Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Freedom is mine and I know how I feel.

Dear essays, midterms and finals,
You are dead to me.
Sincerely, one very contended exchange student.

Yes, Christmas is in five days, and I have just finished my last exam. Frankly, I think it's inhumane to have exams so close to Christmas, but apparently Canadians have no concern for human rights. I might be exaggerating. But only a little.
Apologies for my recent absence. Take-home exam, actual exams and the presence of my wonderful sister have been preoccupying my time. Since said sister is currently on a bus from Niagara Falls to Toronto (in just 7.5 hours I'll be hopping on a bus to join her wheeeee) I find myself with some time on my hands, so let's have a catch-up.
There's not a lot to tell. Exams suck, but they're over, so we'll speak no more of and get on with the show.
My darling Rachel arrived last Tuesday (cue obligatory Miranda impression) and she has very dutifully been making me breakfast, doing my washing up and letting me be boring and do revision. In return, she gets to sleep on a blow-up mattress on my floor and use my bus pass to steal transportation around the city while I stay at home and revise. It's working well. On Thursday we went on a very rainy trip to Montreal, which involved lots of cold, wet walking and not a lot else, but we did go to the Biodome and see animals and fishes and penguins :) I also finally saw my first beaver. No, that is not a euphemism, you utter filth. On Sunday we went to an art gallery which had a table where kids could sit and make art out of pictures of circuit boards (inspired by a collection of art in the gallery, of course; most people don't generally associate arts and crafts with circuit boards). Naturally, we joined in. It quickly became apparent that I got all of the family's artistic skill, as my beautiful sunflower made whatever the hell her picture was suppsoed to be look like an utter shambles.
The highlight of my week was perhaps the bus with an advert on the back that read, "Finally, funerals are affordable". While I understand that the price of funerals can be an issue, I can't help but imagine some poor mother watching her child get run over by that very same bus, and while she's screaming in distress, the bus driver comes over and says "Well, at least you'll get value for money". My mind works in mysterious ways.
Oh, did I mention that I got a 97 on my Finnegans Wake essay? 97!!! Clearly all these years of talking utter nonsense have paid off.
It's cold. Like, really cold. The cold is making my face fall apart. I'm not even joking. My skin is just deteriorating. It's quite distressing. I look like I've got a disease and the skin under my nose looks like some kind of weird red flaky Hitler moustache. And you thought I couldn't get any sexier. Make-up hurts, so I'm just walking around looking like some greasy-haired, red-faced, blotchy mutant. Nom. The greasy hair has nothing to do with the cold: I've just been too exam-ridden and hat-dependent to care. But that's enough about me and my disgusting physicality. I'm not Leopold Bloom, after all. (Check me out and my hilarious Joyce references. I'm not a geek. Honest.)
Speaking of Joyce, I was actually quite sad to be rid of him after my exam yesterday. Obviously, I was sadder to be rid of Adam and Travis, who might just be the loves of my life, but still. I was really starting to enjoy Finnegans Wake, although I still can't make much sense of it, but quite frankly, I don't think you're supposed to! I've also said goodbye to my ethics class and my Aboriginal lit class, both of which I'll miss, although Aboriginal lit is looking likely to provide some dissertation inspiration for next year, so I don't think I've seen the back of it just yet!
Obviously, the most exciting news in that in 48 hours I will be on a plane and on my way home for Christmas :D :D I'm just a little bit excited, although I'm mildly concerned that I will be completely and utterly crushed by my mother upon my return, but that's small sacrifice I'm willing to make for the sake of home-cooked food, non-weird-tasting Cadbury's chocolate and Welsh cakes. Oh and family. And friends. And my sofa. And New Year in Exeter. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep :D
On a sadder note, this also means that Simone is leaving for good, which is very upsetting. I'm not sure if I can fathom the idea of coming back in January and not having my little aussie ethics buddy next door :( Also have to mention Becca and Karina, who are also heading back to the land oz, never to return. Goodbyes suck. It also means that two new girls will be moving in next door. Who will they be? Where will they be from? What will they be like? The tension is almsot unbearable.
Anyways, I have a dinner date with Simone in half an hour and I need to shower.
It's a new dawn; it's a new day; it's a new life for me; and I'm going to Toronto.
I'm also feeling good.
Au revoir, mes amis.

P.S. I've had some more Russian views, and one from Japan. I've gone global. Clearly the world is going mad.

Friday, 9 December 2011

This just made my life.

It. Is. Amazing.
My 8-year-old self is screaming in glee right now. My 19-year-old self is laughing hysterically.
Everything about this is everything that makes Britain camp and wonderful. The sequins. The failed choreography in the middle. The fact that H has clearly come out of the closet a bit too much. The fact that they can't really sing. The fact that they're clearly still sitting on the fence between embarrassment and not giving a shit that they're singing ridiculous songs with ridiculous choreography in ridiculous outfits. It's wonderfully awkward. And amazing.
And you know I was singing along. And doing the dance moves. Too cool for school.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering (and we both know you were), this is still my favourite Steps song:
The video gets me every time. Lisa's got some weird 18th century alien princess look going on. And the dance moves are classic. 2:38 is a personal fav. I HEART STEPS.

A taste of childhood.

