The week building up to exam week was a bit more hectic than usual. Juggling essays, basketball and rugby practices, finishing final art projects, picking out my courses for next year, Slam Jam planning, Shakespeare performances, it felt like the list would never end. I had already begun reading and working a bit on the Planning 10 assignments that were sent out to us, so I was a bit ahead, which gave me some peace. The plan was over exam week, I would finish all my Planning 10 by Tuesday, start my first aid course on Wednesday, have a few basketball practices since district championships are this week, as well as go to a baby gender reveal party, birthday party, and meet with my mentor and get in some time to practice my uke. Everything was going perfectly fine until Thursday happened. My essay was handed in, art project finished, Shakespeare lines memorized and was preparing for our last league game before districts when the unthinkable happened. Obviously, the flu that had been going around had finally taken me down. From there it went spiralling downhill, from migraines and sensitivity to all things bright and loud (including my mother), to sore throats, and finally, coughing up my lungs. I did not play in the game on Thursday, and I only came in on Friday to perform my lines because I really couldn’t let my partner down. Once home on Friday, I took to the couch in the den downstairs and turned myself into a burrito of blankets, Vicks vapour rub, and fuzzy socks. I did not leave that position for the next six days. What does one do when in this sickness? Well I turned my brain to mush from watching one too many movies within the first couple days and I was so weak that holding a book took up too much energy. So, I was caught a vicious cycle of falling in and out of sleep between reruns of Modern Family and only being able to take in liquids. Trust me, as a fan of orange juice; you can get tired of orange juice pretty quickly.

My mentor and I had planned to meet that Sunday, however, under the circumstances we agreed to reschedule when we both had time open. The following Tuesday, I felt a bit better so I decided to try playing my ukulele for a bit. I’ve been working on songs that have the basic chords of Gm, C, Am, and F as well as a few others just for fun. The songs that I have been working on are “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley, “Riptide” by Vance Joy, “Creep” by Radiohead (this covers sounds so cool, I’ll have to post a video soon), and “The Moon Song” which is featured in the movie “Her” Other than that, I’ve really tried practicing different strumming patterns and changing chords while doing so.

While reading How To Have A Beautiful Mind and particularly this weeks “How To Be Interesting”, I found myself thinking back to times when I have been interested or amazed, and not just with discovering the ukulele. Now being said that, I get impressed easily. Card tricks blow my mind (ask Frank) and while learning how to use Photoshop last semester, a program that I’ve never used, I found myself being blown away with what I could be doing with my photographs on this program. The other kids in my class, who most have worked with Photoshop before, weren’t so blown away as I was. Even thinking about that class now, I can hear myself saying, “Now that’s interesting.” Which is a phrase that de Bono encourages. Yet, the ukulele is something that I am really discovering on my own, so being taken out of the classroom and teaching myself something, puts my levels of being blown out of the water at an all time high.

For example, there is this one chord that my mentor and I stumbled upon while looking at a package of Beatles songs for the ukulele (shout out to Mr. Jackson, thanks again for the songs. Currently working on “Can’t Buy Me Love”). The chord is F#7 and I’m not sure what the 7 stands for, however, I know that when I played it, the note gave me chills. It truly encompasses “the perfect ukulele sound” for me, or the sound that I hear when I think of the ukulele and I think that’s pretty darn cool.

I will also reflect on my last meeting with my mentor to help address the “How To Respond” part of A Beautiful Mind. Through playing our ukes and talking about music genres, Kylah and I got to learn more about each other. We shared personal stories of our childhood when certain songs were brought up, laughed about horrible haircuts in middle school, and the joys of babysitting. I truly enjoy having her as my mentor.

I am feeling much better now if you’re concerned, as well I am now certified in standard first aid! So have the pleasure of knowing that if your heart stops beating, I will most likely be able to bring it, and you, back to life.