Learning Spanish

“If you want a thing well done, do it yourself” – (Proverb)

As time for university nears I have been thinking a lot about being able to adapt to a new culture. I evidently have no way of knowing where I will end up in the next few months but if wishful thinking works in my favor, I might be in Barcelona for my higher education. Among all the subjects that are offered in school, the ones I tend to find the most favorable to me have always been the languages. Now I am no professional, but  I do have a tendency to pick up languages quite fast. I speak English, German and Sinhala fluently while I’m somewhat intermediate at French and there has truly been only one or two languages I have really wanted to add to that list (Spanish and Italian). Spanish itself is such a versatile language and hearing people speak it always has me awed. My dad speaks fluently as well so that’s an added plus while I have on occasion even shocked the Spanish teacher with my ability to comprehend text and conversations. It’s hard to explain but I can understand the language really well, I just don’t know how to speak it necessarily. And so with one goal in mind I have tried to take it upon myself to learn, the same way I became fluent in German by only watching cartoons. I did keep in mind that I am much older and that younger children tend to be more flexible in learning a foreign language but  I am strong willed in learning to at least be able to converse in basic Spanish by the end of the summer. If I don’t make it to Spain there is still no loss in learning because it is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages and my future job requires me to be fluent in at least one of them. Also how cool would it be to roll into any part of Europe and to be able to speak German, French and Spanish!

The Game Plan:

Ever since December break I have committed 20 minutes of my day everyday to learning Spanish on Duolingo. The website tracks your progress and teaches you to read, write and even speak Spanish without even needing a teacher! It’s been a lot of fun to be entirely honest. I never tire of it although its a bit difficult to keep reminding myself to practice daily. Even on days I do forget to go on Duolingo, I have also integrated Spanish into my daily life. I watch certain shows on Netflix like Rebelde and El Casa Del Papel in Spanish (which I have found to be extremely useful) while I also have at least three playlists containing Spanish music ranging from traditional guitar ie. the Gipsy Kings, to RNB artists like Nicole Hortes and Kali Uchis (which I highly recommend), pop and even indie rock! My current favorite songs are Solita by Kali, Un Beso en Madrid by Alejandro Sanz and El Fin Del Mundo by La La Love You. Not only has this enabled me to expand my musical horizons but I have also found that in my past experiences with becoming fluent in languages, that the best way to do that is by listening to it and even conversing. Now unfortunately there isn’t an abundance of Spanish speakers in Sri Lanka but I do try to string together sentences (increasingly successfully) with kids from the Spanish Class and even Ms. Innocenti 🙂 On top of this I follow a great deal of Spanish football too with teams like Barcelona so learning has made understanding the commentary much easier as well.



Baking + Sunday Dinners

Baking and Making Sunday Dinners for My Family

During the course of my CAS journey one of my favorite endeavors that I decided to take up was cooking. It initially started as a one off thing but has soon become a regular occurrence in my household as of late and one that has not only been beneficial to me but my family as well. At home we like to switch things up whenever possible, order in different cuisines, try out new recipes etc. and lately as college has been drawing nearer and nearer my parents have reminded me how useful a skill knowing how to make your own food can be as you grow up. In addition to this I find cooking extremely therapeutic, it allows me to concentrate on whichever action I am doing and I momentarily let go of all of the stressful things in life. Another advantage of making meals on the occasion is that I get to give my mom a well deserved rest where she doesn’t have to cook and clean for the night while I simultaneously get to learn a lot about the cultures which my recipes come from.

Strawberry cheesecake & Chocolate chip cookies!


Over the past term I have backed everything from chocolate chip cookies to cheesecake while I’ve made dishes from all around the world. The key component of making everything is a lot of care, patience and practice as sometimes, doing things as simple as frying chicken can be extremely painstaking and time consuming but the end result is almost always more worth it if you put the effort in. The next mantra for the kitchen I would use is that not everything is going to work out, some recipes might do amazing but others maybe not so much. For example, this weekend I made chocolate chip cookies, now these were somewhat of a cheat meal because it was a pre-mixed pack and when I tasted the batter it didn’t taste too out of the ordinary but the moment you bit into it after it was baked it felt sweet enough to give you diabetes, which upon reflection wasn’t all too nice especially since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Another thing I’ve learned to deal with is that ingredients aren’t always readily available, especially during this pandemic since most of what we order is done online so I need to substitute quite a few ingredients whenever possible. Here are a few of my absolute favorite meals that I made over the past 3 weeks.