Turns out, childhood tastes like fake fruit and sugar. How long before I turn orange?
It's Friday night, and I am officially doing absolutely nothing, which brings me a great amount of joy. Yes, I have a paper due on Monday, but I'm happy to ignore the confusing jumble that is Finnegans Wake for one more night, for the sake of my sanity.
Two exams down. Two to go. Throw in a few essays and I've still got a lot to do, but right now I don't care because I have Sunny D and ice cream. Life is good.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Failure is imminent.

I hate exams.
I hate Shakespeare.
I'm an awful student.
I'm useless at academia.
My life is a mess.

NB I'm tired and prone to melodrama.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I'm alive.

Just thought I'd let you know.
My life is currently one big blur of essays, bizarre sleeping patterns and even more bizarre eating patterns.
But I'm alive.
On Friday I submitted a 10-page paper. Yesterday I submitted a 5-page paper. On Thursday I have an exam. On Friday I have an exam. On Monday I have to submit a 5-page paper on FINNEGANS BLOODY WAKE. On Tuesday all is right with the world, because my sister will be appearing and I can happily ignore the fact that I have two more exams to revise for. Oh and somewhere in there I need to do my home exam. Academia sucks.
Anyways, rant over. I've been somewhat quiet over the past few weeks, and I can only apologise for depriving you of my witty and enlightening insights into Canadian life. Having said that, the owl post was pretty damn awesome.
Highlights of the past couple of weeks have included sleep. Well that's been my personal highlight, anyway. I had my last classes this term, which means no more Joyce class ever. This makes me sad. I'm going to miss Adam and Travis and the filthy banter that Joyce inspires. It's strange to think that the first term is almost over. In two and a half weeks I shall be back in sunny Britain. I know you all can't wait to see me, so be sure to form an orderly queue at the front door and I'll be sure to get through as many of you as possible. Those who come bearing gifts will get VIP access. What can I say? I'm fickle.
I've recently discovered that there is nothing more hilarious than a Canadian trying to pronounce "tomato" the British way. No, really. I've also discovered that some Canadians, and Australians, do not believe our darling United Kingdom to be part of Europe. This baffled me, and I desperately tried to tell them that we really are, but they didn't believe me.
Um, not a lot else to report. I bought a shiny pink dress. It's ridiculous and it was on sale, therefore it is awesome. I also tidied my room. Now for those of you who don't know me (I'm looking at you, readers in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia) this may not seem particularl significant. To those of you who do know me, you're probably still recovering from the shock. I'll give you a moment to recover. Lie down. Have a cup of tea. Maybe don't try to drink the tea while lying down. I really shouldn't be allowed to give advice.
Recovered now? Good. Yes, the notorious mess of Hannah's room has been tidied. The sweet wrappers have been disposed of, the clothes are hung up/folded on the shelf, the floor can be seen and my laptop will actually fit on my desk. Given that my room usually (to quote one of my flatmates last year) "looks like Baghdad," this is a notable improvement. Plus I put up some more decorations, so it looks really pretty.
As you can see, my lack of blogging has caused you to miss out on some serious excitement, and I don't want your brain to explode from the sheer awesomeness of my life, so I shall cease writing and go to bed. I have a lot of Shakespeare to read tomorrow.
I bid you adieu.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Twit twoo. Emphasis on the twit.

It's 1.21am and I am in the library. Oh yes. Thankfully, this university recognises the mad panic of students at the end of term and has extended it's hours to all hours. And I have every intention of watching the sunrise.
Fear not, I have slept. I've developed an owlish lifestyle and become somewhat nocturnal. Clearly I'm not the only one, as the library is currently surprisingly populated. I'm hoping that I will also develop some of the wisdom that comes with being an owl, especially since my wisdom teeth are being a pain in the, well, mouth. Ow. Owl. This library lark is a hoot.
Alas, I have procrastinated long enough.
Twoo.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Happy face.

In 20 days, my sister is getting on a plane and coming to Canada.
All is right with the world.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I am an idiot.

I know, I know; it's hardly a groundbreaking revelation.
However, for once my idiocy has worked in m favour, because apparently the 10-page Brit Lit paper that has been plaguing my academic conscience is, in fact, only a 5-page paper.
What on earth gave me the notion that it had to be 10 pages is beyond me. Presumably I confused it with my Aboriginal Lit paper which is most definitely 10 pages, but isn't due until next week so we can quietly ignore that.
But nevermind the reasons. The fact of the matter is that a paper that I thought was going to be hell on earth might not be so bad after all.
Joy.
Oh, and sundae sunday came a week early.
Double joy.

