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editor-in-chief: NICOLE GOODBRAND creative director: DANICA OLIVA copy editors: CAITLIN COOPER, MELISSA JIMENEZ arts editor: ELORAH FANGRAD lifestyle editor: MEGAN HERTNER news editor: KATYA HECKENDORN opinions editor: SARAH RITCHIE layout designers







special thanks to: PETER BENTHAM, for donating his time as a model facebook: huron’s grapevine twitter: @Huron_Grapevine GRAPEVINE MAGAZINE HURON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE WESTERN ROAD 1349 LONDON, ONTARIO, CANADA N6G 1H3


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The Western Girl Taxonomy...4


Garnement Industry Ethics: Killer Clothes................................7 Ethical Fashion.............................10


How to Get a University Degree in 40 Days.....................13 Look Around, We’re in Paradise!.......................16 Understanding Gender and Sexuality................................18


Lessons Learned: Notes to Self.................................22 I Auberge Espagnol...................24

The F Word...................................26


21st Century Book Worm.........28 From Sammington The Benjamin is Curious..........30 On Responsibility and Adulthood......................................31

Poems by Todd Dias X

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THE WESTERN GIRL TAXONOMY By: J. Cormorant, Editor of The Abundant Wildlife of Southwestern Ontario

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rom the season of early September to late April, the Western Girl can be viewed in the general university vicinity by even the most inexperienced natural historian. In this condensed field guide, I present the distinct subspecies of Eqqus slipperus (from the Latin “slipper horse”) in minute detail. Branta canadensis slipperus (trans. “Canada goose slipper-wearer”) is one of the most commonly spotted species from November to March. She migrates to Huron College in a large gaggle. Her prominent feature for identification is the Canada Goose parka. This creature seems to be incapable of retaining any body heat and is therefore always traipsing around the mall in an eighthundred-dollar parka intended for scientific expeditions in the Northwest Territories. Her legs, which are always donned in black leggings, are reminiscent of the avian B. canadensis waddling around. The editor must insist that contrary to popular belief, leggings were not created equal to pants, and should not be understood as a legitimate substitute for pants under any circumstance. B. canadensis slipperus has not yet evolved to understand

this point. Other distinctive clothing includes a kind of wearable pillowcase referred to as a “shirt.” It is made from either sheer cotton, chiffon, lace paneling, loose-knit fabric, satin, or a combination of all conceivable fabrics. It is an obligation for this species to show off their bedazzled neon pink pushup bras from Victoria’s Secret through their shirts. Footwear includes UGGs–– multiple pairs of UGGs are stored in this species’ nests–– canvas sneakers, and Hunter Wellingtons in garish colours. Hair is generally long and straightened. Diet is comprised mainly of Starbucks lattes, Evian and other mineral waters, sushi, lettuce, and alcohol. This species may ignore viewers by tapping on the newest iPhone if approached, but will habitually flock to the nearest Starbucks or Apple Store and can be viewed there without distraction. Do not startle. A scalding skinny pumpkin spice latte in may be thrown in her “flight or fight” defense. Eqqus purplus slipperus (trans. “purple horse slipper-wearer”) is also quite frequently seen on campus, specifically at sporting events or alcoholic shindigs. This species best demonstrates the Ominous Purple, an unnatural phenomenon of

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Garment Industry Ethics: Killer Clothes By Katya Heckendorn

social celebration, sport, and perpetual drunkenness that their habitat is renowned for. Displaying every Western apparel item available at the bookstore, she usually has purple paint markings on her face, legs, and buttocks, and has the distinctive call of “Westerrrrrrrrrnnnnn! Wester–– Ack! Ack! Ack!” [editoral note: there was no other sufficient onomatopoetic representation of vomiting, so I hope that readers will understand this transcription]. Like the B. canadensis slipperus, the E. purplus slipperus also does not wear actual pants, but either sheer purple tights, spandex

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leggings, or Lululemon bottoms with purple waistbands. Hair is usually blonde or brunette–– but may include purple streaks–– put up in a disheveled bun, and held back by a purple Lululemon headband or sport wrap. This species’ tracks are difficult to discern from the Branta canadensis slipperus’ because she also wears UGGs–– rare sightings may display sequined purple ones. Diet includes copious amounts of alcohol, Starbucks frappes, lettuce, energy drinks, pizza, and protein shakes. It must be noted that there are two divergences:

