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¡Hola! For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, my title says “The Best Mexican Restaurant.” I took Spanish in Grade 10 and I am continuing with it for the last two years of high school!

Ordering my tacos!

Ordering my tacos!

Today, all of us Miss Teenage Canada delegates ventured out to Richtree Natural Market Restaurant. There, we ate the yummiest tacos and burritos at the brand new “Tacos and Burritos” truck. The truck has a cute set-up. You see all of the condiments made freshly, and you see your taco/burrito being made. Next to the trucks are two barrels filled with ice. These were your coolers to get drinks from. I thought their whole set-up was adorable. It made me thinking of a camping trip set-up. The RV parked, steaming hot tacos and burritos being served, and chilled drinks in barrels of ice. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone. But be warned, it is addicting! The only caution I have is watch out for the heat. These delicious tacos and burritos have a bit of a kick to them. Make sure to let the waiter know how spicy you want it! Since I travel to Eaton Centre quite a bit with my friends as it is a popular destination for us, I will be rushing to the truck again.

GetAttachment (3)

Look at these beauties!

I ordered 3 chicken tacos with a bottle of ginger-ale. Inside the tacos there was cilantro, black beans, chicken, and more. The flavours were so prominent and tasted amazing together. The palette was unique, colourful, and related to their camping feel. I absolutely love this casual Taco truck and will be driving to get some more soon!

 

About Richtree: Richtree Natural Markets Inc. operates four market-style, open kitchen restaurants across Ontario – the Toronto Eaton Centre, College Park, Bayview/York Mills Centre and Square One Mississauga. Richtree offers casual dining and takeout services. The inspired menu items use all-natural, fresh, local and in-season ingredients, including antibiotic and hormone-free meats

Richtree Website: http://richtreenaturalmarket.com

Richtree Facebook: /RichtreeMarket

Richtree Twitter: @RichtreeMarket

Richtree Instagram: RichtreeMarket

‪#‎RichtreeFiesta‬

Starting tomorrow the pageant competitions will commence. It has been a great experience meeting everyone and learning something new. Whether I go home with a new title or not, I will have always won this chance. I chance to do something out of the ordinary.

Love,

-Neha ❤

#nehaformtccrown

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Did you know that over 50% of Canadian girls wish they were someone else?

I have chosen Body Image as my platform for the Miss Teenage Canada competition.

Society puts a huge strain on men and women about the perfect, or ideal, body or body image. The dictionary definition of perfect is: “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.” But do you know what I think perfect means? “Human” Teenagers these days no longer feel that they have the freedom to explore who they are without being judged. Society and media emphasizes their concept of the perfect body. Ads for everything, from makeup and hair products to clothing and footwear, send messages that people need to look a certain way to be happy. It’s hard not to be influenced by that. I know being satisfied with appearance isn’t always easy. I have experienced feeling awkward when people approached me and asked what I was wearing on my ears. Over the years I have been comfortable with who I am, being hearing impaired has not stopped me from doing what I want to do. I feel that my comfort level with my disability has helped people around me to be comfortable or even inspired by me. It is not easy to get to this level of comfort but it can be achieved with education, communication, and self-appreciation. I want to empower teenagers to feel comfortable in their own skin. That comfort and confidence brings beauty that no one can take away.

My message:  Be your own kind of beautiful  ❤

If I am crowned as Miss Teenage Canada I would do a couple of things to promote my platform:

  • Events: I would do events like hosting youth groups, or conferences to come together and share how we feel. A couple of activities would be sharing what you feel self-conscious about, writing 10 things you love about yourself, etc. I would stress the fact that looking at the negatives is pointless because everyone is unique, and that is what makes you beautiful. “Be your own kind of beautiful.” I would also put health classes with nutritionists to educate teenagers about healthy eating. It is important to feed your body proper nutrients! Another challenge I would give the participants, is to not look in the mirror for one week. This teaches people to stop caring about what they look like. I had this experience in Ecuador where there was no electricity and we were out the whole day working. By the time we go back to our lodge it was too dark to see ourselves. I learnt to stop worrying about my appearance and just went out and had fun!
  • Fund-raise: To raise money I would host gala’s, the Art Face-Off (hosted it this year in my school), etc. I would try to host events where I could get youth’s to showcase their talents. Being confident is also a very crucial tool you need in order to love yourself. You have to put yourself out there and enjoy the moments! 
  • Charity: The charity I would donate the money raised would be BODY Charity. “BODY is a national charitable organisation that actively celebrates individuality and strives to cure those with Body disorders. We believe in ‘Being One Distinguished You’ because we are ALL unique and we are ALL beautiful.” This charity has the same message that I am trying to promote. It is important to love ourselves for our uniqueness and to embrace it. 

