My Five Year Testimonial

Straight to the point today.

Go for it.

Here I go.

Go!

I have been a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters association for just over 5 years now. I was asked to write a testimonial of this experience. After shedding many tears yesterday while writing, I felt like sharing this with you all.

Here is the result of what will be read tomorrow night at the annual meeting:

Good evening to you all (from a distance, since someone will be reading this in my place),

I started my adventure as a Big Brother just over 5 years ago. Let me take you back to that time, since it is the starting point of a wonderful journey that has allowed me to evolve tremendously.

My mother told me about the Big Brother Big Sister association one day while driving in the car. Just to situate you all, I was 19 at the time, and I have one brother who is four years younger than me. Only a few weeks after hearing about the association from my mom, I was already sitting in front my computer screen, all excited, writing an email to the association to express my interest in becoming a Big Brother.

After a short amount time, my first meeting was setup with Christian, my soon-to-be little brother. I was explained that Christian was a 9 year old boy who liked sports and video games. This was perfect seeing as I am a video game, board game and sport aficionado.

I met Christian and his family with the caseworker on a nice sunny afternoon, and I will admit I was a little shy, and so was he! It was a good thing someone from the association was there to help break the ice (even the sun that day wasn’t enough to melt the ice away!). The meeting went well; we played some frisbee, chatted a little bit, and once finished, we setup our next meeting. We decided we’d play some board games next time. Christian didn’t know much about board games, but he seemed very interested in delving into something new.

During our next meetup, we played board games for a few hours. With this, and the next few meetups, we quickly discovered our activity which we still do every time we see each other until this day: play board games! Within a month or two, Christian became much more comfortable and we started discussing about our lives, video games, his family, my family, and every thing that came to mind!

Fast-forward one year.

I was contacted by the association saying that I had fulfilled my minimum 1 year mandate. My reaction was “Really? It definitely doesn’t feel like a year has already passed!”. They asked if I planned to stop or continue with Christian and the association. I sat there, perplexed. To me, there was only one legitimate answer. Just the thought of not getting to see Christian anymore squeezed my heart. I felt like I now had a second brother, and I could not fathom cutting this deep bond that had been created between him and I. I answered saying I planned on continuing for the years to come. But throughout the following years I was even more surprised with what happened and how I felt: the bond deepened, and we started talking even more, had a few sleepovers where we played a lot of games, and our relationship evolved into something I never even imagined.

The tipping point was the day of our 3rd yearly meetup with the caseworker. Every year, Christian, his family, the caseworker, and myself meetup to keep tabs on how every thing is going. There was one of Christian’s answers during the meetup which touched me profoundly (even now, as I write about this moment, shivers are creeping down my arms and a tear is dripping from my eye).

Each year, Christian was asked “What is it that you enjoy the most of spending time with Jonathan?”. The first two years, his answer was the same. He answered: “I get to play a lot of board games!”. An answer which I was happy to hear, because it reinforced the fact that the activities we were doing were chosen in duality, and that I wasn’t forcing my hobby upon him. But during the 3rd year’s meeting, he gave a different answer. His answer was:

“I just like spending time with Jonathan. I feel like I now have an older brother.”

Such a simple answer, yet it revealed so much to me. A wave of emotions swept over me, and in that instant I realized how grateful I was of having decided to become a Big Brother. It has been one of the decisions that has impacted my life the most in an indescribable way.

To this day, I still see Christian every two to three weeks, and yes, we still always only ever play board games. And we love it!

The 5 years have passed so fast. And just thinking about spending another 5 years with Christian brings a smile to my face.

Foot-note: want to play a board game? I sure do.

What Did You Think Of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2?

Two weeks ago I went to see Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 with my brother and our Nana.

Aww, how cute. Taking his grandmother to the movies.

We went to the last showing on the Tuesday night: 10:00PM.

Woah. What kind of grandmother is this?Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Vol-2-Empire-Photo-of-Yondu-and-Rocket-Cropped.jpg

My Nana is the only one in her several story high apartment building who still has all her lights on at 3:00AM. She’s up and about, her fingers pacing over the keyboard liking and commenting on Facebook, feeding and playing with her rabbits or her bird, sometimes just relaxing on the couch watching some Netflix, or even sitting there thinking about her awesome grandchildren—I wonder who they are?

It has become a new tradition of sorts to go to the cinema with her around 10:00PM or 11:00PM on a week night, about once every 3-4 weeks.

A tradition? That is a strong word.

Well, it was only the second time this “tradition” occurred, but the plan is that it keeps happening regularly—sheesh, get off my back, or else I might whistle and impale you with a crimson arrow.