KBQ, also known as Korean Barbecue Chicken is a Korean dish which consists of crispy buttermilk battered chicken doused in spicy gochujang sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. KBQ is something that my brother and I always wanted to order in but since the store closed during lockdown we decided that we’d make it ourselves. The cook time was actually quite long because you had to wait for the chicken to marinate and then fry them till they’re cooked but the end result was very worth the wait.

Chili Con Carne on the other hand, is a Mexican dish which loosely translates to chili with meat, the dish consists of a delicious seasoned stew which is usually accompanied on a bed of rice with cheese on top, this dish was fairly easy to make and honestly delectable even though this was the first time I had tried it. The second part of this dish is the Hot Butter Cuttlefish which is one of my all time favorite side dishes which to my surprise is actually a part of Sri Lankan Chinese fusion cuisine! Unfortunately this time around there wasn’t any flour at home to make the crispy batter with, but it was just as delicious without.

The third dish that I found was a great success was my mom’s take on a Cajun/ Creole dish called Jambalaya which is basically a rice dish with vegetables and meat combined with rice. My mom’s recipe of the dish doesn’t necessarily follow the original ingredient list but uses an amazing combination of ham and rice with minimal vegetables instead! Jambalaya also contains influences from regions like Spain, Africa and France and so it can be said that many regions have their own take on the dish with different meat and vegetable variations but that’s what makes this dish so diverse in the first place.

I would highly recommend trying these out at home!!


Creativity Post

A little bit of everything 

Over the past few months, I have done a culmination of far too many things creatively to rant on about on my CAS blog without boring my readers, however I will give you a few small snapshots into the greater things I accomplished this semester. Admittedly, initially, I always thought of CAS as something which highlights a monumental non-academic achievements which you have participated in, but over the past few terms I have gradually learned that that is indeed not the case. CAS is about how you incorporate these 3 elements into daily life and how you benefit from it and how others benefit from you taking part in them, so this time around, instead of focusing on one major event aside from those already described in my CAS blog, I chose to take a step back and admire the bigger picture, by looking at the ways in which I employ creativity in my day to day life. Creativity has become of the essence to me as of late because I have just gone through another tumultuous turn of events where we went from online school, to in person school, to online school and lockdown… yet again. It’s almost like we come full circle each year!

Needless to say I have been taking part in activities that both consciously and subconsciously employ my creative side ranging from creating posters and posts for various social media sites for my service groups, to mindfully taking part in meditation sessions to coloring and photography and last but not least… music. This term I have come to have a more focused approach on myself in terms of self care and learning to derail a bit from the often draining academic train that is the IB outside of the classroom.

I have done everything from helping my mom rearrange the living room, to creating and organizing aesthetic Pinterest boards of things I hope to accomplish, to serenading my dogs with Jason Mraz accompanied by my guitar (this is a secret), to dedicating time into making playlists with over 200 songs each to match each mood I’m feeling to name a few. I have also actively spent more time on perfecting photography and editing as well as just spent a laidback day doing therapeutic coloring with my friend and just sat down to do guided meditation for 15 minutes each day. None of these activities may seem extremely glorious, but as someone who is constantly on the move and a bit of a workaholic at times, I am proud of the fact that I have gotten myself into the consistent rhythm of taking at least an hour away each day to unwind, which earlier, I found shockingly difficult to bring myself to    do.

This time around the activities I have done in terms of creativity are intended not to please others but to to satisfy myself, a much needed serotonin boost of sorts as I feel like I strive too often to make others happy to the extent where I don’t tend to my own needs and just end up stressed and frustrated instead. Usually my outlet for releasing stress is being on a pitch kicking a soccer ball around, but with lockdown weighing heavily on Sri Lanka again, I have had to find more creative ways of stress relieving, keeping my mental wellbeing at the forefront of my mind.

