Friday, January 20, 2012

Poor Canada

Just something I came across on my night time stroll through the land of internet -

Unlucky :/

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Tonight I am craving a bath like a beast so in honour of that here is my favourite bath related song.

Night night. 

The End is Nigh.

I usually write about things that have already happened, but today I am looking toward the future. Not in a sentimental overdramatic I need to change my life and become the person I've always wanted to be kind of way. I know what I want to do in my future I want to eat bourbon biscuits and hang out with a host of kittens and owlets. Done. 

Today I booked my flight back to England. It felt a little weird. It is strange to have a definite ending point to this year, but this is why I decided to book at this point so that everybody would have a chance to accept that they can't keep me forever and hopefully over the next 3 months they can learn how to lose me without losing themselves.

Yes. In  96 days, 20 hours, 1 minute and 59 seconds I will be taking off from the city off Ottawa and taking the long perilous journey to.....

Yeah. I can't afford to fly directly from Ottawa to London. I can't spend over 700 pounds for that. People are clearly willing to pay good money to get away from Ottawa though. Poor Ottawa. 
After a little bit of a false start and 3 hours more of enjoying the Canadian dream I will finally be saying goodbye to the chipmunks, black squirrels and a host of my possessions - if you want the full set of 5 anthologies of American Literature then you should inform me asap. because those babes are in high demand. 

So then in 2328 hours I will be boarding Icelandair flight 1602 as the people of Canada take to the streets and weep in unison for me and the government commission a statue of me to be carved out of maple candy. Then finally I will leave the flight and step out into the beautiful city of....

... Reykjavik. I will thoroughly enjoy mapping my journey on my Owl globe which is partially responsible for robbing me of my money and insisting that I take the last convenient route for someone who doesn't like flying. Thanks owls. Thanks a lot. 

All that hodgepodging aside, in a mere 140,266 minutes I will be touching down at London Heathrow where I will be greeted by Prince William and Kate Middleton who will whisk me off to Buckingham Palace for a spot of tea with the Queen before I go off to shoot pheasants and foxes on my family's estate. Or if that fails I will probably just drag my 2 cases to the train in a state of exhaustion probably resembling the lame dog from family guy, 

 and then amble on down to the town where dreams are made - Chatham

8,414,418 seconds to go England. Set your countdowns running now. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Canadian Theory Of Relativity

In all my hours of procrastination I have had a lot of time to think about differences in life in the UK and Canada and here is a summary of the unimportant musings which keep me awake at night - also my new neighbour occasionally keeps me awake...where art thou Simon?

 - When I'm in the UK I consider Sheffield and London I would say they weren't close to one another, even though I could get the train to London in just over two hours. When I'm in Canadia I can get a bus to Toronto in 5 hours, or even New York in 9 hours and I would call them both 'close'. Conclusion - Canada is really big.

- When I was at Exeter I could happily get up out of bed at 7.30 and be spritely for 4 hours of pure seminar action. At Carleton the earliest I have class is at 11.35 and everytime I have to get up for that class I feel as if I am getting up at 4am and I feel my heart and soul fade to grey. Conclusion - Canada makes me lethargic.

- When at home I'd say anything under zero degrees is pretty chilly. In Canada when it was -7 I would say it is a mild day. MILD?!?? Mild for penguins perhaps. Although I do walk like a penguin in the snow though. This is one of the benefits of spending a lot of time with me, myself and I. I can walk like any animal I choose and I'll never judge me for it. Conclusion - Canada is really cold.

- In Exeter when I had a bag of pasta and a jar of Dolmio in the cupboard I felt that I was dining like a king. At Carleton when the food selection for the day is Stir Fry, Sandwiches, Pasta, Donairs, Salad, Chicken, Pizza, Mac and Cheese and Omlettes I feel that there isn't anything to eat. Conclusion - I am a self-crowned Princess of Canada.

