The Hamilton Tiger Cats Game on Labor Day

Since I was a little kid I’d always watch the NFL and wish I could be at a live game. There is always so much going in the stadium, you just want to be a part of it live.
Fast forward to many years later and an even longer bucket list than I’ve ever had. I’m currently in Canada and even though the NFL is big here, they have a league called the CFL. Major towns have teams just like the US.
So I was excited when a friend of mine at work told me his uncle had some extra  tickets and he wanted to let them go cheap. I didn’t hesitate. Watching a football game live? Wow!
So the big day came. It was Labor Day and it was a sold out game. The Ivor Wynn stadium  where games have been played for close to a century was in its last year as it is being torn down to make way for a new stadium for the Pan Am Games. I was glad to have had the chance to be there.
The game was between the Hamilton TigerCats (home team) and the Toronto Argonauts.  It was hot and my empress and I had problems finding our seats. Apparently the tickets were for the away crowd so we ended up on the opposite side. Did I mention it was hot.
Then during the game they had a draw for prizes. I excitedly checked my pockets and guess what? I couldn’t find my tickets.

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In the end the Ticats lost but in exciting fashion if that counts for anything. The crowd, the food and the company made the experience well worth it. Even though the NFL game is still on my list I am glad I had this chance. Taking them as they come.

SN : Because I lost the tickets we couldn’t get on the free shuttles so we had to walk home. Next time the empress keeps the tickets.

Ainz

 

 

 

 

Reflections on my Leadership Passport Journey

Written below is a reflection I did as part of a program at Centennial College. It was considered extra-curricular and would give me extra credit and a distinction in Leadership on my transcript. The program called the Leadership Passport involves being apart of at least seven activities which ranged from working with the school to volunteering for anything that would involve interactions with as many people as possible. I chose a tree planting exercise which was very fulfilling for me.  Along with the seven it was required that we attend two workshops to be the foundation for what we have to do and also to give us an idea of how to write reflection papers and what they were looking for. we could either write a reflection paper for each activity or write one that would cover all. I chose the latter.  I didn’t ask for permission to mention any names in this blog but I want to mention that this program has helped me to grow as a person which is one of the reasons I decided to do it in the first place. Mission accomplished.

My reflection got some recognition and I was chosen as one of three to represent the program in front of the Board of Governors at the Centennial College. It was a great experience and I leave the school proud of myself and of the school who offered such a great program. Below is an edited version of the paper.

My journey for my Leadership Passport began when I came off the plane in Ontario from Jamaica.  I was in a new place and would meet many different people from different cultures. The culmination of all the experiences would change me into a not only a better leader but a better person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my experiences would be so rich and so deep.  I will leave centennial College with memories that will stay with me forever.

I first started on the journey for my leadership passport after seeing the posting on the school’s website and immediately identifying with it and what they intended for the students who would be involved. I was excited. I immediately started sending letters to the relevant people but actually did not get to start because of the strike at the time. I kept on querying about it until I got a response. I went into the office where I met with Christine and the way the programme was presented to me made it even more appealing. I immediately signed up and attended the relevant workshops which would be my guideline to being a better leader.

By being an international student I qualified for the international education aspect of the program.  This for me was an international experience as I had never left home for so long or interacted with so many cultures.   I was required to work in teams for my course project management which also had a course called Project Leadership where leadership was taught not only from a Canadian perspective but an international one as well. The investment of time into understanding the cultures around is very important.  The interactions with people from Turkey, China, India and from many other places helped me to appreciate even more what I was taught by my parents to be tolerant of others and always look for the advantages of a situation.

As I write this portion I am actually staying with all my Indians friends overnight at their place discussing our cultures, the similarities and differences. Now you may say why did I include that but through interactions with them and others I have learnt that an effective leader understands the difference in culture and that understanding these differences and also the strengths can make him more effective in the way he leads.

My Canadian experience as a student has truly changed my life. At times there was frustration due to language barriers so one thing that I developed for sure during this experience was patience with teachers and students alike.  I also developed close bonds that helped in terms of networking and helped make my transition from home smooth.

My other experience as far as what is categorized on my Leadership passport had to do with working on campus which I did through volunteering.  I worked with the International Department on the occasions I was called upon to represent my country and also Centennial College. This experience was new for me because even though I spend a lot of time with social media I had never been involved with virtual meetings in the form of career fairs and web meetings.

