Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wait a minute....

This is just a short thought as my finals are in the next two days, but once done I shall fill you in on all the Canadian deets - some good, some bad, some WHAT WERE YOU THINKING YOU IDIOTS?!?!?

Anyway, I am aware that I ended my last post saying that I was happy here..but I have just fully realised that my final exam on wednesday on French Literature is from 7pm-10pm. To say this is immoral is an understatement. Get me out of here!

On a lighter note - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG J MORGZ!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The bigger and smaller things in life

A wise man once said : "So this is Christmas and what have you done, Another year over, a new one just begun."

And so this wise man made me wonder to myself...what have I done? Classes are over for the semester and I have been living the Canadian dream for 3 months now, but I haven't really thought to much about what I have done or what I have learned. The whole point of the study abroad experience is that you take something from it. Before I came here everyone would ask me "Why would you go to Canada to study English Literature??" So, to show the world that I did not travel 13 hours (thanks to the delightful stop off in Detroit) across the Atlantic in vain I have compiled a list of things I have achieved and learned during Semester 1 of The Year that I Rode Polar Bears. 

- Europeans, especially the British, were evil colonisers; however, we have accents (THIS IS THE LAST TIME I SHALL TELL THEE CANADIANS, YOU ALSO HAVE ACCENTS. EVERYONE HAS AN ACCENT. EVERYONE.) we also make good novelty items. One girl squealed at me that I was the "first real live british person" that she had met. I don't know what she expected from me, but I doubt I gave it to her as I had to break off the conversation when I received an urgent phone call from the queen inviting me over for tea and crumpets, so I had to put on my top hat and tail coat and make a hasty exit from the classroom.

- Toads become slightly lethargic when stepped upon and when they have to drink their water from a plastic frisbee.

- You cannot buy a wedding card without a message which almost threateningly tells the couple how sacred the vows of marriage are and how vital it is that they don't break them.

- Everywhere I go, I always take the weather with me. Seriously. Where is the snow? 

- Though the seasons are failing to change in the way I had hoped, there has been a noticeable change in the air. In November Ottawa's scent becomes marijuana, and cinnamon. I think the cinnamon think is just me though. I'm addicted. Weed doesn't take my fancy though. Someone once told me if I started smoking people would think I was cool, but I sleep with a toy broccoli at night and I have a shirt with Owl on the Prowl written on it - I really don't think I need any more cool points. 

- Speiling is ovureighted in Cannada. This is a joke about the fact that spelling is overrated in Canada.  This isn't to say that being Canadian means that you can't spell, but here I have seen some horrendous spelling mistakes, and the general attitude of the profs tends to be pretty blasé. Spelling isn't everything, but I think if you are in your second year of University doing a degree in English literature the profs should at least encourage you to give correct spelling a go. My American lit professor told us that we are allowed to make horrendous spelling mistakes in our exam as long as he can still work out what the word is. It will be hard to resist the temptation to call his bluff in the exam and try to make as many horrendous spelling mistakes as possible. 

- Adding tax on at the till is immoral. Not only does it mean that everything is more expensive than it seems, but it also means that I do not know how much my basket will cost before I get to the till and as Canadian money still confuses me at times, instead of counting out change I tend to thrust a note into the hand of the cashier and end up with an irritating amount of change which I then tend to lose. I am very aware that this second reason is basically only a problem for me, but I am also aware that I am probably the most important person in the world. 

- People here probably do think that I think that I am the most important in the world because of my irremediably dry and sarcastic nature, but I also think that I don't mind too much. Who needs a social life when you have got 7 series of Peep Show and a heart full of hatred. 

- I can't pull off American English, or Canadian English, or North American English or whatever the term is that will keep everyone happy. I can't say 'Candy', I can't say 'Side-walk', I can't call every damn biscuit under the sun a cookie dammit! There is a difference between a biscuit and a cookie and it is time that everyone understood that because it would probably solve all the world's problems. The greatest tragedy though is the word 'tomato'. I can't say 'tomaydo'. I wish I could, but when I speak this word I feel like an imposter and a fraud. Everytime I go to Subway I can but stare wistfully at the tomatoes and curse my tongue for it's British upbringing as I regretfully say 'Lettuce. Green peppers. Onions. Nothing else, thank you....nothing else.' 

- I will probably get rickets this winter from walking to my classes through the underground tunnels. 

- I will probably also get scurvy as most of the oranges I take from the cafeteria seem to come to an untimely end as they are pounded into the ground. 

- It is unacceptable to go the Canada Gift Shop every time I am in the shopping centre. Becoming a regular in a gift shop to laugh at beaver and moose related puns, is as shameful as becoming a regular at a brothel simply because I enjoy the décor. The latter hasn't happened though. The décor of Ottawa brothels is simply ghastly. 

- When you live in a Campus University a trip to the shopping centre feels like a 'big day out'. 

- Actual big days out should be planned but never acted upon. It is better to plan and live a life of regret then to do something with your days and make memories that will last a life time. Hm. I think I may have got this a little bit mixed up. 

- Canada is really big.
- Canada is REALLY big.

- Crisp sandwiches have not yet reached North America - soon to be rectified on my next 'big day out' to the shopping centre. 

- There is no rule about the number of items you can take to the self-service checkout at the supermarket. There is also no age limit. This leads to 15 minutes of impatiently waiting behind the 50 something year old couple who try to put their discounted slab of meat over the scanner as it lightly drips with blood. 

- Weirdly even though I haven't really done that much here, and I have exams coming up, and I would have liked lots of things to go differently this term - I am, on the whole, happy to be here. 

Oh dear. I just said something vaguely positive. Looks like I'll have to start throwing bricks at children again to cancel that one out.

