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Showing posts from November, 2010

"The greatest of these is Hope"

Life is very fickle.

At first, I thought I should write “I am very fickle.” That statement is indeed true - I change my mind more frequently than a rodent reproduces (which is to say a lot) - but I think, also, that life, such as it is, is just as volatile as me.

This blog has been plagued with my constant flip-flopping between complaints and praises of my escapades and adventures of the past three months. As of three weeks ago, I decidedly hated Vancouver and wanted to return home as soon as my money ran out. Lately, however, I’ve started to appreciate this city, the friends I have made here, and the simple fact that I am able to have this experience.

And so life is fickle. What I mean is, I inherently know all the good things about being here. I know that I am blessed that I am financially able to live here, that I am able to study under and meet renowned academics and authors and illustrators, that the people in my program are lovely and friendly and funny and all-around wonderful …

On Eros

I was watching an interview with Stephen Fry at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts in Wales this past July, and he was asked to speak on the subject of eros, which in Greek means martial love, passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. I thought his response was beautiful and profound, and so I thought I'd share it with you.
Stephen Fry on Eros:
“When you’re a child and you watch films on television, you tend to wonder why it is that the action, the comedy, the adventure stops every now and again for this bewildering, baffling nonsense that is eros, that is love.
And then when you pass through childhood into adulthood there’s a part of you that sometimes questions why there is any other subject in the world. It is all there is to think about and talk about, love. It is, of course, everything within us, and the extraordinary thing about, and of course there are many shapes to it, the Greeks - I alluded to a couple of them,agape and eros and philia, of course there are…

The Eloquence of A Fall

As I was reading my nightly chapter of Bryson (ok, so I read two chapters today. I'm rewarding myself for being productive), I came across this hilarious passage and had to share.

Bryson's newest book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life talks about just that: the history of the home. Each chapter is named after a room in his current 19th century home in Norfolk, England, and deals with the history of how that particular room came to be, what it was used for, and other various interesting tidbits of information. He provides countless anecdotes (my personal favourites are about the monumental houses that insanely rich people insisted on building, which, in turn, collapsed) which are hilarious and of the sort that you would never have known, or indeed knew you cared to know, had he not told you.

The chapter I'm currently on is "Chapter XIV: The Stairs." Bryson recounts statistics about who and when and how many people fall down stairs yearly, and then talks ab…

An Italics-Worthy Adventure

I said I would write a post about my adventure to Powell’s, and I submit it thusly (warning: I use lots of italics in this entry. Beware):

I first learned about Powell’s from reading Don Miller, who you may or may not recognize as having the distinction of being both the author of great books such as Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in A Thousand Years and my favourite author. Don lives in Portland and has mentioned Powell’s in blog posts, live video blogs, and perhaps also in a book or two (I cannot say for certain this last fact. I’ll have to look it up and get back to you).

I had forgotten about this bookstore until sometime earlier this year. When I decided to move to Vancouver, a professor at MUN advised me I had to take a trip to Portland and go to Powell’s, a bibliophile’s heaven. Suddenly it was as though my whole purpose for moving to the West Coast was clear - I would go to the world’s largest bookstore, and get to meet Don Miller in the same trip. A flawless plan.


A bit of…

The Family From America

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There has been an almost unforgivable amount of time since my last post, but I have excellent excuses. Firstly, I had an enormous number of assignments to finish last week, and then I was off to Portland, Oregon to visit my cousin Tammy, her husband Jeremy, and her two kids, Maya and Declan. Forgiven? Thanks.
I left for Portland on Thursday. My flight wasn’t until 12:45, but I left campus at 09:00 because I kept imagining a bus breakdown or that the SkyTrain would stop running for some reason. But I made it to YVR with 2.5 hours to spare. Luckily I hadn’t caught up on the latest episode of America’s Next Top Model so it was a morning well spent.
The plane I learned, once we boarded, was one of those tiny 30-seaters with one flight attendant and aren’t worthy of a walkway that’s indoors. We had to walk outside and up those tiny plane stairs to get on, an experience I equate with the cheap, questionable EasyJet flights in Europe. My seat mate was a slightly balding older gentleman with  G…

Love/Hate

People frequently ask me how I feel about Vancouver, only it’s usually phrased like this:

“OMG, don’t you LOVE Vancouver? Isn’t it the BEST place on the ENTIRE planet!? When I was there, I saw a UNICORN leaping out of a DOUBLE RAINBOW!”

And yes, I do like Vancouver. But I also dislike it sometimes. I’ve decided to compose a list of my loves and hates about every day life in Vancouver.


Loves

1. Bakeries and Bookstores: As far as I’ve discovered, Vancouver does two things better than any Canadian city I’ve ever been in - bakeries and bookstores. On almost every corner, there is a locally owned bakery selling fresh baked bread and pastries. I have a very hard time resisting these shops. They usually sell some sort of lunch-type roll (such as the COP which I discovered this weekend and stands for Cheese, Onion, and Peppers - omg delicious) and various other perfect snack-type baked goods. I’ve yet to be let down by the bread in these shops. There are also an abundance of stores dedicated so…

Paying Homage

Every semester for the past 5 years, I’ve reached a point where I seriously question why on earth I have voluntarily decided to pay an institution to force me to read difficult theory and write papers about arbitrary close readings of books and worry about every minute punctuation quotation mark and italicization in a paper, lest I be accused of plagiarism. It’s insane, really.

Right now I’m working on an annotated bibliography of 25 picture books. We were told we could pick any subject or theme and find 25 illustrated books that talk about it. I chose to look at stories about Noah’s Ark (originally I had planned to look at stories about Newfoundland, but the UBC libraries don’t have many of those). This is the first time I’ve ever written a paper or critiqued books with a (blatantly) Biblical foundation, and also the first time I’ve looked extensively at picture books. I’m finding it all very interesting: some stories gloss over the issue of God killing everyone who wasn’t chosen to …