Ivo's Blog

"It's not the time to look for excuses." – Rafael Nadal

Step into my Shoes; A Homeless Person’s Life

February27

Greetings, bloggers!

This year our teacher gave us an assignment; we had to respond to homelessness in a unique way.  I decided to write a story about how the man lost his job, and I also included a “Day in the Life” story.  I hope you enjoy yourself while reading it; I tried to incorporate some humour.


STEP INTO MY SHOES; A HOMELESS PERSON’S LIFE

By Ivo Nikov

I was in pain.  Around six months ago, my back quit on me, and I worked as a carpenter.  I went to my local pharmacy to get some painkillers, and I found myself asking for more as often as the hammer hits the nail.

With no job and terrible pain, my painkiller dosage became higher and higher.  Eventually, nearly all the money in my bank account had been spent, and I clung to my friends’ couches, hoping to find a job.

I could easily describe myself as a person who panics when facing pressure, and every interview was going great until… I would say something unnecessary and embarrass myself, leaving with red cheeks.

I would have the employer laughing at my jokes, cracking some himself, and just having a lovely time.  A bit later, he would glance at his watch, and he’d realize that it is time for the next hopeful to come in.  I would panic and blurt out something like, “Oh, you look pretty darn chubby in that suit. Ha ha ha…”  He would give me an evil eye, followed by a nervous laugh.

After five months of enduring the embarrassment, I started to feel guilty because I hadn’t realized that I was staying at my friends’ houses.  I felt like I was letting them down, so I packed up my belongings, which were few – I had sold the rest to feed myself, and left.  My pals must have wondered, “Where is he? Let’s put up some ‘MISSING‘ posters,” because after hardly sleeping in my old box of a Volvo, my eye caught a flyer flailing off of a pole.  I slashed the paper off, my eyeballs nearly popping out of my head, staring at my own picture.

I took a walk to clear my mind of the strange flyer, and I found a poster that read, “Lecture on the Homeless, at 1867 Olya Avenue (the Community Centre, Presentation Room ‘C’), from 5:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. on October 5th.”  I thought that it would be interesting to hear what others think of people like me.  And with that, it was settled.  I just needed to know which day it was today, so I jogged to the nearest shop and asked an employee.  She told me it was the fourth of October.  Yahoo, I thought.  Tomorrow I would be listening to some people blabbing about their opinions and thoughts about people like me!

I woke up early the next day.  My watch read 7:00 A.M. I was starving, and I was thinking, “Where should I eat?”.  I decided to spend my day on Olya Avenue.  There was a nice little breakfast café that I entered.  I asked if they could give me their cheapest item, and in exchange, I would complete a task of their choice.  That bagel was delicious, and their floor now shimmers.

Here is one thing you don’t know about me: I am a decent singer, and who needs instruments? All you need is a simple beat, and it could come from a stick hitting a wall, or your hands clapping.  I took out a paper napkin from my breakfast, and laid it out on the ground.  I sang around twelve songs, including “Sweet Home Alabama”, and “Sharp Dressed Man”.  Earning around twenty-five dollars, I tucked the money into my pocket for later, but singing leaves you thirsty.  I didn’t want to spend some money on water.  There should be a fountain somewhere, and there was… approximately two kilometers away.  By the time I got back to Olya Avenue, I was dehydrated again, since I ran (silly me) in my winter coat, on a fairly warm day.  It was drenched in sweat, and I laughed sarcastically… at myself!

As time passed, I got tired and hungry, but I shoved back the urge to eat, and decided to take a nap on a street bench, though it was quite hard to fall asleep.  Annoyed by my restlessness, I went to read a book… not store bought, of course; what’s the point, when you have a library?  I jogged down to Boabby Road and entered their library, hoping to find a book that hooked me.  I asked a librarian what author he would recommend, and he kicked me out.  Why are people so threatened by others who simply do not have stable housing?

I stomped out, angry, and marched back to Olya Avenue.  I asked a resident what time it was, and he told me it was 4:45 P.M., so I rushed down to the Community Centre, getting there at around 4:48.  The clerk told me that the admission was ten dollars, which I thought was a bit too much, but I paid up, and dashed to Presentation Room “C”.

