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Spirited Away’s Metaphysical Landscape Dissociates Our Sense of Reality

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spirited away landscape

I am, you could say, a film connoisseur. From Scorsese to Fellini to Tarantino to Peele to Gerwig and Varda, I have indulged in plenty of films. But of course, there are still plenty of films that I have yet to sit down and watch merely because there is simply not enough time in a day, unfortunately. And for a while, all Studio Ghibli films were in that category of films for me that I had yet to uncover. The first Studio Ghibli film that I actually had the opportunity to watch first was Howl’s Moving Castle with a friend who was all about Studio Ghibli. She insisted we watch it; it was a very interesting experience largely because of the edible I had taken right before the ending–which is very much visually abstract and “trippy.” But even then, I knew that I had to watch Studio Ghibli’s Academy Award winning film Spirited Away. It was vital.

I was sitting on my bed, scrolling through Instagram stories, despite having piles of homework right next to me, when an ad from Fathom Events came up showcasing an upcoming showing for Spirited Away’s 20th Anniversary. This was my chance, I thought. I had always figured that watching Spirited Away for the first time on the big screen was the best way to go as opposed to watching it on my tiny TV screen that my dad gifted me for my move up to Berkeley. And so, I bought myself a ticket.

Here’s what I gathered: Miyazaki’s mixture of surrealist characters with real emotional conflicts creates a balance that leaves a soothing effect on the audience. Watching Studio Ghibli requires a complete indulgence in Miyazaki’s universe; so I let myself be snatched away entirely.

I was awestruck by the film’s aesthetics, both visual and auditory. From the sound of breeze whispering through the dialogue of the characters to the sound of gentle footsteps echoing in silent atmospheres, I felt like I was only a few feet away from the occurrences on the screen–even though I was quite literally only a few feet away. What I mean is that it was as if I was in Miyazaki’s meta-universe and I was right there with Chihiro–the main protagonist.

The sounds you hear in the film are very precise and, you could say, crisp; so much so that I almost felt the sounds as you would feel the pounding bass in your chest at a live concert. I felt so much a part of Miyazaki’s universe that I completely forgot about my own reality, which was that I was actually watching this film in the middle of the 20th row of a movie theater in Berkeley.

The construction of the characters–in a visual sense–emulates an intertwining of realism and surrealism as seen in the animation of “No Face” and many of the “non-human’ characters. Still, Chihiro’s role in the film keeps the audience grounded in her reality despite slowly forgetting her own identity. In a way, I was able to personally relate to this feeling of overwhelming frustration that she felt–when you are aware of something that is entirely out of your control. It was as if Miyazaki yanked me away and placed me right into Chihiro’s shoes. In a scene where Chihiro breaks down about forgetting her name and the fate of her parents, I found myself crying along with her. The film has that effect on you.

Because of that, I have not been able to stop thinking about the film since then. Miyazaki is an extremely talented artist and it is very much evident in the different cinematic universes he culminates in his films. I am so glad that I have finally found the time to really dive into his work and I can’t wait to keep exploring them.

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Helping Kids Develop Healthy Online Relationships 

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Healthy Online Relationships 

In today’s digital age, children are more connected than ever, navigating online spaces as naturally as they do the real world. As they interact with peers, play games, and explore the internet, it’s crucial to guide them towards fostering healthy online relationships. Teaching them the values of respect, empathy, and digital etiquette can lay the foundation for positive online interactions that benefit their social and emotional development. This article delves into practical ways parents and educators can support kids in cultivating meaningful and safe online relationships.  

The Evolution of Online Communication 

The digital landscape has undergone significant changes over the years, offering diverse platforms and tools for communication. From the early days of chat rooms and emails to today’s social media platforms and multiplayer games, children have more avenues than ever to connect with others. While this connectivity presents opportunities for learning and socializing, it also introduces new challenges. 

Risks and Challenges Children Face Online 

As children explore the online world, they may encounter various risks, including exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and privacy breaches. Understanding these potential challenges is the first step in guiding them towards safe and responsible online interactions. Parents and educators must stay informed about the latest trends and issues to provide timely guidance and support.  

Setting Ground Rules for Online Interaction 

Establishing Clear Guidelines 

Creating a set of clear and understandable rules for online interaction is essential for guiding children’s behavior in the digital world. These rules can include guidelines on sharing personal information, interacting with strangers, and handling disagreements online. By setting boundaries, children can navigate online spaces with confidence, knowing what is expected of them.   

