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Heartstrings

IN THIS ISSUE:

It’s that mushy-gushy time of year again–emotions are running rampant, petals are hitting the floor, and stores are suddenly running out of all things sweet. (We beg you, beautiful souls: think of your neighbours, and let there be enough Ben & Jerry’s to go around for everyone.) Now, if you need content that compliments your vat of ice cream, we’ve got lovebirds, villainous valentines, and some cinnamon hearts we keep going back to—no matter how much they burn.
XOXO – The Nav.

The Navigator Logo in dark pink over a pattern of watercolour hearts

February  2024

Articles

A woman holding a bouquet of roses looking at her reflection in a mirror

Broken Hearts and Bright Sides

It’s a rite of passage to go through your first heartbreak. Ella isn’t the first—nor will she be the last. Now, a year wiser, she’s putting her break-up story on the internet for everyone to read. So grab a seat, laugh at her misfortunes, and who knows, maybe the worst thing to happen...
Rakiura Track (one of New Zealand’s “great walks”) on Stewart Island, Photo by Georgia Mason-Guertin

From Island to Island

I never considered an international internship as part of my undergraduate plans until my professor suggested the idea to me. He informed me of a scholarship opportunity available through VIU where I could go to New Zealand and spend every day deep in nature. I could care for it, learn from it,...
A stack of pretty notebooks

What’s Write for You

If it isn’t perfect, is it worthwhile creating? Nav alum Isabella Ranallo shares her experience entering VIU’s Creative Writing program wide-eyed and hopeful, her subsequent burnout, and how she rediscovered and revived her lifelong love of writing—by writing selfishly.
Shimmering blue water

When Gracie was Three

Remember your first swimming lesson? Water-winged, life-jacketed, and terrified to even dip a toe in the water? Or maybe you lived for the pool, diving in head-first every chance you got. Swimming instructor Laurent has seen it all. Follow him as he faces his toughest, fiercest, most stubborn...
The CVIMS booth at VIU DiscoverFest

Opening Our Hearts to Newcomers

Coming to Canada as an immigrant or government-assisted refugee is challenging. But in Nanaimo, the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS) is there to lend a helping hand. Sophia Wasylinko speaks to staff and current and former clients about the ways the Society helps newcomers...
An illustration of a person in a jumpsuit with a bouquet of red flowers and their face censored by a black bar

Romanticizing the Bad Guy

Pop-culture loves a villain. The Netflix TV show, You, is just one example of how we fall in love with obviously problematic characters. But they’re obviously problematic, so why do we romanticize them? The psychology of what makes unhealthy characters so appealing from afar can give us a...
An illustration of a person in a jumpsuit with a bouquet of red flowers and their face censored by a black bar

Romanticizing the Bad Guy

Pop-culture loves a villain. The Netflix TV show, You, is just one example of how we fall in love with obviously problematic characters. But they’re obviously problematic, so why do we romanticize them? The psychology of what makes unhealthy characters so appealing from afar can give us a perspective when choosing a partner in real-life. As a writer who’s obsessed with creating enticing...
Read More
The CVIMS booth at VIU DiscoverFest

Opening Our Hearts to Newcomers

Coming to Canada as an immigrant or government-assisted refugee is challenging. But in Nanaimo, the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS) is there to lend a helping hand. Sophia Wasylinko speaks to staff and current and former clients about the ways the Society helps newcomers adjust to life in Canada.
Read More
Shimmering blue water

When Gracie was Three

Remember your first swimming lesson? Water-winged, life-jacketed, and terrified to even dip a toe in the water? Or maybe you lived for the pool, diving in head-first every chance you got. Swimming instructor Laurent has seen it all. Follow him as he faces his toughest, fiercest, most stubborn swimmer yet: three-year-old Gracie.
Read More
A stack of pretty notebooks

