Ryan

Ryan is crazy active. Cycling, hiking, swimming, snowboarding, dancing. The kind of doer who seems to accomplish a week's worth of wonder in one day. All that with the most glorious and grand smile you'll ever come across. It's what you'll first notice and what you'll always greet.
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But the thing I marvel at is Ryan's modus operandi. He doesn't climb for the symbolic finality of a summit; he doesn't seek to look down and outwards onto familiarity. Instead, he's magnetized by looking up and into mystery. The constant question of "what's there?" and "how does that work?"
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And equally: "what is it like?"
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Ryan embodies the belief that there are certain kinds of knowing only hands and feet gift. The velvet coolness of fresh snow, the spellbinding softness of cherry blossom petals. His inquisitive compulsion for 'knowing through experience' has sharpened into an obsession. Always exploring, always discovering.
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This means Ryan is a treasure chest of sageness and stories. Yet he carries them lightly and gives them generously. The type of friend who shares his passions with none of the ostentation of someone unveiling a carefully nurtured eccentricity.
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One of the most greathearted and modest people I know, Ryan is my personal hero. Whoever said "you should never meet your heroes" is wrong.
 

Kate

"She's my friend from Kazakhstan" is how I first heard of Kate.
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Yet I quickly learned Kate is instead a kokusaijin (国際人) — an international person, someone cosmopolitan, flexible, and open-minded. A Kazakh of Korean heritage whose first language is Russian, living in Canada, but met in Japan. Yeah! I know.
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And while in Japan, we became weekend companions. I have yet to experienced so many novelties with anyone else: remote art galleries & sumo championships, Japanese dance recitals & fire festivals, anime movies & manga cafes, temple hopping & island cycling, Hiroshima okonomiyaki & Hokkaido all-you-can-eat.
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Like a spring's spray of cherry blossoms, I was mesmerized by Kate's quiet honour, punctilious style, and electric softheartedness. A presence that is calming to the point of invulnerability.
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My favourite thing though is her appreciation of the specificities of place. Her principle to be immersed by all the quips, quirks, and quintessential details of where she is.
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She dives right in: learning the language, dancing in competitions, searching for the local specialties.
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All that creates an air of unhurriedness. Kanso (簡素) — elegant simplicity, an attractive absence of clutter. Someone with an engineer's frame of learning the intricacies of what's around but also content in leaving other mysteries as an effect of pure design.
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We first met at Amanohashidate, one of Japan's three scenic spots. We later visited Itsukushima Shrine, the second. The third is still on the list.

Liebz (Sarah)

As a kid, I loved bugs. I would scrutinize the grass for pill bugs & watch commonwealths of ants navigate the pavement. Every now and then, time would crawl to a stop when a butterfly lands nearby. With the precision and patience of a spider, I'd try to catch it. Breath held. My hand extending millimetre by millimetre.

"Mom, look!"

Between my thumb and index are the wings. I would study the jostling legs for a few seconds and let go. The butterfly would flutter off, perplexed and pleased. But what remains is the multicoloured dust on my fingers, despite how delicate I tried to be. It would linger and light up my world.

The same thing happens with Sarah. We've seen one another twice in the past year and a half. But the joy lingers – it gets imprinted. Like she took a crayon and made a rubbing onto the topography of my hands. I carry it with me and begin to enjoy the bizarre & the banal.

We no longer call each other by our names. Instead, we use "Liebz" — our shortened slang for Lieblings, or 'favourite'. Details of our shared experiences are no longer important, just that we spend time together.

She said, "Sometimes, you need time to miss people." I like that idea. That it's also important to miss those we adore.

Sarah carries honeycombs of wisdom, care, and cheer. But what I love most is the slowness that sometimes radiates – a resigned conviction that there is nowhere to hurry to, that here is.

Kaitlin

Kaitlin

When your friend mails you Nutella from the other side of the globe, you know you've got a friend for life. Kaitlin Flemons (@kaitlinflemons) and I have a long history together: from crying at the end of watching Dorm Life for the 12th time to buying matching floral caps to singing our lungs out at the Band of Horses concert. We've seen the magic of Angus & Julia Stone together and without fail, we have entered into a Facebook relationship every April 1st (after which, we decide to consciously uncouple).

Here's what you need to know about Kaitlin:

1. She's the biggest fan of popcorn. If you ever say the word popcorn, she appears out of thin air.

2. This girl walks through life with a trail of sparkle and her glimmer rubs off on anyone she comes across. Despite the many misadventures she has (crutches or failed milkshake cafés or trouble at work), she always picks herself up and braves through them elegantly. 

3. Kaitlin is also one of the most generous; she has opened her home for me every Easter and Thanksgiving. I had no tradition of celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving (the big turkey family feast, etc) until I experienced the welcoming kindness of her & her family. I cannot express how grateful I am. 

