Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The End! The end...

Situation: The summer is coming to an end. In less than two weeks I will be back in Canada, back in New Brunswick. I will be leaving my 6 roommates, 14 other coworkers and France.

While I am looking forward to a lot of things about home and Canada, there are a lot of things that I am going to miss about being here, and being with most of the people I live, work, travel and do everything else with.

My last weeks here will be spent between France and Spain. I am making my way south to Ibiza for a week. Beaches, bars and clubs! It should be an interesting week. I am heading down with my friend Jesse, he has a studio apartment in Ibiza for a while. Couch surfing!

Once I am back in Canada it looks like it is going to be a bit of a tight schedule. I get back to my parent's house on the 29th of August, and from there I am spending a few nights at the Cottage with a friend or two. Then I have to make my way back to the city to get things together for Sackville, which will amount to a day or two of shopping and stealing groceries from my parents. Gotta love grocery shopping à la student.

Well I guess this is the last update until school starts! To those making their way to Campus for the first time, safe travels! To everyone else.... good luck, I'll see you on the first day of classes!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

History in-Context

I have one of the best jobs a student can have. Honestly, I live and work in France with 14 other Canadian students, could it get much better? I love my job and most mornings I look forward to driving up to the 34 meter structure that is Canada's National Historic Site in France- granted there are always mornings when I want to sleep in, but that is just because I enjoy my sleep as well!

It may sound bizarre, but while it is one of the best jobs around, it is a job that makes you want to cry almost everyday. I work on and around the battle fields of the First World War and everyday people come with stories of their grandparents, their great-grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, other friends and family members- and some come with the stories of people with whom they have no relation to. These people put a face to the history that we talk about everyday, to the names of the people whose stories we use to put history into context...they give us, as guides, the context within which these stories exist today.

I met a woman on the Canadian monument at Vimy Ridge last week. She was from Newfoundland and her grandfather had been a part of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, he fought at the Battle of the Somme and was one of the few Newfoundlanders to make it home.
She was the first one of her family to come to the Canadian Memorial, as well as the Newfoundland Memorial.

When she walked into the interpretation centre at the Newfoundland Memorial, she saw her grandfather's name listed around the centre as one of the first men to enlist as a member of the Newfoundland Regiment. She didn't know much about her grandfather's past, he didn't like to talk about his time in France. She was the first member of her family to come over to France, and see the memorials since they had been constructed. She was in tears about this, because if she hadn't come- if she had not stopped to see the interpretation centre and the monuments, no one in her family would have ever known that their grandfather and his efforts during the First World War were recognized and commemorate beyond their own community. While he passed years ago, she was telling me, he couldn't have known his name was listed throughout the Newfoundland Memorial site as no one from their family had been back to France since the war and a story like that would certainly have made its way through the family at some point.

The thought, that for years and years no one knew, neither he nor his family, that he was commemorated and recognized in some way...

Like I said, I have an amazing job, but nonetheless it is one that really humanizes what happened here.

Below an image of the gravesite where the soldier who rests in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa was taken from. There are 11, 285 names listed on the Vimy Memorial, representing those who fell in France with no known resting grave. On the Menin Gate there are 6, 940 Canadian names inscribed, commemorating those who fell in Belgium with no known resting grave.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Things that will be missed when I return to Canada:

Cheap Wine
Wine here is so cheap here! It is going to be hard to go back to paying $20 for a bad bottle of wine, compared to $2 for a great bottle of wine.

Kebab- every 5 feet in a city anywhere in Europe.
It is the European solution to fast food and a good meal after too much of the above product.

Miniature cars...like Kebab, they are everywhere.

So with a bit more than a month left at Vimy Ridge, I am trying to appreciate Europe to the fullest extent. I am planning on traveling a bit to the Netherlands to visit with a few friends there, to Germany to see other friends and to tour around Berlin and Munich a bit and if I have time I would love to make it to Switzerland. Thoughts, suggestions and reco's are always welcome! Leave them below in the comments!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

London or Paris?