Accomplishment wise, mine may not be a great deal astonishing, but I do have to acknowledge the fact that this is somewhat of a major personal milestone and that by putting myself first at times, I have become more attentive to my interactions with others! For example, my Spotify is now a carefully curated list of playlists ranging from classical, to rap, French music to improve my listening and speaking skills to numerous others that capture my emotions. It has also given me the ability to get to know a few of my classmates better due to similarities in music taste and it have given me a great amount of joy to be able to share something that I consider personal to myself with others. I have also dedicated a fair share of time to spend with my friends, for example the other week my friend Shreya and I decided to do online coloring for about 30 minutes which was a great way for us to catch up given that we hadn’t seen each other in person for a while and in the way that we were able to work as a team to carefully complete each piece!

< A piece I created with Shreya during Lockdown

Moreover, something else that I have taken up as a new endeavor is meditation. Initially I must admit I was a bit skeptical but one night I was so overwhelmed by my work that I thought the only way to calm myself down might be to try meditation so I spent about 30 minutes of my night the first time listening to Deepak Chopra’s ‘Fear’ to calm myself down, and what did I know, it worked! From then on I spend 15 minutes each night listening to a podcast of sorts and attempt to focus on nothing else but my breathing and the words of the narrator in that time and it has been proven massively relieving each time.

That aside something else that I have been spending significant time on is photography, personally, I tend to take a camera or in the least my phone with me wherever I go, so in that way I can capture an image at a moment’s notice. I was truly able to exercise my aptitude for photography when I was in Hanthana,  the views were spectacular and I had just discovered some presets on Polarr which I immediately had to use. In a way, I was aiming for a more abstract image of things simple due to the composition of the landscapes and I wanted to make something different. Needless to say, I am really happy with the way in which they came out and can’t wait for another opportunity take more photos like that again! Similarly, I have also been paying attention to my video edits.  I must admit though that with the end of my DP1 experience nearing, I have been finding less and less time and motivation to edit, which does make sense because at this stage I do need to be prioritizing my school work.

In my off time however, I have spent a small amount of time working with new apps like Cap Cut to try out new filters and transitions. For example, my most recent exploration is creating videos with photographs that turn 3D when a certain effect is applied, I am constantly blown away by the developments in technology and I was fascinated with the outcomes. Although my editing account has reached somewhat of a hiatus for the time being, I have every intention of starting it back up full force when summer vacation starts so I’m really looking forward to that!

Last but certainly not least is my newest update on my adventures in the kitchen. When comparing  my cooking  from when I started this  blog to the work that I am capable of doing now, even the blind can see the extent to I have improved by in only a matter of months. My cooking has grown from me only being able to make instant ramen and a fried egg to being capable of  making a full meal! Sure, I do occasionally have my missteps (often because I have an irrational tendency to improvise), but also because trial is the only way towards perfecting newer recipes. My parents have so much faith in my cooking now that I was even given permission to bake a batch of cupcakes completely unsupervised if would you believe it!  (They came out tasting amazing for the record, although I grossly misjudged the ingredients and ended up with a 22 instead of the mere 6 I needed 💀) Regardless, my cooking skills have witnessed a major growth curve of the past year and I think I might just be on the right track to being able to feed myself during university!

Here is of my favorite dishes I made this month, spaghetti and shrimp with white sauce  :))


^ a link to my 3D video edit

Écrire des lettres aux personnes âgées

Writing letters to the elderly – French Service Project 2021

As student in French B this year, I was told at the start of DP1 that I would be required to cover are all three areas of CAS in 3 posts by the end of my 2 year DP journey. Luckily for myself, I thought ahead of time and have managed to complete 2 of the 3 tasks. I successfully completed my first task when I made my own rendition of the Swiss desert, bonhommes last Christmas and I have just now done my part in my French service project.

For this year, myself and a few of my classmates, chose to write letters to the residents of an elders home who have had a hard time with COVID being unable to see their families and were in need of a little bit of cheering up :)) By keeping that intention in mined, I set out with the goal of writing my letter (shown below) to put a smile on their faces and to assure them that everything would be just fine during COVID and that the tough times will pass. My letter began with me introducing myself, my name, my age, my home and my hobbies etc. after which, I went on to talk about my own experience in quarantine and how it is affecting my life and its shortcomings, while I also assured my pen pal about how it it possibly the only way for things to go back to normal. I talked about how it has given me the time to explore things such as hobbies that I would usually not participate in leisurely in the absence of COVID, namely hobbies of mine such as playing music, reading and playing with my dogs which I haven’t had the time to engage in due to school. And at last, I said that  I hoped they were doing well and concluded with an inspirational quote by a man named Robert Choquette who said something the lines of, “At the heart of uncertainty, there will always be hope, no matter how weak it is.” and included 2 pictures of my dogs because let’s be there’s no bigger serotonin boost than puppies out there.