What’s Write for You

If it isn’t perfect, is it worthwhile creating? Nav alum Isabella Ranallo shares her experience entering VIU’s Creative Writing program wide-eyed and hopeful, her subsequent burnout, and how she rediscovered and revived her lifelong love of writing—by writing selfishly.
Read More
Rakiura Track (one of New Zealand’s “great walks”) on Stewart Island, Photo by Georgia Mason-Guertin

From Island to Island

I never considered an international internship as part of my undergraduate plans until my professor suggested the idea to me. He informed me of a scholarship opportunity available through VIU where I could go to New Zealand and spend every day deep in nature. I could care for it, learn from it, and gain knowledge from the organization. So off I went.
Read More
A woman holding a bouquet of roses looking at her reflection in a mirror

Broken Hearts and Bright Sides

It’s a rite of passage to go through your first heartbreak. Ella isn’t the first—nor will she be the last. Now, a year wiser, she’s putting her break-up story on the internet for everyone to read. So grab a seat, laugh at her misfortunes, and who knows, maybe the worst thing to happen in her pretty ordinary life might just turn out to be the best thing ever.
Read More

Fiction

Photo by Justinas Teselis on Unsplash

Shifting Gears

I could feel the time ticking by, faster and faster until there wasn’t any left. More people departed, shedding tears as they lingered in goodbye hugs.
Photo by Justinas Teselis on Unsplash

Shifting Gears

I could feel the time ticking by, faster and faster until there wasn’t any left. More people departed, shedding tears as they lingered in goodbye hugs.
Read More

Videos

Date Night Dessert!

Mike walks through an excellent recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie – just in time for Valentines Day Date Night! While he whisks he explains why he insists on cooking constantly.

Nurturing Nature

Nav videographer Ben had a chance to sit down with Animal Care Supervisor Derek Downes to learn about some of the important work that the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center. He was also lucky enough to get a tour to learn more about the center’s permanent residents!

Nurturing Nature

Nav videographer Ben had a chance to sit down with Animal Care Supervisor Derek Downes to learn about some of the important work that the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center. He was also lucky enough to get a tour to learn more about the center’s permanent residents!
Read More

Date Night Dessert!

Mike walks through an excellent recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie – just in time for Valentines Day Date Night! While he whisks he explains why he insists on cooking constantly.
Read More

Episodes

What is Love, Ocea & Colby? – Part 1

Let’s talk about love in all its many forms. Jack and their partner Amy start this series off talking to Jack’s sister Ocea, and her girlfriend, Colby. We’ll discuss how we define love, and how love defines us. Join us and be nourished as we discover new ways of showing our love, accepting it, and...

What is Love, Ocea & Colby? – Part 1

Let’s talk about love in all its many forms. Jack and their partner Amy start this series off talking to Jack’s sister Ocea, and her girlfriend, Colby. We’ll discuss how we define love, and how love defines us. Join us and be nourished as we discover new ways of showing our love, accepting it, and maintaining a communicative and lasting relationship dynamic.
Read More

Visual

Playing with Heartstrings / Charlie Szafron

Our web developer, Charlie Szafron, is currently enrolled at Vancouver Island University, pursuing a degree in Information Technology and Applied Systems, specializing in Web and Mobile Development. A native of Parksville, a picturesque beach town on the island, Charlie has always harmonized their innate creativity with a logical approach. While their professional work in development skillfully blends these attributes, Charlie also enjoys maintaining a creative project on the side purely for enjoyment.

February Horoscopes

by Sophia Wasylinko

Aries

We’re off to a strong start with this charismatic sign, always the life of the party! But beneath that shiny exterior is a lot of emotional baggage. Some of it’s too painful to deal with. However, the longer you put it off, the more you hurt yourself. Take a deep breath and face your fears, no matter how long it takes. And don’t be afraid to call in the troops (AKA the parents, sibs, or sweetheart) for extra support.

Taurus

You’ve got a great work ethic going on, but take it easy, mate. Don’t be so rigid with your schedule or you’ll burn out before midterms. If an unexpected opportunity pops up, take it. Feel the urge to host a Culture Couch? How about starting your own radio show? Or maybe your roommate’s sibling, who you’ve been nursing a crush on, is visiting this weekend. Your assignments will be waiting for you when you come back. Carpe diem! 