I may update soon. I may not. With exams on the horizon it is unlikely that anything exciting will occur in my life..but we are going out tomorrow for Jess's birthday..so who knows. Will we play the Minister's Cat, and if so will we find an adjective beginning with X that isn't xenophobic? Will we actually all make it into a bar? Will there be irrational crying around acquaintances or on public transport? It's all coming up in the (probably being over-optimistic here) exciting  adventures of Kate in Canada. 

This picture is irrelevant. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Cheer

Oh. I also forgot to mention that being in Canada has made me feel old and superior and therefore I have purchased a pack of rather splendid Christmas cards. So if you want some Canadian Christmas Cheer from the source itself then send me your name, address, age and your favourite animal.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Giving into peer pressure.

Oh hey there, I'm just taking a break from working on my William Brown shrine to write a few things about the mysterious land of dreams - occasionally nightmares - better known as Canadia.

I would like to greet all the people reading this in Russia...and also ask the question..why are people reading this in Russia? What possible interest could this have to anybody apart from me and the procrastinators I like to call acquaintances (I don't want to come on too strong). But each to their own I suppose..pour yourself a glass of Wodka and let's begin.

A wise man once said to me "I want to read more about Canada. UPDATE FAGGOT " and these words were so sweet and heartfelt that I decided to oblige as best I could. Although if he hopes to learn more about Canada..he has certainly come to the wrong place.

The last few weeks have been a mixture of essay writing, procrastination and intense napping with a few things worthy of being called 'events' happening inbetween.

The most memorable (I'm currently watching some confusing Japanese film that has turned my brain to mush and made me doubt my own memories) event was Nancy's visit. Everything was going pretty swell apart from the obvious and grotesque jokes made by some of the guys on the floor...I'm pretty sure I heard the word 'scissoring' more times in the 5 days she was here than I have heard in my life time. Things turned from socially awkward to wholly unpleasant though on the thursday night where she was attacked by mystery pains. Jess awoke me at 8 o clock in the morning which my body confused with 4am as I cleverly picked no morning classes this term. I didn't know what to do so I helpfully suggested things that would help ease the pain if we had them...which we didn't. In my morning daze I returned to my slumber, but I was punished for my lack of helpful suggestions as I found myself trapped in a horrible dream cycle (SEE TOM! You are really going to learn NOTHING about Canada here) in which I knew I was dreaming and kept waking up and finding myself in another dream etc etc This happened about 10 times in my dream before I woke up for real and found myself doubting what was real and what was a dream. Nancy was writhing in pain in the next room and my understanding of the world was being destroyed - it wasn't a great start to the day. Luckily the campus health people came over to check Nancy out (her injuries, nothing untoward. It would have been inappropriate). Unluckily they lacked the medical knowledge/qualifications to do anything, so after asking her on a scale of 1-10 how bad was the pain they decided to call the ambulance. They meant well but their methods reminded me of this: 

- Comical when on television, but in real life it was a bit tedious I've got to say.
Anyway, we got to the hospital in the end and Canada decided it was going to rival the NHS by seeing just how slow they could be. The emergency room was a highly ironic term. A highlight of the day was when a taxi driver brought in a man in the back of his taxi who was slowly turning blue and breathing lightly through a paper bag. The staff were pretty blasé about the whole affair and just wheeled him on in and left him on his own against a wall for a while. The hospital lacked good bedside manner...but I suppose that is because very few people got a bad. I think you would have to have a bullet in your head to actually get seen to within 3 years of arrival. But ho-hum it all worked out ok in the end and Nancy even snagged a free vomibag! Swings and roundabouts...swings and roundabouts.

Life hasn't been all doom, gloom and vomibags though. On thursday it was the Illumination ceremony at Parliament Hill. If you don't know Parliament Hill - it is a small elevated area where Parliament is. It wasn't REALLY exciting like a room full of kittens wearing party hats, but it was still pleasant. There were singing children, beaver tails and Montreal Jazz sensation Nadja!! I'd never heard of Nadja before..and having heard her sing I find it unlikely that I'll ever want to hear of her again. She wasn't bad like a room full of dead kittens wearing party hats, but I could still probably cope without her the rest of my life - which right now, as exams draw near, I can feel it passing by. Minute by minute, nyan cat game by nyan cat game. Anyway, yeah the lights. My favourite part was the candles in little cups things. As the lights were switched on and Nadja was belting out her smooth Montreal tones everyone waved their candles in unison and just for a second I thought I was starring in Love Actually and that Hugh Grant was going to start doing a cheesy, but damn heartfelt voice over. Unfortunately this wasn't the case and instead we got a pleasant fireworks display...although the fireworks made the actual lights fairly anticlimactic. They announced that Ottawa would light up when they hit the button  - then came the awkward moment where they hit the button and everyone's head turned only to see that it looked exactly the blooming same. There were some lights. Some normal, cheap looking fairy lights on leafless trees. The lights were supposed to represent the holiday and togetherness and love and family, but all they actually seemed to say was "We really couldn't be bothered to put too much effort into this."

It was all a bit too much for Will though whose nose began to bleed in a state of unquestionable joy. I assume. 

We decided to afterwards lower the tone of what had until then been a reasonably pleasant evening by checking out the hen party section in one of the shops in the shopping centre. I've  never really needed slippers that look like breasts, but now that I've seen them, I feel that my life would be incomplete without them. There was also a book of sex coupons that you could out to people, but I thought it would be unfair to purchase them as there are more guys waiting for a piece of Kate action then there were coupons in the book. I bought a tshirt with lots of cats which pretty much sealed the deal and secured my spot as the most desirable babe this side of the Atlantic. 

Apart from that life has lacked a little bit of...life. I've written possibly some of the worst essays of my life as I decided to finish the year on a low..but as there are people here who can't spell words like 'horse' or know how to go one whole class without playing solitaire I'm not too concerned. And even if I do fuck up it should snow more soon..swings and roundabouts (say it enough and it means nothing). Anyway, I should probably go and attend to my ever exciting social life. It's just me, broccoli and a one legged vegetable. 