I had enjoyed Guardians Of The Galaxy (Vol. 1) a lot. I saw it in the cinema when it came out in 2014. Like many people, the soundtrack brought back memories and chimed the chords of nostalgia. I simply loved it.

Here are my comments for Vol. 2:

Pros / Positive Points:

  • Once again, the soundtrack got me. The moment I dropped of my Nana at home—might I say it was about 1:00AM, and she was ready and willing to go out for a drink or do something of the sorts—I opened up Spotify and played the Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack. I loved every moment of it.
  • The movie made me laugh juste about as much as the first. I love the genre of comedy used, and Chris Pratt does, in my opinion, an amazing job with his lines. Just the way he says his comments makes me laugh.
  • Yondu. Oh wow, Yondu. I love him. I literally think this would be my choice of a special power if I could choose one right now. It is unique, deadly, and too cool! I think I am a Yondu fanboy—ahh, who am I kidding; I am a Yondu fanboy.
  • And last but not least, Rocket Racoon being as sly and devilish as always; he makes ma laugh constantly!

Cons / Negative Points:

  • The introduction made me laugh quite a bit, but I felt it dragged on for too long. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the epic fight with the intergalactic monster instead of Baby Groot dancing. Although his dance moves were stellar—and extremely lucky at dodging literally everything—it was too long for my liking.
  • The story seemed a little dull and  underdeveloped. I found that they were too focused on building the movie around the soundtrack and not enough around a compelling storyline.

Amidst all of this, overall, I enjoyed the movie. I would gladly see it again in a year or two, for some laughs and smiles—and obviously, to see Yondu again.

What did you think of the movie? Did you prefer the first or the second?

Foot-note: Groot. Groot? I am Groot! (Ok now I’ll push the wrong button on the bomb). Grooooooot!

What Is Your Favorite Word?

Yes, yes, I’m one of those people who loves words!

Each day I take a few minutes to read the Word of the Day on the Dictionary website. It is my equivalent to a regular non-word-worm’s—I even allow myself to invent words now—morning coffee; my day seems incomplete without it.

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My caffeine is… words!

Not funny. Please, go on.

I started this daily reading about 2-3 years ago. I remember I was working as a cashier at the liquor store, and I would spend the downtime in between customers reading the previous—weeks and weeks worth—Words of the Day. A few months after having started doing this, the liquor store computer system got revamped and employees were now only allowed to browse the website that was used to search for the products of the store.

I feel like I may have been one of the causes of this provincial-wide software change—I guess I am proud of some sorts if I was, I mean, provoking a provincial-wide change: check off the bucket list!

Moving on to my words.

Here a few of my favorites—that I can recall, because honestly, remembering complex words that I have never heard of before isn’t too easy—from the past years of reading:

1. My favorite is without a doubt apotheosis. It sounds like a godlike term, hence my love for it. I love every thing about it. Every. Single. Thing. Apotheosis is a noun that depicts the “ideal example”. Used in a sentence it looks like this: Apotheosis is the apotheosis of a great word.

Well aren’t you a clever Bee.

2. Another word I love is draconian. Draconian is an adjective that refers to something “unusually severe or cruel”. Here is an example: Deirdre’s draconian methods of ruling leave the citizens in a constant state of panic. I love this word because I find it sounds just as cruel as it’s meaning. Say it a few times out loud with a deep voice and see—first take a quick look around to make sure no one is watching you, for your societal sanity’s sake: Draconian, Draconian, Draconian. Does it not sound mean and dark?

3. The last one I will share with you today is scythe, which I assume will be more known than the latter. I love the flow of letters in the word scythe because I find they flow seamlessly—alright, I will admit, even I find myself a little bit of a word-weirdo here. I also love the pronunciation. I always thought it was pronounced “sahy-the” but it is pronounced “sahyth”. To properly understand the pronunciation go to this link and click on the microphone icon. Scythe is a noun and is the tool that death wields. This tool is more commonly used by mere mortal farmers when cutting grass or grain. In a sentence, it looks like this: Death was confused when he arrived to claim the farmer’s daughter’s life, because she too was wielding a scythe.

Witty example #2. I’m on fire today—and I’m as ninja-esque as cats so I am not getting burned (refer to this post to understand the inside joke).

Congrats Jonathan. Congrats.

What are some words that you love? I’m sure there must be at least a few words that you love because of their meaning, pronunciation, sentimental value, or for some other awesome reason.

Foot-note: wielding a scythe in front of a child is the apotheosis of draconian parenting.

How Do Cats Not Get Burned?

Meet Marley.

Oh, so cute!FullSizeRender.jpg

Marley is cat.

No s**t.

He is named after Bob Marley.

Ok, at least that I didn’t know.

But yes, he can definitely be cute at times. Just as he can be a pest many other times.