1. E. purplus slipperus activus is extremely muscular and athletic, with an encyclopedic knowledge of sporting claptrap. 2. E. purplus slipperus fanni is slovenly and loud and makes a seasonal nest on the stadium bleachers. To lure in any E. purplus slipperus for viewing, play a Justin Bieber dubstep remix and spray paint purple arrows on the ground leading to an open keg. I wish all dedicated observers the best of luck this season. ▲


aybe the last time you pulled your credit card out in the mall all you were thinking about was how lucky you were to have scored this season’s Jbrands for 25% off or perhaps you were concerned that the urban outfitters sweater you just bought was a little more hobo than boho. With the turn of the season and holiday shopping, many of us become even more mindless in our consumption, devouring fall’s new looks without giving any thought to who made them or the conditions in which they were made. However, a look back at the past few years of tragedies and suffering within the garment industry due to the negligence and greed of both factory owners and clothing brands serve to remind us of the injustice that many of our fashion habits foster and the hopefully prompt us to be more informed and conscious consumers. →

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May 2013: Collapse of the Wing Star Shoes factory, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Tazreen workers. Brands implicated: Wal-mart, Sears, Inditex (Zara, Bershka, Lefties), Enyce (SeanJean.) and U.S. Marine Corps.

A concrete ceiling collapsed killing 3 workers and trapping 50 under the rubble due to dangerous building construction. Only two months before the tragedy, workers organized a protest over inhumane working hours and conditions which prompted a report by the International Labour Organization. The report found that over 50% of Cambodian garment factories had obstacles in the way of fire exits, 78% had unacceptable heat levels on the working floor and almost 90% had illegal working hours.

2012: Cambodian Garment Workers Suffer from Malnutrition From 2011 to 2012 more than 2,400 Cambodian garment workers passed out during shifts due to exhaustion and malnutrition. Many of the brands that source from these factories refuse to pay their workers living wage; therefore, most employees cannot afford adequate nourishment. A Swedish TV4 documentary revealed that H&M, one of Cambodia’s main buyers, pays Cambodian workers around $61 a month which is only 25% of living wage in Cambodia.

Worker wages: $80 per month Brands implicated: Asics shoes

April 2013: Collapse of Ranza Plaza

The nine story building housing five garment factories collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh killing 1127 workers. Although the other businesses in the building ordered employees not to enter after cracks were observed in the building’s structure, garment workers were told to report in for work despite the safety concerns. 2438 people were rescued from the rubble over the three weeks following the collapse.

Sandblasting and the Denim Industry Sandblasting is a technique used to treat denim in order to give it a softer worn-in look. However, the manual sandblasting that occurs most in Bangladeshi, Indian and Chinese clothing factories exposes workers directly to silica dust which leads to fatal diseases such as lung cancer and silicosis within months or years of exposure. Although many brands have banned sandblasting, The Swedish Fair Trade Center’s study and a report by Clean Clothes Campaign indicated that manual sandblasting still takes place in many of the factories that manufacture these brands. Despite the superficial ban, very few brands have taken responsibility for testing their denim for sandblasting or treating workers in their supply chain that have been diagnosed with silicosis.

Worker wages: $ 38 per month Brands implicated: Joe Fresh, Mango, The Children’s Place, United Colours of Benetton, Wal-Mart, Primark, JC Penny and Dress Barn.

November 2012: Fire breaks out in the Tazreen Fashion factory, Dhaka Bangledesh 112 workers died in a factory fire due to an electrical short circuit. Because the factory had no fire exit on the outside of the building, many workers died jumping from the six-story building in an attempt to escape the fire. Brands were requested to pay 45% of the long-term compensation amount while stockholders were to pay 55%; however, 6 months later Wal-Mart and Sears both refused to contribute anything to compensation of the injured and deceased

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Brands implicated: H&M, Levi’s, C&A, D&G, Esprit, Lee, Zara and Diesel, Acne and Tigre of Sweden. ▲

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Ethical Fashion

By: Katya Heckendorn


ith China, Bangladesh and Cambodia as three of the top garment exporters accounting for over 30 billion dollars of garment industry exports, chances are that the majority of your wardrobe has been made by individuals who are forced to work illegal hours in unsafe conditions for less than a living wage in their country. This season steer clear of big brand clothing lines implicated in unethical manufacturing processes, and make the responsible choice to support fashion lines that work to improve the environment and help those less fortunate. As you search out fall’s latest fashions there are many lines offering ethical and sustainable clothing options for prices comparable to mainstream brands.