Gemini

We love your willingness to try new things, but dating is not like starting a new Netflix series! You’re just a little too impatient, too quick to give up, and that’s not good. If things feel stale, ask yourself why: is it their personality? Is it your own schedule? Are you ready for this venture? Maybe it’s time to dial things back a bit. Evaluate your priorities and see where your relationship lands. It might be better to press pause before things get really messy.

Cancer

“So, are you dating anyone?” You’re still getting this question while your younger siblings are celebrating their second anniversaries. You laugh, but deep down you’re feeling pressured. Don’t rush! You’re still getting to know yourself. Instead, be grateful for where you are now. Focus on your studies and any extracurricular activities that help you relax. And if you get that spark from someone, slow down. Nurture the friendship and see if it gets stronger before taking the next step. Everyone’s love story is different—embrace yours!

Leo

It might seem cliché to fall for the popular classmate, someone who’s got people falling all over them, but somehow it’s happened. Instead of giving it up for naught, gather your courage and dive right in. Say hello, invite them out for coffee, and share a fun fact or two about yourself. If they’re interested in you as a potential love interest, great. If not, this could still be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Virgo

February is the month of love, and we’re not just talking about puppy love. With everything going on in your life, you’ve been neglecting yourself. It’s totally natural, but at this rate you’ll end the semester feeling like a wrung-out dishrag. We suggest implementing some simple self-care: face masks, a nice walk in the woods, some delicious tea with your new jigsaw puzzle. By giving yourself love and attention, you’ll be able to give the same to those around you.

Libra

Your crush likes you back and has asked you out on that crucial first date—congratulations! But if you’re new to dating, or just getting back in, you’re probably a little shy. You’re thinking of stepping back to let the other person take the lead. Which is great, but if you’re afraid to speak up about your likes and dislikes, they won’t get to know you as well as they should. Relationships are two-way: don’t be afraid to give them your TMI.

Scorpio

Raise your hand if you think February is the worst. Stuck between winter and spring, it’s easy to get the blues and just want to huddle in your hoodie (or bunny hug, for Saskatchewan folks). But you can’t stay cooped up forever. Drag yourself out of bed, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Buy yourself a coffee and doughnut/cupcake and make plans to meet with friends. Spring will be here soon; just hang in there until it comes.

Sagittarius

Sagittarius, you seem … stressed. “It’s nothing. I can handle it.” Now wait just a moment. It’s okay to ask for help, especially if you’ve got a lot to handle and you’re going through a rough patch this Valentine’s season. It might not be easy, but that’s why it’s more important to reach out. Drop your prof an email asking for an extension on that assignment. Ask (or bribe) your siblings to help with chores so you can catch up on other things. Oh, and that ex who’s begging you to take them back? Tell them to suck it.

Capricorn

Balance. It’s an important element of our lives but one that you (for better or worse) don’t always have. We get the drive to succeed, but work isn’t everything. You need a rest to keep up your energy and charming personality. And if you’re dating, there’s your other half to consider. If you’re tempted to push yourself or add another task to your long list, step back and save it for later. Work smart, not hard.

Aquarius

So long, Aquarius. It’s been a fun ride. You’ve had a blast, and it’s now time to chill a bit. But you don’t have to wind down completely. So what if you haven’t kept your New Year’s resolutions? Do one thing that’s outside your comfort zone, whether it’s the Polar Bear Plunge, speed dating, or dying your hair bright green. Keep the zest in your life, whether you’re numero uno or not. 

Pisces

We’ve saved the best for last! You’re something of a late bloomer, a fine wine that gets better the more time it’s left alone. However, it might be time to test the waters, especially when it comes to love. Trust your instincts, gauge where your comfort levels are at, and don’t be afraid to ask for patience from the other person. Good things come to those who wait, and we guarantee that the extra time will make this relationship stronger in the end.

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