I honestly thought that I would be the only homeless person there, but two others showed up as well.  I did not just make an assumption, mind you – I started with a bit of small talk, and eventually dropped the subject into conversation.  They gave me a glance that made me feel uneasy, but let it go almost immediately.

After we talked for a few minutes, I had to say that they were nice people with deep pain inside. One of them had suffered from domestic abuse at sixteen by her stepfather, and had turned to alcohol.  She told me that her drinking was a mistake, but by the time she had realized it, she had no job and little money.

The other had left home at six years old.  He stated that his older brother struggled with addiction, and his parents argued over whose fault it was.  The little one just got caught in the middle of it, and decided to run away.  Being a six year old, you cannot find work; all you can do is sing, beg, and hope that somebody takes you in.  Unfortunately, the small child was mostly ignored on the streets, except for a few people dropping some nickels in just to look good.  He received just enough for the cheapest meal, but some employees at stores took pity on him, and cut him some slack.

By the time they had all told their stories, ten minutes had passed, and nearly everyone was seated. The three of us joined them, and the host started flapping his gums; thanking everyone for coming, acknowledgements, et cetera. Shortly after, he passed the microphone to somebody, and he actually started to talk about the homeless…

… opening by stating that far too many individuals are homeless in Canada; 150 000 to 300 000 people, out of about 36 500 000, are homeless in our country. That is nearly one percent of our population! After using numbers to bore us, he talked about the reasons for becoming homeless: with evictions, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, poor health, major injury, unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, family conflict, and more, ending the subject by saying that the main cause for homelessness in Canada is evictions, because of the high rent and people’s low income.

The audience gave him a round of applause, and only then did I realize that he was done. Behind him were others waiting for their turn to speak. The one in the front of the line stepped up to the podium. She looked like a nice person, and I thought to myself, “One is a host, one provides some information, and two lecturers talk about their opposite feelings on the topic. She must be the one who says that ‘it is not your fault'”, which turned out to be true. She said that our community is not working hard enough to maintain everybody’s housing, and focusing all the property on people who are very wealthy. “Sometimes your family is to blame. They might have suffered from domestic abuse, or such intense arguments that they left home. Other cases of homelessness are because of drug and alcohol abuse. This mostly applies to adolescents, because of their vulnerability to manipulation. Their peers could pressure them into trying dangerous recreational drugs like cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl”, she said, adding that rent is very high in Canada, and income can be the opposite, resulting in eviction because they cannot keep up with the rent.

And with that, she stepped off, and one final person rose and calmly walked to the podium. He started by saying, “Those hobos, living on the streets, it’s all their fault! They are always acting like they’ve gone through so much, and that life is unfair. They just have to suck it up, sober up, and get a job”, he said, not knowing that nearly every case of homelessness isn’t the homeless person’s fault (well, okay, sometimes it is, but it is never one hundred percent the person’s fault). They could have made terrible decisions, but those events are triggered by a previous one, in which another person was involved.

To be honest, I wasn’t listening to the final lecturer was saying; I only took the napkins out of my ears at the end, when he finished, saying, “So, all the homeless people are just a liability that made horrible decisions. It is all their fault. They are just less important than more financially successful individuals“.

He came off with a smug look on his face, and the host snatched the microphone out of the last speaker’s hands. He stood up straight, and said, “Well, I hope you have enjoyed these lecturer’s speeches. Do you have any questions, comments, or solutions to this issue?”. A couple of hands rose, and were called on.

One said to simply live on smaller properties. “We can still live happily without our 100 000 acres of land. What is the problem with living in apartment buildings? They have more than enough room”, he wondered.

Another requested a free session in which homeless people can talk about what is wrong, and others could offer a solution. The host said that that was a great idea, but they had to find someone who is willing to do that; maybe a counsellor.

The last person just asked what our community is doing to help. The host answered by saying, “We have two shelters in the city, and we are opening an area with beds; just a warm place to sleep. The food bank will provide some things to eat; and not just food out of a can. It will be prepared by some workers there, and they’re paid by the government. This place will open this January!”