Being able to use my crown and title for a good cause would mean the world to me. Body Image issues is something teenagers struggle with due to the pressure of social media. With the popularity of social media increasing everyday, it gets hard not to get caught up in the beauty of photo-shopped images. It is important that we stay true to who we are and shine from within.

 

Love you all,

-Neha ❤

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Today is the day I head off to compete for the Miss Teenage Canada title. It has been an amazing journey leading up to today. With the help of my mom and dad, my sister, and family I am prepared to leave confident. Today I was remembering my late grandma and grandpa. They passed away 3 years ago, but I know they would have been ecstatic that I am competing. I am also super happy that my other grandma was able to come to view the pageant! My godparents, Uncle Mike and Auntie Christine have been supporting me all the way from Manchester, England.  I love my entire family so much as they have continuously supported me throughout this pageant. I would like to especially thank my mom. This would not have been possible without her!

Late grandparents <3

Late grandparents <3

My Godparents!

My Godparents!

My grandma!

My grandma!

 

 

 

 

 

My sponsors:

I want to thank all my amazing sponsors who supported me for this journey of my mine.

Here they are:

Mirella’s Ladies Boutique, Burlington

Mirella Marsilio began her career as a sales representative in retail boutiques. While

Mirella sponsored me with gorgeous gowns for both my provincial and national pageant. She has also been a strong supporter throughout this journey!

Mirella sponsored me with gorgeous gowns for both my provincial and national pageant. She has also been a strong supporter throughout this journey!

completing her 3-year BA in philosophy and psychology at McMaster University, she began her entrepreneurship in a small loft inside a gentleman’s store. Within 9 months she developed a great clientele and expanded to a 1400 square foot store in Hamilton’s Jackson Square. In 1996, she moved into a 2000 square foot home in the heart of downtown Hamilton. Her clientele grew and wanted to see her expand. Mirella began her part time studies in the fashion design program at Mohawk College, while running her shop. Creating her own collection, she decided to incorporate it into her business. In March 2005, Mirella came across a charming storefront in downtown Burlington. With a busy lifestyle running both stores, she became pregnant with twins and had to cut back her time at the shop. After closing the Hamilton location in 2006, she continues to concentrate all her efforts to bring her customers the best of Canadian Designs. She works hard to bring a sense of style and fit to her clients, never compromising her attention to detail.

Find out more on: http://www.mirellas.ca/mlb/home.cfm

 

Fit’s 4 You

Fit's 4 You sponsored me with unique workout clothes! Can't wait to wear them this week!

Fit’s 4 You sponsored me with unique workout clothes! Can’t wait to wear them this week!

 

Founded in January 2012, Fit’s 4 You has been a goal for owner, Lana Fernley, for quite some time. Being a full-time high school phys. ed. teacher and avid athlete, Lana is extremely aware of what attire is required for any activity. Sourcing Brands from Around the World Using her unique fashion sense, Lana discovered different brands from all over the world. Brands that provide comfort, quality, style, and eco-friendly fabrics. Fit’s 4 You provides each individual the opportunity to express their own style while at the gym, park, or anywhere else!

Find out more on: http://fits4you.ca

 

Pretty Thingz

Pretty Thingz sponsored me with fabulous pieces of jewelry. Keep an eye out for my favourite necklace on Breakfast TV ;)

Pretty Thingz sponsored me with fabulous pieces of jewelry. Keep an eye out for my favourite necklace on Breakfast TV ;)

 

Pretty Thingz is a leading boutique in Toronto for fashion jewelry and accessories. Nice thing about this amazing boutique is they have current trends for every one and for every occasion. Whether it be a formal event or a causal affair to extravagant events like weddings.

Find out more on: http://prettythingz.com/

 

 

 

The it Factor Academy

My dance choreographed my It Factor with partner Colin

My dance choreographed my It Factor with partner Colin

 

A fully equipped dance and vocal academy, specializing in all genres of dance from Latin Ballroom, Salsa, Merengue, Afro-Cuban, House & Latin Street Hip Hop. Full vocal training from beginners to advance level specializing also in video, stage and live performance training.