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Ten Tree Founded by Richard Ivy School of Business graduate Kalen Emsley and Paul J. Hill School of Business (University of Regina) graduate Dave Luba, this Canadian company plants ten trees for every item purchased. With reforestation initiatives in Ethiopia and Haiti to stop poverty and restore soil fertility, along with other planting projects in India, Madagascar and Tanzania, Ten Tree works to give back to the environment and communities in need. This company also ensures that their factories and manufacturing processes are both ethically and environmentally responsible by complying with WRAP’s (World Responsible Apparel Production) standards so you can feel good about indulging in the line’s relaxed style and unique graphic prints. The comfy Ten Tree sweat pants and range of stylish sweatshirts are the ideal laid back pieces for a fall wardrobe and the perfect way to ease into the chilly weather. (unisex)

Lilikoi All cutting, printing, sewing and design work that goes into producing this polished line of women’s clothing is done in Canada by Canadians who create timeless pieces working only with sustainable fabric fibers and ethical fabric suppliers. The Lilikoi line boasts a variety of fall items from basics like leggings and well tailored cardigans, to punchy statement pieces like their vibrant circle scarves and bold colour block dresses. (Women)

Me To We Style Getting back into yoga this fall? Indulge in a pair of Me To We Style’s sweatshop free Lamu Yoga pants or Harmony Tights for the fraction of what you paid for last season’s LuLus. Not only is the line dedicated to sweatshop free apparel, but by using certified organic materials and recycled polyester Me To We Style does everything possible to ensure their clothing production does not use toxic chemicals or harm the environment. Their selection of soft neutral tees are the perfect blank canvas to dress up or down and adorn with this season’s accessories. (Unisex) →

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Nation Wares


Who says that when summer leaves it has to take fun and bright accessories with it? When the leaves turn colour, hold on to a little of the carefree warm weather with Nation Wares’ stunningly vibrant vintage backpacks crafted by local Guatemalan artisans or treat yourself to adorable boho chic espadrille flats handmade from native Guatemalan fabrics. Dedicated to fair-trade enterprise and local sustainability, Nation Wares creates innovative employment for vulnerable peoples to overcome poverty all around the world. Your backpack might be heavy this fall but you’ll feel lighter than ever knowing it’s supporting more than just textbooks. (Unisex)

By Sam Gray

Novacas Novacas shoes are committed to providing animal friendly, worker friendly and environmentally friendly footwear. Manufactured in Portugal, the line offers sleek streamlined takes on numerous styles from suede booties to fringed oxfords. Invest in a pair of Chelsea boots or Nina riding boots; both versatile enough to take you back and forth between this season’s utilitarian and grunge revival trends. (Unisex)


We start from the bottom, and eventually, somehow, we always get to the top. At the end of every term, we manage to pass all (or most) of our courses. No matter what happens, everything always works out. This women’s fashion site carries organic, sustainable, vegan, fair-trade and recycled fashions from over 100 hip and ethical designers like Monkee Genes, Fair+Trade Unique, Gringo and SkunkFunk. Offering a range of different styles from Avant-garde to neutral minimalist and from to African prints to loud florals, you’re bound to find the looks you’re seeking. ▲

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or most of us, school’s a mountain we need to climb.

On top of this, we make time for Facebook, Youtube, Friends, Fridays and that club we want on our resume. However, we seem to have a lot of trouble making time for the gym, homework, applying for scholarships, programs, library time and even time for eating. But, at the end of the day, we

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always get our work done. If you’re the average kid going through university, you probably have the end goal of getting your degree and getting a job. In order to achieve this goal, the MED (minimum effective “dose”)1 of work is about 10-20 hours of studying per term, per course. The most efficient way to do this is to study in the day before, and, using your shortterm memory, ace the test. This way, you’re only “working” about 5 days per term. Add it up over four years and you get the MED of work for a university degree – 40 days of work.


Seems like nothing! Why wouldn’t everyone do this? Why doesn’t everyone do this? Why does everyone do this? Needless to say, this is actually not the most efficient way to finish university. Considering all the financial costs (both opportunity and tuition and living and flying), it is incredibly inefficient. Yes, you walk out of university with a piece of paper, but you’ve lost four years of your life and are unequipped to perform well at any job. Fortunately all jobs themselves to you so they start you off from the bottom whenever you get hired. So really, the

university degree is pointless. However, there are different angles to attack a university degree to get the most bang for your buck, which I’d love to enlighten you with. Before I get into how I think a university degree should be earned, I feel it integral to mention that it doesn’t matter how you do it. If you want the paper and to get an okay job while doing other awesome things in your life for the other 325 days of the year, I commend you. That’s pretty darn efficient. You can start really focusing on stuff when you get a job outside of university. Go start another

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Apple or Microsoft. Make your millions. Do whatever you want. I’m simply explaining my tactics when it comes to the four years following high school.