En français: 

Cette année, pour mon projet de service CAS, j’ai choisi d’écrire une lettre aux personnes âgées dans une maison pour personnes âgées en France. J’ai choisi de le faire parce que je savais que COVID doit être plus difficile pour eux que pour moi, car la plupart du temps, ils ne pourront pas voir les membres de leur famille, alors je voulais les rendre heureux et pleins d’espoir et leur rappeler que tout allait bien se passer.

Alors je leur ai écrit cette lettre:


Making Desserts

I might just be competent enough to cook…

A few months ago around Christmas time, I took on a few challenges to learn how to make certain dishes, i.e. make cookies, bake some bread people, and even make some homemade ice cream. At the time however, I could by no means be left unsupervised in the kitchen out of fear for everything getting burned to a crisp or having the risk of having recipe going terribly wrong, but here I am 3 months later having grown significantly in my cooking abilities after many hours of practice and last but not least, episodes of My Kitchen Rules  Oh… and I can be left to make things on my own now… 😭

Over the past few months I’ve tried to do my best to be helpful around the kitchen, whether that was for making dinner with my mom or making desserts for birthdays of family members and friends. Over these few weeks I have successfully mastered the art of cake making, churro making and tiramisu and chocolate biscuit pudding making. (I am pleased to confirm that the tiramisu and churros with chocolate sauce have become high in demand).

So how did I go from incapable of being unsupervised in the kitchen to Nigella Lawson the next day ?(that was a quite and awful comparison, my bad, Nigella is the queen of the culinary world and I could never possibly measure up to her). Well, in reality I really owe it to my mom who has a tireless way of looking up random recipes that catch her eye and then pulling out all stops with it with her own unique additions. The first few times around I just observed how she did things in the kitchen being allowed to occasionally stir and mix things, but soon it became a scenario while I did most the work with her giving me some life changing advice in the midst.

And so it became that I learned make my own recipes which caught my eye, helped make Grandpa’s birthday cake and even made 2 dishes of pineapple gateau  and 2 chocolate biscuit pudding dishes for a family function . The highlight for me, personally was also being able to make churros and dip all by myself, and I was elated seeing how quickly the plate finished.

Now naturally, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, for instance, this one time I dropped a piping bag into hot oil containing churro batter (oops), but I learned to adopt new techniques and improvise. No matter how slow or fast the progress, I am happy knowing for a fact that this is going to be useful to me in college when I am expected to cook for myself, so I’m really glad I’m getting the practice now. As for the future, I would really like to learn how to make more savory dishes because that would probably come even more in handy, it’s always the effort that counts!

Here are a few of the desserts I made with minimal assistance:

^ chocolate cake for my grandma’s birthday

^ pineapple gateau!


Overlay Effect Practice

Continued Experimentation on VideoPad and Filmora 9 Pro

Hey, here’s an update on what I’ve been up to in my process of learning how to edit using Filmora 9 Pro and VideoPad for my video edit account.

General Update

The last few months have been a bit hectic in the editing scene, especially in terms of how much free time and inspiration I had which honestly wasn’t too much. On top of that Instagram introduced a new algorithm which limit’s an editor’s reach, for example, likes no longer matter and for more people to see your posts, more people have to save and share them. This can obviously be a bit disheartening considering that we put hours of our time into making videos that get under 500 views, which explains why my archives have more content than my actual feed, since how much your edit succeeds is pretty random. On the brighter side however, there have also been certain positive outcomes! For example, I just hit 1,266 followers and I had a video of mine pass 4k views! And as the icing on the cake… I got recognized by 3 players, two of who I look up to immensely and my favorite club, Manchester United WFC!!!

The players were Manchester United and the Spanish National team’s Ona Batlle, the USWNT and Arsenal veteran Heather O’Reilly and Sky Blue FC’s  Paige Monaghan. In all honesty, I didn’t know much about Monaghan  since  I didn’t keep up with the NWSL anymore, but I do hugely look up to Ona and Heather. While Ona is  one of the most skilled defenders in the league with amazing achievements in both in the FA and international games, Heather O’Reilly is one of my all time favorite veteran USWNT players who also played with Arsenal till her retirement in 2016. Which… come to think of it means she also shared the pitch with some of women’s soccer’s most iconic names like Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx. Either way, she has somewhat of a legendary status in women’s football so I certainly found myself a bit stars truck that she knew my name.