Find out more on:

http://www.theitfactoracademy.com/

 

 

                            Forever Movements photography- Leah Kirin

Beautiful photography by Leah Kirin

Beautiful photography by Leah Kirin

 

Custom boutique photography for the family that wants beautifully Leah’s unique combination of classic artistic technique and technical skills allow her to capture true beauty in her portraits. Her respect and admiration for each individual and family motivate her to create exceptionally designed fine art that will become an heirloom for future generations.

Find out more on:

http://www.forevermoments.ca/

 

Anise’s Apothecary, Burlington.

Anise Apothecary sponsored me with the two cutest t-shirts and a funky pair of shorts. Love this all natural store

Anise Apothecary sponsored me with the two cutest t-shirts and a funky pair of shorts. Love this all natural store

 

This beautiful store carries the best all natural skin care line, visit the store to see the difference nature make.

Find out more on: http://www.aniseapothecary.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Union Hearing Aid Center 

Union Hearing Aid Center has supported me throughout my last 15 years. They also sponsored me with a special alarm clock for me to use at night!

Union Hearing Aid Center has supported me throughout my last 15 years. They also sponsored me with a special alarm clock for me to use at night!

Established in 1922, Union Hearing Aid Center has been providing excellent service to the hearing impaired community for over 90 years. Chris and Nick along with there amazing staff have always been patient, friendly and understanding. Customer service is beyond excellent.

Find out more on: www.uhac.ca

 

 

 

 

LightTouch Day & Med spa

Thank you for sponsoring me!

Thank you for sponsoring me!

Our world-class facilities offer the latest med spa services,with the latest technology and treatments available in Canada. All of our treatments are FDA and CSA approved, and only the most experienced and educated personnel serve your individual skin care needs. We offer a full range of laser treatments for both men and women, including laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing (Pixel) Radio Frequency Body Contouring treatments, Laser Vein treatments, Laser Tattoo removal, Laser Skin tightening, and Botox and Fillers. All treatments are performed by our certified laser technicians, doctors, or nurses.
We have the reputation, experience, and technology to create the red carpet experience that you deserve. Not only will you look your best, you will feel your best.

Find out more on:

http://www.lighttouchlaserclinic.com/

Dagmar Jewelry

Thank you DAGMAR for lending me truly unique pieces of jewelry.

Thank you DAGMAR for lending me truly unique pieces of jewelry.

Dagmar Jewelry is an exclusive collection of semi-precious designer jewelry including custom design and bridal, at affordable prices.

Find out more http://www.dagmarjewellery.com/

 

 

Ovik’s

Thank you Ovik's Salon & Spa for giving me the best haircut I have ever received. Absolutely in love with my new look!

Thank you Ovik’s Salon & Spa for giving me the best haircut I have ever received. Absolutely in love with my new look!

“When we put mud on your face
you’ll look really good

Then we’ll style your hair into something fabulous and
you’ll look really good

And then you’ll be okay with it since you had a relaxing
massage and you’ll look really good”

Find out more on: http://www.oviks.ca/index.html

 

Vasanti Cosmetics

Ooh la la! Loving these beauty products. Thank you Vasanti Cosmetics!

Ooh la la! Loving these beauty products. Thank you Vasanti Cosmetics!

Created by Canadian women and quickly becoming one of the most sought after Canadian-made beauty brands, Vasanti Cosmetics will get you glowing with their collection of active skincare and natural-looking makeup. Staying true to its name, which means “of spring” in Sanskrit, Vasanti develops products to bring life and radiance to your skin through beautiful, unique colour ranges and advanced formulations blended with exotic natural ingredients

Find out more on:

http://vasanticosmetics.com/

Organza Lines

Thanks for lending me the pretty princess dress!

Thanks for lending me the pretty princess dress!

Every woman will make her mark on the world. Whether you are 16 or 60, discovering your own style or enhancing your current style Organza Lines has a staff of trained professionals that will assist you in putting together a wardrobe that is just as unique and beautiful are you are.

Find out more http://organzalines.com/

 

Great Smiles mobile dental hygiene care

Thanks for the beautiful smile!

Thanks for the beautiful smile!

Balbir Sohi Owner and founder of Great Smiles mobile dental hygiene care and her dream smile non profit organization where professional volunteers provide awareness on oral health raise funds and sponsor less fortune kids for further students.