The Power of Flipping the Priority List Upside-Down In short, the strategy is “work then play,” however, it is not your typical spin on this. See, we need to define what these two things are first, because I’m sure most of you consider play going out on Friday night and don’t even have a category for Instagram. Before I go on, consider this: you’ve been honored by someone or something to have some time on earth. You’ve been given a fullyfunctioning body, mind and the ability to create a spirit. You’re allowed to do whatever you want with this and you’ve chosen to spend the next few years learning. If you want to do that, everything you do in your life should contribute to this goal. If you want to play hockey too, everything in your life should either contribute to playing hockey and/or learning. If you’re doing anything that isn’t a part of either of those activities, I suggest you discontinue those

things. If it doesn’t make you better, it makes you worse. The middle of anything is a myth. In reality, there is an infinite amount of numbers between 1 and 2. Yes 1.5 exists, but the other possibilities of 1.45, 1.49, 1.499 and so on make 1.5 seem insignificant. Choose to have things in your life that make you better. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start flipping our world upside down. As of now, a typical night probably consists of some dinner, facebook, instagram, youtube, more facebook with some clear skies and a chance of studying. While this is clearly an exaggeration, I want to take things to another level. First of all, understand this. At this point in time, you’ve gotten through school thus far. It’s been fine. Maybe you’ve even got some scholarships! You’ve passed everything and it’s all worked out thus far. Why reinvent the wheel or fix one that’s not broken? Because hover cars are much cooler. No matter what happens, I promise you you’ll have enough time for everything. Look at your life, you’ve made it happen thus far, why can’t you keep it up? All that I’m suggesting is a mere shift in

the order of things. Instead of going on facebook when you get home and hourly after that until you go to bed, go on it after you’ve done your work. Work then play. Instead of doing that thing that’s due tomorrow as the last thing of the night, do it when it’s first assigned. Take the entire order you do things and flip it. Instead of starting easy, start hard. Instead of saving homework for last, do it the first moment you get. If you don’t believe me when I say you’ll have enough time for facebook, listen to this. At the moment, you’re doing everything, including facebook and including your work; however, you are far more productive earlier in the day than later in the day. So, you’re currently working at less than 100% efficiency. If you start with your work, you will definitely have enough time for facebook, as you have in the past, but the difference is that you will have more time. Since you will be more efficient, you will have extra time freed up and might even decide to go to bed earlier. ▲

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Look around, we’re in paradise!

Change your major the MAJORity of your courses

By Sam Gray

Most people don’t like work. Because you’re here, you’re going to have to accept that you will have to learn eventually. If you don’t want to learn, donate your tuition to charity instead. Again, if you’re looking to put in no effort and get the degree at the end of it all, you’re in the wrong place. In order to make the experience enjoyable, I would advise changing your major if you’re not finding the current one exciting or at least interesting. If this is the case, you’ve probably have a major in mind that you’ve been wanting to switch to for awhile now. Don’t be scared to take the leap! Once you actually enjoy what you’re learning, it will no longer feel like work and you’ll take pleasure in school instead of detesting it.


niversity is a pretty heavenly place. You have access to virtually every resource possible to better yourself. To name a few: recreational facilities to better your body, world-class teaching to better your brain, beautiful, smart people to better your soul, and a gorgeous environment to take it all in.

Often students will feel overwhelmed by the “work” that comes with world-class teaching. Work is only work if you make it work. In this article, I want to provide you with some thoughts on how to balance the many areas of your being in order to get away from “work” and move towards “life.”

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possible. Technically, the only thing you absolutely need to do at university is pass all your courses. Then again, you don’t really need to do that at all. Remember when I said you don’t need to be at university? When has doing the bare minimum ever been fun? There’s opportunity everywhere here and I promise you’ll do better in school if you immerse yourself in it. Have you ever found that work seems to go by super fast after you’ve gone to the gym or when you know you’re going to get to go out later? We work best when we’re balanced.