Editing Practice

And now for the actual editing…

While I usually prefer to use only one software since it conserves a lot of time, I also know that using both to create an edit creates a much more sophisticated looking end product. I may have a decent following on my edit as of right now, but I am physically a long way away from the kind of editor I aspire to be. This takes days and days of practice especially when it comes to learning new transitions, overlays, effects and colorings etc. in order to produce smooth and creative posts. While in my previous blogs I looked at coloring and the velocity features, these past few months I have been trying to improve my use of the overlay effects.

Usually, any editing software has certain premade features which can be added on top of your regular timeline to create additional effect such as glow or grain, or even in Filmora’s case, certain color gradients.

So what would happen is that I would crop and add transitions to my regular video, but then drag in a gradient overlay say, for example the red one. I would then go to the tab called composting, choose a blending mode, such as lighten and then adjust the opacity in a way that you could still see the video beneath it, only now it would be tinted red. This way I could add multiple tints to my videos so that the coloring could change on beat, which gives a cool effect.

As a an experimentation edit (which I later ended up posting), I made video of the 2019 world cup. I had previously made the sequence on VideoPad and added the old film and glow effect to give it a signature black and white film look and used velocity to slow down and speed down certain parts that focus on skill moves. After exporting my clips, I then opened Filmora, changed the aspect ratio and began adding my overlays. At first I added the chromatic abrasion feature which separates the color spectrum and does so on beat,  that can only be used in small amounts. As for the color gradients, I then proceeded to add blue red and white blank overlays, I chose darken as the blending mode and reduced the opacity.

Here are some screenshot of the final outcomes – (white didn’t make that much of a difference since that was the edit’s original color anyways):

Final edit snapshots:

Link to edit (you might want to watch this in HD and in the picture in picture setting) : 





In my last blog post, I introduced everyone to the IVY GIRLS Lead project which I became a member of in late December 2020. However, although in my earlier post, my focus was on the guest speaker element of the project,  another major part of the program that  I want to talk about is the service task which we were asked to complete after our first 2 weeks as a trial to see how well we were able to apply what we were taught to real life.

We were each asked to pick out a topic on which we wanted to work on and then assigned groups with random members based off of our interests. We were then asked to brainstorm a project outline, create an effective plan and then present it to a panel of judges on our final day of week 2. Once approved we were expected to complete our tasks over the span of 3 months (or more) to hopefully end up accomplishing the intended end goal.

I had a difficult time choosing between two topics, gender inequality and ocean pollution. The deciding factor in the end ended up being the fact that I had to choose something that was doable during the COVID situation, and while I was passionate about sport I had doubts that others would think the same way. This is why I decided to continue my efforts which I started out in the 10th Grade with my MYP 5 Personal Project, only this time, with added elements and it being more of a group effort. This would also ultimately help me in fulfilling my CAS goals.

Our progress check in was actually due yesterday, here is an excerpt from what I submitted on behalf of my group members…

Towards the start of  the of Ivy Girls Lead action project, the Reef Revival group consisting of Thimanya and Ayesha and I took on a very venturesome initiative to raise awareness on to raise awareness regarding the issue of ocean pollution amongst social media users; while, taking a personal course of order to do our part in combating the issue in question within Sri Lanka’s oceans. 

Over the course of the past few months we have done our level best to stay true to our goal despite many major challenges we were met with.

Here are few of the biggest obstacles we have faced:

  • Although I reached out to 5 dive centers in order to initiate underwater cleanups and only one responded, we were able to carry out two dives but they shut down too due to the lack of business and risk of COVID (i.e.. having to re-use equipment). 
  • We could not have as much physical engagement as we liked considering the pandemic situation so we were forced to do this within our families and close friend circles in a much less official way. 
  • Thimanya could not get a lot of beach cleanup participants considering the COVID-19 situation as well.
  • School work and distance interfered more with our project than we anticipated, while Thimanya and I kept continuous correspondence via WhatsApp and G-Mail our third group member who was supposed to take on the role of the researcher did not interact with us at all despite how many times we emailed her or used slack, which meant that Thimanya and I had to carry out her share of the tasks ourselves.