- In Exeter one book a week felt like an immense effort - an effort which was often neglected and replaced by quiz shows. At Carleton a book a week would feel like a holiday. 2 books, 2 short texts and an essay would feel like the 'norm'. Conclusion - Give me my freedom back Canada. This isn't a conclusion I know, but I've met plenty of people here who don't know the meaning of words that they should so let's just say that I'm trying to fit in. 

In Exeter: 

In Canada:

Conclusion - All the flaws I see in Canadian lifestyle and education are made up for by a slightly different type of squirrel. 

Anyway, these are the conclusions I have drawn as of late and these have nothing to do with the fact that I am actively avoiding reading Huckleberry Finn. 

24 days until Charles comes to Canada. Conclusion - I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who cares about this and I am more likely to be berated for this public display of happiness than for someone to tell me that this is good news. I guess that is the only downside of people thinking you are a heartless bitch - you have to be consistent.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


As promised I am going to cast of the leaden burden of chronology and write posts as memories spring to my mind as I fear otherwise I may lose them again, and frankly I think the world has a right to know the majority of my thoughts.

Soon I shall share with you details of my Greyhound experience, but before the main event I would like to take a moment to talk about English students. I have only been back in classes for 6 days, but it hasn't been much of a start I have to say. I already have novels coming out of my eyeballs and more essays than limbs to write. The brief for my renaissance class is pretty detailed though, so I'm sure it'll be no problem to write : "12-14 page essay or two 6-7 essays on "a theme". You know the drill."
I am afraid I don't know the drill too well. Especially when the class seems not to be about theme at all but about how different stories have travelled Asia and Europe and become the fairy tales we know and love today. Interesting for 5 minutes, but 3 months might be pushing a bit.

Anyway, yes. English students. I first started thinking about them when on the plane from Fort Lauderdale to Ottawa. Someone on the plane was pretty sick apparently so they did the call over the speakers "If there is a doctor/paramedic on board can you please push your call button." As 3 or 4 hands dinged their buttons, I felt an immense sense of jealousy. I should probably have felt more concerned for the person who may have been in some kind of life threatening situation, but after 8 hours in Fort Lauderdale airport I wasn't feeling too much love for my fellow man. Anyway, it depressed me that as an English student, and after having graduated as an English student that I will never be called up to serve my duty for my useful skills.
"Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, there are terrorists on board and they will only agree to save us if someone is able to identify the meter of this poem."

It took me a while to come to terms with this, but in the end I did. I realise that to many my degree may seem a little useless, but I enjoy what it offers while realising that it is unlikely to save any lives. Some people in my classes seem to not have come to this realisation yet. They put their hands up to answer and sigh as if they are doing everyone a service by giving their view on the symbolism of the piece of fluff in chapter 27. Of course people should be allowed to answer questions, but what is the point in being arrogant about subjective matters? It is lovely that you think that the fluff represents the incestuous desires of hermit crabs, but there is no need to roll your eyes as you wait for us to realise your genius and fall down at your knees and beg to here more of your endless genius. Stop it. Start your sentence with 'I think' and not 'Well obviously'. The law is that if you start a sentence with 'Well obviously..' you are going to make a fool of yourself, and you shouldn't break the law.

Anyway, that was just a little side-note. I wrote to talk a little bit about the glitzy,glamorous world of the Greyhound bus. For the most part they have been pretty reasonable and the Ottawa bus station has free-wifi and disgusting overpriced sandwiches which are vile, but at least consistently so.
During the Christmas Break I also got to experience Toronto bus station. While I was looking forward to seeing the city itself, I think it would be an understatement to say this was the part of my trip that I was looking forward to the most.
In my various trips there - yeah I went there a couple of times, but you really need a good few visits to really get the full experience. One of the highlights was a family of Amish people who were there. I assume there were a family, otherwise there were just 6 women who had all turned up in navy blue milk-maid dresses - cringe!