 

 

 

What can I say?! It has been an amazing journey. I met some of the most encouraging people when looking for sponsorship. I also became closer with family and friends as they have supported my 100%. Looking forward to competing in the Miss Teenage Canada pageant. Don’t forget to vote for me!

#nehaformtccrown

Love,

-Neha ❤

Written by: Neha
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage GTA

During the pageant week, the delegates have a chance to showcase our talents. The talent show is on August 9th! What I am performing is a surprise, but I’ll tell you a little spoiler. It Factor dance academy and I have been working on a ballroom performance. That’s all I am going to say. But, let me tell you a little bit about my dance partner, Colin Petierre

Colin

Colin

Colin Petierre’s birthday is February 20,1999 born in Toronto. He lives in the beautiful city of Mississauga, Ontario. Colin is the oldest of 4 children. He has a brother & 2 sisters that all adore him and family is very important to Colin. Colin’s love for performing was sparked from the tender age of 5yrs old while taking Hip Hop classes at his school. By the age of 7yrs old – Colin started training competitively at his parents dance studio The it Factor Academy in Latin & Ballroom. At 8yrs old he was casted for dancing Hip Hop for the Toronto Raptors on the Jr Dance Pak for 3 yrs! Colin continued on to become the Toronto Raptors Kid reporter getting to interview some of the top Basketball players for Toronto. In 2012, Colin was casted as “Bobby” for the hit kids series Dino Dan Treks Adventures & in 2013 he was casted as “Josh”on Family Channels: The Next Step & Movie American Girl “Isabelle” 2015: He currently plays “Sasha” on the upcoming exciting show Backstage which follows a group of talented students striving to follow there dreams and make it big. Colin also loves to sing and can be heard  as one of the singers for Classified’s #1 hit “Inner Ninja” and also for Rap artist Son Real.  Colin also was casted as one of Avril Lavigne’s dancers for the Much Music Video Awards. Colin is a Competitive Latin & Ballroom dancer & Competitive Hip Hop dancer . He still trains at The it Factor Academy in Mississauga & is currently in the dance program at Cawthra School of the Arts.

Can’t wait to perform in 12 days!

Love,

-Neha  ❤

 

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Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Setting up the tent!

Setting up the tent!

 

Over the weekend I went camping with my friend and her sister. We drove up to Rattlesnake Point in Milton, ON. The drive was gorgeous and had many steep turns and hills. When we arrived at our campground, Shreya, Neha, and I set up the tent and started to make a fire.

 

Hot dogs 🍞

Hot dogs 🍞

A good 2 hours later the fire was made! Our dinner menu was hot dogs and s’mores. That night we stayed outside for as long as we could until the mosquitoes started to attack us. Then, we went inside our tent, played cards, watched Harry Potter, and slept.

 

 

The next morning, Neha drove us to Fifties Diner in Oakville. We ate a huge breakfast while listening to music from the 50s. What an awesome breakfast!

Diner

Diner

Morning sun

Morning sun

It was my first time camping! I had been in cabins and did field trips with my school, but I never went camping in a tent. It was a great experience to be out in the nature. This trip reminded me of my experience in Ecuador! Staring up at the night sky with no electricity and taking in the beauty of nature. Camping has been  on my bucket list for a while and I can finally check it off! I definitely suggest you to pick a campsite, get a tent, grab some s’mores and go camping!

Love,

-Neha ❤

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Hi everyone! Here is a post on my platform and biography.

My name is Neha B. and I am Miss Teenage GTA(Greater Toronto Area) 2015-2016. Just so everyone can get to know me a little bit better, here is my story! I was born deaf in both of my ears on November 2, 1999 in Oakville Ontario, Canada. My parents had to choose a mode of communication for me.  They chose spoken language instead of sign language.  With the help of my parents, sister and my therapists, I started my journey of learning to listen. Once it was determined that I was a right candidate for spoken language, at age 2, I got a surgery to implant a cochlear implant in my left ear at the Hospital for Sick Kids, in Toronto Ontario.  This was followed by an implant in my right ear at age 10. I was introduced to music and dance at the age of 3 and today I am playing piano at the Grade 8 level. I love Ballroom and Indian classical dance. I am looking forward to taking the lifeguard exam this year. In school, I am a honor roll student and I enjoy learning different languages like French and Spanish. I am enrolled in the accelerated learning program/International Baccalaureate at White Oaks Secondary School, Oakville ON, Canada. My platform for the Miss Teenage Canada pageant is “Body Image”. Society puts a huge strain on men and women about the perfect, or ideal, body or body image. The dictionary definition of perfect is: “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.” But do you know what I think perfect means? “Human” Teenagers these days no longer feel that they have the freedom to explore who they are without being judged. Society and media emphasizes their concept of the perfect body. Ads for everything, from makeup and hair products to clothing and footwear, send messages that people need to look a certain way to be happy. It’s hard not to be influenced by that. I know being satisfied with appearance isn’t always easy. I have experienced feeling awkward when people approached me and asked what I was wearing on my ears. Over the years I have been comfortable with who I am, being hearing impaired has not stopped me from doing what I want to do. I feel that my comfort level with my disability has helped people around me to be comfortable or even inspired by me. It is not easy to get to this level of comfort but it can be achieved with education, communication, and self-appreciation. I want to empower teenagers to feel comfortable in their own skin. That comfort and confidence brings beauty that no one can take away.

