Friday, March 2, 2012

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

According to google stats over 100 people have viewed my blog today. Not posting anything has really seemed to have done wonders for my blog's statistics. I don't really care too much how many people read this stuff anyway. It is more for me so that I have a means of reminding myself of my year abroad, although most of what I post is exaggerated and unfair but that's me in a nutshell so potatah.

Speaking of my year abroad I recently received an email from the scholarship people saying that I still haven't sent them a picture and a statement about the joys of doing a year abroad. I keep meaning to do it but I'm discovering it more challenging than I at first expected. I am having a nice year, but it is in my nature to find it difficult to be overly enthused about anything. I'm not an unhappy person, but I do tend to look at things with a somewhat critical eye. I despised writing my personal statement. My original draft read something like this: "I would like to study English Literature at university because I think I will enjoy it and that I am good at English. There will probably be lots of other people who are good at English too, but I will try my hardest even though I might not be best. I'll understand though if you don't accept me because I'm sure the other applicants are very talented. Looking forward to reading your letter of refusal in the near future. Kate" This isn't what I submitted, but I feel I have lived up to what I wrote. Oh well. Worst comes to worst I'll just eat a bag of sugar and spew some crap about how studying abroad has helped me not only find out more about other cultures, but has helped me find out more about myself. Then I'll just roll around in the money they gave me....oh wait...no. I spent it all on zoos and chocolate oranges.

Yes. It has been a busy time - hence my absence from the world of blog. Well that is a bit of a lie. I have had plenty of time to write as my body seems incapable of sleeping before 2am and my mind seems incapable of doing any work past 9pm but somehow I have still managed to convince myself that I don't have time to write anything on here. As the introduction to my Children's Literature essay currently stands at six words..which probably need changing..and is refusing to write itself I figured it was about time to write on here.

The first half of this term went in the blink of an eye and even though I feel like I was working an awful lot of the time..right now I feel I have nothing to show for it apart from decent grades. Life is hard. It does feel a lot harder to fit things in (that's what she said) this term though as I have had to bid adieu to my Thursday free day and I am taking 1 more class than I did last term. One class is 3 hours a week, but it feels like a little bit of my soul has died. Here is a brief run down of this terms selection:

Children's Literature : We read The Silver Chair from the Narnia series so I feel pretty content at this point. The essay will most likely be fluffed but at least I've got denial. A couple of things have irritated me in this class...I know I know..me being irritated. How refreshing.
1. Group work. I don't mind it that much..apart from the fact that I have to come out of the English closet and watch people try to work out if they should react to my swoon worthy accent. Lies. But in the most recent group work where we had to answer questions from the book I was in a group of googlers. They thought I was the crazy one for having read the book. I thought if I heard the word "audiobook" one more time I was going to put a gun to my head. Towards the beginning of the year I had wondered why nobody seemed as stressed as I did about the workload. Apparently I was the only one foolish enough to do it. But now I feel my subconscious has been tainted as it has forbade me to get any work done and has turned me into a zombie. Excellent
2. Harry Potter - Studying this book was fine, but I had a few issues with my prof. who was talking about how British children react to the reading of the book. There were a couple of points where I was raising my eyebrows, but I think my eyebrow went highest when she said that we associate Harry with Prince Harry. No. When I was 11 I associated wizards with wizards. 11 year olds are not avidly looking for subtexts on the monarchy and criticisms of the class systems. There are frogs made out of chocolate that move!

Renaissance - The definition of a curveball class. Got in there expecting to be greeted by Shakespeare, but instead I was bombarded with the likes of Strapparola, Basile et D'Aulnoy. I bet you are sitting there going "Ah all the classics"..because I think that is what our professor expected. Alas no. I am no expert on 17th Century Folklorists and I fear I never will. I enjoy my degree, but sometimes when we are debating the moral implications of a Tuna fish impregnating a Princess I do have to slightly question it. I think if my professor wasn't as...unique...as he is I would have been whipped up into a coma by this point. I can't tell you anything about Folklore but I can tell you that my prof.
1. Likes spunky girls.
2. Doesn't agree with beating children...but a slight tap lets them know who is boss.
It's enlightening.

French Literature - Attendance is at an all time low. Last class there was maybe 15 people out of 45 left at the end...but really if you are going to assign a text where the protagonist is questioning the character of a bottle , you have to expect it really. Dommage.

American Literature II - It isn't colonisation or slave narratives. That's all I need in a course.

Drama - I got an A plus in it last term. I realise this won't happen this term as I have fallen into an academic ditch, but hopefully it will still bump up my marks a little bit before the inevitable failure that shall be my dissertation next year.

Next year seems ridiculously soon I might add. Picking modules for Exeter next year is really reminding me how soon this year abroad is going to end. It is kind of weird, but mostly I am looking forward to having baths and double beds on demand. I think I'm too old and decrepit for university accommodation these days.

I did have a brief flirtation with double beds and  (Whirlpool!)baths over reading week though and it was amazing. I should probably also mention that I was sharing them with Charles, but nobody really wants to read all the love stuff. What people want to read about is penguins.  

After showing Charles bulk barn  the sights of Ottawa we took a trip to New York via Montreal. Montreal was nice. It felt a lot more European than Ottawa and I kind of liked that. It was a touch of home with a beaver or two thrown in for good measure. On the second day we went to the biodome for said beavers, as apparently beavers don't just roam the streets as I had first thought. I have to say they changed my life. It also made me think that the Eden Project needs to get together. I mean the Eden Project is ok but I couldn't help but think that maybe a monkey or two might spruce the place up a bit and then maybe people's favourite attraction wouldn't be the emergency cold room in the rainforest dome. Montreal Biodome on the other hand had everything a 20 year old girl needed to forget education for a while - beavers, penguins and a MEAT spaghetti bolognese (yeah...I'm looking at you again Eden Project. Meat isn't THAT bad).

We then left my our luxury bathtub behind and hit up New York after a 9 hour bus ride including an hour stop at Albany bus station where we stared dreamily into each other's eyes over an array of chicken strips and reece's peanut butter cups. Part of me wished we could stay there forever. A much larger part of me thought it was uninspiring and so we decided not to leave our possessions on the bus and make a life for ourselves in the bus station and we continued to New York. Our hostel was nice..not perfect..but nice. The room smelled somewhat like rotting carcass, but it had a fully equipped kitchen so....swings and roundabouts I suppose. New York was really good. As we'd both been there before we didn't feel so obliged to stick to an itinerary so it was pleasant to be able to walk around and take things in. Although the giant screen showing the american flag in LED lights was a bit much and made me feel a little nauseous. A trip to M&Ms world sorted that out though. We did do nice things there though : we went to a restaurant where the waiters sang show tunes as they served you, we went to Central Park zoo and I fell in love with Red Pandas, we went to the Museum of Modern art where there was an exhibit which was simply a room full of sweets and we went to see Porgy and Bess where I found myself sitting next to an odious woman who complained the whole time and failed to deliver when she said she was going to go home at the interval.

If you want to see more of my wild adventure....or if you need a reason to procrastinate here is it in video...although it is mainly animals, but animals are far superior to humans so it's all good. Also I had a fairly limited choice of music as I only have about 4 songs on my computer...if you are wondering why these are the songs on my computer then I have no idea why you would think I had better taste than this. I have filled my room with owls and children's toys - I have no shame.

Anyway, that is my life thus far in term one. I feel like there must have been some more events that happened, but they have been pushed the back of my subconscious not be found until the time is right.

It is nearly 9pm so it is time for 40 more minutes of procrastination before I can finally declare this weekend begun. Library floor 3 - I'm coming for you.

Gus says goodbye. 

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