Encouraging Open Communication 

Open dialogue between children and adults is crucial for building trust and understanding in online interactions. Encourage children to share their online experiences, ask questions, and express concerns without fear of judgment. This communication can help identify potential issues early on and allow for constructive conversations about navigating challenges safely.  

Educating on Cyber Safety 

Identifying Trustworthy Sources 

Teaching children to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources online is a vital skill for their digital literacy. Encourage them to verify information from multiple sources before accepting it as fact. By promoting critical thinking and research skills, you help them become discerning consumers of online content, reducing the risk of misinformation.   

Recognizing and Handling Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying is a pervasive issue that can have serious emotional and psychological impacts on children. Educate them about what constitutes cyberbullying and how to respond appropriately if they encounter it. Teach them strategies such as blocking the bully, saving evidence, and seeking help from trusted adults. Empower them to stand up against online harassment and support their peers in similar situations.  

Role-playing and Real-life Examples 

Engage children in role-playing exercises and discuss real-life examples to illustrate the impact of their online actions. This hands-on approach allows them to experience different scenarios and understand the consequences of their behavior. Encourage them to reflect on their experiences and learn from both positive and negative interactions to develop better online habits. 

Engaging in Joint Online Activities 

Participating in Online Games and Projects 

Joining children in their online activities can be a fun and educational way to bond with them while monitoring their digital behavior. Participate in multiplayer games, educational apps, or collaborative projects that interest them. This shared experience allows you to observe their online interactions firsthand and provide immediate feedback on their behavior.  

Supervising Without Hovering 

While it’s essential to monitor children’s online activities, it’s equally important to give them some autonomy to explore and learn independently. Find a balance between supervision and allowing them to navigate online spaces on their own. Trusting them with responsibilities while being available for guidance when needed fosters confidence and self-reliance. 

Creating a Supportive Environment for Open Dialogue 

Listening Actively to Children’s Online Experiences 

Create a safe and non-judgmental space where children feel comfortable sharing their online experiences. Listen attentively to their stories, concerns, and questions about the digital world. By actively engaging in these conversations, you demonstrate empathy and understanding, building trust and openness in your relationship.  

Addressing Concerns and Challenges Together 

When children encounter challenges or face dilemmas online, approach these situations as teachable moments rather than punitive actions. Collaborate with them to find solutions, discuss strategies for handling similar situations in the future, and reinforce the importance of responsible online behavior. By working together, you empower children to make informed decisions and navigate the digital world confidently.  

Conclusion 

Navigating the digital world can be both exciting and challenging for children. By providing guidance, setting clear boundaries, and fostering open communication, parents and educators can help them develop healthy and positive online relationships. Remember, it’s not just about restricting access but empowering them with the knowledge and skills to make responsible choices. Together, we can create a safer and more enjoyable online environment for our children.   

FAQs 

What are the key risks children face online? 

Children may encounter risks such as exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and privacy breaches while navigating the digital world. 

How can I teach my child to identify trustworthy online sources? 

Encourage critical thinking and research skills by teaching them to verify information from multiple reliable sources. 

What should I do if my child experiences cyberbullying? 

Teach your child to block the bully, save evidence, and seek help from trusted adults, emphasizing the importance of not retaliating. 

How can I monitor my child’s online activities without invading their privacy? 

Find a balance between supervision and autonomy, trusting them with responsibilities while being available for guidance when needed. Also, you can use tools like parental control apps which have numerous benefits and uses to help you make internet safer for your child. 

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Essential Guide to First-Time Student Moves

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First-Time Student Moves

Have you received your college acceptance letter? Congratulations! Now comes the exciting (sometimes daunting) task of preparing to move to the dorm. This essential guide will be your roadmap to a smooth transition.

We’ll cover everything from creating a realistic budget, including the cost to move interstate, and packing like a pro to personalizing your space and building a strong campus community. So, grab your notebook, unleash your inner planner, and confidently embark on this new adventure!

Planning is Key

Moving into your dorm is an exciting step towards independence but can also feel overwhelming. Fear not, future scholar! With a well-thought-out plan, you’ll settle into your new space and feel right at home in no time.

Understanding Costs and Creating a Spending Plan

Before you swipe that credit card, take a deep breath and make a budget. Research typical dorm costs:

  • Housing Costs: Rent, utilities, and any security deposits.
  • Furniture and Essentials: Bedding, towels, storage solutions, and other necessities.
  • Moving Expenses: Factor in truck rentals, gas, and packing supplies.

Now, create a spending plan that allocates funds to each category. This will help you avoid surprises and ensure a smooth move-in.