Marley is my roommate’s cat. He is about 3 years old, slightly chubby—to be honest, he is quite fat, but Marley cannot read between em dashes, so I’m safe—and is the second cat that I’ve grown to like throughout my life.

I am not much of a cat person, and the first cat I enjoyed spending quality time with—we would clutch for minutes on end in an abrazo—was Serena. Serena was the first cat I ever had. She was with me throughout my childhood and passed away sometime in my double-digit-hood.

I have had several others cats since then, but I was never ultra-fond of them—sorry mum, Nala does fall in this category. And before you ask, no, I did not hate them; I simply felt neutral feelings towards them. However, I’ve grown to enjoy Marley’s presence—at times.

He has the tendency to jump on the table and countertops several times a day, if not several times an hour at least. Especially when he is hungry, which he tends to be almost incessantly—did I mention he could lose a few belly pounds? He loves to jump up on the table in the middle of a heated board game and make several pieces go flying helter-skelter. Although sometimes I wonder if he is just trying to make a well thought out strategic move…

You might be wondering “Maybe you should have titled this post ‘Meet Marley: The Cat’, because I have not read anything about burning?”.

Do not fret; heat is on the way!

On average, I cook two to three meals a day. For the vast majority of these I have the utmost faithful companion Marley, aiding in his varying feline ways: picking up my mushrooms and throwing them on the ground, bitting and tearing ravenously a ziploc with fish in it, clawing—ever so carefully, because he does have a gentle soul deep down—at my arm while I cook and then gently grasping it between his two paws to lick my forearm intensely, and the list goes on.

He also loves to jump on the stove—and, let me tell you, he does not care if the stovetop is on or off. Every time I am awestruck: he never jumps on the heated ring. He has a 100% success rate of being a ninja.

In all seriousness, to my knowledge, he has not burned himself in the past 10 months of us living together. Or maybe he is simply an extraterrestrial creature sent from the other side of the galaxy and he is equipped with heat-absorbing paws, among possibly many other clandestine abilities—such as some good adipose tissue storing capacities.

Marley, please tell me if you are. Everything will be much easier that way.

I am always amazed at how he jumps on the correct side of the stovetop and without fail avoids the heated plate. I am always scared when I see he in mid-leap that he will land on it and let out a screech. But, as I said, he nimbly dodges it each time.

Does your cat have a tendency to jump onto the stove? Or do anything else that is dangerous but manages to avoid danger in an almost magical fashion?

Paw-notes: miaow, purrrr, hisssss purrrrrr—also known as onomatopoeais.

I Am Proud

This will be a quick post, and mostly a boastful one. But hey, I think I deserve it—actually, I know I do! I’ve been working on my mémoire for the past year and a half, and I submitted my final version yesterday.

After having graduated from the 1st cycle of osteopathic studies in December 2015, I had to decide between two options for the 2nd cycle. My choices dwindled down to:4790331313_8f291f6480.jpg

  • Mémoire: consists of doing either a quantitative or qualitative study. The mémoire requires a large amount of research, dedication, no procrastination, and a lot of writing, which are all mainly stuff I dislike—beside procrastination, that, I bathe in!
  • Clinicat: consists of working for several days in a clinic supervised by an experienced osteopath, writing a case report, taking several post-1st cycle classes, and some more—et cetera.

Throughout the four and a half year 1st cycle program, I was convinced I was going to do the clinicat seeing as I profoundly dislike research. However, one month before having to submit the form stating which 2nd cycle program I’d like to do, I had a paradigm shift; all of a sudden I wanted to do the mémoire. Why? Simply because I thought I’d get more out of it in the long run. I also didn’t think the clinicat would bring me much of anything. The thought of doing the clinicat instead of the mémoire up until then had always been the choice of the easy path, a path I am all too used to trotting down.

But wait. Didn’t you just say you hated doing research?

Indeed I did.

I still do.

And maybe I always will.

It was the first time in my life—I think—that I came to the realization of choosing a path because of what it would bring me throughout the journey. I’ve always been someone who likes taking the easy path—although I still put in the necessary work, with a good chunk of awesome procrastination—and for one of the first times I decided to take the path less enticing in exchange for greater personal growth.

That is why I am feeling proud, right now. A grin carved its way across my face yesterday only several minutes after having handed in my final version of my mémoire. I was, and am, proud of myself.

[Celestial high-five!]

I also have trouble giving myself credit in everyday life, so I am doubly proud of having written this blog post.

[Interdimensional high-five!]

When was the last time you were profoundly moved by your own action / accomplishment / anything special to you? I’d love to hear some of your heart-warming tales.

References: Jonathan Naylor’s proud brain.

Can You Control Your Dreams?

Something unbelievable is happening to you.