My message:  Be your own kind of beautiful  ❤

Love

-Neha  ❤

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O Canada!

Most people base Canada off of its stereotypical classifications. When people think of Canada they believe it is simply a mixture of:

Maple syrup. Hockey. Bacon. “Eh”. Polite citizens

But here’s the inside scoop. While we all love those 5 things, there is so much more to Canada. Most countries around the world have a set identity. They’re American, Chinese, or African. However, a citizen of Canada cannot be defined by a single word. Being a Canadian means to be yourself (I know, I know, it sounds cliché). With other countries people tend to blend into society, following the status quo. The greatest beauty of Canada is its diversity. People aren’t ingredients in a melting pot, but rather shine as individuals in our mosaic.

Not only can you be yourself, but also you are accepted no matter who you are. On July 20th, 2005 Bill C-38 was passed. This legally allowed same sex couples the right of marriage. Canada was one of the few countries that passed gay marriage very early on. USA only recently passed gay marriage on June 26, 2015. Finland and Luxembourg passed same sex marriage in 2014. This is almost 10 years after Canada legalized it. Thus proving that Canada accepts people for who they are. Canadians know that love doesn’t depend on age, sex, race, but rather the desire of the heart.

So proud of our beautiful country 🍁

So proud of our beautiful country 🍁

The Underground Railroad is one of Canada’s most historical moments. The freeing of almost 30 000 African slaves led Canada closer to its diversity label. During the 1850s-1860s, Canada was seen as the safe-haven for slaves. Many tried to flee to get the chance of an independent life. This once again proves that Canada will accept you for who you are.

Another benefit of Canada is free health care. Need I say more? Our country’s dedication to keeping our citizen healthy and well is prominently shown in Canada. By allowing free health care, no one is denied their right of wellness. Without free health care I may have not been able to get my cochlear implants. Not having the implants means I wouldn’t be able to hear or speak.

Thank you free health care!

Thank you free health care!

North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada. Yes, that’s right, that is a mailing address. Canada is the home of Santa Claus. *drops the mic and walks away*

17384-illustration-of-a-red-santa-hat-pv

Canada is ranked 24th out of 178 countries for our eco-friendliness. We accept people of all race, sex, age, and orientation. We are the home to polar bears, Santa Claus, bacon, (the best) maple syrup, hockey, and polite people. However, we are much more than that. It’s hard to describe an exquisite country such as Canada. For years people have been trying to find words that perfectly demonstrate the Canadian identity. But the truth is,

Canada’s identity is made up of the people living there.Canada Flag Heart Glossy Button

O Canada!  Wait! I almost forgot the most important thing. Ryan Gosling is from Canada!!

Ok, now I am done.

Love always,

-Neha ❤

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 ¡Hola!

The last 2 weeks have been one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I traveled to Ecuador with my school and Free the Children. I visited Quito, which is the capital of Ecuador, as well as the Amazon. The altitude in Quito was amazing! I lost my breath after taking two steps! However, the Amazon left me speechless. The relationships that I developed with the community and the people I was travelling with made it hard to say goodbye. It makes  it even harder to write this blog post.

Since there are about a thousand things I could talk about, I will only write about my favourtie moments.