Not long until this term is all over though and I can go to Miami and ride dolphins around every day - although I get the feeling I may have set my disappointment once again. Note to self - riding animals around everyday isn't going to happen. Ever. Except maybe a horse, but horses are rubbish. 

Well, I've rambled enough for the time being so I'm going to make like a banana and do nothing.

Oh, and if you are free at 12.30 on monday, I advise you not to go to the Architecture Pit as the power of my amazing acting skills will probably melt your eyes and ears. 

Peace, love and polar bears

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who am I?

I will add more about my wild Canadian lifestyle tomorrow after the illumination ceremony...which I seem to have a habit of pronouncing 'elimination' ceremony which is inaccurate. Although after multiple sleep deprived nights I wouldn't say no to a few casual eliminations here and there.

But anyway...we got an email the other day requesting us to do a student profile for the Exeter Study Abroad website, but as I have severe problems with sincerity and being a serious adult I thought I would fill it out here instead. This is also an easy way out of doing a proper blog post for another day. I should stop setting myself challenges.

Question 1 - add a picture of yourself.

If you hadn't guessed it. I'm the fellow on the left cowering from the terrifying fish man. God I hate fish. Although I do want a fish next term. A nice one. Not an eaty one. One with fun colours. Anyway..I digress.

Student Profile:

 Katharine Stewart

 English with a Study in North America

Type of study abroad: (i.e. Erasmus/Exchange/summer school)
Exchange (oo font changed itself...exciting)

Name of Institution and country:
 University of Carleton (yeah I hadn't heard of it either) - Canada. 

Current year of study: (i.e. 3rd year)

·        Why did you choose your particular programme at the University of Exeter?

 I chose this programme because I realised that I was lazy and I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I did know how to read books. I also know how to pretend to be profound when it matters most, and I know fun words like hamartia and onomatopoeia. Also I got rejected from Warwick and Edinburgh, but swings and roundabouts.
·         What do you enjoy the most about your programme?
     At Exeter I enjoyed that I only had 3 hours a week of class. In Carleton I enjoy that I have 12 hours of class but I enjoy them more. Except for French..that was an error in judgement. Sacre bleu. Also I get to read Holes and still pretend that I am a reputable English student.

·        Why did you choose to study abroad, and what made you choose that particular location?

 I chose to study abroad because I could, and because England can get a little dreary. I didn't choose the location...it chose me. Well that's not strictly true. I was happy to go  here, but it doesn't work so well for dramatic effect. I also was interested in going here because I saw that in the winter festival that there are slides made out of snow and then I remembered I was immature so I started the process of getting my Canadian Visa
·        What are you enjoying most about studying abroad?

 Chipmunks. Next?
·        What skills have you gained from your experience (personal and professional) on your time abroad?

 How to play the Big Dalmouti card game. How to get a 1st in an essay (hint - go to a Uni with slightly lower standards with those of your university back home). How to live in this beautiful  country - 
Step 1 - Lose the gun
Step 2 - Buy a canoe
Step 3 - Live multi-culturally
Step 4 - You're in! There is no more.
·        Have you overcome any challenges during your time abroad?

Dry Frosh Week.
·        Do you feel that studying abroad will help your employment prospects?

If I'm being employed as a recluse perhaps. Or maybe as a British nanny (apparently) - Mary Poppins hasn't got shit on me.
·        Do you have any advice or tips to share with future students considering studying abroad?

Bring money. Lots of money. Don't expect to be riding Polar Bears everyday..just every other day.

·        Would you recommend the study abroad experience?

I wouldn't kick it out of bed. 

Well I better start rehearsing..

The lights are on but nobody is home.

Within the next 24 hours words will appear on this blog...even if it means having to type them myself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Party Don't Start Until I Walk In.

First of all I hope you all enjoyed the badger, and if you haven't seen the badger I wholly encourage you to scroll down as badgers are never ending fun. I would also like to excuse myself for not having posted what I suppose you could call a 'proper' blog post for some time. I have been fairly busy coating myself in maple syrup and riding Polar Bears for my Ice Fishing dates with the local tribesmen, but I'm in Canada so you probably already knew that. Life here has been perfect as of late actually, I can't find a fault with a single thing and every day I wake up I feel like I'm in a Disney film and birds sing to me and dress me and my loveable pet beaver, Hans. So yeah. That is all I have to say. Thanks for reading :)

I jest. I jest. I haven't given up my British cynicism yet. My cynicism that will inevitably leave me sad and lonely in my final years of life as I look at these smug, complacent pandas and cry myself to sleep with my kittens and white wine. I bet these pandas have never sat a mid-term. Today was my first mid-term ever. I had expected something miraculous, extraordinary, magical..or at least some kind of parade..but alas no. The only bonus was I was one of the later people to class today so I got to move to a less irritating classroom - I use the term late loosely. People here seem to think that if they don't arrive at least 15 minutes beforehand that the world might be implode, or they might have to sit in a different seat or something. I can't blame them though really, the pre-class atmos is pretty radical. As the classroom issue, the plastic chairs which swing to and fro throughout the class at first were a source of great joy, but now they are just a pain in the arse. It is slightly irritating when taking notes in class as you gradually get further away from the desk as your chair swings itself out if you make the slightest moment, and as a breathing, living being I tend to make movements fairly regularly. 