If Paris and London were both an option on your list of places to live... how would you decide? Where would you end up?

Both cities have ups and downs. Is either better than the other?

Tourists, crowds of people, busy streets, and foreign languages are constants of either city.

Paris is a big city and it felt like it. I have this odd thing that if I don't feel comfortable in a city when I get off the plane, or off the train- it is something about that first impression that does it for me.

London happened to be one of those cities- one where you sit down at a café or a restaurant in the first hour of being there and it just feels like home.

Mind you- Paris has the summer sales! London is expensive to shop, to eat and to play. Paris is as well, but at various times during the year- everything goes on sale. It is a miricle across France.

Nonetheless... I think London stole my heart. I can tell you exactly when I fell in love with the city- that my be in part because I was there only a few days ago- I can even tell you which restaurant I was sitting in.

What would you choose? How would you choose?

Go and Tell - Go and No?

Places to visit without telling your parents:

Places you tell your parents you visited:

European Update!

It has been a while since I have posted, but I thought I would catch-up! Living in France has been pretty amazing- one of the best experiences I have ever had!

My job is interesting, I give guided tours of Canada's National Historic site in France, Vimy Ridge. I spend part of my day around the monument:

And I spend part of my day in deep dark tunnels:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Every place I go...

Well well well. The time has come to pack it in, and say good-bye! For the summer that is, I won't be away from Sackville for too long, just 4 1/2 months.

Here is what the next few days look like:

- Finishing up papers that seem to never want to end. I honestly don't see myself getting these things done until after I leave... Writing essays in Europe? I don't think it'll be very fun, but it'll be necessary.

- Sunday evening: Last drinks at Ducky's! Regardless of if I am done my papers, I have to go out for a drink or two at Ducky's to say goodbye to some people before heading out. This will probably happen from 11-1, we'll see what happens.

- Monday:
- The moving/storage company comes to pick up my stuff, store it, charge me too much money, and then move my stuff into my new place in May. If I didn't have these guys, I don't know where my stuff would end up for the summer... My parents were not too keen on having it in the basement for 4 1/2 months.
- Move out! My landlord will swing by some time before 11am (hopefully, but with Charles, you never know...)
-Drive, long drive home, with whatever is left of my stuff.
-A late lunch with my Aunt, at my Uncle's restaurant and swing by to see the great-aunts and bid them farewell. They would probably disown me if I didn't stop by before going on a trip.

- Pack, pack, pack, pack, pack. I still have to pack all my stuff up, try and fit everything into one suitcase, and when that fails, into two and a carry-on. This will extend into early Tuesday morning, accompanied by food from my favourite chinese food place at home! The Soo Guy is delicious.


- Finish packing. Make sure I have the last minute important things, my work Visa, passport, some cash, and of course Peanut Butter- you can't get peanut butter in France apparently!

- Fly away! Paris bound via a stopover in Toronto for a night, and a quick stop in London.

On top of this stuff... I need to finish these ridiculous papers. I wish I had done more of this work earlier in the term, it just gets so crazy when everything gets really crazy the last three weeks of school. Redbull and diet coke will get me through this.

I will be positing some pictures and updates from France, and I hope to keep you guys in the loop about what I am doing over there!

Stay tuned for updates and info to come about my summer and experiences in France, as an Interpretive Guide at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial!

À bien-tôt!

See you in September Sackville!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

These are the types of things you Mother tells you not to tell her about before you do them, but call and let her know you're okay afterwards:

I really want to skydive again after watching this!

This isn't procrastination... the last two minutes are all about Kittenger, he was the topic of conversation in one of my classes for about 5 minutes... this counts as school work, I promise.

Dinner, Lunch, Snack, BREAKFAST!

Oh exam time, I love and hate thee.

I just made breakfast, after 1am for the 5th day out of the past 7 days.