After hearing the host saying goodbye, I took off with my two new friends. I still had hope – I would find myself a home. Not now; I was exhausted, but I felt that tomorrow I could surpass my panicky instinct at interviews…


Well, I hope you enjoyed the story, and I encourage you to write one as well.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for this piece of writing, feel free to comment!

Thank you, and I wish you a math-crammed day.

Sincerely,

Ivo N.

 

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Christmas – from A to Z

December18

Merry Christmas 2016Creative Commons License

Hello, bloggers! 

Yes, it is that time of the year again.  You can nearly never sleep on Christmas Eve, so if you get out of bed to have a snack, take out your laptop and visit my blog, which will let you know what Christmas is all about.  To make this post more enjoyable, you could make yourself a mug of hot cocoa to sip while reading. 

Here is a list from A-Z about this lovely holiday.  If you have found some more interesting Christmas words, feel free to tell me about them in the comment section below.  Thanks, and happy reading!   


A: A is for snow angels, which a younger sibling might be making. 

B: B is for the board games that you might play with your family and friends. 

C: C is for your special Christmas cookies, which make your mouth water instantly, your taste buds getting very curious about the party in your nose. 

D: D is for December, the month of Christmas Day. 

E:  E is for some delicious egg nog, a frothy and yummy seasonal drink. 

F: F is for family and friends who you can spend your Christmas with. 

G: G is for the gifts that you will receive in the morning, after barely sleeping. 

H: H is for hot chocolate, which you might be sipping at the moment. 

I: I is for the icicles that form on your snowman’s carrot nose. 

J: J is for the joy that flows within you whenever Christmas is near. 

K: K is for Krampus, who haunts our Christmas Eve dreams. 

L: L is for Christmas lights, one of the biggest hassles of the holiday. 

M: It is always embarrassing to be a child and be below mistletoe, so beware 😜! 

N: N is for the New Year that always follows Christmas, every year. 

O: O is for the Christmas ornaments which you might be hanging on the tree very, very shortly.  Do you have any homemade decorations?   

P: P is for a friend’s Christmas party that you might attend this year. 

Q: Q is for the quiet time spent with your family.  Whether it’s playing a card game or watching a movie, you are surely not always talking! 

R: R is for relatives that might be willing to bake their own special recipe! 

S: S is for snow, which could be falling right… now.  Take a glance, and let me know: what      kind of weather do you have?  (I would want to have snow!) 

T: T is for the tea that you could be sipping in the car while travelling. 

U: U is for an ugly Christmas sweater; your eye will probably follow everybody else’s – they’ll be glaring at the strange sight.  

V: V is for the visits that neighbours, friends, or family may pay – hopefully they are carrying a batch of freshly baked cookies or other baked goods!    

W: W is for a wreath that you could hang on your door.  Look closely; what leaves does it use?  Does it have a ribbon?  If so, what colour is it? 

X: X is for a xylophone; I used to want one for X-Mas. 

Y: Y is for Yule, which is coming up very soon. 

Z: There is always a great amount of zeal on Christmas Day. 


Well, that is all twenty-six of them.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you want to keep on reading after this post.  Now, for the final song: (clearing throat) I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas, I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS… and a math-crammed New Year!! 

Thanks again for reading. 

Sincerely, 

Ivo N. 

(Photo credit: Koshy Koshy via Compfight)

 

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The History of McDonald’s

December1

Big Mac

Phil Dragash via Compfight

If you are a Canadian or American, you probably know that the demand for “grab ‘n’ go” food is very high.  In fact, approximately three million McDonald’s meals are served every day in Canada, and about 6 480 000 in the United States per day.

EARLY LIFE

Founded in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, Richard and Maurice McDonald did not sell burgers – they owned a barbecue restaurant.  In 1948, they made McDonald’s a hamburger eatery.  An entrepreneur named Ray Kroc joined the business in 1954, then bought McDonald’s from the McDonalds.  Kroc moved the company to Oak Brook, Illinois, shortly after.