I am a fast learner and within a very short period of time I was able to effectively and efficiently log on and contribute to the virtual meetings.  Another bridge crossed.  I was truly enthusiastic about the whole process.  Being able to help others in achieving their goals while achieving the ones you set for yourself. Isn’t that what leadership is about?  With the use of the school and its resources and making myself available I was able to do just that. It is important that as a leader, you set goals and follow through on them no matter how hard the task.  This is a trait of good leaders and proudly I can say I was tested and achieved what I said I would.  The fruit of your struggles will be always seen as was with the case while working with my beloved school. I have been asked to participate in upcoming events which will take place virtually along with other projects. What other evidence do I need to know that I have overcome and made a positive impact? Purpose is another word that is thrown around but with being given guidelines by the Leadership Passport, I was able to say I worked purposefully towards the goals that needed to be done to not only complete my Leadership passport but become an even better person albeit a better world citizen.

My volunteer experience happened during a time when I was feeling down because of unforeseen circumstances that threatened my course of study. Here is where my perseverance was tested. Would I be able to push through and finish what I started out to do?  Well, I was determined to make sure the answer to that was a resounding yes.  I did 40+ hours working at the Hamilton General Hospital along with a research coordinator who asked me to be in charge of the transferring of data as they were changing the way they handled information that came into their office.   They demanded a high degree of excellence.

My parents had always instilled in me that anything worth doing is worth doing well so that wasn’t the problem.  The challenges with the job were the tight deadlines and unexpected hiccups that caused frustration and exhaustion.  At this point it was one of two things, persevere or give up. I had already gone through a lot to be here in Canada and perseverance was the only way I saw out. You could say my mind was one tracked.

Working with the team at the hospital and finishing the project left me with a feeling of real accomplishment. So much so that this summer I plan to spend time volunteering there while looking for a full-time job. It’s definitely an environment that allows you to interact with a lot of people and at the same time observing different leadership styles.

My Service Learning experience took place at the Morningside Park on April 28th 2012.  I had grown up being a part of the junior naturalist movement but had never gotten the chance to be a part of a plant restoration before. I was extremely excited.   With things affecting the earth such as global warming, planting trees may seem insignificant but is exactly the opposite. Here is a chance to make a BIG impact I thought on the earth and its future.  When the opportunity came up I jumped at it knowing it is through situations like this that leaders make an impact. These leaders not only give orders but lead by example.

After watching Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth” and even experiencing the mild winter that has just passed I saw the urgency of the situation reinforced when we got there and it was explained that the area in which we were going to work had eroded because of the lack of trees. It was up to the group of us to save that area from total destruction.

Another good thing about the tree restoration exercise was the chance to meet up with people who were as passionate about what they were doing as I was.  We have a saying in Jamaica that “one one cocoa full basket” meaning that in this case everybody coming together will make a greater impact.  We as a group shared with each other. I left making new friends and having an even deeper appreciation of teamwork.

To sum it all up the traits of leadership that were observed during all these exercises were not new to me as I had seen them before exhibited at different times in my life.  What was new though were how they were presented and manifested themselves.  I went away from all of them with a paradigm shift in my thinking about leadership and its impact on each one of us.  Integrity, honesty, humility, perseverance, patience and the list goes on, were seen in all to different degrees but showed how important each one is.  None can be considered insignificant.

As I leave Centennial College, I leave happy I saw the post which asked for interest in such a program. I’m happy I sent that email and even happier I got such a warm welcoming reply. My only regret knowing that I have benefitted so much is that more of my classmates didn’t take up the opportunity to be a part of this great program.

Below is just a pic of the group of Project managers of which I was a part. Until the next blog, peace….

Ainz

Battle of the Smartphones : Apple iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy S3

I’m in the market for a smartphone. I’ve been without a smartphone for over a year and even though I am over the whole withdrawal period, I still crave the power of being mobile and connected to the rest of the known universe. Yes, it has been hard but in anticipation of getting a job after finishing my course of study, my first real purchase will be a new smartphone. I am a blackberry fan because I love buttons. Nothing like the feel of them but with the announcement of them also going fully touch screen I’ve decided to go with what seems like more advanced options as Blackberry seem to be a little behind in the tech race too..