Also, this is funny:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Proficient Procrastination

I have moved beyond the simple methods of procrastination and distractions. I no longer cookcrastinate (cooking to procrastinate). That is a lie, I still do it, but it accompanies other things, such as:

-watching ridiculous Youtube videos, then going to ask my prof for an extension on a final paper, getting the extension, and spend 10 minutes discussing ridiculous youtube videos!

- Facebook creep to an extreme

-Build new Google Maps of Mount A, stealing the photos from the University's website...

-Blog/Vlog/rant online via Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook.

-Enjoy reading Blogs- especially my favourite foodie blog !!

-Watch TV online...

-Try to remember the name of that song I heard at the bar last week and find it on YouTube using fragments of lyrics I vaguely remember, and only because I thought that the pepper-grinder like move was good for something like 'break your heart' or something. I really don't remember the logic behind it.

-Once that song has been found 40 minutes later, listen to 40 different covers of it

- Drift off an start thinking about how I am going to France in 6 days...

- Blog about my unproductiveness...

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Easter Bunny does Toronto & End of term!

Well well, how are you today? Tonight is night, or morning, number 4 of my late-night/early-morning marathons for academia! I think the record thus far was made on Tuesday, the good ol' 5:30am bedtime. It was great, I knew I didn't have class until 1:30pm on Wednesday, and I was going to sleep all day. That was my plan, until the construction crew started things up at 7am right outside my window... Coffee, Redbull and Diet Coke have reaffirmed their friendship with my body, gotta love end of term craziness.

I am really looking forward to being done and finished with this year, it has been a good one, but a challenging one.

I was in Toronto over easter, it was great, love the city, love being able to be independent now that I am pretty familiar with the basics of the TTC.

My twin brother, the one who will some day be more famous than he already thinks he is, was in a show at his college over the weekend, Pride and Prejudice. Now, I went into this hoping I wouldn't fall asleep 10 minutes in and be the awkward guy snoring in the 2nd row, leaning on what's-her-face's great aunt (they call them Ants in Ontario though...) who'd come in on a tour bus with 30 other family members but was the only one not sitting with the family and got stuck next to the snoring guy in the 2nd row... And turns out I wasn't that guy. The show was hilarious!! I loved it! It was one of the best performances I've seen all year!!

I got to see some friends from home when we went out over the weekend- I haven't seen my friend Sarah since she graduated from our high school- and I was in 9th grade at the time!

Now, I've been mentioning and dropping hints that I'm MOVING TO FRANCE for the summer through my past few posts... and well, it is all happening over the next 12 days. I have close to 60 pages of written work to submit, 2 final projects, an exam, a defense, and a lot of packing and cleaning then repacking to do before I can board the plane and say Adieu! to New Brunswick- and Canada- for the summer! Don't worry- they have internet in Europe... I hope! So I will be posting from there, some pictures and updates about the trip... the wine.. and the food! Oh the food is probably what I am most looking forward to, second to just being in Europe!

Alrighty, back to work for me. As my mother would say...and I am already embarrassed that I'm putting this online... Pitter Patter, let's get at 'er!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Montreal Shenanigans

I want to move to Montreal. After I get back from France that is. I had such an awesome time there last weekend, and I felt comfortable in the city, and got around without even using the metro (that'll be another trip).

My friend Alex and her roommates were my hosts and their pink couch my bed for the weekend.

I got in Saturday morning, and made my way downtown to their place, and out to breakfast with Mitch and Sarah. Sarah is Alex's roommate and probably one of the highlights of my weekend, so much fun to hang out with. We've already made plans for the next trip up to Montreal. Sunday we all settled into a few hours of studying, paper writing, and all that fun stuff. After reaching part of our goal of 'a few hours' of studying, we needed to go shopping. The one thing Sackville does need more of, but my credit card doesn't, is retail. Socks and Undies are abound in Montreal though... not so much in Sackville.