Only work at your prime By prime, I mean when you’re most alert, focused and most importantly, when you actually want to learn. If you don’t feel like doing psych right now, don’t do it. I’m sure you have other work you could be doing. Do that first. While all of this is pretty freakin’ sweet, it’s a lot easier said than done. Allow for improvement and understand that life imposes a number of obligations- school is just one of them. Part of growing up is learning that sometimes, there are things you’ve just got to do! ▲

Take breaks If you’re not careful, you’re going to fall into the classic university trap (be scared!) of “all study no play.” Fortunately at Huron, people are awesome, so this is a bit harder to do, but nevertheless it is still

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aggot”, “dyke”. These are words shouted out car windows, while couples walk down Richmond Row. Smashed beer bottles are thrown at young people waiting outside club Lavish. A woman who is identified as queer is told to avoid a certain bar because it is a labeled a “gay bar” and “people like her are not welcome there”. These are examples of real life experiences of fellow Western students.

or woman. When an individual does not fit into one of the established categories set out by society, they become stigmatized and discriminated against. A similar experience is shared by individuals who identify their sexuality as pan, bi or queer. Much of North American thinking is binary this or that, black or white, man or woman, gay or straight. This is extremely problematic for individuals who do not identify in one of these generic categories.

I began work for this piece by speaking to Jess Kiley, the Ally Western Coordinator for the 2013/2014 school year. Ally Western is an outreach program whose mission is to promote a more inclusive campus community, specifically in regards to sexual diversity. While speaking with Jess, she explained that sexuality and gender should be placed on a spectrum; best illustrated by the “Genderbread” diagram. “Most discrimination isn’t based on one’s sexuality,” Jess explained, “You can’t see one’s sexuality, but you can see one’s physical appearance.” It is not uncommon for individuals who do not place sexuality on a spectrum to be confused or even angered by others who do not visually identify as man

Some of these individuals feel they have to justify or explain their sexuality because others are eager to understand their identity. “[People are] looking for something to solidify your identity, and want to put you in a category that they can understand a little better,” A fourth year Western student explained, “People prefer labels and straight forward boxes to put you in when you are somewhere in between.” She recalled to me incidents where other students would ask her personal details pertaining to her sexuality; like the amount of women and men that she had slept with. With these questions answered, she found that her sexuality would instantly be determined for her. If the amount of men exceeded

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the amount of women she had slept with, she was more straight. If it were vice versa, she was more lesbian. However, if one agrees with the outlook that sexuality should be placed on a spectrum, it is easy to see how this type of cumulative reasoning can be very offensive. “[It’s like telling someone] you don’t know your identity, you don’t know who you are attracted to, so I will clarify it for you,” as explained by another Western student who chose to comment anonymously. Misconceptions and assumptions such as these occur simply because there are people who refuse to internalize the fact that more than one gender exists and sexuality is much more complex than many of us believe it to be. Another common misconception is that bisexuality in particular is a ‘stepping stone’ for someone in the process of “coming out” as a homosexual. It may be the case for certain individuals as they explore aspects of their sexuality, but bisexuality needs to be recognized as a legitimate sexual identity. People that come out as bisexual may not be taken as seriously if they were to come out as a homosexual by the gay/lesbian community. This is not to say

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that gay and lesbian individuals do not face the same struggles in their coming out, but the process for those identifying as bisexual, pansexual or queer sexual often provokes more intrusive questioning. Another student I spoke with told me she specifically identifies herself as queer when asked. She explained, “It saves me a lot of explanation. If people find out I’m bisexual, they [are] automatically skeptical, or they think they have the right to ask a lot of really personal questions like: Who are you dating? What gender are they? For how long now? How many people of each gender have you slept with?” When individuals know they will be faced with unwanted opposition or unfavourable reactions, they manage their identities by way of information control. It is common for us as humans to share personal information with family, friends or colleagues, but for some reason it is deemed reasonable by some to shamelessly delve into another’s sexuality just because they do not identify with the ‘norm’. Jess clarified that, “Being straight is the assumption that everyone runs with. However, when you have to come out as the exact opposite of

that, you’re characterized as breaking away from one of society’s norms.” This ‘deviation’ is often times met with resistance, disbelief, as well as criticism from others that do not fully understand sexuality. These reactions can also be accompanied by confusion, anxiety, fear or even hatred, solely footed on a lack of understanding and appreciation for differing sexual identities. There must be something that can be done to educate those who either do not know or are initially unwilling to believe that sexuality can be placed on a spectrum. Jess suggests that the seeds of ignorance are planted in primary school. Students are taught an outdated, and simplistic explanation of sexuality. Jess recalls not learning of any other forms of sexual intercourse besides vaginal penetration with the penis. Unless you were one of the few who had a teacher willing to break the educational norm and potentially risk their job, almost no explanations of differing genders or sexual activities were discussed. Now entering adulthood, I can’t help but think that sexual consent, masturbation, or the importance of open dialogue between sexual partners would have been, and still is, worthy discussion topics to consider in schools today. In addition to this, if students were also taught that gender and sexuality can be placed on a spectrum, more individuals would potentially be able to understand themselves as well as others on a much