4. There's also no mystery whatsoever about how Kaitlin feels. If she's happy, everyone knows it and if she's annoyed, her grumpy face says it all. This makes her easy to confide in and a very open person - both amazing qualities she gifts to those around her. This meant working together on the Advisor Auction was easy and super fun!

5. Last, but definitely not least, Kaitlin can be very gullible. In a cute way.

So here's to Kaity Flems, the person who probably knows exactly how to annoy you but equally, how to make you laugh.

Brandon

Goober, n. Pronunciation: /Goo·bər/

1) The peanut Arachis hypogaea. 
2) A lovable, silly, light-hearted goofball.

Brandon Parker is a goober. Parents often say, 'Stop making that face or you’ll get stuck that way!' I’m pretty sure Brandon disregarded those warnings as a kid. It’s rare to find a decent photo of him, one without some goofy expression, but here’s one I snapped almost a year ago.

Most friendships have a hazy dawn - they flourish from shared laughs, bike rides and weekend trips. My friendship with Brandon has a clear start: it was in 2013 when someone said, "Hey, you should clarify that with Brandon."

And here we are, 3 years later with countless board game nights, a trip to Las Vegas and a trek through Utah. One episode stands out for me. There was a long drive ahead of us, a few hours made worse by the accumulating traffic out of Squamish Music Festival that was bound to double our time in the car.

We had all agreed to leave at 8pm, knowing that if we left any later, we would only get home very late. After all, the next morning promised a flurry of early alarms, work commutes and the like. However, when it was time to leave, Josh was missing.

“Try texting him again?” Still no response. “He’s not picking up, did he lose track of time?” Over an hour later, we located Josh and got stuck in traffic. Stern silence and knotted brows filled the car. Exhausted and frustrated, each of us took to a window and looked out. This boulder of irritation was building up but immediately vanished when Brandon turned to Josh and said, “Don't worry about it, we love you man.”

Brandon is a man with a reputation that precedes him. He braids sensitivity with bravado and has the superpower of spotting the silly in anything. He has taught me the lightness of saying yes, the fun of environmental design and the rules of Dutch Blitz. 

Julie

Julie is a Scholar of adventure. For me, she embodies the momentum of a sportswoman, so much so that when she asked to go to the Gastown Grand Prix, I was trying to figure out which of the cyclists was her. Turns out, she just wanted to watch and wasn’t in the race herself. She laughed off my misunderstanding; I don’t think I was far off.

Julie casually completes triathlons, smoothly cycles 500km in 5 days, and goes on lengthy treks like it’s a walk in the park. She’s at home in nature, every weekend on some sort of adventure. That’s why her Instagram handle is accurately @probablyoutsidejulie

Part of me thinks she chose to study Geo Engineering just so that the immense amount of work would tether her inside. Even then, she’s the ultimate householder: constantly baking, practicing her accordion or tending the garden. But don’t take her domesticity for dormancy, it’s a temporary mode until she can go out again and explore.

Bad hair days and bad haircuts aside, Julie doesn’t allow the weight of doing good and being good paralyze her. She crafts her identity in relation to her world: adventurous, humbling, caring and unruly. This makes Julie an enabler of the best kind. She challenges my every ‘but’ with a ‘so what?’

She is one of the most spiritual people I know and a big believer in how personal growth leads to collective growth.

Julie is quick to give, Julie is ideation, Julie is a terrible pun.

Post-truth

What an odd concept: that you can capture, advance, and build upon our lexicon with a new word each year. The 'Word of the Year'. We are in a time when we have so much content that the attractiveness of distilling our collective experiences into one word is tantalizing and mesmerizing.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, this word is supposed to carry "the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year." And 2016 gave us "Post-truth".

I've been thinking about this word: what does it mean for the future of journalism and media as a discipline or as a practice. When fact-checking is an afterthought and not forethought. When more people engage with Reddit and trending topics than with reports, data, or 'pundits,' whatever that means nowadays. When Facebook & Google are forced to do some soul-searching about 'fake news' and how to handle them.

As long as a story is “memetically successful”, it spreads and catches on regardless of truthfulness and truthiness. A new media ecosystem where nothing is true and everything is true. Whatever you believe or say, there'll be an audience out there waiting to cheer you on. Empowerment gone awry.

What will the world look like with this challenge to 'traditional' journalism? How will politics, communications, and corporations adapt to Harambe headlines and troll traction?


But the more interesting question is how did we reach "Post-truth" as the word of 2016? How is it that we got to this spellbinding point of disillusionment? Last year, the top-searched term was "austerity". I think the two are linked – austerity is the appetizer, post-truth is the main course. And as we consume more and more curated content, I'm fascinated by what language will say about us and what words will define us.

If nothing else, what a time to be alive.

Corina

I met Corina Santema on the dance floor.

She’s always at this party, at that event, at every Pit Night. Who was this girl? How does a dancing queen become the campus queen? I wanted to know more. Before long, our paths crossed and we ended up working together for the SLC and campus tours.