The mid-term itself was a little bit lacklustre. I aced all questions on Holes naturally, because if I didn't I would have had to withdraw from society and eat trainers until the day that I died. The rest of the questions I wasn't that interested in. I thought I was studying English to read story books and pretty poems, not to actually 'learn' anything. I didn't know what the punishment for petty theft in 18th century London was, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I did, however, lose about two hours sleep last night which brought me an insane amount of joy. The floor had been pretty quiet for the weekend..it was all a cunning ruse though to create a false sense of security and to send me into a depressed fury with only hours to go before my exam...or possibly people had just happened to plan a social event last night which had no relation to me whatsoever...but I find that pretty damn hard to believe. Luckily I appeased myself by playing the nyan cat game until I could feel my brain bleed and my eyes started to melt into a haze of spring onions and shame. 

If you don't know the nyan cat game:

Use it wisely my friend...use it wisely.

I'm trying to think about what has been going down around these parts as of late, but I'm struggling. I get the feeling I have a lot of work to do, but I also have a greater feeling of denial. There was one day where I ate many of these sour sweets in a row and it made my tongue hurt a bit, so I stopped eating them...and yes I do expect to be nominated for most fascinating blog of the year. 

We had Drama in a place today called 'The Architecture Pit'. In my head this was going to be some kind of crater in the ground where we would be put in metal-plated armour and made to fight bears with spears and our gladiator pride. It turned out that it was just an area with a few ladders, benches and seating area. It was nice, but you know...lacking in bears. The architecture students were in a fury that we were in their territory and glared down at us from the stairwells and planned to crush us all through the power of..architecture, but then they realised they were Canadian and just toodled off in a passive aggressive fashion. The drama class is quite snazzy...if you like throwing bouncy balls and playing eye contact games and acting like an eight year old WHICH I DO! We have been given final scenes to perform. I've been given the part of Juliet for mine..but you could have probably guessed that. I am the definition of sentimental, romantic and beautiful. The only thing that annoys me is that in the scene Juliet is also whiny, irritating and impatient and that is SO not me it hurts. 

Anyway, I can't think of anything else at the moment. Actually that isn't true. I just thought about about what it would be like if I had a kitten. It would be good. The end of term draws near and I will get to experience Canadian 'Finals' which will be an experience and a half...I might get a pinata to get the party started. On the plus side I'm going to Toronto in December with my sister who has planned an impromptu visits. I think impromptu visits are a very good thing...hint hint hint. And if you don't like me enough to spend 500 pounds of your hard earned cash to come to Canada and sleep on my floor while a moan about the cold weather and the inconsistencies in Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophical essays (see I have learned things!)...well then I don't think we should be friends any more. 

Actually, there is a visit tomorrow. Nancy is coming down from Kansas tomorrow which should be nice and change the Grenville dynamic a bit. From the way people talk here I don't think that many of the guys have met a 'real life lesbian couple', but I just thought I should make it clear to them that YES! It will be just one big massive Grenville orgy, so there is no need to wear that creepy smile of imagination any longer. Welcome to Canada, Nancy. Welcome to Canada...This one's for you and for all those who have been changed by the Eurovision Song Contest in some way or another.


I am aware that I haven't done a proper blog post in a while.
I am also aware that I haven't posted a picture of a badger in an even longer while.

See you on the other side of my mid-term, when I will apologise for using terms like mid-term which sound hideously wrong coming out of my sceptical British mouth. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Sometimes I am walking to class or looking out the window
And I suddenly realise that I am in Canada
I see that other people are Canadian and I am not
I understand that life in England is going on without me,
Even though I am in Canada and England is not.
Then I worry to myself that I am getting dangerously
Close to attaining a soul or a conscience
So I buy a bag of crisps and throw bricks at passers by.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

This is where all the trouble started.

Friday night - when adjectives lead to atrocities. 

The minister's cat is an apologetic cat.
The minister's cat is a blind cat.
The minister's cat is a clumsy cat.
The minister's cat is a drowsy cat.
The minster's cat is an emotional cat.
The minister's cat is a foolish cat.
The minister's cat is a gloomy cat.
The minister's cat is a hideous cat.
The minister's cat is an irrational cat.
The minister's cat is a juvenile cat.
The minister's cat is a kind-hearted cat.
The minister's cat is a lowly cat.
The minister's cat is a moronic cat.
The minister's cat is a nonsensical cat.
The minister's cat is an obscene cat.
The minister's cat is a pensive cat.
The minister's cat is quarrelsome cat.
The minister's cat is a regretful cat.
The minister's cat is a silly cat.
The minister's cat is a troublesome cat.
The minister's cat is a useless cat.
The minister's cat is a violent cat.
The minister's cat is a worrisome cat.
The minister's cat is a xenophobic cat. (The cat is. I'm not.)
The minister's cat is a yucky cat.
The minster's cat is a zonked cat.

Thank God I'm not that cat.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Probably only I care about this...

but I just felt like expressing happiness at the fact flights have been booked and in 99 days Charles will be making like a banana and coming to Canada. Sunday sundae will be everyday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yeah. I know that you wanna be Canadian, please.


I'm getting infrequent with this blog thing. It is probably a sign that I should quit altogether when I feel my thoughts are too boring to write down even fairly occasionally. This isn't to say I'm not enjoying Canada, but apparently it is slowly draining all the creativity out of me. Or maybe it is simply because I spend so much time being sarcastic and abrasive to my fellow man that I don't have enough scathing wit left over to type onto the internet. Furthermore when typing this I accidentally closed the window for my blog which is probably a sign from God that it wasn't meant to be. Well God. If I learned anything in class today it is that mankind spends too much time blaming other people instead of getting down to work. I understand that to call writing on my blog work is a bit farfetched, if anything it is procrastination but the point is still valid. And you know what class I learned that bit of wisdom in? Children's Literature. Studying Holes. I don't think it would be an understatement to say that every time I read Holes I feel my soul develop and grow. The joy is tangible, and the sorrow burned my heart like rattlesnake-venom nail polish when I had finished the final page. I am considering talking to the education board in Exeter (not sure if this exists, but I'll form it if I have to) and insist that Holes becomes mandatory for all Exeter students. I think I'm also reading Harry Potter next term...will remind me of Exeter..and cider...and pizza..and pub quiz..and...and that is about all I can remember about 1st year.