First I have to be honest. Before leaving for Ecuador I was unsure about the whole no electricty, no makeup, no tight clothing. But soon into the trip, I realized something. Our appearance doesn’t change the person we are. Though I was not allowed to wear my typical clothing due to cultural respect, I soon began to not care. Life without makeup was great! I could rub my eyes anytime 🙂 ! But the best thing was the minimal access to electricity. I never realized how much I miss out on just because of my phone. The things I learnt about other people and our Earth would have never been possible if I had my phone. Describing my trip to Ecuador is so hard. It is something I cannot put into words. Just being there changed my whole life and I am so thankful that I got to experience this amazing journey!  (p.s. Sorry for the pictures, I have no idea why I can’t turn them. Oh well!)

The travel time was about 7-8 hours including our stop over in Panama.

Plane flight!

Plane ride!

Sunset ☼

Sunset ☼

IMG_3898

Good morning!

The next morning, my friends and I woke up bright and early to see the sunrise. The pink colours were unreal! It was worth waking up at 5am. After that we headed down to have some breakfast. I swear, I have never tasted sweeter fruits anywhere else! Our stay in Quito was fabulous from morning to night. During the day we walked around, visited a museum, met a local, ate exquisite food, etc. But I have to say, walking in Quito is hard. Quito is 9350 ft above sea level. I lost my breath just by taking one step!

IMG_4077

<3

 

night time

night time!

Quito was breathtaking! (And not just from the altitude). Seeing all of the amazing structures was fascinating. But my favourite part was how they managed to keep the raw beauty of Ecuador and still have a city.

 

 

At night my friends and I stayed in our rooms talking. But then, around 11pm, we decided to go up to the roof to see Quito at night. Seeing parts of the city lit up, and then a black part where no electricity came, was beautiful. Just as we were about to go back down, fireworks started going off. We had no idea what celebration was happening. But just standing on the roof, 9350 ft above sea level, with fireworks going off, and the wind blowing, it was the first moment when I realized at home we don’t take time to appreciate the beauty of Earth.

The next day, we travelled to the center of the Earth! I also accomplished an amazing thing, I took a selfie with a llama and it didn’t spit on me 🙂

IMG_3985

Middle of the world

IMG_4031

Llama

Visiting the center of the world is for sure in the top 5 of the coolest things I have ever done. Standing right on the red line is so weird! You feel a pull trying to push you into either the north or south side. You also lose your muscle sense and your sense of balance. It was so cool and weird at the same time.

 

 

Now ever since that episode on Modern Family where Phil brings home a llama, I have always wanted to meet one! I got to meet a llama. Now this guy was pretty evil, he looked ready to spit on us at any time. However, the minute a camera came out he posed. It was the cutest and the sassiest llama I have ever seen!

 

Now onto the journey of the 9 hour bus ride to the Amazon. During the duration of the ride we stopped at the highest highway in North and South America. It was so windy!

Highest highway in North America

Highest highway in North and South America

As you can see my friends and I were very happy with our harem pants 🙂

Harem Pants (comfiest things you will ever wear)

Harem Pants (comfiest things you will ever wear)

Now lets skip by the 9 hours of singing and eating and head straight into the Amazon. We stayed at Minga Lodge deep into the jungle. Minga means family and or a community in unity. For this reason, the group I was travelling with referred to ourselves as a Minga. One of the directors I became so close with is Miguel. He is a local from Ecuador and he guided us through the Amazon. He showed us the hidden secrets of the jungle, introduced us to kids, and dared us to try new things. Miguel soon became a person I trusted on this trip. I keep in  touch through email everyday!

Miguel es mi mejor amigo!

Miguel es mi mejor amigo!

I posted the video of Miguel and I dancing below 🙂

IMG_4352

One day it started raining heavily and we had to come back from the worksite. However, Miguel was ready with a backup plan. He took us on the most beautiful nature walk to see the sunset. The sunset in the Amazon is stunning. The pink in the sky just before the darkness of the night settles over, hearing the buzz of the animals still alive, and seeing the current of the water. The picture does not do it justice. While pictures may be worth a thousand words, standing there in the humid air can never be replicated on a picture.

 

Sunset

Sunset

The sun and my frizzy hair

The sun and my frizzy hair

The hour that we were there made everything come alive. I realized how huge this Earth was and how tiny we are. But it was in that moment where I felt connected with everything. And I knew everything will be alright.

 

Before we head into what this trip was all for, I just wanted to share my favourite photo. We got to do weapon training, and below is a photo of me throwing a spear.