Friday, 18 November 2011

*yawn*

Hello, darlings.
Now, if you've ever found yourself thinking, "I wonder what a severely sleep-deprived 19-year-old wearing an awesome hat and holding a cuddly donkey called Hugo looks like" (and, let's face it, who hasn't?) then today is your lucky day...
Mind-blowing, I know. This week has not been kind to me. The past few days have involved a lot of essay writing, a lot of desperately trying to think of things to write about, a lot of stressing out at the keyboard on my laptop for being a pain, not a lot of sleep, and more coffee than anyone should drink in a lifetime. And do you know what? It's not over yet. While I can momentarily bask in the glory of submitting a pretty decent 6-page philosophy paper and a finished 5-page Ulysses paper in the space of two days, I will soon be hit square in the face by the 10-page Brit Lit paper that's due on Tuesday. And the 5-page Shakespeare and 10-page Aboriginal Lit essays that are due the week after. And the 5-page essay on the biggest and most ridiculous mindfuck known to man Finnegans Wake that's due the week after that. For those of you don't care to think in page numbers, that's just short of 4000 words that I've just submitted, and I have another 11,000ish to go. Yipee.
But hey, I shouldn't complain. I'm in Canada, and that's awesome. I'd just quite like it if I didn't have to write the word-count equivalent of two of my final year dissertations in the space of 2-3 weeks. But don't listen to me. My brain is addled.
In other, more exciting news, something snow-like appeared yesterday. :D
It didn't hang around long, but still, it was snow. I no longer feel like Canada is a lie. That does also mean that it's cold, but, as you can see, I am very well equipped with an amazing woolly hat. :)
Orchestra dived straight back into rehearsals yesterday after our wonderful concerts on the weekend. Next in line is a Pops concert, including a good ol' G&S overture, some waltzes, music from Narnia :D, suite from Oliver! (I've had As Long As He Needs Me stuck in my head all day) and "The Beatlecracker" - an emalgamation of the Beatles and The Nutcracker. I'm somewhat skeptical of that last one. No, in fact, I'm very skeptical. We shall see next week how that goes.
I don't think I have any other news. If I do, then my brain is too addled to comprehend it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Junk food junkie.

My dear readers, I fear that when I return you will not recognise me, for I will have swollen to a size of epic proportions, and I was already a girl of sizable proportions when I left (all insincere "you're not fat" comments welcomely received). My life seems to be one big caffeine and sugar high these days, which is not good. Worry not, I'm still eating fruit and salad and other such nutritious things. But I'm also eating a lot of crap. Mostly ice cream. And chocolate. And beaver tails. And amazing Oreo milkshake thingys. And doughnuts. And Doritos. If you are what you eat, then I am soon to become candyland. A very large candyland, with a river of Tim's coffee through the middle of.
But never mind that.
The important news of the day is that it the birthday of a wonderfully wonderful and amazing and bestest-in-the-whole-wide-world person. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Hannah, your birthday's not 'til July". And you would be correct. I am, in fact, talking about someone who shares a large amount of my DNA, and is therefore so close to perfection it hurts: my sister. Now, I know that it technically isn't her birthday anymore where she is, but it is here, so frankly that is both irrelevant and irrelephant, and punctuality never was my strong point anyway.
So a big Canadian HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes to the wonderful Rachel, who I love lotses and miss terribly :) <3
Now, I'm going to consume some more coffee and junk food and confine myself to the tv lounge sans internet in the hope of writing some form of philosophy essay. This is the question, for anyone who cares:

Imagine that a man arrives at your door, asking after the whereabouts of your roommate, who is indeed at home. You know, however, that the man at your door intends to do harm to your roommate, indeed to kill him. So you lie and tell the man your roommate is out of the house.  Unbeknownst to you, your roommate has overheard your exchange with the man at the door, whom he knows is after him. Your roommate has therefore snuck out the back door. After you turn away the murderer, he comes upon your roommate sneaking away in the alley, and kills him.
 Have you committed a moral wrong by lying to the murderer?
I like thought experiments, but maybe that's because I'm a bit of a geek. Or maybe I just like the confusion they can create in people's minds. One of the two.
Anyways, since I've managed to get from junk food to moral philosophy in one blog post, I think I should probably stop typing now. Bye, darlings. <3

Saturday, 12 November 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

No, I'm not talking about Christmas. It's only November for goodness' sake! No, I'm talking about concert season! Now, I'm aware that concert season occurs more often than once a year, but "It's the most wonderful time of the term" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, so humour me. Yes, yesterday the saw the beginning of what will be an unusually bare concert season for me. The first Divertimento orchestra concert was wonderful, with, as Michael put it, a certain air of going really well by some happy accident. The Sibelius went along with great gusto without falling apart (hurrah!) and, for me at least, the Faure was basically just 35/40 minutes of basking in the prettiness that is Gabriel Faure, occasionally playing the violin and swooning over the baritone soloist's voice. Happy days. And tonight I get to do it all again! There's also talk of post-concert pub, which makes me happy, because it's been far too long since I went to a pub with musicians.
Yesterday was also Remembrance Day, lest we forget, and being the good little Canadian that I am, I went and sang the national anthem with choir as part of the service. Naturally I hid at the back to disguise the fact that I needed to look at the music for the entire thing, especially the random french interlude. It was a lovely service, and I have a lot of respect for the man playing the bagpipes in a kilt in the freezing cold. I have less respect for the student representative whose skirt was so designed that the slits up the back of it put her arse on show. She could have at least worn tights.
Anyways, enough rambling from me. The rest of the week has been somewhat uneventful, as per usual. The sky was really pretty and pink the other day. I'd have taken a picture, but I didn't have my camera. It was really pretty, though. Really really pretty. Trust me.
I now need to find my black clothes and revel in the excitement of having hangers, so I can finally hang up my clothes :D Oh and I need to play with the pink digger that I got in my Kinder Surprise today, because it's amazing. <3

Friday, 11 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A few photos...