But why try to remember last year anyway when I could talk about the past week or so in Canadia. It has been both a good and bad week. My ambivalent nature stretches as far as the eye can see, which right now is to the corner of the duvet as I wearily hit keys at random and try to remember what has been going on in my life. I could have done without the academic side of life to be frank. I had a presentation in Drama which went..average, but you know..at least it went. I had a French test which was...boff. And I got an essay back to redraft and found out that I've been misusing modifiers like a bitch. I think this is supposed to distress me and make me feel I need to modify my modifiers or go home, but I choose to ignore it. I think if someone can paraphrase a Macbeth speech using the words "pussy ass bitches" that a few misused modifiers can be allowed to slip through the English net. In my most recent Children's Lit class I did have to come out of the cultural closet and acknowledge my Britishness after a long time biting my tongue. I had one of my first experiences of people going into shock in hearing my accent. Yes. I do know the Queen and I was in the front row for the royal wedding. I have been spotted for my accent before. When I was tie-dying a girl told me because I was British I was her new best friend - I never saw her again. I don't mind being picked out as an exchange student. It just feels awkward answering the same questions. They always ask where I'm from and this sends me into a panic as I'm not sure where I am from exactly. They are only being polite so they don't want to hear me fumble for a proper answer - "Erm erm well I'm kinda from England, in Sheffield...in the North...but I don't live there...most of the time. I live in Luxembourg. Sometimes, but I go to university in Exeter. Sometimes. And now I am in Canada for a year." By the time this sentence is done they have usually got half way through setting up a make-shift noose so I usually just plump for "Sheffield." It's an old'un but a good'un. I also feel awkward when they ask me if I like Canada. I mean I do like it, but how would they react if I said 'no. Your country sucks and I'd rather die than have to be here for longer than 8 months." I tend to just say "Yeah. It is really pretty. Very different but pretty." I do have more thoughts than that on Canada, but I think these people want small talk, not a monologue.

A highlight of this week (unless you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan) was the hockey game. I have to say I felt a little more than cool rolling up to the stadium with a Canada hat and senator tattoos dotted about my person. I think the people on the bus liked my attire also because they couldn't help but to stare. They looked at me, and then at each other and giggled as if to say "I want you.", but I had to simply give them a slight bow of my maple hat and turn away while trying to swallow the pain of the fact that we would never be together. The game itself was an emotional thrill ride. The Senators romped (ha) to victory of course. I may never see another game, just so that they keep an 100% win rate in my eyes. There weren't too many proper on the rink tussles, but on the bus the gloves came off and the poorly formulated arguments came out.

Toronto Fan - The Sens suck. Toronto is way better.
Sens Fan - Yeah, well if Ottawa is bad it is only because our men went to war while the Toronto men stayed home.

Sens Fan - I'll support Toronto when they visit sick children in Ottawa hospitals.
Toronto Fan - Your team may visit sick kids, but we've got loads more sick kids in Toronto.

I'm not sure it is scientifically proven yet that having sick children enhances the hockey skills of a particular city, so hopefully Ottawa city council will hold off on poisoning School lunches for the time being. Although, if it does turn out to be so then the Senators will always come first in my eyes and in my heart.

The rest of the weekend was pretty pleasant (my go-to word for Canada). Played some pool down the Fox and Feather (making myself sound all local and like I know what I'm talking about here). Also drank some long island ice tea and dreamt of Amber Rooms. They were still satisfying though. I watched a film with Frog Boy for a while, until he 'went to the bathroom' for half an hour and I was destined to watch alone...even though he had fought tooth and nail to gain control of the television and had been close to having his head smashed through the TV in the process - but karma worked her magic eventually... Nothing much happened that night..just sitting and chatting and an unnecessary glass of apple vodka, but once again..pleasant times were had. Well..it was pleasant probably unless you decided to wrestle your bigger and stronger roomate while in an intoxicated state. Doing this will probably result in a broken ankle. I hate feet and the best of times, but the foot I saw on Frog Boy's leg made my stomach turn a little, but it wasn't his fault (kinda).

I think that is pretty much all that I can remember that has happened around these parts. Oh. I did take a trip down to the Canal with some guys from the floor at 3am. That was an experience. I watched the stars and wrote my name in the frost on the picnic table while they engaged in general Canal activities and played cowboy music (I wish this was a joke). I think my cool points went through the roof. It was a reasonably educational trip, however. I learned that I have both a lesbian crush and Jess and the boy with the Frog and that 'inevitably' we are going to end up having a drunken threesome. Start up the video cameras and lose your inhibitions - it has been foretold. Lies. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All work and no play makes me fairly indifferent.

Well it's Saturday night. The night for fun. The night for drinking. The night where dancing like this:

becomes acceptable, if not recommended. Yet here I am in my room with iPlayer and more M&Ms than sense. Go big or go home I suppose. Before people jump to the conclusion that I am so hated that people would rather stab their eyes out with forks than spend their weekend with me I want to make clear that I did have an invitation to go shake my thing (and/or stand awkwardly in the corner and fake text until my Phone battery died). I nearly went. Very nearly, but then I remembered that going out and drinking isn't half as fun as being bright eyed and bushy tailed for writing an essay on a Sunday afternoon in October. Also, if everyone goes out on the hallway I will have the place myself so I'll be able to coat the hallways with melted chocolate and kittens and roll around nude singing Westlife's greatest hits. Although, if it turns out that people are actually in I might have to scale down the operation and perhaps go watch something in the TV lounge, or buy myself a Fresca from the vending machine if I'm feeling a bit reckless.