To say Corina, or CoCo, stands out is the biggest understatement - she is over 6 ft. But it always amazes me how much pizzazz, positivity, energy, and enthusiasm she carries with her. She’s the type of person who will lend a hand no matter what. She’s someone who finds happiness in bringing people together. She’s that best friend who believes in you just as you’d like to believe in yourself. Don’t let go of people like that.

I am often dumbfounded by how much Corina is incredibly accomplished and humble. She applies 100% of her energy to whatever is in front of her - a voracious dedication that makes her that person you see everywhere. Somehow, she does a million things at once without ever complaining of being tired, then asks, “How are youuu doing?” It’s rare to come across a magician like that.

CoCo taught me that if you open yourself up to the world, you’ll make that world around you stronger. She also taught me the importance of choosing the right partner in crime; I have never met someone who enjoys laughing as much as she does. It has prompted the question, “Is she on something?”

So here’s to Corina - the stylish social butterfly, genuine leader and thoughtful confidante.

Anne-Sophie

Did you know ‘hyphenate’ is a noun, not just a verb? A hyphenate is someone who is active and excels in more than one sphere. Anne-Sophie is a hyphenate. A polyglot-politician, a friend-mentor-confidante-companion.

She's also a chocolate-lover, a cheese-connoisseur, and a library of open books. But Anne-Sophie is also a hyphen: a connector of communities, a bridge of ideas, and a break when things get too heavy to bare.

She calls me on the phone, we talk about the news and forget ourselves. And when today's headlines clot in our blood, she gently says, "let's make dinner."

I met Anne-Sophie and our friendship burst forth with an affirmation of a hundred years. I met Anne-Sophie and she opened a door I didn't even know was closed.

When you share with someone something you love, a book or a movie, there's the delicate thrill of rediscovery. They make you notice new folds and new notes. A day with Anne-Sophie is a day of rediscovery. "Wait wait wait have you read that article? What about this author?"

She's the most thoughtful person I know - in both senses of the term. She's caring & kind but also pensive & full of thought. She is always the first to prepare a card, welcome you back, or check in on a friend.

A pair of pearl earrings and a pile of postcards - although Anne-Sophie is the definition of class, don't be fooled. She’s climbed Everest base camp, lived in rural China, stolen Nutella from a Frenchman’s apartment.

To Anne-Sophie, a natural leader and a magical friend.

How are you?

There's this thing called 'Le Grand K' or 'Big K' – an egg-sized cylinder made of a platinum-iridium alloy. It's locked in the basement of the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sèvres, just outside Paris. It's vacuum sealed under three bell jars, with zero change in temperature, voltage, or pressure. It has been there since 1879.

Le Grand K is the physical definition of a 'kilogram': the perfect 1000 grams. We use it as the standard for measuring mass and the mother hen of the metric system.

But just when we think we have something figured out - something so basic and so ubiquitous, it shows us a new magic trick. Le Grand K gained weight even though we protected it from change. We kept every variable the same. Except time. Time passed by and added weight.

And just like that, "How are you?" dances the same choreography. We ask it and answer it. We overhear it and overlook it. It's the same but with the passage of time, it gains weight and can startle us.

Sometimes the question itself isn't big enough. Its theatre is overcrowded and tries to put on a big show. But when an old friend asks, "How are you?" there's more meaning, more weight. Each time, its delight treads deeper into my smile; a quiet nostalgia.

Thankful for those who ask softhearted and heavy "How are you?"

Glenn

The best way to have coffee is with a hint of sugar, some cardamom and Glenn.

Glenn is one of the wisest women I know. She's always pulling her intentions into the center of her heart - a linen tapestry of curiosity and mindfulness. Her quest for greater purpose, greater joy & greater enjoyment is mesmerizing.

She continues to teach me how life is a search for the things we love. Whether it's a poem we carry around with us or a taco we can't stop photographing. That's why she's on my Personal Board of Directors - I consult her with any life changes or questions.

Each interaction gets rushed with the knowledge that there’s too much to share, to love, to ask before the day is done. After all, Glenn is the richest friend I have: her wealth measured in generosity of spirit, forethought, and chai recipes.

Anyone who meets Glenn immediately notices her knack for an elevated conversation and how her laughter paints the world in pastels. But while the spoken is pretty wonderful, sometimes the unspoken is where the best stuff is.

No screen, no camera, no words, no language can capture the warmth of Glenn's face. The first thing you hear when you see her is the songs in her smile. It lifts all sorts of spirits like an early spring. Candid. Genuine. Listening. It's this freshness that I love most; it resensitizes me.

Glenn and I have learnt to read the cues of one another's expressions until we began to share them. (Yikes) But I can never seem to grasp her soulfulness, her style, or her creativity. I feel like a better book with every turn of the page.

So Glenn, thank you for your kindness and wisdom.