Monday morning I had to get down to business and do what I'd gone to do. I made my way to the French Embassy with my soon-to-be co-worker, Del where we were going to apply for our Visas.

We ran into a few bumps in the application process, a few tears were shed, phone calls were made, hours flew past, and by the time we thought we were going to miss our flights, we got our Visas around 3pm, ran back to the hotel we'd ditched our stuff at, and had a cab driver that thought 10degrees was so cold that we were dripping warm by the time we got to the airport. Dude had the heat cranked in the cab.

After being switched on and off about 4 flights to Toronto from Montreal, I got there to find out my Toronto to Moncton flight, that was supposed to leave at 7, wasn't going to be leaving till 11pm. It was a long wait, but I ran into a bunch of Mount A people in the airport, so it was not as bad as waiting all by myself could have been.

2:30am is when I finally got into the car to drive back to Sackville. It was a long day of traveling, and Visa issues, but at least I got back, French Work Visa in hand, and more about France to come!!

Told you so...

I made it to the library. I found myself a desk- no luck getting a table, but whatever I will just cram in a cramped space.

I rarely see my profs in the library, but I guess today is the exception. One of my favourite german profs was scouring the stacks when I came up onto 2nd floor. I stopped and said hi and we chatted for a few moments, and much to my amusement she was doing the exact same thing most students stuck here (on a lovely afternoon no less) are doing, cramming and searching for a last minute source for an article she has due early this week. Too funny, you never think your professors have the same bad habits you do, but I doubt she's blogging about running into me as a way of procrastinating...

With that, I should go. But I wanted to tell you about my Montreal excursions and embassy drama, I still haven't talked much about the weekend in Halifax my class had a few weeks ago, and I am going to write anyway, when I know I should be writing my Gender Studies essays.

So, a few weeks ago my Gender Culture & the City class made our way to Halifax for a field study. It is sort of a crossover class of Urban Studies and Gender Studies, and with diversity lacking in many ways in Sackville, we thought we'd be study the Urban and Gender in a more Urban setting. Torontonians and Vancourverites may balk at the idea of Halifax as a city or a metropolis, but compared to Sackville, there is a lot to say for Halifax.

We started off at 'Canada's national Immigration museum' aka, Pier 21. It was an interesting tour, we had one of their research directors take us around and explain a lot of the exhibits. He wasn't shy to call out certain misrepresentations or deletions of history in certain exhibits, which was really cool and refreshing.

After the museum, we grabbed a snack and a pack of beer from Propeller , a microbrewery in Halifax, and made our way to the Hostel on Gottigen Street... apparently it is a sketchy part of town, but few of us knew this till we showed up. The whole hostel experience was an interesting one for someone who's never stayed in one before. It was cool that our entire class fit into one room though, since there are only 11 of us.

Chabaa Thai was where we went for dinner, it was delicious!! One of the girls in our class, Jenna, kind of took control there and made her recommendations, which we all pretty much agreed with. The Spring rolls were SO good.

After that, we went to a disappointing 3D movie, and then got ready to go out for the night!

A long night, and a few distractions later, ended up back at the hostel really late. Got a few hours of sleep before we all made our way to the Halifax Market, one of the best markets I've been to. Mind you, my Crepe was a bit burnt, but at that point I was just happy it was something other than Bridgestreet Cafe or Joeys.

To 'cap' it all off, we stopped in Truro on our way back to Sackville, checked out the Glooscap Heritage Centre and made the last leg of the trip home.

Ok, more about France next post, this one is too long already!!! Happy trails.

New Addictions

As exam time creeps up on university students everywhere, our internet and use of other procrastination tools goes up exponentially. At least, I know mines does. With the thought of 4 final papers that need a lot of work to be done, 1 pretty intimidating exam that I am really not looking forward to, and a daunting formal lab report due next week, I've got beyond the usually online streaming of Grey's Anatomy or Gossip Girl or checking the news updates at CBC or The Globe, and Facebook just wasn't cutting it anymore. These seemingly harmless procrastination tools, combined with my other addictions/obsessions, such as food have come together like a really really bad storm and I figured out the Food and Procrastination potential of twitter and blogs!!