I don't mind though. Luckily I spend so much time being whiny and sarcastic about every other element of my life, I tend to find that I don't have enough bitterness in my cold, cold heart to really be that bothered about staying in or going out on the weekend. I was told yesterday that I am a cold person, this should have bothered me, but given that I was being cold for criticising the Hull nightlife, I actually took it as a compliment. Anyway, in the text I was reading today it said that it is best to be nonconformist and that being inconsistent is the best thing if you use your intuition. Yesterday I felt like going Downtown. Today I don't. This basically makes me on par with God. Not to say that everyone who goes out on the weekends will go to Hell, but I mean if one of us is going to be saved in the rapture it is probably going to be me.

Today was good though. I went to Kelsey's with some girls from my floor today. When they invited me to Kelsey's, I did the "Yeah. Sure. I know what Kelsey's is" nod and I think it worked..

This is the Kelsey's logo. I think it is meant to be ironic judging by our 40 minute wait for the table, but I'm not going to sue them for libel...this time. The dinner itself was nice, except for the cramped table and the 10ft long menu which didn't really get along well with one another. Ordering also is still a somewhat terrifying experience. There are so many choices and extras and sides and sauces and and I'm still basically 10 years old so I need things to be simple and preferably done for me. It was educational though. I learned that Canadians pronounce 'parmesan' as 'parmarjarn'. An 's' should never be allowed to make a 'jar' sound, but I suppose nobody every corrected them. I found that in some of my classes too. I gave in a piece of group work and in the work (I wasn't the scribe) the word 'horse' was spelled 'hoarse', the word 'disappear' was spelled 'dissapear' etc. We got 100%. I mean I'm happy with 100%, but I also felt that maybe the prof. should have pulled us aside and said "Come on guys. This is second year English...horse isn't exactly a hard word. It isn't a shit hard word like onomatopoeia." This story was definitely not an excuse for me to show off the fact that I can spell onomatopoeia. However, it isn't a word I get to use very often, so I like to throw it in there while I can. Oops! Just dropped by book and it made a bang (onomatopoeia!).

Alright, enough about onomatopoeia and a little more about another pet peeve I have developed. I say 'pet peeve' at this rate I will be able to open a petting zoo. This wasn't a very funny joke using the word 'pet' which is a shame, especially because it reminded me that I still don't own a kitten despite having thought about kittens at least once a day for the last week or so. But anyway, the pet peeve. It started off with just one of my lecturers doing it, but my American Lit did it for the first time in my last class and it made me feel nervous and afraid.

Notice that I said 'in my last class'. This is acceptable. If I said 'my American Lit did it for the time on last day,' you would probably have to say this is sick, wrong and wholly immoral. If you have class on Wednesday and your next class is on Monday to say "The essay is due for next day" is not an acceptable way of informing the class that the essay is due for the Monday. It is ok though. I fully intend to take it up with the Canadian Prime Minister asap. and his name is .........................................waiting for google to load...........is Stephen Harper. I have noticed that I tend to look condescendingly upon people who don't know everything about Britain, but I still know anything about Canada.

Anyway, I think it's time to get this party started. Reading? iPlayer? TV lounge? The choices are literally three. Have a drink for me, and I'll have a bowl of M&Ms on your behalf.

Oh shit. Just thought about cats again


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Something light.

I have realised that this blog seems to contain a lot of negativity, and I would like to disprove the presumption that the trip to Canada has been one big pile of moose droppings. I also felt it appropriate on a day where not everyone has had the best of days. So here is the epitome of comedy in Canadia. This might be one of the only jokes I have heard since I have been in Canada...well except for ones about how British people were just horrible egoistic rapists, and that homosexuality reduces life expectancy by 20 years - that was a classic...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This week, I've been to Hull and back.

Well now that I still have a hefty portion of work left to do, I figure I should blog more regularly to distract me from the monotony of my everyday life. Nah. Things are ok. Well I started Colonel Chabert today and it is whipping me up into the most violent of comas, but I'll cope. I found an English translation online. Who needs to speak French when you've got google. Either way, after a hard morning of copying up work in neat, vague reading and an hour of Battleship madness I'm continuing my Peep Show marathon. In case you are in Canada and don't know what Peep Show is and you think it sounds like porn..well it is. Porn for the mind.

Anyway, getting back into normal life post Quebec feels pretty strange. I still think I'm on holiday, and probably will for the rest of time. I also missed my first class on Wednesday (whooop). It wasn't my fault though. I let "The Boy with the Frog" take me on an adventure to Kanata, which sounds suspiciously like Canada, but also happened to be 35 bus stops away. He was going to get speakers, whereas I was going to get mildly annoyed and bored. He didn't even get the speakers, so at least I missed class for a good cause. I felt like I'd seem MOST of the Ottawa area. It peaked about 10 minutes in, the other hour or so was fairly mediocre.

I did, however, meet a pretty charming old fellow on the bus. He was pretty old. I'm not very good at judging people's ages, but I'd put him somewhere between mildly confused and coffin dodger. After openly questioning the gender of the flowing haired boy I was with, he questioned my nationality. It was a real eye opener. Having lived my whole life believing I was born and brought up in England, I was promptly told by the Wise Old Man (WOM) that I don't have an English bone in my body (that's what she said?). Part of me was doubtful at WOM's knowledge, but as he had an answer for everything - apparently my British passport was one I just found off the street and happened to match all my details - I had to say that he put up an impenetrable argument and I had to cast of the facade of Britishness which had been plaguing my life since birth, and trapping me in its web of deceit. He didn't tell me where I am actually from....please not Belgium..please not Belgium.

