Thursday, October 4, 2018

September Recap: Moving to Peterborough, Ontario + All the Money I Spent!

I've really been enjoying Trent and the city of Peterborough.  There's enough for me here that I don't feel like I'm missing out on much.

Moving out, my biggest concern wasn't about school, it was about making friends.  There are certain people I click with because I feel like its a mutual friendship where we both enjoy each other's company and there's no drama.  Unfortunately, I'm not close with anyone in my residence except for my roommate, Nathalie.  Our section of residence has a party reputation and I don't really do parties.  In fact, I've never actually been to a 'party'.  This may sound lame to some, but just last week I went over to a newly befriended friend's place and had my first concoction of vodka?  But it wasn't anything crazy (don't be fooled by the sound of vodka) because we barely drank and I didn't even feel tipsy.  What I did feel were the three slices of Domino's pizza, a popsicle, and sour Maynards.   As my high school physics teacher would constantly say... I DIGRESS.  I'm really glad that Nathalie and I get a long.  During orientation week, we had a late night McDonald's run which brought us closer.  That and we both love animals.  What's funny is, while she'll either play Shawn Mendes or I'll play Demi Lovato, the guys living in the room beside us actually play some pretty good music ranging from country, to pop, to throwbacks.  It's great that they have a decent taste in music because that's where most of the partying happens everyday.  I don't even have to play my own music most of the time because our walls are not at all sound proof.

To follow up, yes I have made really cool friends.  Sreeja was probably the first friend I made. We went downtown one Sunday because I had to get some supplies from Staples.  At the bus stop coming back, we started a conversation with another girl, Katie.  So there you have it Sreeja and Katie, two cool people I met.  We got off the bus and went over to Sreeja's place for some Mac and Cheese.  Oh my, I have never had a Kraft Dinner as fancy as the one Sreeja made for us (bless her soul).  She seriously changed my view on Kraft Dinner.  That was cool, and we also watched To All the Boys I've Loved Before.  This was my second time seeing it, and it's not my favourite, but it is a pretty decent teen romance film.  I read the book many years back and I'd rate them the same on a level of satisfaction.  It makes me really proud to see an increase in asian representation in Hollywood films coming from someone who at a young age loved acting but never thought there was a future for asians in Hollywood.

Anyways, there was a lot that happened this month so hopefully you'll enjoy this post!  I'm hoping that this can be a reoccurring monthly series to help me keep this blog current but we all know how I say I'm going to do one thing on this blog then end up never setting aside time to do it.


I had been anticipating going to this event since summer break.  The Peterborough Veg Fest is an annual event that brings together people who value animals, the environment, living sustainably, and eating good food.  When I first got there, I was super hungry.  The campus food lacks variety and diversity so when I saw Curry Mantra, I didn't look back.  I got their bean and spinach curry with lemon rice and a samosa.  Indian cuisine is one of my favourites because I love spices and foods that make you feel good.  I also tried a vegan carrot cake from @vegansweethome a local company in Peterborough.  It was so good!  It's funny how I used to hate carrot cake but now it's become one of my favourite types of desserts.

I'm not sure what got the ball rolling on my journey to a low waste lifestyle, but this past month I have been making small changes in my day to day that reduce the amount of plastics I accept into my life and overall being more environmentally friendly.  A large part of this change is inspired by @sustainably_vegan.  The small and easy switches included: bringing my own reusable container wherever I go so I don't have to accept takeout containers, bringing my own bamboo cutlery so I don't have to use plastic forks, bringing my reusable water bottle/travel mug so I don't have to get my drinks in single use plastic cups, and bringing my 100% cotton grocery bag so single use plastic bags are no longer part of the picture!  These are just a few of the small changes I have made and more importantly been able to make a daily habit.


My favourite spot to eat on campus is at The Seasoned Spoon.  There are so many reasons to love this place.  For one, their food is locally grown and lots of it is actually grown on campus (more on this later).  I never get tired of eating here.  I've had their soups,  rice bowls, and daily specials and it's all so delicious.  As much as I am grateful that it's located in my residence on the West Bank, I'm actually never really close by because all my classes are on the East Bank!  And by this I mean I would have to cross the bridge back and forth just to get there.  If I could eat there everyday I would because it's so refreshing and healthy compared to the cafe food.

Every time I went to a University of Guelph presentation they always made sure to mention that they have been ranked #1 for best food on campus.  I'm not a picky eater whatsoever so I thought they were really juicing this claim.  However, having been living off of the same cafe burgers, fries, Tim's, and Subway for the past couple weeks, I am really starting to appreciate Guelph for their food.  I think campus food should have more healthy options like The Spoon and it should be inexpensive/subsidized by the government.  I've got to start buying my own groceries because it's just not sustainable to live off of their food.  The good thing is Peterborough has lots of farmer's markets.


One weekend, I went on a 17km walk in support of the Curve Lake First Nations.  It was a great way to see parts of Peterborough that I hadn't seen before and also and great way to be involved within the community and show support.  I made sure to pack a container and my bamboo cutlery set in anticipation for the meal they were generously providing us at the halfway point.  I walked a good portion by myself and it was great to be able to be present in the moment and enjoy my surroundings.  The views were so calming and there were lots of horses on the way.  Every time I take a picture of the land it looks like an old painting.  I guess that's the closest comparison I have because I'm just not used to such vastness.