DEVELOPMENT

The first McDonald’s restaurant owned by Ray Kroc was opened on April 15th, 1955, in a city close to Chicago – Des Plaines, Illinois.  This was the first of 34 other McDonald’s outlets he would own by 1958.  By 1959, the number grew drastically; Kroc now owned 102 eateries.  In the early ’60s, McDonald’s had matured, selling it’s billionth hamburger in 1963.  Six years later, in 1969, the company sold it’s five billionth hamburger, making it the most popular fast food branch in North America.

The business continued growing in the ’70s, since at that time, people didn’t have the time or desire to eat at home, thus popularizing fast food.  By 1972, the company’s annual sales exceeded one billion dollars.  That same year, the Egg McMuffin was released, creating a breakfast for people who are “on the go”.  In 1975, McDonald’s had developed a whole breakfast menu in some locations, paving the way for unhealthy food to start off your day!

Also in 1975: McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru window in an outlet around Sierra Vista, Arizona.  They were the second to do so, though – Wendy’s were the first, back around 1971.  McDonald’s recognized the potential of this phenomenon fairly quickly, because by the 1980s, customers pulled up to the window about half the time.  At that time, McDonald’s history had grown a lot.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS

  • The first drive-thru in Canada was opened in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1977.
  • McDonald’s first restaurant in Canada was in Richmond, British Columbia.
  • McRecycle U.S.A. started in 1990, and tables, wrapping for burgers, even toilet paper are all recycled products, to get into that “environmentally friendly” spirit.
  • The chain’s orange glaze and cilantro-lime dressing both contain propylene glycol alginate, which is also an ingredient in traps for bugs and insect attractant.
  • One of the ingredients in McGriddle sandwiches is sodium acid pyrophosphate, which they use to sustain it’s moisture and colour.  It also helps as an ingredient in hair remover.
  • Globally, McDonald’s serves 68 million meals per day, or approximately one percent of the human population.  Did you eat at McDonald’s today?
  • The famous Big Mac entered the menu in 1968.
  • Chicken McNuggets debuted in 1983, and are now served in many Happy Meals.
  • Ray Kroc’s net worth was about 600 million dollars by 1984.
  • The “Golden Arches” logo, the large “M”, was first used in 1961 for Ray Kroc’s “McDonald’s”.
  • Before the Golden Arches, the “Speedee” character was how people recognized McDonald’s.  He was a chubby cook with a rounded “moon” face, and a chef’s hat.
  • Ronald McDonald, the company’s redheaded mascot, has helped kids recognize McDonald’s since the clown’s release in 1963.
  • By 1976, McDonald’s had sold it’s 20 billionth burger.
  • How many have been sold by 2017?  The company doesn’t know, since they stopped keeping track in 1994.  I am a bit skeptical; were they really counting, or was McDonald’s just approximating to impress customers and the general public with a questionable fun “fact”.
  • Back in the late 1960s, McDonald’s sent meals to homesick American Olympic athletes.
  • From 2011 to 2013, the company had an ambitious goal: to open one restaurant every day for two years in China (no word on whether they achieved this or not).
  • In 2015, McDonald’s profits actually declined, and to try to fix this problem, they started to offer the breakfast menu all day – not just in the morning.
  • Originally having only nine menu items in 1955, this has expanded to one hundred seventy items as of August 2015.

McDONALD’S FLOPS

Every business has to try and add new things, and sometimes these attempts to throw a party for your taste buds aren’t exactly successful.  On some occasions, they could taste good, but they aren’t why people go to McDonald’s.  Here are some examples:

  • By 1991, McDonald’s usually attracted customers during earlier hours of the day; for breakfast and lunch.  This led to the company’s strange idea to introduce things like spaghetti and fettuccine Alfredo.  This could have tasted nice, but it brings customers to a repetitive question: who goes to McDonald’s for Italian food, when they could either go to a restaurant to sit down and have a quality meal, or make pasta at home?
  • Everybody likes bacon, but five slices in a hamburger is overdoing it.  Unfortunately, in 1992, some restaurants in Australia offered a new meal, the “Bacon Bacon McBacon”.  Unsurprisingly, the very unhealthy burger flopped.
  • To satisfy seafood-loving customers, a sandwich called the “McLobster” was introduced in 1993, and it never really caught on.  The meal, which was lobster, lettuce, and lobster sauce, served on a hot dog bun, cost a whopping $8.99, proving that people would rather have a cheaper beef or chicken burger than something from the same restaurant, that costs about four times more.
  • For Catholics who don’t eat meat on Fridays, a burger with pineapple instead of meat was sold in the 1960s.  It even had cheese!  McDonald’s had the right idea, but people didn’t like it’s taste.  This burger died, but another meal, the “Filet ‘o’ Fish“, was more successful than the “Hula Burger“, the pineapple experiment.

Unfortunately, there are more, but we hope McDonald’s has learned from their mistakes.

WHAT ABOUT ME?

In case you’re wondering, I don’t eat from this restaurant every day.  I actually eat there about once per year, or even less.  My parents almost always have a nice scent in the kitchen around dinnertime.  Nearly everything you make at home is better than fast food, unless you’re eating a handful of flour, or drinking motor oil .  (Okay, that might have been an exaggeration).

That brings me to the end, and I would like to conclude by saying that unhealthy food is okay every once in a while, but it is certainly better to keep a balanced diet, and stay active.

If you would also like to see some videos of interesting facts, here are some videos:

Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope to see more visitors popping up on my map.  Make sure to comment if you have any thoughts or questions; I’ll answer, so keep my URL!

Have a math-crammed day!

Sincerely,

Ivo N.

(Two facts and two flops came from a book.  The facts come from Uncle John’s 24-Karat Gold Bathroom Reader on page 119, and the washouts are from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader, on page 42).

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Rafael Nadal: A Very Hardworking Man

November26

IMG_6471

“Nadal won 6-3 6-3 6-4 against Anderson,” was a major rumor in New York around Sept. 10th, 2017.  It was true.  Rafael Nadala Spanish tennis player, born June 3rd 1986, had won his sixteenth grand slam title — that was amazing.  I have not watched one of his matches live, though I would love to do it one day!

The friendship between Roger Federer, arguably the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), and Nadal is one of the strongest in sports history.  My personal opinion is that Federer  is more talented, but Rafa has trained and worked harder to get where he is now, so that is why this post is about him.  Here are three successful learner traits:  industrious, compassionate, and collaborative, that he has demonstrated in his lifetime:

1.) Industrious

Rafael Nadal is definitely very industrious.  As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I think Nadal has worked very hard to get where he is.

Rafael plays tennis left-handed, but he is a right-handed person, though being ambidextrous obviously helps.  Introduced to tennis at the age of three, Nadal was trained by his uncle, Toni Nadal.  Toni trained Rafael for 27 years, until Carlos Moya took over in January 2017.  Moya has not changed the fact that Nadal is always very focused, even when he is practicing.  Some players don’t practice like they are playing in a professional tennis match.  No one plays as if your opponent has a championship point in a grand slam tournament, when you are training, but Nadal takes his practice more seriously than any other ATP player. So beware if you’re training with him 😉 .  Though Rafael is very good, and can beat anyone in the world, I think that there are many players that are more talented than Nadal, but Rafa is one of the most inspiring players, and he is the person many people would like to hear talk, because he can positively affect you to get up off your couch and do something – to be productive.

2.) Compassionate

Rafael Nadal is very competitive, but he always demonstrates great sportsmanship and he is never a sore winner or loser. Even after the toughest loss, he would find the best words to congratulate his opponent.  In 2012, Lukáš Rosol defeated Nadal in a pretty long match, and even after annoying him, Nadal kept himself together, knowing that lashing out will not result in anything good.

After opening his own tennis academy, he didn’t mind sharing his experience even with his rivals. He would invite them for a week or two to hit some balls to improve each other’s game. Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov are the latest examples as they also finish right behind him in the rankings, respectfully as number 2 and 3 in the world.