Building Your Nest: Choosing the Right Dorm Room Essentials

Your dorm room is your sanctuary, so make it functional and comfortable. Here are some key considerations:

  • Functionality over Fancy: Prioritize items that serve multiple purposes, like ottomans with storage compartments.
  • Considering Roommate Compatibility: Discuss shared appliances (mini-fridge, microwave) and brainstorm a décor theme that reflects both styles.
  • Campus Regulations and Restrictions: Double-check the dorm’s rules on furniture size, lofts, and any other restrictions.

Timeline to Success: Creating a Moving Schedule

The key to a stress-free move is staying organized:

  • Early Bird Gets the Best Deals: Book flights and secure movers well in advance, especially during peak moving times.
  • Packing Deadlines and Organization: To avoid last-minute scrambling, take a room-by-room approach—label boxes clearly and pack essentials (like toiletries) in a separate bag for easy access.
  • Important Dates and Documentation: Markdown key dates like dorm check-in, and remember to set up mail forwarding to avoid missing important packages.

By planning your budget, choosing the perfect dorm essentials, and creating a detailed moving schedule, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable dorm life experience. Remember, a little planning goes a long way, so grab your notebook and start your journey to dorm room domination!

Packing Like a Pro: Strategies for Efficiency

Moving into a dorm often means navigating limited space. Here’s how to become a packing pro and avoid arriving with a chaotic jumble of belongings.

Decluttering and Downsizing for Dorm Life

Before you start boxing, embrace the power of decluttering!

  • The “Spark Joy” Method: Inspired by Marie Kondo, hold onto items that “spark joy” and donate, sell, or recycle the rest. Consider sentimental items for off-campus storage.
  • Borrowing or Renting Bulky Items: Think twice about bulky furniture like beanbag chairs. Can you borrow it from a friend or rent it for the semester instead?
  • Coordinating with Roommates: Communicate with your roommate(s) to avoid duplicate items like mini-fridges or toasters.

Strategies for Different Items

Now that you’ve downsized let’s pack efficiently!

  • Clothes and Essentials: Utilize space-saving techniques like rolling clothes and packing cubes for maximum efficiency.
  • Electronics and Fragile Items: Invest in bubble wrap and sturdy boxes. Pack electronics in their original packaging if possible.
  • Bedding and Linens: Bulky comforters and pillows can be compressed in vacuum storage bags.

Creating a System for Easy Unpacking

Clear labelling is the key to a smooth unpacking process. Here are some tips:

  • Clear and Specific Labels: Don’t just write “box 1.” Indicate the room (bathroom, kitchen) and contents (towels, pots and pans).
  • Color Coding for Easy Identification: Assign each roommate a color and use colored labels or duct tape to identify their belongings quickly.

Settling In and Making It Home

Moving into your dorm marks the start of a new chapter. It’s time to personalize your space and build a welcoming community around you.

Personalizing Your Dorm Room

Let your personality shine! Here’s how to turn your dorm room into a haven:

  • Decorating with Flair: Hang photos, artwork, or tapestries that reflect your interests. Plants add a touch of life and purify the air.
  • Storage Solutions for Efficiency: Maximize your limited space with vertical storage solutions like shelves and hanging organizers. For bulky items, utilize under-bed storage.
  • Setting Up Study Zones and Relaxation Areas: Create designated areas for studying and relaxing. Use a desk lamp for focused work, and add comfy throw pillows to your bed for chill time.

Connecting with Roommates and Floor Mates

Your dorm is more than just a room; it’s a launching pad for friendships. Here are some tips to build a strong community:

  • Open Communication and Shared Responsibilities: Establish clear communication with your roommate(s) about things like schedules, guests, and cleaning duties.
  • Respecting Boundaries and Personal Space: Everyone needs downtime. Respect your roommate’s need for quiet time and privacy.
  • Getting Involved in Campus Activities: Join clubs or attend events related to your interests. This fantastic way to meet like-minded people and build a broader social circle.

By personalizing your space and fostering positive relationships with your roommates and floormates, you’ll transform your dorm room from a temporary space into a true home away from home. It’ll be a place where you feel comfortable, supported, and ready to take on the challenges and adventures of college life.

Welcome to Your New Chapter!

Armed with these essential tips and excitement, you’re on your way to conquering dorm life! Remember, college is a journey of self-discovery and exploration. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and most importantly, enjoy the experience.