Now if I was to talk about all the points look for in a phone I’d be here all day so let me cut it down and point out a few that are very important to me.  Those two are productivity and integration. Now I do use my smartphone for media including music and games but that is not my primary reason for ever buying a phone. My reasoning is usually how much work can I get done on this device without actually having to be around a desktop or laptop.  Can I track my progress at the gym? Are my finances balancing?  Do i have access to a decent word processor and email access as well? Having these features and them being available with ease of use usually make the choice easy.  Integration is also very important. Not having to transfer files of whatever kind from device to device when I’m ready to work at home or work instead of on the go is key. The time saved if these are all readily accessible is indeed invaluable.

Click link here for comparisons of both phones. 

So here it comes. I have identified two phones that meet these needs and some. They are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone (I’d wait on the 5 to come out). But another set of requirements that i did not think about came up. When I was in Jamaica even though both phone services had equal strengths i went with the one that most people were on because of the cheaper rates and other benefits that if I had joined LIME instead of Digicel may have had me switching sooner or later.

The same thing has come up again. My girlfriend, brother and numerous friends have iPhones and communication between these devices are brilliant (Thanks to Steve. Rest In Peace Mr. Jobs). It would allow me to sync and share and be a part of an already established network and a part of the bright future Apple has created.  Sounds great huh? My problem with Apple though is why I love the Samsung. My problem is lack of freedom.  I am basically stuck in a system with Apple and not able to explore the many different paths as I would be able to with a Galaxy S3. Yeah, I know. Apple is a safe choice as their system allows them control and the ability to weed out bad experiences which may not be possible on any other device out there.

Before this turns ugly let me stop and say that even with all the apps available on the iPhone, I love certain features on the Galaxy S3 in terms of hardware. So right now its hardware vs. software and integrated “closed but brilliant” experience over freedom to explore.  I guess when the time comes and I have cash in hand it will come down to eenie meenie minie mo.  What are your thoughts?

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Changing Seasons

It is spring in Canada but the seasons aren’t the only thing changing.  After going through a year of post graduate studies I am also looking for a change. One that will bring me to a new chance in life.  I haven’t had anything go easy for me but that is not a complaint. It is an acknowledgement that giving up before I get to where I need to be would be borderline crazy.

I’ll be looking for a new lease on life as far as getting a job, and actually setting up some form of foundation up here in the North. I’m actually waiting on my school to clear me for graduation and so I can get the papers I need to get on the fast track.  My graduation doesn’t even matter that much. It is more of a bump in the long road I have decided to take.

My new lease also extends to love. A love I hold close and pray will grow in every aspect possible.  It’s always good to find a partner who is supportive.  Having been through a couple of relationships i find this one very refreshing. Can i exhale? I think I can.

My goals for a new start are also being worked on. The year I started detailed planning my life changed. I find myself on my long walks thinking that I need to start over with the same passion i did back then. It was called Project Hostile Takeover at the time and was a five-year plan.  It worked.  Now after changing certain things including my attitude I have tried other projects based on different approaches. They don’t work. So starting on May 8 (which was my birthday) I have created a new plan with 13 goals called Hostile Takeover 2.

Now that I have certain things off my mental plate I can start piling things I really want to back on.  The more relaxed I am, the more I will get done.  Someone very important said that to me and it turns out I already see and feel the difference.

This is more of a “soft” rant that anything else but the one thing I have learnt is you have to endure no matter what. Remember that as you read this and let it burn into your consciousness. Endure. No matter what it is. Endure. If you give up what you really want and sit there what do you really gain? Think about it.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Inspired

I woke up to the warmth of her lips on the back of my neck.  I smiled because I knew it was the start of a good day.  The smell of coffee told me she had been up for a while.  The sun peaked through the window as I rolled over excited to start the day we had planned.  Even Einstein was running in circles from anticipation.

It was the middle of summer and we both had taken the day off to do nothing more than spend time together with our destination not set and the mandatory requirement of it being in wide open spaces. Some place where the only sounds other than our voices would come from the wind in the trees or Einstein barking at a squirrel.

As always, talks are both filled with laughter and serious issues.  Conversations of plans to be intertwined in each others life as our hands were as we walked along the path.  Even in moments of silence our sense of touch communicates our feelings.

I cant help but stare at her from head to toe.  I run my hand through her locks that protects a beautiful mind. I smile for the umpteenth time. I am happy.  As the day slowly turns night, Einstein leads the way home. Time spent was good and I look forward to time away with her soon.

Inspired by CD

Dog’s name changed to protect the innocent

New Year! What now?

