101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 7

This girl is so cool.

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You know how there are some people you meet who make you instantly find yourself wishing you were friends with them? Juliana is one of those people. I was really lucky to meet her today.

When I told her about my project she threw her hands up in the air in excitement. She had me laughing like a little kid for the whole conversation.

She’s studying forestry at UBC. She’d really like to take a philosophy class in school, although, she says that her mind is basically a philosophy class.

A conservation policy professor once delivered a lecture in one of Juliana’s classes. He showed them his blog and she loved it so much that she made it her home page. It was great for a while, she said. But he didn’t update his blog very often. So now her home page is Cabin Porn. A new cabin every day, for when you need to get away.

She plays on the varsity volleyball team. It was clear to me that she was an athlete, partially because she just couldn’t sit still while we were talking.

She said she’s not very good at baseball. I told her I wasn’t either. Then she clarified that she’s never actually played baseball, but that she doesn’t think she would be good at it. She had a bit of a Cartesian tendency — ‘I think I’d be bad at playing baseball, therefore I am bad at playing baseball’.

We talked for a while about life and what it means to exist. Juliana doesn’t really feel like there’s a point to life — not in a dreary, morbid kind of way. But more so in a “we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously” kind of way. She gave me an example. This morning, she was lost on the university campus and couldn’t figure out where to go for her volunteer shift. Initially she was frustrated but then she realized it was actually kind of funny that she was frustrated in the first place. It could have been a lot worse. A trivial example, sure. But on the extreme end of things, she said that she’s also not afraid of death. It’s simply a part of life.

Juliana is fascinated by lucid dreaming. She used to have nightmares as a kid in which she would be very aware of herself and her state of mind while mid-dream. She found herself able to actively influence her dreams and what goes on inside of them. Now, she practices lucid dreaming — (sub)consciously constructing what goes on behind closed eyes.

Then, of course, we got into a meta discussion about what is real and what isn’t real and for a moment she had me questioning my existence altogether.

We talked a bit about government and policy after that. She was especially critical of the Canadian and Australian governments’ plans to implement environmentally sustainable practices only when it’s good for the economy. Firstly, environmental responsibility doesn’t have to hurt the economy. She noted that the economy is something that we created. “It cannot exist without the environment”, she said.

 

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