This guide is just the beginning – your dorm room awaits, ready to be transformed into your haven and the launchpad for incredible memories. So, pack your bags, breathe deep, and get ready to write your own college success story!

 

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Revamp Your Space: A Guide to Renovating Your New Home After Moving

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Renovating Your New Home After Moving

Congratulations! You’re done moving with the best movers in Perth. Now, you’ve found your dream home and survived the moving chaos. It’s time to personalize your space and turn that “house” into a true “home.” Renovations can be an exciting way to make your new digs reflect your style and needs. But where do you even begin?

This guide will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the exciting (and sometimes daunting) world of renovating your new home after moving.

Preparing for Renovations Before Moving

While the excitement of transforming your new space might have you itching to grab a sledgehammer, a little pre-move planning can be the difference between a smooth renovation and a chaotic disaster. Here’s how to get a head start before the boxes even arrive:

  • Become an armchair architect: Sketch out rough floor plans of your new home. Measure key areas like doorways, windows, and wall lengths. This will help you visualize furniture placement and ensure your dream fixtures, like that oversized soaking tub, won’t feel like they’re wrestling with your walls.
  • Research and budget like a pro: Dive deep into the world of renovation inspiration! Explore online resources, magazines, and design shows to solidify your dream vision. But don’t stop there. Research the materials, finishes, and appliances you’ll need to bring that vision to life. This research phase also involves creating a realistic budget. Factor in the cost of materials and labor (if you’re hiring professionals), and don’t forget to include a buffer for unexpected expenses. Trust us, there will always be unforeseen expenses.
  • Don’t let permits become a roadblock: Certain renovations, like plumbing or electrical work or even structural changes, may require permits from your local building department. By contacting them before the move, you can understand what permits are needed, the associated costs, and the timeline for approval. This will prevent any nasty surprises that could delay your renovation dreams.

Prioritizing Renovation Projects

Not all renovations are created equal. Before diving headfirst into Pinterest-worthy inspiration boards, take a step back and prioritize your projects. Consider creating two separate lists: essential and aspirational.

  • The Essential List: This is all about functionality and addressing immediate needs that impact your comfort and safety in the new home. Leaky faucets, malfunctioning appliances, outdated electrical wiring, or drafty windows that inflate your energy bills all fall under this category. These are the foundational elements you must address before creating your dream space. Living with a persistent drip-drip-drip from a faucet might sound like a minor annoyance, but it can quickly become a major stressor. Focus on tackling these essential projects to ensure your new home is comfortable, livable, and safe.
  • The Dream List: Here’s where you can unleash your inner design guru! This list concerns aesthetics and personalizing your space to reflect your style and preferences. Does your kitchen lack a backsplash that ties the whole look together? Is your bathroom begging for a luxurious soaking tub or a modern rain showerhead? Perhaps your living room craves a statement wall or built-in bookshelves for a more curated feel. The dream list is where you are, those “would n’t-it-be-nice” projects that will elevate your space and make it your own. Remember, the beauty of the dream list is that you can tackle these projects over time, so don’t feel pressured to do it all at once.

Renovation Tips for Different Rooms

Now that you’ve prioritized your projects, let’s dive into room-specific renovations! Here are some ideas to create your dream kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom.

Kitchen

The heart of the home deserves special attention. Consider renovations that will enhance both functionality and aesthetics. Analyze your cooking style and consider layout changes that improve efficiency. One option is to rearrange cabinets and appliances to create a more ergonomic “work triangle” between the sink, stove, and refrigerator. 

Update your cabinets with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, or even consider replacing them entirely if they’re outdated or damaged. Upgraded cabinets can dramatically transform the entire look and feel of your kitchen. Are your appliances past their prime? Invest in new, energy-efficient models that not only elevate the style of your kitchen but can also save you money on utility bills in the long run. 

Replace countertops or flooring with materials that suit your style and budget. Consider options like granite, quartz, butcher block for countertops, waterproof vinyl plank flooring, or classic ceramic tiles for a durable and stylish update.

Bathroom

Turn your bathroom into a tranquil oasis with these renovation ideas: Swap outdated faucets, showerheads, and vanities for modern, sleek designs. A new toilet with a dual-flush mechanism can also add a touch of eco-friendliness and potentially lower your water bill. Does your bathroom lack storage space? 

Consider installing sleek cabinets or built-in shelves to keep towels, toiletries, and other bathroom essentials organized and easily accessible. Retile your shower with beautiful new tiles, or consider a luxurious walk-in shower with a rainfall showerhead to create a spa-like experience in your home.