deeper level. I’d like to sincerely thank Jess and the other students for sharing their views and experiences with me. It is my hope that by writing this article I have at least provoked students to question the norms of sexuality placed on others and themselves. This article

in no way claims to speak for the pansexual, bisexual, or homosexual students, but was written with the intent to advance the voices of members of our community who envision a more inclusive, supportive and understanding Western. ▲

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by no means am trying to say that during my whirlwind 20 years on this planet I have become an expert on life. But along the way I have picked up a couple tips and tricks that for me were necessary and at times difficult to learn one way or another. The following are a couple of the lessons learned that I try to remember and put into action as my adventure continues.

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Everything needs to slow down. Take a deep breath and relax. I have come to realize that very few things in life are so urgent that they need to be dealt with immediately. So go ahead and take five minutes to breathe, think, regroup and then act. You will be thankful for taking that time once your mind clears and you are able to develop a well thought out plan for

whatever the issue. Rushing into things will often end with a half-baked plan and a full problem. Always remember you are allowed to be excited about things. You are allowed to jump for joy and have wide eyes and crazy arm waving. Whether it is a class, or a book, or you are just having a great day, you are allowed to be happy and enthusiastic about it. Never be ashamed about your love for something. Don’t let the people around you bring you down. They may roll their eyes and make comments but own that enthusiasm. It’s one of the many things that makes you, you. Take it easy on yourself. Things might not work out the way you had expected, or you might have screwed up, or maybe you are going through a rough time. There are times when you just can’t figure out why but everything seems to be going wrong. Chances are that you are going to be upset with yourself at sometime or another. Remember that people make mistakes and cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect and no one should expect you to be perfect, including yourself. Failures are some of the best ways to learn so give yourself permission to fail and

always remember to be kind to yourself when it happens. This lesson was and remains to be one of the most difficult ones for me to remember and put into action. Learn to say no to others. Learn that you can’t be everywhere at the

do everything all the time. It will leave you overtired and at times “in too deep”. If you have trouble saying no, at least try your best to let people know that you will get back to them and take a good look at your calendar before you jump into another activity.

“Whether it is a class, or a book, or you are just having a great day, you are allowed to be happy and enthusiastic about it.” same time, doing a million different things. It is wonderful to help others but taking time for yourself is also important. While giving your time and energy freely to the people and things you care about is wonderful, one of the hardest lessons to learn is that you can’t

Trying to remember and put these lessons into action can be extremely helpful in making life just a little bit easier. Getting there is certainly no easy task, but in my experience reminding yourself about some of these things can definitely help. ▲

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I Auberge Espagnol By: Melissa Jiménez


o not believe what they say about embarking on an exchange. It’s nothing that you expect, and yet it’s everything you ever dreamed of. Allow me to explain. In January of 2013, I was granted the opportunity to travel to France as part of the exchange program offered at Huron. The city I chose was Lille. Something about it just told me I had to be there. Maybe it was the fact that cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and London were only a couple hours away by train. Smaller than London, Ontario, but with a rich cultural and student life, yes, this was the city were I would “expand my horizons.” Oh, how right I was about that. France welcomed me with brisk, cold air, snow and ice on the ground, and pains

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au chocolates. Ah, yes! La vie est belle! The cold was manageable; I do live in Canada after all. Everything gave me the impression that this was a perfect winter wonderland; smiles all around, the excitement of being in a completely new country. Alas, dreams do end abruptly. I had to find a place to live, and fast. Staying at the hostel was getting expensive. I finally found a house a week later. All it took was a couple of phone calls, misunderstandings, visiting a room with an intense incense-like odour; and on January 18th, I was able to settle in a typical French house of 3 floors, including a basement. I was going to be living with 5 other people (two French, 1 Englishman, 1 Dutch, 1 Bulgarian-American) sharing 1 toilet and 1 bath). The landlord, Monsieur Naili, was nice, but one of the most disorganized human beings I have ever come across. My housing contract was one he found online and had copied and pasted, simply changing the address and his name. The way he kept record if we paid rent every month was with loose pieces of paper from my notebook. Yes, they were handwritten, and yes, I have saved all of them. This was the beginning of a 6 month long rollercoaster.

