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TOP 10 PARTY! So close to the trip... (No Pressure) by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin

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Today has been a CRAZY day! Found out this morning that I made the TOP 10 for My Destinations Biggest Baddest Bucket List Competition (check out my 3min video submission in my previous post) but I'm not out of the woods yet! Next step: I'm off to the UK on May 18th for a week of challenges to duke it out for the final round the world trip. Looks like I'll be on my toes for another 5 weeks!

I took this picture while exploring a hilarious interactive exhibit by Martin Creed at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (for more on our capital city, check out my fellow BBB top 10 finalist, Véronique Morissette's video ). It was a room filled with 20,000 black balloons which you could move through, often in total darkness. They were so tightly packed that sometimes a step forward meant that the balloons you displaced would cause one on the other side of the room to be squished until it burst! It was unnerving and exhilarating all at once, navigating this sea of unpredictability... and the exit was all but impossible to find. The balloons were 5 deep overhead, and flung my hair out in every direction. I could hear other visitors laughing or yelping with every snap crackle & pop, yet had no idea where they were. After much shuffling around, I saw some light filtering through. Aha! At last! But as you see, I came face to face against the glass, far from the exit and able to see the stairs up, up and out, but I still had a journey ahead of me.

...but of course some self portraits were in order, and despite the confused and innocent museum visitors outside, I took my time and collected as much static as possible.

Ok, so that analogy got de-railed a bit, but the point is that I'm not entirely sure how I got here, but I ain't done yet! I'm honoured and flabbergasted by this new reality, especially given all of the amazing submissions I watched when the competition was open. To all my fellow entrants I just want to say: wanna come surf on my couch? ... or, can I come surf on yours? If any of you are in Montreal, drop me a line!

And to my dear readers (or watchers, if you only dig pics) I still need your support! You can "follow" me via facebook traipsing around London in the lead-up to the Big Winner Announcement by clicking on the green tab to the right at:

http://www.mydestination.com/users/nasuna/bbb#tab

and...

To get a better picture of the Martin Creed Balloons Exhibit, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QrKvDhcmXE4#!

YIPPEE!  (fun fact: I just had to look up how to spell YIPPEE!)

Siesta Eternal by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin

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My mother naps, wrapped in a hammock in Mexico. She is alive and well, but here, she seems to sleep eternally.

The other day I watched the film Amour, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and best foreign film at the Oscars this year. It shed light on the final stages of life, which I think few people dwell on until they find themselves there, and then they haven’t got a choice. That’s the scariest thing – getting to a place where you no longer have a say… where you can’t assert your identity. What does it feel like to lose control over your own existence?

I listened to a really interesting podcast this week by Radiolab called “The Bitter End” which wrestled with this question. They found that there’s a surprising gap between what doctors will do for us when death is near, and what doctors want done for themselves. While most of us would say: save my life at any cost, doctors know the invasiveness of many life-prolonging interventions. The majority opt for an earlier death soothed by painkillers, rather than a few extra months with a breathing tube. A study done in 1996 found that TV medical dramas depict CPR as having a survival rate of 75%, but I was stunned to learn that in reality, it's only 8%! And of that, only 3% return to a normal quality of life. No wonder our perception is skewed.

In the end, all living things share the same inescapable fate. I guess doctors think about that more than most. To me, the thought is simultaneously comforting and terrifying – the idea that we’re all in it together, and yet

completely

alone.

… but what can you do?