Overall, the obstacles that we were faced with, to a degree reduced our productivity and narrowed down the limits of how much we could achieve with our goal during this period of time, however, I am very proud of how we decided to stay true to our initial plan and took up our goals to the best of our ability. 

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:

  • We officially launched our social media campaign, Reef Revival which gained the desired amount of traction and so much more than we anticipated we hit 50 followers in 3 days!
  • Our first post, which was a trailer / awareness edit that I made as an introduction to our initiative, reached many activists around the world who congratulated us on our efforts, our friends and family were also very supportive and reposted and shared our content etc. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.
  • Thimanya who was in charge of the beach cleanups carried two out successfully at Pinawatta  within her family and with the help of the municipal council in her district. 
  • I was able to carry out two successful dive cleanups at Swami Rock, collecting over 30kg’s worth of debris, most of our haul consisting of plastic bags and bottles with additional surprising collections of a massive cement block, fish cage wiring, a few corroded poles, lots of rope and ceramics. 
  • We came into contact with a major ocean pollution advocate and social media influencer named Arlian Ecker on Instagram. He’s only 16 and is already an ambassador for Project AWARE with over 2k followers! The Ocean Purpose Project panelist has been a great mentor and has actively encouraged us to follow through with our project. We even discussed the prospects of doing a Q and A or collaborative project with him in the near future! (which we are very excited for! )
  • Our project was kickstarted with the help of many other popular awareness blogs such as SEAFOAM , Bali Dive Time and Aqua5 who loved our content and helped spread the word about our initiative.
  • Our first post had a 36 person share rate which is pretty major for an Instagram post!
  • I was also able to carry out my own beach cleanup with the help of my family and friends at a beach in Hiriketiya which was very polluted to the begin with; the content we recovered ranged from bottles of poison to fishing lines and an overwhelmingly large collection of washed up shoes. 
  • We were able to engage with our followers via the IG story feature, regularly quizzing and educating them on our action; we decided that stories would be more efficient than releasing posts because they get a bigger reach due to notifications that followers get, but we also release a few posts designed by Thimanya.
  • I was also able to log my Data successfully onto Project AWARE’s diver profile which is available to the general diving community and scientists who analyze the data that divers collect. 

What the future holds for Reef Revival:

Hopefully we are able to continue our efforts in the following months especially with the COVID situation easing around the island, we are hoping that for the sake of the project and the local community that Dive Centers are allowed to go back into business so that we can have greater engagement with the community, have more cleanups and make it a more engaging experience. As for the near future, we are currently looking forward to doing the Q and A with Arlian Ecker (plastic free boy)  and hopefully get many more activists involved in the project, maybe even at local capacity. We also plan on  carrying out the installation of the bins in the beaches close by with the money that Thimanya has raised for that purpose and more generally, expanding our following and engagement.

Creativity – Designing Posts + Stories

Activity – Diving 

Service – Raising Awareness + The Removal of Rubbish


Detailed Action Plan:


Progress Check- In ( click link for more images & details ): 


^ hiriketiya beach pre-cleanup


Faire des Bonhommes!

French CAS Project – Creativity – Making Christmas Bonhommes! (good fellows)

As a part of my French lessons, my classmates and I were asked to take on a strand of CAS in the form of creativity to both practice our French and to promote francophone culture during the holidays; specifically in the form of end of year celebrations and traditions.

Among the many options that were available, what caught my eye the most was making a Christmas food from a French speaking country. I had as of late been spending more and more time in the kitchen exercising my cooking and baking abilities; which for the record, I would say is neither here nor there (usually whatever I make is either shockingly delicious or quite frankly, downright inedible – there is really no in between.) Needless to say I understood that it would have been beyond useful to brush up on those skills before heading off to college in two years time. (LO1 & 2)

Thinking hard on what I could make given the resources I had available, one of the first things that came to mind was the amazing baked bread called “gritibenzen” I ate around Christmas time every year when I was kid and lived in Germany. The bread would be shiny and golden brown, in the shape of adorable little bread people decked in Christmas attire, often decorated with a generous handful of raisins or dried fruit. More importantly, I remembered my dad explaining to me when I was younger that the tradition came from Switzerland where the snack was instead dubbed “bonhommes”.  Even thinking back on it, I would feel a sense of nostalgia, camping outside the stalls at Christmas Markets waiting for our warm “bonhommes” right before heading back home after doing our Christmas shopping.