The first one that I stumbled upon is a blog called It All Starts with Butter (I know, it sounds like a Paula Deen quote). It is written by this guy who writes all about events, restaurants, recipes and other amazing stuff in the Toronto area. Now, I know I'm not in Toronto, but with my siblings living there, I feel a bit left out of the city life, so this is a way for me to feel as if I know a few things about the city. There are also some mouth watering pictures of amazing food, like Toronto's best Meat Ball, and this guy must have been reading my mind when he wrote about this place called House On Parliament, which I hope to get to this weekend while I am in the city. Any of my friends will tell you, I love a place that makes good french fries and pub food- a good beer is always a plus too- and it seems like this place fits the bill. We'll see about that this weekend though, I'll keep you posted.

Through this blog, I've found countless other ones that have kept me entertained and distracted for what has probably amounted to hours this weekend. Combine that with all of the stuff going on to get ready for France... It's been a bit of a crazy week/(end). More details about France in my next post. Time to hike over the Library for the afternoon/evening.

Hope you're having a more productive Sunday than I am!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Summer...or should I say Été!

Got a call last week- moving to France for the summer to work for the Canadian National memorial at Vimy Ridge!

Stay tuned, more details to come. So excited for this opportunity! Now to sort through the Visa application process...

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Hey! Sorry it has been a while since I last posted, things have been just as crazy as ever around Sackville. I guess I should start with Reading Week break... well, less break, more reading.

I stayed here over the break to take a class with the head of the Geography Dept., Dr. Fox and an amazing person and friend of mine, Natalie Gerum. The week long intensive class was centered around Place-based pedagogy and learning, so it was very much a geography class, with a lot of academic philosophy thrown in there. I've come to refer to it as Existential Geography. It was probably one of the best classes I've ever taken at Mount A. I loved the fact that it was intensive- it made the classroom feel more like a community, though some may say place of commiseration, and we had a great week overall. I still have to give my final presentation, but I am really looking forward to it.

Since then, things have just been ridiculous. I almost wish I'd had another week to get the things the other profs expected to be done over the break, so that I could do them and do them well! A break to recover from a break? Reading week could turn into reading month...

I am off to Halifax this weekend with a class, we're doing a Field Study of the city. The class is called Gender, Culture, and the City. We've got most of those things in Sackville... But we're off to study a bit larger scale and experience what it is the city has to offer that Sackville doesn't. Purely geographically and academically, of course. :-)

We had an open house on campus last Friday that seemed to go pretty well. I don't think they got the numbers they were looking for, but I think that those that were here really enjoyed it.
Props to Rory F. for a pretty amazing day.

A few busy weeks ahead, then classes are done! Just over a month and they are done. More exciting news in my next post. Summer Plans!!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Well, it has been a while since I've posted! Life has been hectic over the past month, lots of school stuff, some computer issues, and general ridiculousness that accompanies being a student.

Reading week has officially begun- for most people. I on the other hand, am going to be stuck in Sackville for the week. Natalie Gerum, a brilliant Mt. A grad will be teaching a course with Dr. Fox over reading week, an intensive Geography class. That is how I will be spending my week, so I guess I can't complain much, until the fact that an entire term's worth of work needs to be done in a week hits me, and I start to regret the fact that I signed up to take the class, hahaha.

Global Medical Brigades left on Thursday morning, off to Honduras for Mount A's 2nd brigade. I have to admit, I wish I was going again this year. It was a pretty amazing experience and I learned a lot from it. Learning from experience is something that has come up in a few of my classes this year, and I think it will be a large part of the intensive class over reading week. I've been reading a lot lately on how post-secondary education limits the ability to learn from experience, or how our learning isn't necessarily associated with direct experiential applications. It has made for some interesting thoughts and some ridiculous conversations with a few of my friends.... I don't know where I am going with this, but it's been an interesting few weeks of school and thinking.

