And why it will probably stick around for a while

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

At the onset of the pandemic, my family started using a grocery delivery service. Now, over a year later, I’m starting to realize how much our grocery shopping habits have changed as a result. Several grocery stores had already started delivery and curbside pickup services well before the public health crisis. But as more people turned towards these options in 2020, the popularity of these services soared beyond industry predictions, and it won’t stop there.

Therefore, it’s important to understand this newly commonplace method of grocery shopping, and why it’s going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

There…


It’s easier than you think

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When my great-grandfather set sail for Canada in 1911 from France, he left behind centuries of history to start fresh in the new world. My family has certainly planted roots in North America since then, but the curiosity about our history overseas has always been at the back of my mind.

Recently, I’ve done a fair amount of research on my French family history online. I will admit that I had a good head start, as some information had been given to me by other relatives. …


Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay

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I just came out of a period where I didn’t write on Medium for two months, and I’m here to tell you that this is okay.

The trend on this platform is to promote exponential growth, to the point where some folks are essentially writing income reports. It may seem unusual to promote slow writing periods on a platform that typically focuses on churning out as much content as possible. At this point, it’s not a secret that Medium itself recently gave $500 to their most active writers. Not only do writers on this platform promote a high frequency of…


Addressing a concern in the age of online learning

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After completing my third semester of online classes, and one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in post-secondary education is the expectations concerning the use of the camera. Before the pandemic, traditional post-secondary classroom etiquette was predictable. Showing up on time and only speaking when appropriate were commonplace.

However, in this new virtual world, all of these changes and the rules are essentially being rewritten. Practices such as making sure your microphone is turned off to avoid background noise, and clicking a button to ‘raise your hand’ to speak have become the new classroom experience.

Along with the transition to…


Be careful what you post, your great-grandchildren will see it

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Last summer while mindlessly scrolling Instagram, I came across a post including someone with my unusual surname. I decided to send them a private message to find out how we’re related. Fast forward to the present, and we correspond daily. Now we’re working on a professional project together — imagine that.

This sparked some revelations about the impacts of today’s social media habits on the genealogy quests of tomorrow. Had my distant cousin and I not connected on Instagram, we probably would‘ve missed each other entirely. …


I owe my good mental health to little blue people

Photo by Fiona Smallwood on Unsplash

My relationship with the Smurfs goes way back before their popularity on the North American big screen. I was aware of their existence due to my Belgian heritage, and had watched the cartoon throughout my childhood on television. While most girls my age idolized movie stars and pop singers, my attention was on the Smurfs. As a 3rd generation Belgian-Canadian, I could relate to them. They were the only slice of my heritage I had.

The iPod Touch became popular when I was in middle school. One of the first games I became invested in was The Smurfs Village. The…


I’ve read your letter, here’s my response

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Dear M.F.,

Three months ago, I discovered the letter you wrote to your family during your immigration from France to Canada in 1911. Some might say the 110-year delay was a little late, but in fact, it was perfect timing. Your letter was delivered during a particularly difficult season. With public health orders keeping us apart, and the prairie winter keeping us inside, it felt like my world was restricted to the four walls of my home.

But then — your letter opened up the world in ways I never would have imagined. Your words instigated a quest to retrace…


We‘re all miracles

Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash

Each of us has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, and so on. When you think about it, the choices of all of these people had an impact on the very reason we are alive today. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time researching my family history. Throughout this process, I have learned of several occasions where my future life was in jeopardy.

At the age of sixteen, she began training at a convent to become a Catholic nun. Nuns must take a vow of chastity, meaning that they must never marry or have children. …


My great-great grandfather’s letter healed my identity crisis

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

A few days ago, I did a quick search on a genealogy website in hopes of coming across some old photographs. While I never found what I was looking for, what I found instead was far more interesting — a letter written by my great-great grandfather during his voyage from France to Canada in 1911.

Perhaps it was a message from the heavens, or maybe a strong gut feeling, but something told me that I had to see these documents no matter what it took. …


One simple change led to a happier life

We all know the feeling of scrolling through social media and feeling overwhelmed by poorly constructed headlines and misinformation. In the midst of keeping up with my friends and family on Facebook, I’d suddenly come across news articles on that turned my entire afternoon into a puddle of worry and anxiousness. As a young adult without a stable career due to currently being a student, the pandemic will have a significant impact on my future regardless of where things go from here. Will I need to change career paths? How will this impact my studies in the near future? How…

Joanna Simoens

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