It was decided then that I would give this dish my best shot – I had never attempted making bread before so this was a start for me and I just prayed that it would all somehow work out in my favor.

Here is a little explanation on the background and origins of my dish in French:

Pour mon projet CAS français, j’ai décidé de préparer un plat de Noël appelé Bonhommes de Suisse. C’est un pain sucré fait pendant la saison de Noël, préparé en général le jour de la Saint-Nicolas; célébré le 6 décembre. Ce plat provient des Celtes qui faisaient leur pain en forme de dieux et d’évêque. Le pain est généralement décoré avec des noix et des raisins et il y avait de nombreux noms différents dans différentes régions de la Suisse comme “Grittibanz” et “Stutenkerl”. Le pain ressemble généralement à un homme.

Voici est la recette que j’ai utilisée 

(The Recipe)


Here is my reflection I wrote after making the bonhommes:

Je viens de terminer la cuisson de mes bonhommes il y a environ une heure avant! Ils sont bien sortis, je dois dire. Bien sûr, ce ne sont pas les meilleurs bonhommes, mais ma famille les a goûtés et ils ont adoré. Cela nous a également rappelé à tous notre séjour en Allemagne, ce qui était vraiment agréable. J’ai fait quelques ajustements au plat, par exemple, j’ai fait un petit bonhomme de neige et une bonne fille aussi (même s’ils n’existent pas vraiment). Je n’aime pas trop les amandes, alors j’ai ajouté des raisins à la place qui sont généralement également présents dans la recette traditionnelle. Enfin, j’ai trouvé qu’ils n’étaient pas aussi colorés que je le souhaitais, alors j’ai utilisé le reste du glaçage de mes biscuits au pain d’épice pour ajouter un peu de couleur à mes pains.

Overall I really loved making them, and I was beyond relieved when they turned out good! I may be an amateur bonhomme maker for now, but I suppose I can add this to the list of Silva holiday traditions at home. I’ll be a professional baker before you know it!! (LO 2 & 3)

Ici sont mes bonhommes!


Winter Wonderland

Final Guitar Ensemble Performance – Spreading the Christmas Cheer *virtually*

Although this year’s guitar ensemble sessions were far beyond unconventional, we certainly found a way to make things work. Towards the beginning of the semester we practiced for the Pink Panther theme song which we all learned but ultimately never pieced together for unknown reasons. However, in realizing we were indeed called the guitar ‘ensemble’, we agreed it felt necessary to at least execute one well rehearsed piece together.

Now, on a normal school year, we would have all been recruited my Miss. Duncan (the music teacher) to participate in the annual Winter Gala – one of the ensemble’s well anticipated performances, but naturally, corona deterred and we were forced to settle for a more unique performance. Instead; we decided to spread the Christmas spirit virtually! We felt this was fitting, especially since it was much needed this year, with a lot of us being isolated from loved ones and without being able to celebrate extravagantly like a lot of families usually do. (LO2 , 4 & 7)

So with a little coordination from Mr. Marlon, we spent roughly 2 (or in my case 1 and 1/2) Wednesday sessions rehearsing to play the classic “Winter Wonderland” by Bing Crosby. The first lesson was spent familiarizing ourselves with the chords and notation with the group members being assigned their parts, while, I, on the other hand had to miss the crucial second session where they played the chords together for another meeting!!

Regardless; I was eager to not let the rest of my peers down and immediately contacted Mr. Marlon who kindly initiated a make up zoom call lesson for me sometime around 10:30 pm (I may have panicked because I thought the video would be displayed at the end of year assembly the very next day) and we were on our way.  I struggled minorly with the time keeping especially because in a usual ensemble setting you could hear the tempo of the other guitars playing and timing it accordingly but I had to do it by counting. (LO5) The last thing I wanted was to be too fast or too slow because I was playing the most recognizable chords to the song. After working our way through multiple unfamiliar chords and after learning how to track the tempo mentally, I finally called it a day at 11:30 pm, after completing multiple retakes of Winter Wonderland (so many that I was unwilling to listen to Bing Crosby for the rest of the Christmas season :)) and finally gave my guitar strings a much needed break. (LO 4)