Anyway, they were just the tip of the iceberg of colourful characters hanging around Toronto bus station. A highlight was a man who had missed his bus to Ottawa as it had left 5 minutes before it was supposed to as the clocks in the terminal were displaying the wrong the time. He was pretty angry, which is understandable, but it was the Canadian nature of his anger that impressed me. In England it would have been "fuck", "shit", "wankers" and many more expletives, but this man:
"This is a real nuisance."
"I'm not very happy at all with you guys."
It happened over the course of quite a few minutes, and he did it all in the accent of my favourite animated moose:
This accent is pretty much what I came to Canada for so I am fairly content.

Another fellow we met was a homeless man. With a swollen eye and a heart full of cheer. He came around asking for change so that he could buy a ticket. We gave him a few bits of change and expected him to be on his merry way, but despite his poor living conditions he was still a man of perception with an appetite for intrigue. He recognised our accents as English and told us that he was hoping to pass by London on his way to Amsterdam. Judging by the 68 cents he held in his hand, I felt that this trip wasn't going to be occurring any time soon. He did let us in on some top-secret information though, as he had it on good authority that the Queen, yes the Queen, had said that she thought "London should give marijuana coffee shops a go." I have to admit that while in Miami that I missed the Queen's speech, but I'm pretty sure the necessity of getting more drugs into the capital city wasn't too high on her to do list this year. But he was another Canadian that I admired for his sheer spirit and alcohol fuelled delusion.

I was less appreciative of the woman on the bus itself. Who, having arrived late, spent 90% of the journey complaining about having not got a very good seat on the bus.
"We got the sardine seats."
"We're in this together guys at the back."
"They should give us discounted seats."
No. No they shouldn't. If you want a better seat, you should arrive at the designated time.
I wanted to rip her ticket out of her hand and go give it to the homeless man. He may have been slightly scary and bloodshot in the eyes, but at least he had the cheerful attitude that only hope and alcohol fuelled delusion can bring.

Anyways. This is all irrelevant to everybody else, but most people don't really care too much about what other people are thinking or doing. When you attentively listen to someone else's long story, you are probably just waiting for that moment where you vaguely relate so that you can subtly turn the conversation around to something you feel like talking about. But you know, at least I gave you guys some to procrastinate over?

And in one month today (baaaa) Charles comes to Canada so you will get another well deserved break from the ramblings of a globe-trotting recluse.

Katharine. x

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Since posting this I checked the audience and saw that someone in the Ukraine has started reading this. Here is my tribute to you

Honey, I'm home.

Well hello there blogspot you old devil. It has been a while. I am sure my regular Russian readers have been tearing at their ushankas in desperation to read of my life again. It is ok though. I am back. You can pull the fork out the toaster, put the noose back on the night-stand and settle on down to read more about my wild, crazy lifestyle. Since my last post there has been a strange turn of events. For the last few weeks I have been genuinely busy..and not that kind of busy you say that you are to excuse yourself from doing your work or talking to that person who that you are kind of friends with but not so much that you actually want to spend more than five minutes with at one time. Over the next few weeks I will probably be posting spontaneous blogposts with not a care in the world for chronological documentation as I begin to remember the things that have occurred in the last few weeks.  Prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime.

Since school ended I have been to Toronto, Niagara Falls and Miami, but I know nobody really wants to hear about of that mundane business so I thought that first I would tell you about my first experience of finals at Canada. The word 'Finals' sounded fairly ominous and I have to say I was a little fearful of them at first. I had clearly forgotten that I was in Canada. We were told to arrive at least half an hour before the exam. Foolishly I thought that this would mean that the prof would also be arriving half an hour before the exam, but apparently that was a foolish assumption as my teacher rolled on in with about 5 minutes to spare. How I laughed? The wait wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have to listen to other people from my class around me. One woman (and I mean woman. She like 40) was stressing loudly and the man (again. He like 40) said to her "Why are you worrying. You know you'll do well." Her response "Well yeah  of course I know I'll do well." I'm sure it isn't the same for all mature students, but most of the ones I have experienced here seem to think they run the place. They don't. I do. If you think you know it all already then why bother?