Just to prove that Canada and I really do exist:
The Canada hat, unfortunately, is not mine. It belongs to Kate, who refused to have her photo taken with the hat. Naturally, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to be photographed wearing a maple leaf-shaped hat.

 If memory serves, we spent a lot of the game discussing the disastrous effects of terrorists causing the massive TV screens to fall. We were watching sport: we had to entertain ourselves somehow!
Enthusiastic about hockey much?
 Go Sens! Also a lovely picture of the amazing paint-job in my room...
 More than ready for the Canadian winter, even though it still hasn't snowed!!
 It was bonfire night. We couldn't not celebrate.
 Anyone for a duel? Stupefy!
 Pretti :)
We even got some Canadians to help us celebrate gunpowder and treason :)

The only non-photographed highlight of a weekend was mine and Jessica's fail of a night out, which involved running around the Market for a while looking for a place that I'm pretty sure doesn't actually exist. My cider-addled brain was confused and giggly, so it was a highly entertaining experience. We eventually gave up and got back on the bus and came home.
Joyce class was, as ever, the higlight of last week. Between the filthy subject matter, Travis' cockney accent, a ridiculous southern American falsetto damsel in distress and a white hot chocolate with more whipped cream than you can imagine, I enjoyed it more than anyone should ever enjoy 3 hours of Joyce. Oh, and have I mentioned that the professor is wonderful? For those who care about my education (hello Mummy and Daddy <3), you'll be glad to know that my half-hearted Brit-Lit redraft got me from a C- to an A-. Given that the two essays aren't really that different, I'm not really sure how I managed that one.
Well that's about all the excitement I've got for you. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a tub of Cookie Dough and a bag of Maltesers in the kitchen, and they've both got my name on them.
Ciao. <3

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The little things make all the difference.

Yesterday was a blah day. Today, until 4pm, was a blah today. I was tired. I was grumpy. I woke up late on both days. Classes dragged on seemingly forever. I wasn't even that enthusiastic about choir yesterday (except the Lauridsen. Always enthusiastic about Lauridsen). For whatever reason, I wasn't a happy bunny. I blame hormones. I'm still a teenager, therefore I still can, or at least will, blame hormones for everything.
And then I got home today, and Skyped for a whole two hours with the wonderful person that is Gemma (go read her blog; it's awesome) who is currently living la vie francaise and that conversation cheered me right up.
Then I went to orchestra. I left early so that I could pick up some things in the shopping centre which is conveniently next to bus stop that I have to get off at. During my shopping ventures I encoutered a random 60-ish-year-old Canadian bloke with whom I had a good 20/30 minute conversation about Europe and how wonderful it is and how North America is rubbish and Europe is where it's at, even though the economy is falling apart. He looked at me with genuine concern and asked me, "You haven't moved here permanently, have you?!" He gave a great sigh of relief when I told him that I was only here for a year. He told me all about his travels in Europe and how he wants to retire and live in Spain. The conversation reminded me of when we go to Ireland and my mum has a conversation with someone in the street. Once the conversation was over, we'd ask "Mum, who was that?" and the answer would almost invariably be, "I've absolutely no idea". The conversation was completely random and completely lovely, and all stemmed from me buying a few cans of perry (imported from Bristol <3).
Orchestra undoubtedly added to my good mood, as Sibelius and Faure always do, and we finished early, so I ended up catching an earlier bus, and who should I see at the bus stop but my suitemate Nicole, whom I haven't seen in aaaaages, so we had a good catch-up.
And I know, my dear reader, that you probably don't really care about the boring details of my day, but it just goes to show that the littlest things have the ability to turn your day around. :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Just chillin' in my Carleton hoody...

I never know how to pose in these photos. I should also stop taking photos of myself and putting them on my blog. You're all going to start thinking I just live in a bubble on my own in my room. I don't. Honest.
The hoody was reduced, and grey is one of the few colours that I don't have a hoody in, and it's zip-up, which is all kinds of win.
Who's got school spirit?
Hannah's got school spirit.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Teenie tiny KitKat!

November 1st = reduced price Halloween chocolate = WIN.
Yes, it's November. I've been here for almost two months. Madness. In another two months, I'll be revelling in the New Year in the beautiful place that is Exeter. This pleases me.
Tonight I went to see The Breakfast Club in an old-school independent cinema. The theatre was so pretty, and I'd forgotten just how much I adore that movie film. It's just wonderful. It's hilarious for all of the right reasons, and the teen angst is both laughably and chillingly intense. I love it. I feel I may need to reaquaint myself with other John Hughes films soon. But for now, I shall watch Glee and eat large quantities of tiny chocolate bars. :)

Monday, 31 October 2011

Something that made me smile today...

Barney Stinson on Canadian money:

It's federal currency and you talk about it like it's a Hanna Barbera character!

So true.
G'night.

Happy Halloween!

