Sunday, October 30, 2005

Operation Christmas Child

"We hope you enjoy these gifts and find joy in life,
Do not give up, especially in times of strife.
Have a Merry Christmas, and for now forget your fears,
There are people here to help you and save you from many tears.
Let God into your heart, and joy will surely follow,
So as you read this message, think happily of tomorrow."
On Friday night, my Kyrios small group got together and packed some shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. For those of you that don't know, OCC is a way for us to give some hope and joy to children overseas in countries that have suffered through war, poverty, natural disasters, etc. The shoeboxes are packed with some toys, hygiene items, school supplies and some words of encouragement.

The poem above was written by one of the teens. It's actually a nice poem--very thoughtful. However, to be honest, I think it's a bit TOO DEEP for young kids to understand. Plus, who knows if English is even their first language? :) I actually wanted the whole group to write it together, but the teen just did it on his own. I had stepped out of the room to get some supplies, but by the time I got back, he was already so focused on his composition. At the time, I didn't know what to do because he felt so proud of his work and I felt awkward about criticizing it. In retrospect, I should have been a little more persuasive to revise it so it would be suitable and understandable for children aged 5-9.

Anyway, in total, we put together 8 shoeboxes! We were aiming for 4, but everyone did a great job in contributing so much. Praise God! :D

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

World Press Photo 05

Tim looking at the World Press Photo of the Year 2004
(Woman mourns relative killed in tsunami, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India, 28 December)  Posted by Picasa

If you enjoy photography/photojournalism, you really can't miss the World Press Photo Exhibition. The display was at BCE place, which I went to check out on Sunday afternoon with Andrew, Brian, Jon & Tim. The stories that the photos tell are incredible. I often read about news events around the world, but until I saw the photos, it really hit home how devestating and tragic they were--the tsunami, the Iraqi war, the school bombing in Beslan, etc. The images were quite powerful and some were pretty hard to stomach. Of course, there were some more humourous and positive photographs, like the Athens Olympics, but it's the images of death and grief that will stick. They offer a perspective of the world that many of us don't see.

Unfortunately, if you didn't get to see it this year, you'll have to wait until next October.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wedding #10 - Duncan & Nancy

My 2005 wedding season finally came to an end with Duncan and Nancy's. As Gladys astutely put it, they are the perfect engineering couple. They are meticulous, almost to a fault, but somehow manage to stay easygoing all the time. :) Here are the pics.

It was fun celebrating with so many friends the last few months, but it hasn't been kind on the pockets. :P At least for the next few weeks (before Christmas activities start), I'll have some more time on the weekend to do other stuff--even if it's just sleeping in and catching up on rest. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Go Abroad Fair

I decided to go check out the Go Abroad Fair on Saturday. It's geared towards people who have thought about studying, traveling, volunteering or working abroad. It's been on my mind lately 'cause I'm not sure if I'm really getting enough out of work lately. Maybe it's just a phase. It's just crossed my mind 'cause quite a few of my friends have recently left the comforts of home to work or study abroad. I'm wondering if it's an avenue I want to pursue. Almost everyone I know who's done something like this has had an amazing experience. Perhaps the time is right for me to look into it now.

Anyway, I was actually a bit disappointed 'cause it wasn't as big as I expected it to be. I was actually looking more for work opportunities, but most of it was for teaching English in Asian countries. It also seemed like 30% of the booths were recruiting students to go study in Australia. I went to a seminar and a Canadian student shared about some of her experiences studying to be a teacher down at the University of Wollongong. It was interesting to hear that about half her class was Canadian and the school had actually structured part of the curriculum to match the one back home, so it would be easier for them to get a job upon returning to Canada.

I really have no idea what I want to do right now though... time to read up on all the brochures that I picked up...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More gluttony...

Celebrated Tracy's birthday on Tuesday night at "I Can Cook Buffet"... See the pics here...

I feel like I've been eating non-stop for the last two weeks... Japanese buffet, prime rib, wedding banquet, etc. Ugh. I'm gonna get fat again... :P

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thanksgiving and Wedding #9

Man, this past long weekend was really a LONG weekend...