Anyway, that was just one day. One insignificant day, which was just a build up to the glory which was Friday night. What was so great about Friday night?? they cry. I'll tell you what. I swallowed my enormous pride and sold my soul to Hull. For the more or English with you it wasn't the Hull that we know and love. Although in some ways I would have preferred a 10hr journey to Hull, UK as opposed to another night in Quebec, Hull. Last night one boy called going to Hull - "Living the dream". I used to think Canada was very optimistic, but maybe it is merely that they don't aim very high If Hull is the dream, then I'm going to stay awake for the rest of time.

It wasn't the worst place in the world, but standing soberly in a 'club' watching teenage girls bent over on all fours rubbing against guys' crotches made spending the night in the deprived slums of India seem fairly desirable. I didn't really get to meet too many of the guys there, which was a shame because I was hoping to throw around some ideas about the rise and fall of communism. It seemed like their kind of scene. One guy had a good stroke of my arm when I was waiting for the bathroom, but after I informed him that I was not a cat he unfortunately left. There was another guy who poured his drink down the back of my top. He tried desperately to apologise to me, but I refused, so instead of apologising as a mark of forgiveness he decided to grind on over to the girl next to me. I hear wedding bells. Jess got dragged off a few times against her will. It was reminiscent of the part in the 1st Harry Potter where they get caught up in the plant thing and are trying to drag themselves out. I wrestled one of the guys for Jess. I won. Thank god I spend all my free time pumping iron.

At least I had my friends to keep my spirits high. Oh wait. "The Boy with the Frog" decided in a drunken stupor that it would be a good idea to headbutt me in the head. It wasn't. As everyone knows I am a pretty tolerant person. I'm happy go lucky and I take everything with a pinch of salt...unless it is someone's head smacking against mine. When I first asked him why he headbutt me (using more fucking expletives) he told me it was because if he didn't headbutt me in the head then it wouldn't have been a proper headbutt. This wasn't quite the answer I was looking for. But after about 18 hours and quite a lot more expletives I told him that everything was fine and dandy. For now. It's ok. He may have a head of steel but I have my lightening fast wit, so he will get an emotional bollocking until I decide that he has served his sentence.

So yes. That was my first (and possibly last?) Hull.

Here is one of the definitions of Hull given by freedictionary.com

b. The enlarged calyx of a fruit, such as a strawberry, that is usually green and easily detached.

Hull is certainly the calyx to the glorious strawberry that is Canada, and a calyx that will be easily removed from my life - permanently.

All my love and more,
Katharine x

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just a quick thought I had today...

Today I was so British it hurt.
I was down reading by Parliament which is where I read regularly, and then I thought to myself "I'm starting to feel a certain ownership over this place."
Note to self - Must stop trying to colonise the shit out of everything.

More wise words to come over the weekend. Prepare thyself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Elephant(s) in the Room.

Fists down. Fists down. Let's begin.

Well hello there again world. It has been a while since anything of any substance has appeared. As you have probably already guessed my social calendar has been entirely booked up and I've barely had a chance to breathe inbetween my high society luncheons and my evening prayer meetings. Lies. I've had work. Veritable work. It has been grim, but I have finally finished the 400 page extravaganza which is the Last of the Mohicans. I started it a month ago. Excellent. And to think all it took was a 6hr bus ride and a bench by the river. Yeah. I wrote these thoughts in Quebec (later to be transcribed for the internet world to marvel at). Waiting for the bus back to Ottawa listening to the sweet melodies of Shania Twain. his is Canada at its best. I know everyone (all 3 of you who read this) will want the juicy details about this trip, but you will have to wait a day or two until I have invented said juicy details I also need to stop saying juicy as it is making me feel nauseous - even more nauseous than I already feel from just eating what was claiming to be a sandwich, but tasted like seasoned shit. To be fair I'm probably just suffering from withdrawal symptoms of not having had pizza for the grand total of 4 days. For those who wish to send me congratulations cards, please find my address on my Facebook page. If I don't have you on facebook...what are you doing here? How can any of this be interesting for you??? Why won't you tell me your name so that we don't have to hide our true feelings from one another any longer.

Anyway, let us rewind and revisit times prior to these. Ready? Are you on the chill level? If you are...please tell me what the chill level is. The past few weeks have been a mixture of being on the chill level and of being so unchilled that I was convinced my blood had turned to lava (it can happen...probably).

Many things have happened, as far as I can remember, but most pretty unexciting. I did my first test - in pencil??!, I laughed out loud at a book before scolding myself thoroughly for my plebbish behaviours. But I think the highlight so far was the toga party.

Reader: What toga party, fair Katharine?
Fair Katharine: I have literally no idea.

This was going to be it. This was the party that was going to show the world who we are (3rd grenville for the less knowledgeable of you). It was going to be the party that would put us on the map. On this surface this seemed to be a pretty reasonable assumption, but due to a mix up in the organisation the only map we were able to get hold of was a map of Belgium..and not even a good map.

To be honest, given that people here get documented for walking 2 metres to someone elses room with an open can of beer, a 4 room party extravaganza was never going to be that likely. Yes. You heard me England. If you work in the hall with an open drink enough times you can technically get deported. It would make for a fairly tame episode of Border Patrol UK. Part of me wants to though. Just so I can stand next to the drug dealers and tiger smugglers (thats a thing right?) and me with a personal sized bottle of wine.

But, ANYWAY, the party. I think it took less than an hour and half before security rolled up with their notepad of doom. Beer pong room was the 1st to go, later followed by Mingle Room 2 (gone, but not forgotten), and all that remained was Mingle Room 1 and the walkway. Of the 3 minutes I spent at the party (Hey. You can't say I didn't try. That 3 minutes felt like a long time). the walkway was probably the highlight for me. My experience of the Mingle Room was standing awkwardly, togaless of course, in some unknown liquid, as strangers were happily a grinding. I think all the people I was with (yeah..I got people...But don't tell them I said that) were pretty content to make like snooker players and take our cue to leave.

