Thais Freitas

Storytelling & Communications Strategy

October 2020: My monthly roundup

October 2020 Roundup-Thais Freitas

October 2020 was so busy; I can’t believe how fast my maternity leave is going! I’m doing everything differently this second — and last — time around, using my free time to study and write instead of sleeping and binge-watching crap like I did the first time. It’s crazy how studying was such a pain in high school, but it’s so amusing now. Looks like people were right when they told me back then it’d be fun once I started studying topics that interest me.

Learning and working on my career aspirations is also helping me to stay sane, as I love my kids, but I’m definitely not made to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m attending webinars about all kinds of topics, taking online courses, and using the pandemic as an excuse to network online and have some much-needed adult conversations. I strongly recommend that to anyone on parental leave.

Another good thing this month was that my parents could finally enter Canada again after the pandemic travel ban. They were let in under the family reunification exception and met my baby for the first time. I was more emotional than I expected and so relieved — it’s funny how, no matter how old I am, everything just feels right when my parents are around, a feeling I’ve been missing in this clusterfuck of a year.

Grandparents meeting grandson for the first time after the pandemic
Chica was just a liiiiitle jealous when the grandparents met her baby brother

My favourite things in October 2020

2020 FOLD Kids Book Fest

Writing kids’ books is one of my hobbies, so I was excited to find out about this online festival at the FOLD Canada site. The 2020 Kids Book Fest offered free online workshops on topics like True-to-Life Stories for Young Readers and Learn to Illustrate, many of them specifically targeted at young writers. I couldn’t help thinking how amazing it is that youth now have so many opportunities to learn and go deeper on the things they like. Old-pre-internet-Millennial-nerdy-10-year-old me would’ve had lots of fun!

It was also through FOLD I found out about the Canadian indie bookstore Another Story and loved the selection of diversity, social justice, and equity books they offer. They ship Canada-wide and I plan on buying a bunch of books from them.

Drawing is fun again!

Growing up, I used to draw all the time and even took lessons for over a year. I drew portraits, cartoons, and nature, and imagined I’d be an illustrator someday. But then, out of the blue, I lost my inspiration and never drew again. I thought my muse had left me, but now I realize that I worried so much about perfection and was such a harsh self-critic, that I ended up losing the desire to draw.

But the years passed, I no longer have any desire to become a professional artist and — BAM! — drawing became fun again! Inspired by Lynda Barry and her IG @thenearsightedmonkey, I bought a sketch book and am drawing nearly every day, just whatever comes to mind with no expectations. It’s so relaxing and even makes me more creative. Cheers to doing things just for fun!

If you like drawing and illustrated stories, I recommend visiting Jillian Tamaki’s site. She was a presenter at the Kids Book Fest and offers many cool tips on how to make cartoons.

I started drawing again in October 2020.Thais Freitas self-portrait with my friend
My first drawing in 20 years – a self-portrait with my friend who passed away recently but will live forever in my heart <3

Royal City Recycling Champions

The City of New Westminster partnered with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and Master Recycler Vancouver to create the Royal City Recycling Champions, a free program on waste reduction for city residents. Waste is one of my major concerns, so I applied right away when I saw the ad.

The online course started in October and it’s been great to learn about where our garbage goes, how limited recycling is, alternatives to reduce waste, and ways to take part in the circular economy. Next week’s class will be about behaviour change tactics and community-based social marketing, and I’m looking forward to it. If I annoyed people to reduce waste before, imagine now that I’ll have a certificate! LOL

We must do 20 hours of community outreach to get the certificate, so I’ll work on a project to encourage restaurants in my city to reduce waste from takeout containers. I think they’ll be helpful because Brazilian immigrants get confused by the recycling requirements in BC and know little about the alternatives. I also want to propose something about waste reduction to my son’s daycare, but I’m not sure what yet. (I’m open to suggestions, please leave yours in the comments!)

My toddler has a best friend, it’s the cutest thing

Eli has been going to daycare with the same children since he was one and every time I picked him up he was sitting with this girl N. Over the past month, he started talking a lot about her and one weekend he kept asking, “where’s N?”, “N gone?”, “N be back tomorrow?” I got a little worried that she might be sick or have left the daycare, so I sent the teachers a message saying that he’d been doing that and asking if she was all right. They replied that she was great, they have just been spending a lot of time playing together and enjoying each other’s company, and sent me this photo:

Eli and his friend in October 2020
How sweet is this?!

I almost died of cuteness when I saw the photo! Baby friendship is just so pure. It made me realize that I’d do anything for my children, to protect the sweetness and kindness we’re born with and sadly lose along the way. Becoming a parent truly changes us, and the more my kids grow, the more I notice that — it’s scary and nice at the same time.

I bought Austin Kleon’s books from a store that is not Amazon

Austin Kleon’s blog is inspiring and I love his weekly newsletter, so I decided to buy his books. I wanted print copies because of the images, but didn’t want to get them from Amazon. Looking around, I ended up at Book Outlet, a Canadian online store that had the books for much cheaper than Amazon. It was a triple win: my books arrived fast with minimal packaging, I saved money, and gave my business to a smaller Canadian company.

(I’ve only read Steal Like an Artist so far and liked it a lot. I’ll post about it here soon!)

Austin Kleons books were my best purchase in October 2020
The books arrived quickly and in a paper envelope

Want to give Book Outlet a try? Here’s a $10 CAD coupon. Another advantage is that they also offer 5% cashback with Rakuten, something Amazon stopped doing a while ago. If you haven’t signed up with Rakuten yet, this link gives you a $5 bonus on your first purchase.

Nature photography tips from the best

The non-profit Nature Conservancy of Canada hosted a webinar with professional photographers teaching how to take good nature photos without upsetting the natural habitat. I watched yesterday and loved it:  

Meme of the Month

October 2020 - My favourite meme of the month
Fingers crossed in hopes he’ll be thrown out in November!

Cool Stuff on the Interwebs

It’s time to give people the climate change facts about what they’re buyingThe author defends the idea that products should have labels stating their environmental impact to make it easier for consumers to make conscious choices. I couldn’t agree more!

Window swapStuck indoors and sick of the view? Look through someone else’s window.

How algorithms discern our mood from what we write online – A deep analysis, perfect for anyone in marketing or interested in human behaviour and artificial intelligence.

Time confetti and the broken promise of leisure – Our leisure time is constantly interrupted by screens and notifications, becoming less and less relaxing. This article talks about a consequence of the autonomy paradox, when technology saves us time but also takes it away.

How men can confront other men about sexist behaviour – The name says it all, read it and share with your male friends, please.

See you in November!

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