IMG_4520

The kids, the communities, a better life. That’s why I wanted to go on this trip. We weren’t allowed to take pictures on the first few days of working. We worked for 6 out of the 10 days on the trip. The other 4 days were mainly travelling from one place to another. I have no idea how to put this in words. Taking that 45 minute boat ride every morning to the worksite was the most anxious moments in my life. I was ready to see the smiling kids and ready to start working. My group and I worked in the community of Bellavista. The minute we walked off that boat we would be greeted by locals of all ages. When I returned from Ecuador, someone said to me “Wow, that looks exhausting. Working everyday. I couldn’t imagine doing that.” And honestly, neither could I before I left. But the minute you see the smiles on the kids faces, it no longer becomes working. It becomes enjoyable. Every muscle in your body that ached meant that those kids will have a better life. Every splinter, broken nail, and sweat, means that the community will be able to become independent one day. I pulled both of my calf muscles and was told to sit out. But I refused to. People always asked me “Why?” I replied by saying, though I was injured I wasn’t incapable of working. I was still able to lift the sand bags, shovel the sand, sandpaper the wood. But if I had to sit out, it means one less person on the job. I also thought that if I was capable of working, why sit out? I saw a pregnant mother, holding one child in one hand, with 2 fifty lbs sandbags over her shoulder. That’s when I realized that they never stop not matter what the circumstance is. With that in my head, I stood back up and went back to shovelling sand.

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Pictures cannot explain the experiences that I had in Ecuador. Nor can it show the bonds I created with everyone there. I became a Minga with the group I travelled with. I got to meet Miguel, a person who changed my view on a lot of things. And I also got to meet Carlos and Emma, our Free the Children directors. But most of all, I got to meet the kids. Words cannot describe my desire to work 24/7, nor can it describe how difficult it was to leave. Ecuador was an amazing experience and I would go back in a heartbeat.

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Take me back

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with Carlos and Emma

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I guess all that’s left to say is, take me back! Thank you for reading

-Neha ❤

Written by: Neha Tagged with:, , ,
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Hey everyone!

It has been a crazy few weeks and I finally have the chance to sit down and blog. From doing a spring runway at Eatalia, to speaking at a Hard of Hearing conference, and to organizing an event in my school, I have had no time!

On Sunday, April 12th I volunteered as a model at the Spring Runway at Eatalia. All the proceeds went to The Education Outreach Program for children at the Burlington Performing Arts Center. I also got a chance to give a speech during this event. I modeled for Mirella’s Ladies boutique, Anise Apothecary, Forever Summer, Fits for You, Lingerie D’Amour, and Joelle’s. I want to give a huge shout-out and thank you to Mirella’s Ladies Boutique. Mirella sponsored my gorgeous gown for the Miss Teenage Ontario pageant, and she also is the one who got me involved in these amazing events!

Gown from Mirella's Ladies Boutique

Lingerie D'Amour

 It was a great day and I had an awesome time modelling for the Spring Runway! Check me out in the SNAP Burlington newspaper! https://burlington.snapd.com/event/822304#/ 

The next event I attended was VOICE Hard of Hearing annual conference on May 2nd. I had the opportunity to speak to teenagers about how we shouldn’t let our disability stop us from doing anything we are passionate about. It was great speaking with teens who are going through the same disability as me.

VOICE conference

All of the teens and kids out there, keeping on going and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t. If you want to do something, believe in yourself and you will be able to accomplish anything. “Working hard is important, but there is something that matters even more…believing in yourself.”–Harry Potter

To end off this blog post and my crazy few weeks, the last event that I’ll be talking is the event that my best friend, Shreya Singh, and I organized at our school. We organized the event called the Art Face-Off. I organized this event to fund-raise money for Free the Children, my charity for the pageant. There were 11 artists from White Oaks Secondary School that competed in a live painting competition.They each had thirty minutes to create a piece of art work. Guest judges such as Puneet Kohli (winner of art battle city Mississauga, winner of Golden Horseshoe region, is on the board of AGM) and Arti Tanna (sketch artist, graduate of commercial arts, India and art restoration, Italy). Rogers TV and Oakville Beaver also came to feature this event. The Art Face-Off was a fantastic event. Check out the newspaper article here! http://www.insidehalton.com/whatson-story/5606742-oakville-school-holds-arts-faceoff-for-free-the-children/

Art Face-Off

While the last few weeks have been busy with all of these events and the fact that exams are coming soon, I had a great time planning and volunteering!

Love,

Neha ❤❤️

Written by: Neha
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