You cannot fathom this as being reality: you get an insane promotion; you win the lottery and are able to travel the world to your heart’s content; you’re soaring above the clouds, living in harmony with birds and dragons; you’re transforming into a Super Saiyan for the first time—that might just be awesome for me and my geeky-ness.become-a-professional-pilot.jpg

Reality?

Fantasy?

Truth?

Myth?

You realize all is too good to be true—except I still believe to this day that the yellow-golden hair transformation is achievable and not too good to be true, all in due time—and that is because it isn’t.

You come to a sudden realization: this is not reality; I am dreaming!

Time to take the reins and fulfill my wildest desires [insert grin].

This phenomenon happens at least several times a year to me; I realize I’m dreaming, I manage to remain inside it, and I take control. It is a delight! I become an omnipresent entity capable of controlling things ranging from the animate to the inanimate, from the corporeal to the surreal. I am able to lead my dream in the direction I want, and I can explore circumstances that would never be possible for me—or anyone, really—within the boundaries of our world.

Here are some of my highlight “self-induced” dreams from the past few years:

  • I inherited the ability to read people’s minds.
  • I was able to hover a few feet from the ground. I have yet to be able to fully fly without any restrictions, although I have tried countless times. This seems to be one of the limits of my dream controlling capacities.
  • I managed to cast several kamehamehas—although all were below 9000.

I brought this topic up while chatting with some people this week, and they told me that they couldn’t control their dreams. One of them said she is able to re-enter a dream if she falls back to sleep fast enough, although he affirmed that he can’t control it upon entering his dreamscape. It seems I was the only one present capable of controlling dreams.

That piqued my curiosity: are you able to control your dreams? Either way, what would you do if you could?

Side-note: this post’s theme definitely seems to be Dragon Ball Z. I have already opened up a tab with the first episode of Dragon Ball Z Kai. Now, decisions decisions…

What Music Makes You Productive?

For as long as I can remember, music has been a ubiquitous part my studying—and life. I remember how at first I needed to swap CDs in and out of my Walkman [(knowledge insert: the first CD Walkman, or Discman, came out in 1984], essentially alternating between the handful of CDs I loved—oh the times spent listening to that Meteora CD by Linkin Park.

87584838.jpgBack then—I’m making myself sound slightly prehistoric, albeit this “era” of mine I’m referring to was roughly 10-15 years ago—no one had the luxury of choosing between millions of songs at any given place, at any given time.

Today, with the copious amounts of music applications, people have the possibility to virtually[insert reaction: Is that pun intended?] [Ominous response: yes, yes, yes!]— listen to anything they want. I find this amazing! It allows me to discover music easier and quicker than when I had to go to HMV, put on a set of headphones available on the second floor in the CD section, and sift through the different CDs that were on “audio display”. But to be honest, I enjoyed doing this quite a bit.

Moving on to the topic of this post: what type of music makes me productive.

I listen to a wide array of musical genres. My choice is often contingent on the task at hand. Over and above that, I tend to go through phases that last a few months at a time. However, I have a pith set of genres that I outrightly prefer—these are ranked in the order that they are coming to mind as I write this and not in order of preference:

Heavy Metal: I have loved heavy metal ever since I hit the double digits. My first concert was Linkin Park in 2003. Not really considered heavy metal, but they did have some relatively heavy songs on some of their first albums. Whenever I need to get into a mindset of “s**t needs to be done, right now”, I put on some In Flames and the ball gets rolling—and banging and screaming.

Classical: another genre that has withstood the test of time is classical music; my grand-father was a pianist, and as a result I heard him playing the piano quite often in my childhood. I listen to classical—my favorite is solo piano classical music—when I want to relax at night when I’m on my laptop or for the same reason I mentioned for heavy metal—although I choose classical when my ears request softer sound sources.

EDM—drum and bass; slow deep house: I started listening to electronic dance music (EDM) around 8-10 years ago. It is a genre for me that comes and goes with time, and thus my listening habits of EDM are paroxysmal. To name a few artists I appreciate: Camo & Krooked, Metrik, David August and all the latest Anjunadeep albums.

Pop-rock: my selection of artist in this genre are the ones who ressemble Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, or Drew Holcomb and The Neighboors. I went through a phase this past summer of about 6 months listening only to this genre, and it has slowly started to fade to give way to some drum and bass [loud sound insert: wanh wanh wanhhhh].

There are several other styles of music that I listen to, but these four represent the majority of the fodder for my ears.

What are your favourite genres for getting productive? Are they different from when you want to relax? Do you need non-vocal music if you need to be productive?

Side note: music with vocals are not detrimental to my productivity. Feeding music that elate my ears is all I need to put my instant gratification monkey back where he belongs—reference to this TED talk.