Living Room

This is where you relax and unwind, so make it a space that reflects your personality. Here are some tips: Dedicate one wall to a bold color, wallpaper pattern, or even a curated gallery wall to create a focal point and add visual interest to your living room. Built-in bookshelves or cabinets can provide much-needed storage space for books, games, or decorative items. 

They can also add a touch of sophistication and a custom-made feel to your living room. Upgrade your lighting with overhead fixtures, lamps, and dimmers to create the perfect ambiance for any occasion. Depending on your needs, strategically placed lighting can make your living room feel warm and inviting or bright and energetic.

Bedrooms

Your sanctuary of sleep and relaxation deserves some renovation love, too. Built-in wardrobes provide a sleek and efficient way to maximize storage space in your bedroom. Update your bedroom flooring with comfortable and stylish options. 

Consider plush carpeting for a cozy feel, easy-to-clean laminate, or hardwood for a modern look. Carve out a dedicated reading nook in your bedroom with a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a small bookshelf. It can be the perfect spot to unwind and escape with a good book. 

A new coat of paint can completely transform the feel of your bedroom. Choose a calming color palette that promotes relaxation and sleep, or inject some personality with a bolder accent wall.

DIY vs. Professional Renovations

Whether to tackle a renovation project yourself or hire a professional depends on several factors. Sure, the DIY route can be a budget-friendly option for seemingly simple tasks like painting a room or installing new light fixtures. The satisfaction of completing a project yourself and the potential cost savings can be gratifying. However, being honest about your skillset and the project’s complexity is crucial before diving in headfirst.

Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

DIY-Friendly Projects:  If you’re a handy homeowner with some essential DIY experience, there are plenty of renovation projects you can tackle yourself. This might include:

  • Painting walls, ceilings, and trim
  • Replacing cabinet hardware or doorknobs
  • Installing laminate or vinyl plank flooring
  • Laying tile for a backsplash (assuming the wall is even)
  • Swapping out light fixtures (as long as the wiring isn’t complex)
  • Adding decorative elements like shelves or window treatments

When to Call in the Professionals: Some renovation projects are best left to the experts. Safety should always be your top priority, so if a project involves:

  • Electrical work (rewiring, installing outlets, etc.)
  • Plumbing (anything beyond replacing a faucet or toilet)
  • Significant structural changes (removing walls, adding beams, etc.)
  • Roof repairs or replacements
  • Asbestos or lead paint removal (due to health risks) Hiring a licensed and insured professional is the way to go. They have the expertise, experience, and necessary tools to ensure the job is done safely, correctly, and up to code.

Remember, even for DIY-friendly projects, there’s no shame in seeking professional help if you’re unsure about any steps. Consulting a contractor or experienced handyman for guidance can prevent costly mistakes. Ultimately, the decision of DIY versus hiring professionals depends on your comfort level, skill set, and the complexity of the renovation project.

Tips for Managing Renovations During the Moving Process

Moving and renovating simultaneously can feel overwhelming. Here are some ways to keep things smooth:

  • Schedule strategically: Plan renovations that don’t disrupt essential areas during the move-in period. Aim for projects that can be completed before you unpack.
  • Communicate with contractors: Communicate your timeline and expectations to ensure smooth project completion before or after your move-in date.
  • Find temporary housing (if needed): Depending on the renovation scale, consider temporary accommodation to avoid living in a construction zone.

Final Touches and Moving-In Day

Once the renovations are complete, it’s time for the finishing touches! Unpack your belongings, style your space with decorative elements, and add personal touches that make your home feel unique. Now, on moving-in day, you can step into a space that reflects your personality and perfectly suits your needs – a house you’ve helped create, not just one you inherited.

Renovating your new home can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to craft a space you’ll love for years to come. By planning, prioritizing projects, and making smart decisions, you can confidently navigate the renovation process and transform your house into a cherished home.

Final Thoughts

Transforming your new house into a cherished home is an exciting journey. This guide has equipped you with the knowledge and tools to navigate post-move renovations confidently. By planning, prioritizing projects, and making informed decisions about DIY versus professional help, you can create a space that reflects your personality and perfectly suits your needs.

Remember, renovations don’t have to happen all at once. Embrace the process, enjoy the satisfaction of tackling projects yourself, and celebrate the milestones. As you unpack boxes and personalize your space, visualize the joy you’ll experience in your newly renovated haven. So, grab your toolbox (or your phone to call a contractor!), unleash your creativity, and get ready to transform your house into a home that reflects your unique style and brings you joy for years to come.

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