After work on Friday, I went to Kyrios as usual. It actually wasn't a formal program 'cause we were actually gonna get together again on Saturday afternoon. We started off with a bit of worship and then had a 'lite' night by watching the School of Rock. I watched this a couple of years ago and I remember it being pretty good and 'clean'. I still liked it the second time, but I had forgotten about some of the crude humour and vague drug references. The only reason I bring it up is 'cause I don't want any parents knocking on Ian's door. Although the teens have probably seen much worse stuff already, some parents will probably try to nail us about being irresponsible, etc. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but trust me, it's happened before.

Saturday was a totally jam-packed day. Woke up pretty early--for a Saturday--to finish cleaning up stuff since my family's Thanksgiving dinner was bumped up. Then went out to the church to pick up the teens to go volunteer at the Markham Salvation Army, where we helped them sort and pack food for their Thanksgiving food drive. It's interesting what people donate--sometimes it just seems like people are just cleaning up the junk in their pantry. There's the 'regular' items--KD's, chicken noodle soup, pasta, etc.--but then there's also pickled vegetables, exotic spreads (hummus/almond butter), expired canned goods and other questionable items. Rule of thumb: Don't give anything that you wouldn't eat yourself! Just because someone is poor, it doesn't mean they'll eat your garbage. Anyway, even though it was quite a bit of hard work, it was turned out to be a fun afternoon. With about 15 people, the 3 hours flew by pretty quickly and we got it done pretty fast. Since we were so efficient, they coordinator even got some of the teens to do some vacuuming and window washing--which the guys seemed to have way too much fun with. :) Talking to the coordinator, it's somewhat surprising to hear that they serve about 400 families in the Markham area. With all the new developments, I assumed that the communities in Markham were more affluent. It turns out there's quite a lot of Sri Lankan families in the area and with the tsunami last year, the coordinator is expecting the demand to be even greater now with new immigrants/refugees. Their next big food drive is at Christmas and it's supposed to be huge. If you'd like to help out, let me know--the more the merrier!

Anyhow, I rushed home afterwards and finished some cleaning before the guests arrived for dinner. The usual family--who are practically my cousins--came over. I also invited Ben, Janice and Thomas since some of them don't typically have turkey. Even Alvin showed up! ;) My mom made the dinner, which was, as always, great--mashed potoatoes, turkey, stuffing, ratatouille, beef stroganoff, shrimp. Yummy. All made even better with generous amounts of wine. Des, Auntie Vivien (Des' mom), Jenn and Ryan also came by for dessert and Texas Hold' Em (which I suck at). The only thing that was missing was my mom's tiramisu, which was in high demand. Still, we had lots of fruit, papayas that Jenn brought over, apple & pumpkin pie from Janice & Thomas, and a melange of cakes too. Another good Thanksgiving dinner with family & friends with great laughs.

Sunday was another busy day with wedding #9. See the pics here... Albert & Katherine, who I got to know at UW, had both their ceremony and dinner reception at the Hilton Suites Markham. It was a bit strange not having the ceremony at a church. Just funny hearing Kinson exhorting about being 'before the sight of God', yet we were just sitting in the ballroom. It's not a big deal in the end, but I think I'd like to be in a church when my time comes. :P The dinner was pretty good--mainly 'cause it was refreshing not having to eat at another Chinese banquet. I sat with Kinson and Bethany 'cause the majority of the guests weren't from the 'church circle', so Kinson didn't really know anyone else other than the bride & groom, a couple other T3Cers and myself. Anyway, unbelievably the dinner reception finished before 10. The speeches were good 'cause they were short and sweet, and no one shared their life story. :) There was a dance after that, so it was nice to celebrate the night away with some old UW friends.

Monday turned out to be a complete write-off. I was considering going hiking at the Elora Gorge to see the fall leaves, but I'm was just beat from the weekend. I slept all day... It was nice to finally have some rest.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll post after the weekend... It's gonna be a long one! ;)