3.) Collaborative

Nadal had collaborated with Marc Lopez to win gold for his country in Men’s Tennis Doubles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.  The King of Clay also collaborated with Roger Federer to win the first Laver Cup in Prague, Czech Republic, representing Europe against the world.  Once, Roger and Rafa were close to colliding with each other, but they collaborated in that very short amount of time, to figure out who would hit the ball.  In the end, Federer stepped away.

“THE VERDICT”

We can easily conclude that Rafael Nadal can inspire nearly anyone, even the very lazy people, to get outside and be active.  He is very hardworking, compassionate, and cooperative, and watching him play makes me want to go outside and hit some balls.

Here is a video of his best points.

Who inspires you?  An athlete?  A book character?  Someone else?  Let me know in the comment section.  Thanks, and I hope you liked this post.

Have a math-crammed day.

Sincerely,

– Ivo N.

Creative Commons LicenseMarianne Bevis via Compfight

The Moon

November6


Moon Unit

Creative Commons License
WVTROUT via Compfight

The Moon

Shines in the sky,

reflections from the sun glistening.

The only light in the night,

it gleams with all its might.

Just glaring at it,

you feel mystery piling into your mind.

(Thank you, and I wish you a math-crammed tomorrow.)

Sincerely,

Ivo N.

by posted under Creativity, Learning, My Life | tagged under , ,  |  4 Comments »    

All About Ivo

October26

Greetings, earthlings!

My name is Ivo, and I live in the Comox Valley of British Columbia, a province in Canada. Here is some information on five of my favourite things to do in my spare time:

1.) Tennis. I play tennis mostly with my Chilean coach, Julio, his pupil, Shervin, and another trainee, Luke. I am currently working on making my serve more consistent (which means that I am trying to get the ball in), and adding more topspin to trouble my opponent. When I play with my father, I play with a flatter shot, and I take more risks in the game.

2.) Travelling. I don’t trot around the globe when I am bored (as you can imagine), but I do love to travel. In June 2008, I came to Canada at the age of one (and ten months), from Bulgaria, a country in eastern Europe. (Как си? Добре?) I just asked you, “How are you? Good?”, in Bulgarian. I spoke my language the most in 2013, when I left with my mother and brother to Bulgaria on April 23rd. We passed through London, and got to Bulgaria on the 25th. I will spare the details until later, but I want you to know that I really, really enjoy travelling.

3.) Hanging out with friends. Sometimes, my friends, Tyler, Justin, Quinn, and I would meet at our school, then ride our bikes down to downtown Comox, where we would occasionally get an ice cream cone (instead, I get a bun from the supermarket). We would just talk at the park, then every so often go to someone’s house (out of us four, mind you) and play some video games, jump on Tyler’s trampoline, and hop into the pool during a storm (we did that once). There are surely more things that we have done when we got together.

4.) Reading.  I am currently reading “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief”, by Rick Riordan.  If you are thinking of spoiling the book for me, please clear those wicked thoughts out of your head.  Books that I have read previously of “The Lightning Thief” are… Matilda (by Roald Dahl), The Journey Back (by Priscilla Cummings), and Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (by John Grisham). Don’t worry, I have read other books.  These books are from October 2017.

5.)  Crafts.  I am very fond of making many arts and crafts.  Last year (2016), we learned how to make a box (preferably with card).  I made a lot of them, in many different sizes.  In grade one, I learned how to make a snowflake out of paper (but coffee filters are much thinner and more convenient).  I decorated my whole room with the snowflakes.  Also, I really like collecting containers (for example, Tic Tac’s boxes can make a nice puppet, or… aluminum coffee cans can be decorated to be wastebaskets).  There are many crafts to make on a website called, http://krokotak.com/.  Printable crafts and step-by-step instructions can be found using this simple kids website (crafts that you have searched up now will probably not be on Krokotak a couple of months later).

That is all for today; I hope you liked this post, and I will write more in the near future.

I wish you a lovely day, I wish you a lovely day, I WISH YOU A LOVELY DAY… and a math-crammed tomorrow.

Sincerely,
Ivo N.

by posted under Blogging, My Life, Tennis | tagged under , , , , ,  |  11 Comments »    
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