This year I'm wearing the 19-year-old slob costume, complete with greasy hair, over-sized clothing and an empty ice cream tub. No sluttiness required.
For me, Halloween weekend was a spectacularly un-Halloweenish affair. There was no dressing up or partying involved, but it was a lovely weekend nonetheless.
Last night I went to a hockey game. An actual, proper, hardcore professional hockey game. It was loud, the bus ride there and back was somewhat cosy (I didn't want to be able to move anyways) and there were no fights, which disappointed me. We did, however, witness the joy that is a stadium full of nearly 20,000 people half singing and half mumbling the Canadian national anthem, complete with some casual francais halfway through, not that I knew what the English words would have been anyway. It was beautiful. I felt so proud to be Canadian. The game was between the Ottawa Senators (Go, Sens, go!) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (yes, "Leafs". Apparently the rules of spelling don't apply to sports teams. Who knew?!), who are apparently two of the biggest rivals in the sport. So I'm told. I decided to support the Sens because a) I live in Ottawa, b) I'd already put a Senators tattoo on my face and c) the English student in me was still trying to get her head around the name "Leafs". Anyways, turns out I made the right choice, because we won! I actually enjoyed the game. You know a sport's going to be hardcore when it requires four referees (ok, so wikipedia tells me that they're not all referees, but you get the point). As I have mentioned, there were, disappointingly, no fights. However, we saw many a stick breakage, a few almost-fights, one only-just-avoided fight and a casual pile-on on top of the Leafs goalie. Anyways, it turns out that some good company, random interjections of music and creating your own sarcastic commentary can make ice hockey entertaining even to the likes of me.
Now, I'm going to be really cool and go to bed at 11pm, because that's just how I roll. Night, kids. <3

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Quotation of the night:

Me: "I dunno, I reckon I'm probably quite annoying."
Brittany: "No, you're not annoying. Ridiculous, yes, but not annoying."
<3

Friday, 28 October 2011

It's 11.12pm on the Friday night of Halloween weekend,

and I'm getting ready to go to bed.
Living the Canadian Dream.
It's a sorry state of affairs, I know, but my awesomeness is clearly just too much for these people to handle. Either that, or everyone I know has a ridiculous amount of essay-writing and studying to do this weekend. One of the two.
So, my weekend brings intentions of room-tidying, clothes-washing, Shakespeare-watching, review-writing, novel-reading and letter-writing-and-finally-posting, as well as promises of sleeping more than I should and procrastination, so we'll see how all of that goes.
So far I've seen about 10 girls in Halloween costumes. They were all dressed as a slutty something-or-other, which made me despair slightly. Although, in their defense, most Canadian girls always dress like sluts when they go out on Friday nights, so at least they're consistent.
Highlights of my Friday include pancakes for breakfast, perusing the ridiculously cheap second-hand book sale (although I couldn't buy any *sad face*) and my Joyce professor deciding that he's German because he wants to be, and saying to us, "You guys just don't understand because you're not German like me." I guess you kinda had to be there, but it was hilarious. Promise.
Anyways, it's now 23.24, and this blog post has served its purpose of giving me something to do, so I shall desist my rambling.
Good night, darlings. Sweet dreams. :)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

On a spookier note...

It's Halloween this weekend, and people seem to be obsessed with it. The Caf has been decorated with all sorts of "spooky" and, quite frankly, effing weird things, including robed skeletons dangling from chains on the ceiling. Yeah.
People are obsessing over costumes (the words "screw my midterm, this is too important" have been seen on facebook) and campus seems to be full of Halloween events and door decorating/pumpkin carving/costume contests. As someone who never really did anything for Halloween, I'm not the best person to ask on the subject, but I'm quite sure that no-one in Britain really cares that much about it. It's just another excuse to dress up and have a house party. But people here seem to go crazy for it.
Maybe part of it is that people over here really don't have the same general enthusiasm for fancy dress as Brits, especially British students, so when they actually get an excuse to dress up, they like to go all out. Because, as we all know,  Halloween is the one night a year where a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.
Sadly, I think that might actually be true here. We shall see.

New clothes make me happy.

And this cardigan is no exception:
Just look at it. It's pretty and purple and the buttons are amazing and it's so wonderfully warm :) I'd been swooning over it on the Dotty P's website for a while, and with the offer of online student discount and half-price international shipping, it would have been rude not to buy it.
The fact that I have a cup of tea also makes me happy. Lemon and ginger tea, to be precise. For some reason I keep forgetting that I have mugs, teabags and a kettle at my disposal, so I'm not drinking nearly as much tea as I would like, but it's likely that the cold weather will change that. Speaking of which, we're set to be in sub-zero temperatures tomorrow morning, and I have an 8.30 class. Hello, tunnels. :)
I've just got back from Dunton Tower It is a huge building. The fact that it's called Dunton Tower should probably have given me a hint that it would be pretty damn tall, but for some reason I hadn't actually noticed just how big it is until I looked up at it as I went in. Thankfully, the lifts were working. If I'd had to walk up the stairs to the 18th floor, I might just have died.I was in the tower to hand in a redrafted essay, in the hope of rectifying my C-. Thankfully, everyone else in the class did badly, so I feel less bad. The fact of the matter is that I'm not entirely sure what these grades will mean for me in the grand scheme of things anyway, but I do know that a C- isn't going to get me very far. Before you all start thinking I'm some kind of dunce, I'm actually doing respectably well in my other classes, but unfortunately my Brit Lit class is plagued by a low-marking professor and a really patronising TA. Such fun.
Anyways, aside from my parents, you lot probably don't care much about the joys of Canadian academic life, so I shall desist from typing and curl up on my bed and write some long overdue letters (sorry to everyone who has been waiting for one) with the dulcet tones of Train to keep me company. Yes, I should be reading Ulysses, but never mind about that.