Anyway, I am going to enjoy my reading week-end at my parents, just finished the best meal I've had in a while- lamb and an amazing bottle of red wine :-)

I will be back in Sackville on Sunday- weather permitting, and I'll give you an update when I am back up and running with my computer there. Happy march break/reading week! Safe travels to those heading home or elsewhere!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Babette!? Una nuova voce!

Tonight was a pretty cool night. I got a lot of reading done this afternoon after one of my labs, so I thought it I'd take a stroll up to the Stereophonic concert that was at the chapel tonight. They had some amazing performances, not all that I could stay for, but the ones I did get a chance to see were amazing.

My friend Elizabeth (Also known as Liz, Lizzy, Eliza-beth, Lizzard, and most recently Babette) was performing tonight, and it happened to be the first chance I've had to see her live since her emergence as an artist on the East Coast music scene. If someone had played me one of the pieces from her Myspace Page a few years ago, I would not have believed that it was the hippie hearted Liz Hayward. If I had to figure out a way to describe her voice and style, I would have to say she's got a voice like Imogene Heap, but with more of a folk voice and a guitar focused accompaniment, though Liz plays a mad glockenspiel.

Pat Lepoidevin played right after Liz, and he was amazing. He is always a good act to watch because it is more than just the music, it is the production of the music that is really interesting to watch and listen to. He uses peddles and some pretty fancy footwork to loop his own harmonies and accompaniment. I would really like to see what Pat and Liz would sound like if they did a performance together. I'm not sure if it would be too much of a good thing, or if they would make an amazing sound, but I think it would be interesting nonetheless. This is going to sound really weird, but he reminds me of Dolly Parton, in the sense that he plays so many instruments when he's on stage, and likewise Dolly does too. And to answer the burning question in the back of your mind, Yes I have been to a Dolly Parton concert and it was one of the best shows I have ever been to! She sits way above So You Think You Can Dance, and just below the Rankin Family, who are pretty much on par with Coldplay (if for no other reason than blind loyalty to them). I'd have to say that Stereophonic beats SYTYCD by a bit, it was just that good.

When I was going through Pat's MySpace page tonight, I remember that he had a song on the Conduct Becoming album a few years ago. I remember this song pretty well, because it is one that I associate with traveling, having left home and making your way back and how places change after being away. I looked back through my old iPod playlists, and it happened to be on a playlist from when I moved out west for a while, when I lived in Whistler, and traveled around Vancouver a bit. It also happened to on the playlist I made for my flight back from Vancouver to New Brunswick.

I can't forget to mention Landon! He was the first act of the night, and Babette was such a rarity for me to see that I forgot to mention Land0(n) and his Rock-opera stylings! He's been writing a few different shows over the past few years, even had a workshop perform one of them last year. He's had some pretty awesome reviews on campus, you may remember him from his MtA Blog - and now his MySpace page!

Well, not that you've found out a bit about my very weird music tastes, go check out Babette's MySpace Page, and Pat's MySpace Page and check out their tunes!

If you didn't notice, though I am sure you did, I figured out how to hyperlink text (make text take you to a website when you click on it) so I went a bit crazy in this post... but with the best of intentions!!!

Till next time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valor; Valeur; Value

I'll be the first one to admit it, I love getting presents. I love birthdays and other occasions like them for that very reason. My favourite one this year sort of caught me off guard. Not that I didn't appreciate each and every gift my family sent (or Deposited!) there was something to be said for the type of value that comes along with any gift.
My cousin Hannah had posted a picture of her Grandfather, my Great-Uncle, on facebook. It was an amazing picture of him when he was probably 9 or 10 (at most) during the great depression, standing on a train car with a giant grin on his face. I had mentioned it in passing or in an MSN conversation to her, and yesterday I got an email full of pictures of my Grandmother from when she was growing up. This one was probably taken during the late 1940's or early 1950's, from what I can tell. It is amazing to me to see these pictures, I've never known or thought of my Grandmother in any way but as, well. An older lady, a grandmother, or as we always called her Nanny.

