
  83. Go camping [completed May 3rd, 2013]
  84. Do the splits (every day) [In progress]
    Ugh, I did this every. single. day. For about a year, and I got nowhere. I’ll try again with a trainer or something, because just stretching everyday didn’t get me much closer to being able to do the splits (which was the actual, albeit poorly stated, goal of this item).
  85. Learn glass blowing (take a course)
    Again, lack of funds is a problem when these courses cost a minimum of $300.
  86. Renew CPR/first aid licence [completed October 14th, 2012]
  87. Make a candle [completed July 27th, 2013]
  88. Finish Learn French in 10 Days book [In progress]
    I have done…3 more pages since I made this list.
  89. Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film [In progress] [started February 11th, completed February 27th, 2013]
  90. Creatively ice a cake [completed July 20th, 2011]
  91. Throw bachelorette party for Nataly [completed January 22nd, 2012]
  92. Make a gravy train
  93. Learn to do that two-fingered whistle [completed July 15th, 2013]
  94. Spend a day tree planting [completed June 1st, 2013]
  95. Allow a spider to crawl on me without screaming
  96. Do a 1000+ piece puzzle [In progress] *asterisk* [completed July 26th, 2011]
  97. Get my ear cartilage pierced once and for all [completed September 23rd, 2012]
  98. Pay back mom and dad [In progress]
  99. Donate $10 to the Cyril Ross Nursery for each goal not completed by the end date [To be done after this post]
  100. Begin world traveling [Completed, but in progress]
    Since writing this list, I have been to Barbados, Finland, Thailand, Italy/Vatican City, Various North America cities and states including: Montreal, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, AND Molokini), Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. So even though I haven’t quite reached 26 by 26, I think I can safely count this item as complete, with the understanding that it will never be really complete, and it will always be on my list.

So what this means is that I have completed 64 things (which is just barely a passing grade), am in the middle of 19 still, and have not even attempted 17 yet, which is actually way better than I was anticipating. For #99, I will give $10 for each un-attempted item, and $3 for each item in progress, for a total of $227. Half ($113.50) will go to  the Cyril Ross Nursery in honour of Mr. Gillman, half to the Alzheimer Society of Canada in honour of my grandfather.

It has been almost three years since I first started crossing things off this list, and a lot has changed. Five of my friends have started lists of their own (which is awesome). I’ve graduated, I’ve been to 8 countries, I randomly have 41 awesome WordPress followers, I have a new dog named Shado, and I’ve started running fairly regularly. Some things have changed for the worse; my grandfather died last September.

A lot has stayed the same too, though (or become the same again); I’m living at home again, I’m working at my old job again, I have another unfinished degree to add to the top of another list of things to do.

And there’s a lot still to come. I’m currently applying for TESOL jobs in Korea and Japan, and intend to leave Canada to live in another country in February. I’m going to South Africa for the first time in 11 years in January, I’m chipping away at that second degree by taking correspondence courses, and some time next year, I will run a full marathon. I’d like to start a new list.

But before all that happens, I’m giving myself a bonus round. New Years is the perfect traditional and cliche time to start off a list like this, so I’m giving myself until December 31st, 2013 to see if I can’t cross a few more things off this list. I’m considering it a bonus round. Anything left over will be carried over to the next list, which I’ve already started planning.

So all in all, not a bad little project.

Oh, and by the way:

OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done While Attempting To Do 100 Things In 1000 Days