Eventually, I started talking to a lady named Carol.  We had a great conversation about sustainable living, indigenous studies, and typical conversation topics.  I've noticed that I tend to attract older people.  I don't know if this is a good thing because I'd really appreciate having friends my age haha.


I find that if I don't have something planned, I feel lost.  I love having a busy schedule and September was just that.  I got involved with a bunch of volunteer positions, joined clubs, and made an effort to check out community events.

The Trent Vegetable Gardens is one of the places I volunteer at.  On the first day, one of the lead volunteers, Jason, was curious to know why I chose to volunteer with them.  Truth be said, I wasn't too sure.  Maybe it was wanting to be a part of a community who values sustainability or maybe it was wanting somewhere to relax and decompose for a couple hours every Monday morning before continuing on with my four hours of calculus.  Whatever it is, I'm glad I did it because I love all the places The Garden supports.  For one, we harvest a bunch of vegetables for The Seasoned Spoon.  To think that the kale, tomatoes, and bok choy I helped harvest is being sent to my favourite place to eat on campus just makes me more proud of The Garden and even more of a supporter for The Spoon.  On top of that, The Garden sends tons of vegetables to a local organization called Food Not Bombs where every Monday afternoon a group of volunteers come together to cook a vegan meal and serve it to anyone who would like.  I think it's a wonderful initiative that really brings the community together and I love being able to support them.

Not only am I enjoying harvesting, I'm learning so much as well.  In the picture above you can see a bunch of us preparing tomato seeds to be planted next year.  The seeds had been extracted from various different types of tomatoes, then fermented for a week.  This process allows the bacteria to eat away the slimy exterior coating of the seeds so that they don't mold.  After a week, the seeds are washed so that any left over slime is gone (that's what I helped with).  Next they are left to dry and will be brought out next year so more delicious tomatoes can grow again.  Before volunteering here, I never really acknowledged just how big vegetables could grow and all the different types there were. It was so different for me to see how big the kale and the spinach grew, and all the differently shaped tomatoes.  I'm loving learning about growing your own food.  They even let you take some home to cook for yourself and I would love to if only I had a kitchen to cook in (oh the dorm life).  I did however take home a celiac (celery root) since I'll be heading back to Toronto for Thanksgiving.  I had never seen or heard of celiac before so I'm not sure what the best way to cook it is, but I'm thinking a roasted vegetable soup is my best option.

Another place I volunteer at is the Riverview Park and Zoo!  You may remember me mentioning this place in an older post.  I'm really fortunate to have been given a position as a Zoo Crew Educator.  I'll be running sessions with 3-5 year olds and teaching them about wildlife!  I've only been to the orientation meeting so far, but I'm really excited not only to learn a ton myself, but to hopefully get more opportunities out of this.  I'd love to get a full-time summer position as a Student Educator and eventually become a Student Zoo Keeper.  That's the current goal I'm working towards, so hopefully in a few months I will be reporting back with good news :)


The last volunteer position I'll mention is my Turtle Feeding Role with The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.  If you have yet to see a hatchling, you have yet to experience just how precious life can be.  Baby turtles are adorable!  My role is pretty self explanatory.  I'm in charge of a huge section of turtles that are in the process of healing - most of them being painted turtles and snapping turtles.  Again, I'm learning a lot about different species of turtles and how to identify them.  The OTCC has an onsite vet and maybe I'll be able to shadow some surgeries in the future.


I didn't really end September on a high note.  In fact, the ending was more like waiting alone at the bus stop at 7:30pm not knowing that the bus doesn't run past 7pm on Sundays and speed walking 45 mins to the Bus Terminal to catch the Trent Express with fortunately does run late.

Living in Toronto, everybody complains about the TTC.  The construction is inconvenient and the delays are annoying but now I take it all back.  I miss being able to hop on the subway and be able to go anywhere in Toronto.  I miss being on a bus that actually tells you what the next stop is.  I actually miss having to wait 20 minutes for a bus because now it's more like 40 minutes.  And I miss being able to travel around town late at night not having to worry about the subway closing at 7pm on a Sunday.  Moral of the rant is that I think I jinxed Landsdowne place, and will most likely not be returning to that part of Peterborough unless I have a car.

On a lighter note, I love the Peterborough Public Library.  I've been riding the bus a lot more and having a book on hand when I'm travelling makes me feel like I'm doing something productive with my time.  The book I'm currently reading is Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.  It's definitely not my favourite, but I do like learning about evolution.  I'm a pathetic six books behind schedule if I want to reach my goal of reading 30 books this year, according to Goodreads.  So far I've read about half?  So I've got a lot of reading to do.


Now comes the interesting part where I break down all my purchases this month.  I'm very into managing my money and making sure I'm taking all the important steps for the future, such as early retirement, travel, and further education (which are my main priorities right now).  I feel like this is a beneficial segment to add to these monthly recaps because it lets me reflect on the purchases I've made and find areas of improvement.  Here's the breakdown:

Eating Out: $43.89
Groceries: $1.75
Beauty: $18.00
Phone: $28.25
Miscellaneous: $147.89

TOTAL: $265.98


People say that during the first of month of uni you tend to spend more than average.  I'm hoping that's the case because in general I did have some abnormal purchases such as my $52.50 driving test.  What shames me the most is that I spent $43.89 on food!  It's crazy how fast it adds up because I thought I was better at controlling myself.  I noticed that when I really make an effort not to spend, I can go just over a week cold turkey.  Let's hope October is more successful.

Wow.  I can't believe I had the time to write all this haha.  Thanks for reading!

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