There is something to be said about reevaluating how we value and see different things (or people!) as we get older (and hopefully, but not always, wiser). Thanks Cousin Hannah, and of course her Grandfather (Lou Lou) Louis, these pictures made my birthday.

Till next week!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Moving On, settling in.

So it has been an interesting few days. Since council last Wednesday evening I've just been tying up some loose ends with SAC business, getting settled into this terms classes, the usual. The question that keeps coming up when asked about my resignation is, What now? I guess I haven't a specific answers, there are lots of things that I want to get more involved with on and around campus. I haven't burnt all of my bridges... at least I don' t think I have.

I've been working with a few friends to try and tighten up the Young Liberals group, at the provincial level. It's been a lot of policy review so far, but I'm sure it'll turn into something I put a lot of time into this term.
Tomorrow I will be legally allowed to drink in the US, Gamble in the US (Las Vegas anyone?), and pretty much do everything in the US that I've been able to do in Canada since I was 19 (some provinces 18!) That's right, it's my 21st birthday tomorrow. I will end up celebrating in Sackville on Saturday evening, when everyone else is free to have some fun. I think I will end up in Moncton for the night though, go out with a friend there. My twin brother has the benefit of being in the city. Happy Birthday Kevin, hope you're enjoying your big city birthday bash!

Just getting out of Sackville is usually exciting enough, getting to "go out on the town" in a city bigger than Sackville, makes it a night I am looking forward to. Love the small town, but I've been enjoying spending more and more time in Moncton, while I've had a car here. You'd be surprised how much you just forget about certain things when they aren't in front of you every day. It's a good thing and a bad thing, I guess.

One thing that any student at Mount A can tell you, is that there is no where to go shopping in Sackville, aside from the Salvation Army and the occasional Jean Coutu emergency "I'm too lazy to do laundry, so I bought myself another weeks worth of underwear for $15" (Yes, Suzette, I did that once...), there isn't much beyond restaurants and one café to spend your time and money in. As much as I love Joey's Pizza...it gets a little old after a few nights. I didn't notice this until I spent some time in Toronto this summer, and realized how much someone could spend on any given day if you were walking down a street that had lots of things to catch your eye.

So that has been my week really, spent some time in Moncton, getting settled into courses, and tying up some loose ends with the SAC. If anything exciting happens, I'll let you know! I'll try and take some pictures of birthday festivities to go up here or on Facebook.

Till next week! Cheers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A learning experience...

Have you ever had that gut feeling, that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It usually shows up when you're waiting for that grade you weren't too sure about, or that you're going to tell your parents that you want to quit university and become a performer in Cirque de Solie. Well, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach today, and it was there yesterday, and it's been there for the past month or so. I think it is there because I am not 100% sure of myself in the stance I've taken on an issue, or perhaps that I don't know for certain that my stance and course of action will be supported.

Well to start with, I've resigned from the Students' Administrative Council, from my position as Vice President Campus Life. I resigned because of what I see as an unethical decision that was made by other members of the SAC executive committee, that I did not agree with in any way. While I know that I will lack their support in my decision, I look to the student body and the members of the union to see if I have theirs, to see if I resigned for a good reason or not. Essentially, I'd made arrangements for the funds from an event that I coordinated and ran through the SAC to be donated to two charities, UNICEF and the local food bank in Sackville. The event went really well (it was a halloween party), the best attended and financially successful event we'd run all year.