Happy New Year everyone! It’s 2012 and everybody as always happens is excited at the prospects of the days and months to come. In this year of the dragon what will we being doing differently to make this year successful? You’re going to make resolutions? Good for you? But what does that mean? Does it mean you make a list, get all worked up and weeks later go back to life as usual?

Year after year I try to set goals that will enhance my life even in small ways. This year is no different with a 13 goal spread (plus a few left from last year). This obsession started in 2006 when I set a list of 153 goals to do by the end of the year which I did accomplish. The excitement of that and the inspiration from reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People pushed me to make it a yearly ritual.

After doing it for some time I started to hone in on things that were really important to me and breaking those down into sub goals. Things like spiritual growth, health, career, and travel after a couple of years of building goal lists were separated and then broken down into accomplishable tasks.  I stayed as realistic as possible with my goals  as they were all based on bigger goals based on a five year plan.

This year starts the beginning of a new five years and I’m excited.  Even though my last five years were mixed because of unforeseen problems (like business endeavours getting robbed or extorted and world economy going to crap) I still am impressed by what was accomplished and I’m definitely looking to do it bigger this time.

As I mentioned before I have thirteen goals this year. I’ll share a few with you as I close this blog. One of my fitness goals is to run a 5K marathon in the summer or fall of this year. This means training starts now. Another goal in terms of my career is to get a job in Canada which utilizes all of the experience and skill I garnered while in Jamaica.  One of my spiritual goals is to spend time in the New Testament covering the letters to the churches and how it applies to me.

I”m excited and hope all those who have set resolutions or goals may move toward them with excitement and fervour.  I also did get a life goal done this year. On my bucket list I had to go to a hockey game and was given that chance this past week. Yes!

Looking forward to your feedback. Stay strong and focused!

Ainzlee

Note : Check out my trip to the Hockey Game 😉

A Whole New World

I don’t like reading long blogs so I’ll try to keep this 500 words or less. Don’t want to dish out what I don’t like so here goes…

I decided to go to Canada for school because of basically being disillusioned by what I left behind. After trying over and over I decided to set a new foundation and God has opened the doors so now I’m enrolling in a post grad course in Project Management and plan to use it for a spring board into a world of possibilities.

I landed last week and became overwhelmed the minute I left the airport.  Now 7 days later I still am being culture shocked around every corner. I was laughing to myself yesterday is culture shock what Jamaican people called “frigthen fa”?  Well if is let the frigth begin. I haven’t been out of Jamaica since I started high school and that was the US and Canada is totally different from what I remember of their close neigbors America.

But like America though they do everything big and maybe i thought to myself if the islands copied some of their architectural ideas we could use less space for more but that’s another blog.

I could sum it up in one word. It’s civilized. Everything in total order. I dropped right in the lap of a very sweet Jamaican who I call Aunt Joyce. I feel so at home that It’s not till I leave the house in the days and look around I realize, “no boss, yu nuh deh a yaad again”. Shopping of course is great but great just in the fact that if you want something you can find it but not in the price factor. I remember going into a store for a hair brush and seeing 24.95 and literally running away saying “Chiney shop have dis fi 150 Ja”.

The whole experience with food has been interesting so far. I’ve had many an indian dish as well as local pizza and yes even KFC (which I will just say want more seasoning).  The Indian food is great but spicy. There was a one pot dish called Chicken Biryani and Haan as well a Greek dish (I think it was called cous cous). Interesting to say the least. As time goes by and I happen to get a job on campus best believe I’ll be trying more whether it sends me to the bathroom or not 🙂

 

I’ve also found a church where I feel comfortable. God is good. Aunt Joyce goes to that church and after meeting everyone I have to say I’m impressed. Everyone is nice and open and it feels like home. Went to the men’s meeting last night and am glad i have brothers here with which i can share and understand certain things. Again, God is good.

Speaking of the people, compared to the aggressive nature that seems to be ingrained in most of our people back home it is a refreshing change. Everyone I’ve met is nice and accommodating but this seems to be the lifestyle of the people, enjoying life and what it has to offer without the “don’t get in my way mentality”. I am either dreaming and if I am I pray it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Being here has been fun so far with every step being an adventure.  Hopefully I’ll have the time once school starts to let you know what else I am gong to be up to. Thanking God for guidance so far and praying for continuous help from Him.

Peace.

Below is my first vid on my youtube channel since being here….

Word Count 606..sorry