Anyway, after I crawled out of the pit of disdain which had formed around me I shimmied on into the exam. The exam itself was pretty much ok. I got an A- and I didn't feel like I overstretched myself in terms of revision. In my exam(s) I did find myself getting pretty distressed though. Both my exams were 3 hours long - in my American Lit I had 2 essays and 5 text identifications and in my French exam I had 2 essays. In American Lit I was happily writing along and about half way through my 1st essay when someone headed on up to the front with their exam sheet. At first I thought they were just heading of for some mid-exam urination fun, but no. They...they were finished. I looked down at my half done essay and thought HOW?!? How the actual fuck?! I grew more confused as afterwards lots of people started to leave and I was still working on the introduction for my second essay. I managed to deal with it in my American lit exam, but in my French exam (WHICH WAS AT 7-10pm - probably causing my irrational reaction) people started to leave when I was 2/3 through my 1st essay I started to tear up a little. It was one of the first experiences where I really didn't feel like I belonged in this country. Either Canadians are the fastest writers known to man, or they are morons. Or they are moronic robots. Either way, it was surreal. In Exeter people were writing up until the last second where they said pens down and faces turned pale as they left their unfinished sentences looked up at them mockingly. Here, if you are there are the end of the exam it is just you, the professor and a couple of balls of tumbleweed. 

Luckily after that the ordeal was over and I could finally indulge in exciting activities like crisp shopping and hoovering the floor. Which meant having the regular discussion "Hoover vs Vacuum Cleaner" which is always a delight. That is one good thing about being British. If you aren't really in the mood for having an actual thoughtful conversation you can just roll out the British English vs North American English routine and you are set for hours. 

After all the exciting stuff was done I decided that I needed some downtime so I hit the road and headed over to Toronto to meet the sister. Toronto was nice and our hostel was nice on the inside. I was a bit concerned as I headed down the street to find it as the buildings that weren't kebab and pita places were all mental hospitals or mental research centres. I also met many people on the street who looked like they were probably one a day out from said places. A particular favourite was a man in a park who was just grooving on down to the sound of nature for 5 minutes straight. We were kindred spirits. 

I lived the life of luxury those few days. I ate breakfast in the mornings, woke up before midday and slept in a double bed. It was immense. It is kind of depressing how excited I was to sleep in a double bed, especially since a double bed is wasted on me anyway. I just curl up in the corner anyway like the foetus I wish I still was. 

We did occasionally treat ourselves and leave the hostel. We walked around Toronto and saw the sights. We went up the CN tower which was pretty viewy. We also went on the simulator ride though called the 'Himalamazon' ride where we followed the journey of a super tree log through forests, caves and crocodile infested waters. Needless to say it was the ride of my life. Although, I couldn't quite figure out what this ride was doing at the CN tower, but you know I escaped the simulated crocodiles with all my limbs in tact so I shouldn't complain too much. We also went to Niagara Falls which was nice, if not a little bit closed. The waterfall is definitely by far the nicest bit. Actually...it is the only nice bit. We arrived at the bus station and the majority of the windows were smashed up and the buildings around it were pretty desolate. Also, as I sit here typing staring at my Canada Maple leaf hat and wearing a t-shirt with my study groups slogan from last year on it, I have to say that Niagara Falls is a bit too tacky. I understand that they need to tourist it up a bit, but I don't understand why anybody would go to Niagara Falls look at the waterfall go "wow. This is beautiful and unlike anything I've ever seen before...the only thing that could top this day of would be to go the Waxwork museum of Rock music." We weren't so touristy and uncultured to do such things, so instead we took the mature route and played glow in the dark galaxy themed mini-golf - the way God intended it to be. 

Anyway, I think I've whipped you folks up into a coma for long enough for one night so I shall save the  return to Ottawa and the great Floridian oven disaster of 2011 for another night. No. Really. No more tonight children. You must get off to bed. 

Ok. Fine. Here is a little hint of what is to come: 

Welcome to 2012. 

Katharine C. Stewart.