Wanna hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand.
<3

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Today I saw a guy on campus smoking a pipe.

It made me happy :)
Hello there. I'm not doing very well at this whole keeping my blog updated thing, but I assure you that I am still alive and fully functioning, just about.
Yep, that's me still being alive. The random pointing is not, as it may appear, it any way suggestive, but is drawing your attention to the fact that today I am wearing my amazing cat sweater jumper. The cold weather appears to have appeared from nowhere. They've even turned the heating on in res. Winter is coming! So before it gets to the point where it's so cold that I can't move (a guy from orchestra has already promised me that Ottawa winter is so cold it's "like razor blades up your nose"), I'm going to enjoy the fact that I get to wear woolly tights and pretty jumpers. The cat jumper is definitely my favourite. It makes me feel like a crazy cat lady, even though I don't have a cat. *sigh* Someday...
Anyways, the weather is about the most exciting thing that's gone on here in a while. Life is trundling along in its usual fashion, which is nice :) As the days grow colder my bed grows cosier, and getting up becomes infinitely harder, but I'm sure I'll cope. Possibly one of the best things about Carleton is that it's the first place that I've been to where it's socially acceptable to sleep pretty much anywhere, as long as it's not in someone's way. People just casually curl up on the sofas in the communal areas around campus, or sit and rest their heads on a table. I had a nap in the library the other day. It was awesome.
My accent appears to have been a topic of conversation quite a lot recently (well, as much as it can be when I'm surrounded by people who clearly love British accents but are too polite to say so). Someone asked me if I "have an accent". See a previous blog post for a rant on that. I was also laughed at by a Canadian and an Australian for the way I say turtle (naturally it was of the awkward variety). Apparently some people think that the t in the middle of the word is irrelevant. Poor little t. I'll look after you. Oh and according to Nicole I sound like Harry Potter. Never ask your roomates to think of a "fun fact" about you.
In other news, someone has graffiti'd (how exactly do you write that word as a verb? Graffitied?) the tunnel under the train track with the words "we must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon." This brought me joy. Also, this led to me to discover that the song was sung by Donny Osmond! Who knew?! Mind blown.
Anyways, I have essays to redraft and novels to read, so I should probably go and do that. Or watch another episode of Being Erica (latest tv addiction thank you very much Allysha Perryman). One of the two.
So I'll leave you with the story that while talking about the Plague and other causes of death in the 17th century in my Brit Lit class (it's a cheerful class), someone thought that "death from consumption" meant that they'd eaten themselves to death. Yeah. Oh, Canada. <3

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Quotation of the week...

"Nothing can come of masturbation."

This was followed by a brief awkward silence, and then a good few minutes of uncontrollable laughter from the entire class.
My Joyce professor is actually amazing.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Apologies for the silence for the past week or so. I've had a ridiculously busy week of reading and tests and essays and minimal sleep, so it's no surprise that yesterday, after waking up at 8.30am, I went back to bed and slept straight through until 4.30pm.
Anyways, last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canadia, and thanks to the lovely Joanna, I spent my weekend experiencing a traditional family Thanksgiving. It was amazing. And while I could sit here and tell you all about eating wonderful food with a wonderful family in an adorable cottage on a lovely island on a gorgeous lake, I've been implored by the wonderful miss Jenny Rogers to include more pictures on this thing, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some pictures, just to prove that I'm not just sitting in my room and making up stories about Canada...










Yes, I actually went canoeing. No, I didn't fall out. I was awesome.
 


Tim Hortons cups were not designed for bailing out boats.

In other news, we went to a British-themed club on Friday night. Lots of union flags on the walls, casual red phonebox in the corner. Naturally, it felt just like home...
That's about all the excitement I have for you, since the past week has basically consisted of classes, coffee and living in the library to the extent that I even had a nap in there on Friday. My workload has significantly depleted now, so I might actually be able to have a life for a while. This is me, though, so I'm not making any promises. :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Good morning, sunshines. :)

It's 7.30am, and I am awake, showered and dressed. It's a sad state of affairs, I know, but it's the only way, if I'm to have any hope of making it to class with a Tim's stop on the way. Thankfully, I've this little ditty to wake me up...<3
Have an excellent day. :)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Happy one month moosiversary, eh!