After I moved in and was acquainted with my future roommates, I remembered that this was an academic exchange, thus, as much as socializing and travelling were important, there were classes and other responsibilities I had to tend to first. Being a French major, I was accustomed to lectures in pure French, so sitting in class was not challenge. The challenge came in actually going to class. I am not going to sugar coat it, we have all done our fair share of missing a couple of lectures here and there, some with legitimate reasons, other times, classes are missed due to pure laziness. I had to juggle going to the local pubs and watching football matches (Champion’s League), travelling around Europe, projects, and the weekly Sunday Wazemmes Marché for the delicious 6€ roasted chicken, all while trying to stay within my $12k budget for 6 months. Dealing with French institutions was another lovely experience. Bureaucracy can certainly bite you in the ass, especially when you don’t know the system or speak the language to perfection. To this day, I never received my carte d’assurance from my insurance provider. All I had was a piece of paper. France is all about the loose pieces of paper.

Europe, with all of its magic and wisdom, definitely left a mark on me. I believe I have gained valuable life skills and it was a beautiful experience to be taught by those with different perspectives and worldviews. It was hard, and there were many times were I found myself curled up in a ball on my bed, thinking, “What am I doing here?” but in the end, all of the amazing people I met, the complex history, rich culture and wondrous adventures made it all worth it. I would do it all over again if I had the chance. France, thank you for your lessons and the many life hacks. Je reviendrai! ▲

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The F Word By: Danica Oliva


o, not that F word but the one that is invisible to the eye but the one covering our everyday with bright colors. Feminism. If someone were to ask what feminism is one might come up with words like butch, dyke, man-hater, women who don’t shave their legs (yes it’s that ridiculous), angry women, antisex, anti-EVERYTHING…and the list goes on. I’ll put it this way, feminists are completely stereotyped to extents that the meaning of feminine empowerment is completely lost because the worry to be defined under these stereotypes has made women not want to be associated with the term at all. Problematic? Uh ya! After reading “Full Frontal Feminism; A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters,” by Jessica Valenti I finally found a text that spoke to people my age. She talks about these stereotypes and the fact that people need to understand the issues of today rather than taking what the past outlines for todays definition of feminism. Feminism is not just for old white women anymore (which is exactly how Valenti puts it). So here’s my observations from

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act? Girls are laughing with them in agreeance. What ever happened to being a gentleman? And I don’t mean a gentleman in their stereotyped image either, all I mean by this is kindness. What ever happened to being kind to a woman just based on the fact that they are women? Instead there is this checklist of how people think women should be and if they do not fulfill this list they are not enough. Isn’t that the ultimate question we struggle with?

her conclusions that finally make total sense to the issues of today. Issues you may ask? But don’t we live in the year 2013 where women are getting to work the same jobs as men and getting the same rights as men? If you agree with this notion that equality is completely satisfying today, you couldn’t be more wrong. When I say that you are wrong does that make me a feminist? It sure does. Does that mean I have hairy legs, I’m a butch…I’m now every stereotype that leads me farther away from the social acceptance of what it is to be a “lady” (whatever that entails)? Heck no! I‘m just like any other female in this world that wants things to be equal. And what about the equality that I keep claiming is not entitled to women? Well where do I start. Let’s be real, being a girl in University today is everything but “a breeze.” This may not be new news to you but all things that make us women are defined and judged by men. They define who is a slut, who is cute, who is easy, who is hard-to-get, who is beautiful, who is worthy of their time…

And if dealing with that question wasn’t enough to

deal with while trying to pass your school classes there’s still the lingering question; what is a feminist? It is what you make it Valenti would say. And she makes a point. What is wrong with being defined as a feminist? The definition of a feminist, by dictionary, goes along the lines of wanting equal rights. That’s it! That’s all! Being ashamed to be claimed as a man-hater is a conclusion, in my opinion, that comes from the people that do not want to be in-tune with how our world balances among the sexes. I don’t need to the head of a feminist movement or

organization to be a feminist. Or be a part of anything for that matter. I just have to care about my rights as a woman. But before I begin to make this about me it’s good to educated yourself with what’s out there that applies to YOU and to TODAY’S defiance of rights. For me that begun by reading books like Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti who are people that are in-tune with today. So the next time you think about someone as a slut or goody-goody or city girl think about how you are seen and who defines you. Be aware.

