Category Archives: canada

More about credit cards

Chargecards.ca has the goods on credit cards in Canada. Check out the list of student-friendly credit cards for no-fee low-minimum-income no-credit-history-needed deals.

If you're an international student, though, searching for a credit card is a frustrating experience. Under "Perfect for students!" and "Low interest rate!" signs, you'll find "Must be a Canadian resident." It isn't entirely fair how the Canadian government gets to consider you a resident for tax purposes but you don't get any of the resident perks, but that's life.

Don't give up, though! Some banks are at least aware of the predicament of international students. Calling up the International Student Centre yielded this quick tip:

Apply for the TD Canada Trust card at the Bay and Bloor branch (77 Bay Street, a short walk from campus). Don't forget to bring:
  • passport
  • study permit
  • confirmation of address: rental agreement, phone bill, etc.
  • proof of enrollment: status letter, etc.
  • deposit (at least CAD 1000)

This still leaves me stranded because I'm not actually officially enrolled yet, but hey, at least other people can use the tip.

As long as you use a credit card responsibly, it's a great way to build credit history. It's a heck of a lot more convenient than cash—in fact, a little too convenient sometimes. Take care of that shiny new piece of plastic!

コンピュータがこの会社に導入されつつあります。 Computers are being introduced into this company.

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Wonderful day at the science centre

I had a great time exploring the Ontario Science Centre with Calum Tsang, sysad of the Interactive Media Lab. He had a lot of fun pointing out all the Amigas powering the hands-on exhibits, and I had a lot of fun teasing him about being a geek. ;)

It was absolutely wonderful. My dad knows how much I love hands-on science, having had to take me to the Science Centrum in Manila more times than should be appropriate for a grade school kid. (Hi dad!)

I _love_ discovery places like that. I love playing around with the exhibits. I learned that I have, err, the gripping power of a 10- to 13-year-old. And that I can jump lightly. And that sound waves do interesting things in long tubes. And that they've got this really cool marble drop. And rollercoasters are tons of fun; a lot of science goes into their design!

Ooooh. I also got to see an authentic Jacquard's Loom. People who actually paid attention in operating systems class or introductory computing class (especially the ones I taught! ;) ) will probably go "Ooooh" too. A real, actual Jacquard's Loom, the only one left in Canada. Nifty.

The Matter exhibition was under renovation. Waah. And we were too early for the Extreme Science show. But hey, more reason to come back next time, right?

Anyway, that _totally_ rocked. =)

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Rest of my day

I actually woke up early today: 7:30. (Okay, 7:35, really. And 7:40. Yeah, 7:40.) I had a quick bowl of oatmeal, heaping far more sugar on it than is probably nutritionally advisable. And then I waited for people to come online. Waah! Look! I was up on a Saturday morning! And people were missing!

Naturally, people started coming online maybe twenty, ten minutes before I had to leave. Still, it was really nice being able to briefly chat with Dominique and my mom. =)

Then I was off to the Science Centre (see blog post before this one), and then to a whole day of fun. =) Calum was really nice. Over salmon sashimi and California maki, we chatted about Japan. He's planning to go there in September, so I told him about things he must not miss: okonomiyaki, street food, that nifty deep-fry place Dave Brown told me about, rush hour in the train system, the hordes of photographers in Meiji Temple on major festivals... He told me hilarious stories about lay-off season at Nortel. Heh. Crazy.

Then he showed me what suburbian entertainment is like: basically, shopping at big box stores like Sam's Club and Future Shop. ;) I told him that we had warehouse supermarkets in the Philippines too (Pricesmart, Shopwise), but yeah, Sam's Club is _way_ bigger than Pricesmart. Mom would have a lot of fun going through that place. =)

He showed me Lake Ontario, too, bemoaning his lack of a real camera that day. I told him about Papa shooting stock shots while on vacation, Kathy's instinctive protection of camera equipment when she slipped... See, I grew up around photographers. ;) I might not know all the jargon, but I can relate.

Lake Ontario is pretty! And it has geese! =) Nifty...

We topped a fun day off with soft-serve ice cream. (I told him about the time I did Linux support for ice cream, and Peppy and I ate ice cream until the world turned funny colors... ;) ) It was great!

Much better than trekking around and figuring things out on my own. =) Excellent day!

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Soaked!

I thought I had escaped typhoons and bad weather. Turns out Toronto's got them too. Without the ever-so-convenient jeepneys that ply Manila's streets, I had to walk that soggy distance home. Good thing I'd brought a large plastic bag for my lunch and my binder. The bag kept my binder mostly dry. My computer was also safe and sound. Water leaked through my rain cloak, though, and my clothes were slightly damp by the end of the trip. Still, I couldn't help but feel happy

As soon as I got home, I dropped my clothes in the laundry, combed my hair, and settled into a warm, fuzzy, pink bathrobe. Hooray for bathrobes!

I found out that the rain cloak I _so_ love using isn't rated for typhoons. Should I get an umbrella as well? A foldable umbrella would fit into my black-and-orange bag, but I'm not sure how sturdy it could be. A full umbrella would be too inconvenient for me, so I guess I'll have to find a decent foldable umbrella. Someone sent me a link to lifetime-guaranteed umbrellas before. I should check them out.

My black stretch pants turned out to be a little too long, and they got stretched even further by the weight of the rain and the stress of being stepped on every so often. I am going to have to buy another, sturdier pair of stretch pants. This pair will not do. As I have given up on them, I may as well try hemming them to match my length. If I mess up, I wouldn't have lost much. If I manage to sew it, I'll have gained a new skill! (Thanks again to St. Scholastica's College!)

The sun has just come out. Maybe I should've just waited for the rain to end. Hmph.

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Tried poutine

Poutine is this strange glop of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. It's okay, I guess, although I like my fries a bit drier. =) Thanks to Calum for insisting I try it. Apparently, it's one of those Canadian things.

It's a lot more palatable than dinuguan or balut, for sure.