Yes, believe it or not, I have been living in the wonderful land of Canadia for one whole month now, and I've still yet to see a moose. And here I was expecting to see people riding them around the streets of Ottawa.
Anyways, to mark this great day, I thought I'd share with you some little observations about Canada and Canadians that have made me smile, giggle, stare blankly in confusion or cry in despair at the state of humanity. Or something like that. Now, you have to understand that all of my preconceptions about Canadians came from watching Degrassi: The Next Generation and the episodes of How I Met Your Mother in which everything about Robin's Canadian-ness is mocked and berated, so my expectations were somewhat ill-informed and not particularly substantial, but here's what I've noticed so far:
  1. Politeness/friendliness/cheeriness. Before leaving, I read something about Canadians valuing time-keeping, and this worried me slightly, since my time-keeping isn't perfect to say the least. A friend of mine reassured me with the words "It's OK, if you turn up late they'll just apologise to you for it." I laughed, but I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if that happened. Everyone here is just so nice and polite. You're always greeted with a "Hi, how are you?" Cash machines wish you an "excellent day". Even the graffiti is chirpy. It's just a big bubble of positivity, which is great, but I can't help craving some British pessimism and self-mocking banter. I want ridiculous drunken antics to be displayed on a wall of shame, not kept quiet "in case he/she didn't want people to know". Canadians are too polite to interject an awkward moment with a tension-breaking "well... this is awkward" in case they offend the creator of said awkward moment. Politeness is all fine and well, but it doesn't always make for great conversation.
  2. Accents. Once a few drinks have been consumed and the politeness barrier has dropped somewhat, conversation will inevitably turn to accents, as a Canadian comments on the absurdity of the way in which one of us Brits said something, or vice versa, or occasionally there is some Brit on Brit confusion (word of advice: never get into an argument with a Northern bloke over the pronunciation of "the incredible hulk"). Now, this is to be expected when Canadians, Brits, Australians and people from all sorts of places find themselves in each other's company. The one thing that never fails to astound me about these conversations, however, is that Canadians don't think that they have an accent. They swoon over our voices, sighing and saying "I wish I had an accent." You do! It may be Canadian, and it may be exactly the same as the accent of everyone around you, but it's still an accent. If you didn't have an accent, you'd speak in monotone. Seriously. Maybe it's just because Britain is so heavily populated with regional accents, so we're more aware of differences in accents, but the idea of not thinking of yourself as having an accent baffles me. If you don't have an accent, then what are those noises coming out of your mouth?
  3. Eh? I'd heard jokes about this, and laughed them off as exaggerations, but they really do say it a lot. Not even just at the end of questions. They'll put it at the end of anything. Seriously, it's ridiculous, eh.
  4. Buses. Ok, so while this may not seem like the most riveting of topics, I got so excited when I discovered that buses have a cute little yellow string that hangs across the windows, and when you want the bus to stop, you just tug on the string. It's really cool. Honest. I also get excited on buses because they always go down Sunnyside Avenue, which is just the cheeriest and most North American road name you could possibly think of. :)
  5. Fashion. This one gets to me. I miss British style. Who decided that baggy shorts, baggier t-shirts and backwards baseball caps should become wardrobe staples for all young Canadian males? It's just not a good look. And while I can handle seeing the odd underwear band on display, when the waistband of your trousers is sitting below your arse, that's not a fashion statement: you either lost three stone overnight and don't own a belt, or your parents clearly failed to teach you how to dress yourself properly. Seriously, sort it out. And girls are not exempt from fashion failures. While I'm beginning to adapt to the mundane yet practical tendency towards jeans and a plain top, I will never, I repeat, never, accept anyone's decision to wear leggings as trousers in public. That's just not how they work. I don't care how tiny you are or how good your legs looks; if your top doesn't cover your arse, you either need to change into jeans or put on a skirt, because it's just not right.
  6. Nature. It's everywhere, and I love it. The trees are pretty, and I can't go a day without seeing a black squirrel/chipmunk/groundhog. Still no moose, though (or should that be "meese"?). Or polar bears. I'm disappointed. I haven't even seen a beaver, for goodness' sake!
  7. Speaking of which, Beaver Tails. I've mentioned them already. Twice. But they're worth a third mention, because they are possibly the best things I have ever tasted. I'd eat them everyday if I could.
  8. Music. We're doing some music by Canadian composers in choir, and it's beautiful. And I'm just about getting used to "quarter notes" and "half notes". Pretty soon I will only remember quavers as floaty light crisps. Aw man, now I want Quavers. It's amazing just how much you can miss food that you never even used to eat at home, purely because you can't get it anymore.
I'm going to stop here, because I'm being boring. I'm sorry my blog isn't more exciting. I keep thinking of really cool blog ideas, but they either end up turning out to be not as great as I'd thought, or I've forgotten them by the time I get to blogging. I'm useless; I know.
So, I'm off to drift back into my cream cheese (my capacity to eat the stuff is quite astounding) and Ed Sheeran-induced daze. Good morning/sleep tight (delete as appropriate) my sweets. Have an excellent day/night. :)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I hate the Atlantic Ocean...

because it kept me from being with my family today.
RIP Granda. You'll be sorely missed, but at least now you're finally at peace. <3
Miss you. Love you, always. <3

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Works.