I was so excited that we'd raised over $4000 worth of food goods that night participating in Trick or Eat, and on top of that, we'd brought in over $5000 at the door of the event we'd held. After the basic costs of the event itself, the money was to be donated, the event itself was advertised as a fundraiser. It was really upsetting to me, as the coordinator of the event, as the one who'd made the arrangements to have this money donated to these two charities, to be told that they were only going to be getting a portion of what we'd raised, and that nearly $1000 was going to be kept by the SAC to cover the costs of other unsuccessful events that were held in November and December, and to help pay for one of the parties hosted by the SAC in January.

Last year the SAC sued a bar owner in Sackville for not honouring a verbal contract. In doing this is the organization not doing the same thing that they fought against?

I know that I see this as taking food from hungry community members, from our own neighbours. I see this as taking a step backwards with respect to AIDs/HIV prevention education, preventing families from ensuring that their children survive and reach school age healthy and well nourished, intellectually curious, socially confident and equipped with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. These are the things that the donations from the event that I'd coordinated through my position on the SAC would have helped with.

While some on the executive argued that they thought that the charities should be happy with what they've received and we should move on, put the issue to bed one might say, I can't help but think of what the difference in our donation could have meant to someone. I am outraged as a student who'd contributed to advertised an event as a fundraiser, to be the coordinator of this even and to then be told that it was more of a money-grab for the SAC than the fundraiser it had been advertised as. It was in my opinion such a dishonest decision and has made me dislike an organization I've put so much of myself into over the past 10 months

I resigned on the basis that the other executive members made these decisions after students gave us money, that they thought would be going to a charity, and that the organization is changing the way it is distributing the funds, after the fact to benefit itself. I just see it as wrong, and unethical.

I hope that the SAC council can keep the executive accountable, and make sure students know what is going on with the money they're giving to an organization that does dishonest things like this.

As a student, and as a member of the union, I no longer trust all of them to lead the SAC as an organization. How can they? This incident was a misstep on their part, and I hope that students and community members see it that way, and I hope that this gut feeling I have, that little knot in the bottom of my stomach, is because I am right. And not because I am scared of being wrong.

**Edited January 13th 2010**

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back at it! Bring it on 2010!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good break!

It's funny though, I was discussing this with my friend Ryan today, that we always feel more exhausted after a vacation than we did before. I could use another week off, but to be honest I am very glad to get back into classes and get back to book-learnin'!

I spent my holiday at my parents house with my family, but not all of us made it home this year. It was my sister Katie's first time away from home for Christmas, but I doubt she noticed the difference, with her husbands family being just as large and perhaps as loud (maybe louder? I doubt it...) than ours. Next year is our turn to have them both for Christmas. My mom and I have bets on whether or not she'll be pregnant by that point, and if she is, she may be too pregnant to travel... Perhaps her husband just wants to spend Christmas in Toronto again? Who knows, we'll have to wait and see.

Classes started today, and I screwed up my schedule a bit. I thought my first class started half an hour later than it really did. I ended up walking into a lecture hall with half the class staring at me while the prof was still going on about the Syllabus, and of course the only seat left in the entire room was in the most inconvenient place. I spent a good 40 seconds saying, s'cuse me, pardon me, sorry, while trying to shuffle past a row of already seated, comfortable, and on time people. I was a few different shades of red I was so embarrassed for disrupting the class.

Beyond that, my other classes are really small, the smallest is probably going to end up around 5, others around 20, and then the largest one- the one I was late for- has close to 60 students. It's not a bad mix of seminar and lecture classes, I think it should make for an interesting semester. Lots of reading to get done, lots of papers to write. It's only just beginning and I'm already at the library for a good chunk of my evening.

I love Sackville, I do, but at times it does feel rather small. When you've been here for 3 years already, and lived here during the summer, it feels even smaller. My parents let me bring a car up for a little while this term, and it has made a world of difference so far! Groceries in Amherst or Moncton, just knowing that I don't have to stay here all the time, is really really relieving and making life a bit easier for now.

Beyond that, I don't know what else there is to say! I'll be back on later this week, but for now I'm off to watch the gold medal game with some friends!