  1. Gone on a submarine
  2. Gone ziplining
  3. Learned to surf
  4. Made a card
  5. Finished entire phone Sudoku game
  6. Attended a Pride Parade
  7. Attended a Jazz Festival
  8. Attended a Just for Laughs Festival
  9. Attended Pixar animation masterclass
  10. Broken a world record (albeit accidentally)
  11. Learned chopsticks! (INCLUDING FOR SOUP!)
  12. Was maid of honour!
  13. Went to Casa Loma
  14. Appeared in a commercial (next time – do it while not looking like a complete fool)
  15. Went to tiff! (But I did it wrong – I didn’t see any celebrities)
  16. Saw Avenue Q
  17. Posted once a day for a month
  18. Did a mindfulness course
  19. Started/completed (so far) watching: New Girl, Raising Hope, Go On, and Elementary
  20. Went to Stratford (saw Tommy: The Musical, and it was amazing)
  21. Snorkeled with Manta Rays! In fact, did quite a lot of snorkeling!
  22. Drove the Road to Hana! (Well…was driven. But I provided directions and stopping points! Well, I say directions…there’s really only one way to go on one road…NEVERTHELESS!)’
  23. Watched the world get formed (lava hike)!
  24. Went zip-biking!
  25. Ran a 10k!
  26. Went to FanExpo! MET NATHAN FILLION!
    AHHHHHHHHHH

100 things to do in 1000 days; #87: Make a Candle.

IMG_7032Toronto is not a small city. You can do all sorts of weird things in Toronto. We have a sugar museum and a shoe museum and places to learn ukulele, and we have three universities and five colleges with what I am assume are an almost infinite amount of school clubs and societies, but so far as I can tell, we do not have a place to make candles. The closest place I could find was the very friendly and accommodating Village Craft & Candle, located in St. Marys.

IMG_6948

Now, I do not have a driver’s license, and a bus trip to St. Marys ends up being a journey of about six hours (ONE WAY), so I gently suggested to my mother that perhaps this would be a nice bonding experience, and I just bet she’d love candle-making, it’s right up her crafty alley! And, in exchange for tea, help with scrapbooking, and a lifetime of using this against me, mom agreed!

IMG_6994

I don’t have a heck of a lot of funny stories from the actual day. We made pumpkin spice tarts, crispy apple votives, Canadian pillar candles, and autumn-themed cube candles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the lesson, we drove to the gift shop, and bought the entire store. We have since made blueberry and raspberry votives, a giant citronella candle for my aunt, one million tea lights of various scents, and some cute cup candles and glass candles. Despite all this, I still get guilted for “forcing” her to drive all the way to St. Marys for something she had no interest in doing whatsoever. None at all.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #27: Learn to Scuba dive.

I tried really hard for this one. I booked weeks in advance for an intro dive course in Maui with Ed Robinson’s Diving, which has excellent reviews on Tripadvisor. But LONG STORY HERE, they cancelled. I tried again on two other days, and they told me the whether was too rough and the visibility too poor for the shore dives that intro divers do. I tried again in Belize, on Caye Caulker, but before I got around to booking I was bitten by a dog in Mexico and told to stay out of the water for three days to prevent infection. Naturally, two of those days were our only days on Caye Caulker. I tried one last time to organize an intro dive in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, but because of the altitude requirements and bus schedule, couldn’t make it work.

I’m counting this one as done anyway, however, because I did a lot of snorkeling in Hawaii and Central America, as well as a bunch of adventure activities I’ve never done before, and doing things I’ve never done before or always wanted to do is the whole point of this list. I went parasailing, caving, cenote jumping, and finally, snuba diving, which is ALMOST scuba diving, after all.

Essentially, I’m treating item 27 the same way as item 56: I have completed this in spirit, and by the end of the year, hope to complete it in name by taking a diving course in Toronto.

PICTURE OF MY SNUBA DIVING

P1030089

100 things, 1000 days?

Well, 61 things and change, anyway. I’ll do a more thorough report when I get hold of a computer that works, because texting a post from my phone doesn’t really seem like something I want to do.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #34: Watch 20 [21, apparently] great old movies.

With the completion of The Godfather III, this is DONE. And you can’t say I was easy on myself. There were fun movies and short movies, but also three-hour-long, tedious, infuriating trilogies, and when movies came in groups, I watched them all (see: The Alien Movies, The Back to the Future Movies, the aforementioned Godfather Atrocities). I loved some, liked some, and hated some, and I feel like I’ve expanded my cultural knowledge. This item’s a keeper – I think I’ll have it again on my next list.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 988 other followers