That’s the tune of an ice cream truck


The Canadian Tulip Festival, which is said to be the largest tulip festival in the world and extends for a ten-day period every May, has officially begun here in Ottawa. I must say, though, that for an Ottawa resident, I’m a sloth when it comes to attending the tulip festival, which happens in my own back yardSo yesterday, with a camera in hand and a newly activated enthusiasm for tulips, I ventured to Dow’s Lake, the main hub of the tulip festival, to greet my sassy tulip friends which, to my surprise, were already in full bloom.


Following a brief but heart-warming tour around the tulip gardens, I took a long walk along the whole stretch of the Canal towards the downtown core. Clear, sunny skies; calm, glistening waters; the sound of birds chirping; the scent of spring. How peaceful. Taking a walk in nature is enough to tickle my happy button.

I recall a friend asking me once upon a blue moon ago what my favourite mode of transportation was. Walking. Walking in the rain or shine, hot or cold. Whatever the conditions, wherever the stroll, autonomy, creativity, and self-mastery are exercised in the very act of walking. And how liberating it feels to defy the boundaries of urban space, this “city of glass” and sociopolitical construct. Walking aimlessly without a destination, and to be everywhere yet simultaneously nowhere — now that feels empowering.

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone walking or running along the Canal, which is why walking there yesterday incited bittersweet feelings in me. While I felt a deep sense of peace due to my gratitude for all the beauty that nature has to offer, at the same time, however, I felt as if I was tracing my own footsteps to the past, which was quite unsettling. Have you experienced it? A feeling so unbelievably familiar and close, yet so distant and elusive?

We’re talking pole dancing


Banana pancakes are a breakfast treat for me, and I make them only once in a blue moon even though they’re quick and healthy, with just two eggs, a banana, and a dash of baking powder, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. But because the other morning nature suddenly called, I gave these pancakes a go for a belly-satisfying breakfast.

That morning’s eat deserves highlighting because it marked the first time where I felt I’ve truly eaten mindfully, being in the present moment and savouring each bite of my food without my thoughts somersaulting to the extraterrestrial dimension. I didn’t even read while eating which has been my daily routine for the past few years, and instead focused on one task at a time. It’s remarkable how good I felt when I invested my presence in the process at hand.

I guess you could say that I’ve embarked on a meditative footing lately; and now that I’ve completed undergrad after five bittersweet years, divorcing myself from the pollutants of everyday life has been effortless. Solitude, which is something I value immensely, is imperative in order for me to establish my equilibrium. Only when I hibernate for a light-year — and I mean this in astronomical terms — and concentrate on aligning my mind and body, can I then begin to embrace greater awareness, and gain perspective and insight into myself and life at large.

I feel that although progression is rampant in the realm of technological and scientific advancements, regression simultaneously occurs in the realm of the human spirit and psyche. Every step taken forward is equivalent to one step taken back. The progression of society and the machine has simultaneously prompted human beings to become strangers to nature, each other, and more importantly, to themselves. It’s mind-boggling.

Diving into the depths of one’s psyche and confronting the darkest shadows of one’s soul, and doing so ruthlessly, yet with the utmost compassion and understanding, is one project that each individual who treads the soils of this fine earth ought to undertake. That is, if we intend to make the world a better place, for collective fear (neurosis) and collective love are two sides of the same coin.


Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana @ 200 Preston St., Ottawa, ON

The highlight of yesterday was venturing to Pasticceria Gelateria, a pastry shop at the heart of Little Italy. I was ecstatic when V suggested this little gem, for I’ve also been meaning to venture here for quite some time, especially after having read good reviews on their gelato and desserts.

Talk about heaven on earth for those with a sweet tooth! Cakes, macarons, biscotti, mousses, flans, croissants, fruit tarts, cannoli, assorted cookies, gelato, you name it. The choices: V decided on the orange-chocolate mousse, raspberry macaron, and Nutella chocolate truffle; and I ordered the pistachio macaron, strawberry-chocolate mousse, and pomegranate cookie.

With V, it was love at first bite with her raspberry macaron and the rest of her picks. As for me, I was enamored by the heavenly taste of the pistachio macaron; however, texture wise, the shells lacked that crispness that I would’ve liked, and were rather chewy. Moreover, although I didn’t like the mousses or the pomegranate cookie, I did fall in love with V’s Nutella chocolate truffle. It was rich and divine.

Following our dessert date on the patio, we decided to wind down and sit on a bench at a park and talk. Unconditional love in modern day society; self-knowledge and self-growth as a life process; the fleeting nature of external forms; cultivating authentic happiness; pet peeves we have; her love of, and my inexperience with, cosmetics; the age of technology. We even learned that each of us has been harboring a secret desire to learn the art of pole dancing, or pole fitness — whatever suits your fancy. Such a comical revelation undoubtedly marked a moment of marriage between our souls.

You could tell when someone’s passionate about something, especially when you witness a glow on their face and they go on and on about it for hours on end. But you simply sit there and listen, for in that moment, their happiness is also your happiness. To listen to someone attentively and compassionately, and to dedicate yourself wholly to them in their presence, is one of the greatest gifts that you can bestow upon another. However, to be here for someone, is also to be here for ourselves. Interbeing and Suchness.

How serene it feels to sit down face-to-face with someone and just bond with them on a spiritual, emotional, and mental level without engaging in any sort of activity. Moments of chatter can even be interrupted by long periods of silence, just basking in our stillness and presence. Or, if you’re alone, just simply being. That’s life in an in- and out- breath, right here. And to truly be here, in this very moment, with all of you, with someone you love and care about, or even just with yourself — that’s life lived well.