To be fair the night wasn't that bad. In many ways the toga party brought people closer together, as they ventured to stay away from the toga party. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows though. The main reason being that the party occurred during the nighttime, and sunshine and rainbows are both very uncommon during the night...unless you are in Norway. The second reason was that I have come to realise the sad thing that seems to unite all the nations of the world is that no matter where you are, people seem to think that "fat" is synonymous with "deaf". I would now like to forever put this myth to rest. This shebang is the rather clever reasoning behind the title of this blogpost - feel free to chuckle. Jess also took a few verbal bullets, but "The Elephant and the Bitch in the room" doesn't really roll off the tongue so well, but it's ok dear Jessica. I'l always remember that you are a bitch :) The whole affair did call a certain degree of tension, although you could say that this element of feud has made us closer to a real family than ever.

Anyway,  as the party that is today comes to a close I think it is time to wrap this bitch up. Don't fear. My next post shall be of jovial Quebec things. I even got to see a whale..and NO! I did not just look in the mirror.

A bientot chez theyearirodepolarbears.blogspot.com. Tell your friends..that they aren't welcome.

Nacht x

If I haven't posted anything by tomorrow....

Everyone who sees me can punch me in the face. Once. Bare fist. No knuckle dusters.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ate some frosties yesterday (yes. this is fascinating stuff)

They tasted fine.
They tasted fine.
Although they would probably appear more exciting after drinking a bottle of wine,
Or a litre of brine
Or standing on a mine
Or stealing a road sign
Or watching a cat playing with twine.

You get the gist.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The World has definitely gone to pot.

Let me paint a sexy picture. 6.50am. I think I've slept about two hours in total. Every inch of my face feels blocked up by word that sickens me even to say (Clue - It rhymes with shleghm). I have tossed and turned so much that my sheets have come off and instead of putting them back on, as I feel too exhausted, I am inside my duvet cover. I try to head towards the bathroom in my strange duvet outfit. Walking quickly becomes an issue as I walk like some bumbling, grey oaf of a starfish. Why not just take it off? I bloody don't want to ok?! It gives me a sense of worth. However, I did get it stuck under the door to the bathroom a few times and have to wrestle it out like a crazy mad woman in a duvet dress...which is not what I am. I am a crazy SICK mad woman in a duvet dress. Also I would like to clarify that duvet dress did not enter the toilet itself. At the toilet cubicle door (Yes. Cubicle. It is like being at school. Actually we are at what the North American's called school, but lets not even go there because I might get onto the whole yoghurt/yeaughurt thing and it is much to early in the morning to bring that level of anger to the surface.) Anyway, I ambled (at best) back to my bed with a fresh roll of toilet paper in hand as I am too stingy to buy actual tissues (or at least I was) and started to go to town on it. Once satisfied that I was the most hideous human being on the planet at this moment time I decided to check my laptop to see if anyone loved me. A foolish idea, I know. I struggled my way through the new facebook for a while but was incapable of using it because I like the simple things in life, like rivers and trigonometry. Anyway, after having failed at seeing what people I'm not even that interested in in real life of I would just contact them directly were up to at that moment in time, I decided to throw in the towel and check my e-mail. I was happy to see that I had four new emails, although I was less happy to read that the first three were sent from StumbleUpon, Paypal and Pizza Express. Mainly because I can't go to pizza express for 9 months and I've been having trouble accepting that already without it being rubbed all over my word that rhymes with shleghmy face. Although, there was one email from BUTEX secretariat - Butex being the transatlantic scholarship thingamabob (my sensational descriptive skills are going to make the next part of what I say almost impossible to believe). I have to say I didn't even remember what BUTEX was initially, but I thought I'd give it a read, even though they had failed to spell my name correctly. Apparently being called Katharine and not Katherine seems to send people into a mad frenzy where they feel it immoral to spell it the way God (or my parents) intended it to be.

Given my quality of life at the moment I was remarkably surprised to find this babe of an email:

Although in real life they didn't send it in quite such blurry quality...
So anyway yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! My week has turned around at the final hurdle. I even got an unprovoked email from Anne Worth asking about how my time is here and asking me to upload pictures and details to the Exeter study abroad flickr page. I don't think I'll be telling her about this blog any time soon though.....
The only part (or two parts that make me sad) is that a) I have to send them a picture of myself loving life on my year abroad. If you know me (and I bloody hope you do, otherwise I LITERALLY have no idea what you are doing here), you would know that I hate having my photograph taken. Furthermore I am terribly British, and I feel that any love I have for life should be suitably oppressed under a façade of scathing and witticisms. At some point I'm going to down some vodka shots and hand Jess the camera. I might wait til winter when the snow will go up to my ears anyway and I will be unrecognisable.
b) I don't even remember what I wrote, and I hate reading my own writing so much that I fear I will never know as I am not man enough to hit the open button on my application.

I remember the gist of it I think. I think it was something about comparing the process of the study abroad to packing a suitcase. James Joyce, eat your heart out! It doesn't take made up words and incomprehensible jargon to make great writing - all it takes is a bit of extended metaphor.

Also, you may ask why I went through the laborious process of scene setting and lamenting my illness. Well. I wanted to make sure everyone knows that I am suffering, because I am selfish and self-obsessed. If you don't like it...I'll be blogging about you next. Bitches.

Anyway, as it's rolling up to 7.40am and I have done no reading for today's class I think it's time I watched the Christmas episode of Outnumbered.

Will write again after the weekend once I become a tie-dye sensation...or if anything worth writing about happens in the near future. But what are the chances of anything like that happenAHHHHHHHHH! OH MY GOD! ALIENS ARE ATTACKING!