Despite the rush to finish, I guess Mr. Marlon didn’t intend for us to show our pre-recorded video the next day because I received the video only two days ago (which might I add is a partial relief because we weren’t necessarily looking the most spirited in our pajamas and flimsy excuses for Christmassy outfits).  It turns out our video was sent to the entire OSC staff instead on the 25th to celebrate Christmas and the work they have done for us in the last term! It was a rather thoughtful gesture and I hope we brightened up their day even by a little bit! :))

I felt proud of the group overall and especially of Mr. Marlon’s editing skills since it came out extremely well timed taking into consideration each of us had a different set of notation to play and recorded it separately without being in the same room as the other! It was quite a feat and thankfully resembled a piece that we would have performed in person. I feel like as a group this year, we overcame a lot, naturally in the same time frame face to face, we would have completed around 2 more pieces, but rehearsal time became limited this year. In addition to that we had less group members at the meetings so the compositions had to be altered and we practiced in rather strange formations from going solo to two person break out rooms to finally playing together. Overall, despite our many shortcomings resources wise this year, we jumped a lot of hurdles (musical and technical); a  Christmas miracle if you will…


^ The link to our video!

Ending 2020 With an Editing Collab!

Video Collaboration of the Year

This might be a little bit delayed but there has been so much going on for the past month or two that I have been waiting impatiently to get the right time to write about it all…

One of the most exciting endeavors I took up over the last few weeks though, most definitely, has to be a 8 part collaboration that I took part in sometime in October. It was finally published in December after a long anticipated wait  (I know that may seem like an awfully long time… but!! the host painstakingly took time out of her day to stitch 8 separate edits together very smoothly and I am in awe in hindsight of how well she pieced it together…)

The collab was initially proposed as a Halloween edit which is still evident in the audio we ended up using ‘Hit the Quan’ ; however, after piecing together edits from different places, time zones, apps and styles it only finally met its completion a few weeks ago mid December.

Making the edit was undoubtedly the most fun part (aside from the reveal); but long before the actual making of the project, came the process of making it into the collab as one of the selected editors. This year’s collab was hosted by one of my editor friends called Maia dubbed nutmegtoby who released the collab with the guidelines. You would pick the player you want to edit and share the selection process around and eventually she would pick the editors to be in her collab (this time it was chosen from a pool of around 34 players for only 8 parts!). (LO 2) 

In my case, I chose Becky Saurbrunn as my player since she’s someone who is wildly underappreciated for her playing and tenacity as a teammate. Not only that but it would have theoretically increased my chances of getting chosen for the collab since she wasn’t one of the players that everyone flocked to try and edit but she was someone who has a quiet but appreciated presence amongst the fans.

I felt absolutely honored to be chosen as one of the editors amidst the many other talented ones who tried out… Needless to say, immediately got to work on my half of the edit. To be honest, I was really proud of my part because the transitions came out pretty smoothly (which for the record rarely happens with the software I use). This goes without saying that I also had a fair share of regret because I used an effect called glow which looks really cool on the editing software but it ruins the quality when rendered and was further ruined by sharing my part via google drive.

Naturally this has always been one of my biggest struggles as an editor in general because, I often feel really happy with the way my edits look on the software itself but after being transferred through 3-4 apps the quality is often ruined which kind of messes up the aesthetic of it. I have learned a lot since, however, and now avoid using the glow effect in my edits, or I just change the intensity of it which is improving the quality of my edits by generous amounts- which I am ecstatic about. (LO1 & 2)

Regardless, after sending my part back to Maia it was just a waiting game. And then… finally came December and the edit was released!! I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit  that by this point I had nearly entirely forgotten that I took part in the first place but, the turnout was very much worth the wait!! It looked incredible! Especially considering how many different apps everyone used (with varying transitions and effects) I genuinely thought that it would be much more mismatched originally but my expectations were by far succeeded.

The best part of doing a collab in my opinion is not being able to see other people’s work till the very end (which is a good thing because you don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations considering that some of these editors have years of experience and have much more high performing editing applications like Adobe’s After Effects. ) It was easy to see that the editors selected were extremely talented and it was nice to get to know new editors through this as well! Honestly, one of the biggest upsides to running an edit account is getting to know a lot of talented people from around the world, especially those who have the same interests as me. (LO 5)


The edit!! ^


Skip to toolbar