the list goes on. That comes with living in a world rooted from a man’s dominance. But the issue with men create this checklist of what makes a woman beautiful is through the approval of women. For example you know those Vines of men stereotyping a kind of women and how they should

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The 21 Century “Bookworm” st

By: Caitlin Cooper


he 21st century “bookworm” is not at all like his or her predecessor. Book lovers now have at their disposal various resources to feed and express their love of the written word. Here is a list of just some of these options for readers to delve deeper into the rich world of literature.

eBooks Electronic books have been criticized as perhaps not being true to books. You can’t feel the texture of the pages as you turn them or arrange them on bookshelves like art in your home, but eBooks do offer a certain convenience when you want to read a book but don’t want to carry it with you or don’t have room for it in your bag or suitcase. The great thing

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about eBooks is that you can read them on eReaders (like Kindle) and on tablets, as well as smartphones and iPhones via built in or downloadable book apps. Some classics are free and those books that aren’t allow you to download a free sample before committing.

Goodreads is a website for readers and for authors. Readers can create a profile and read and write book reviews, join online book clubs, and even become ‘fans’ or ‘friends’ with authors who also have profiles. There are also numerous book giveaway contests. Another great tool it offers is book recommendations. You can narrow down genres and subgenres to great specificity

in order to easily find a book that will interest you.

Blogs, Tumblr, and Twitter Social networking is becoming a very popular way for book lovers to share their passion. Many people have set up blogs on platforms like Blogspot and Wordpress, but there seems to be an abundance of bookdedicated Tumblr blogs. Here, people share what they’re reading, what they’ve read, favourite quotes, and anything book related. People have the option to discuss over ‘messages’ or text posts the books and authors that they enjoy or dislike. What’s also really neat about Tumblr is that many authors have their own blogs on this platform and often use that to share more about themselves and even answer questions about their books (they love to talk to their fans). If you’re not one for blogging, book blogs also have a Twitter feed, as do many book enthusiasts and authors. Readers can, again, engage with their favourite authors without having to travel to a different city hours away to meet them which sometimes isn’t a viable option, especially for students on a budget.

Library Websites Yes, library websites have been around for a bit, but now they, too, have new resources. If you want to join a book club in your area, many libraries will have a listing of the various local book clubs. There is a book club for almost every genre and subgenre. You can also look up books you want to read and either reserve them if they are physical books or download them if they are eBooks. If the book you want is already

checked out, you will be added to a queue. When the weather is abysmal – like it often can be in London during the winter months – this is a really good option before deciding if you want to make the trek to the library. Whether you, as 21st century “bookworms,” take advantage of any or all of these great resources, there are options to enjoy many conveniences and get involved with a variety of literary communities. ▲

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The Benjamin is curious.


There is Benjamin, and there is the Benjamin— they are two different parts to an egg. The shell is Benjamin; the inside is the Benjamin. Because time exists, the Benjamin constantly changes, stemming from the very center of the egg. Benjamin is changing too. As the Benjamin grows, so does Benjamin— only Benjamin is being made from the Benjamin.

Responsibility should never mean the end of Joy, Passion, and Spontaneity, for we have an ever greater responsibility, an obligation the comes from the soul. For otherwise we still play only according to the rules of an imposed order of an artificial machination.

By Sam Gray

Benjamin is merely the surface of the Benjamin. But they are both growing. In fact, they are expanding and accelerating, much like the universe. The Benjamin is the universe. The Universe is the Benjamin. The Benjamin is me and the Benjamin is you. The Benjamin is ever-changing. It is always there. The Benjamin is everything.

It is inside the Ups and Downs that make up the universe. The Benjamin is what’s left after everything is taken away. It is the source of light that keeps creating itself. If you’d like, consider the Benjamin to be a person. Consider it the “ideal” human. The essence of perfection after everything that’s imperfect is removed. The Benjamin is possible. Believe in the Benjamin. It is there and it exists fully. It exists in a form that is both as large as the universe and the smallest unit of its creation.

By: Todd Dias

Adulthood should never mean giving up a child’s view of the world. For taking the face-values seriously means losing sight of the Source that lies beneath each transitory shell connecting all Never forget the importance of dreams and you will know the Source

The Benjamin is never to be found. It is only found in the process of finding it. You will never know if you’ve found it as you will be in the process of finding it. The Benjamin is at the center of all things.

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The Grapevine December 2013  
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