This blog post is dedicated to Brittany and Nicole, who have just taken me out for what was possibly the best meal I've ever had.
Think of every possible combination of burger topping you could have, put them all on a menu, and you've got the Works. There were literally over 70 different types of burger you could get. It's amazing. And the sweet potato chips were amazing. And the onion rings were amazing. And the Oreo milkshake was the most amazing thing I've ever had. I was generally just amazed. And the restaurant itself was so cool. The salt and pepper shakers were light bulbs and the drinks were served in measuring jugs. It's just amazing. I'm going to stop using the word "amazing" now.
The other amazing (ok, maybe just once more) place here is Forever 21, where I may or may not have spent lots of money on pretty things yesterday... If I had the money, I would just buy the entire shop.
Can't think of much else to say. My week was pretty standard, just going to classes and whatnot. I've pretty much become addicted to Tim Hortons, hence my previous blog post. I haven't actually fallen in love with a lovely guy named Tim, unfortunately. I realise now that unless you understand both the scale of Tim Hortons in Canada and my weird sense of humour, you wouldn't get that last blog post, so apologies. But yes, my sixth form coffee addiction which somewhat subsided last year has once again reared it's caffeiney head. Pretty soon I'll be running purely on coffee, cream cheese bagels, pizza, cucumber and pink lemonade, with the odd Beaver Tail thrown in for good measure.
That's about it for now. Life in Canada is lovely, but not wildly exciting. Friday nights are becoming pretty good, and making the long week of classes well worth it. All musicy stuff is still wonderful. We're doing some Lauridsen in choir, which, as anyone who knows my choral music tastes well, makes Hannah a very happy bunny.
I now need to lie down for a while and bask in just how full of wonderful food I am. :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I've made a new best friend.

His name is Tim. He keeps me alive during 8.30am classes. I think I love him.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My Shakespeare professor reminds me of Professor Slughorn.

I knew he reminded me of someone, and I couldn't think who, but it's finally dawned on me. :D
If you don't understand the reference, then get off my blog.
That is all.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Today I fell in love with Ottawa.

It turns out that there's nothing quite as wonderful as escaping the campus bubble and discovering a city on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I grabbed my bus pass, and hopped on a bus downtown, armed with my satchel and a camera. I soon discovered that my camera has run out of batteries, so I'm afraid I have no photos of one of the most gorgeous cities I've ever been in to share with you. Sorry. I will inveitably return soon, however, and then you can have some photos. Or you could just google images of Ottawa.
Basically, the thing that gets me about this city is that one minute you're surrounded by urban activity, but a mere two or three minute walk will surround you with trees. If you stand on one side of the parliament building, which is beautiful in itself, you're looking at busy roads and tall buildings, but go to the other side and you're overlooking a gorgeous canal and there's a beautiful park just around the corner. The city is wonderfully suburban, which seems like a very odd thing to say, I know. The downtown area is bustling and busy and a bit touristy, since it's still tourist season, but just a minute out of the centre and the houses are big and wooden and detatched and surrounded by trees. Although, in fairness, everything is surrounded by trees. Exeter's pretty heavily populated with trees, but this place definitely wins on the trees : other stuff ratio. There's also an amazing shopping centre, which I should probably never enter again for the sake of my bank balance. Forever 21 is just too amazing. <3
The other amazing part of town is the Byward Market. There are street performers and artists, and loads of crafts stalls and fruit and veg stalls and it just feels so much like a community down there, even though most of the people around are tourists. I bought some raspberries and saw a crazy acrobat guy who reminded me of John Barrowman. It was lovely. I also found some amazing tea shops, and a cheese shop that sells McVitie's Chocolate Digestives. I also ate another Beaver Tail. Hannah is a happy bunny. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to explore, because the season is ending and soon it will just be cold and snowy and I shall do nothing but hibernate in the tunnels.
In other news, today marked the start of Orchestra/Music Week in Exeter. It strikes me that up until this point, I've been adventuring while everyone back home has just been sitting around at home waiting for uni life to start again, so I've not missed out on much excitement back home. Now, however, life in Exeter and elsewhere is going to continue as usual, and I won't be there, which makes me pretty sad, because I miss you all lots. I hope you all have an amazing week and, in fact, an amazing year (that goes out to everyone of you, not just Exe people, wrth gwrs). To those of you that I know who are getting ready to start uni, I hope you enjoy it. To those of you returning to uni, have a great year and maybe work a bit harder this time (I'm looking at you, Coldrick!). To everyone at home, I miss you and love you terribly. And to those of you back in Exeter, look after my darling city, look after yourselves, please don't forget about me, and make sure you keep me up to date with everything that's going on! Letters, emails, carrier pigeons, facebooks chats, telegrams, skype (Dakin, my Wednesday afternoons are completely free so post-Singers catch-ups can continue :D), I don't care what, just let me know you're all still alive and give me all the gossip s'il vous plait. I'm having an amazing time here, but I miss the people I love rather a lot, and I can't wait to see you all again soon. <3
And now if you'll excuse me, I've just spied a bug on my bed but I don't know where it went, so I must now promptly shake my duvet to death and do a little dance of terror. Goodnight.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

So, Hannah, what did you do today?

We all have those days where we feel a bit blah (not bad, not good, just blah) and we just need to curl up and be lazy. Today was that day, and it was lovely. Thankfully, the nature of the dining hall here means that I am forced to shower, dress and engage in human interaction every day if I wish to eat proper food, so I wasn't completely shut away all day.
So this week has been pretty good. I survived my first full week of classes, just about. I get a bit confused because I have the same timetable on tuesdays and thursdays, so I keep having to remind myself what day it is. It's also weird having a class so soon after the previous one. In Exeter, I'd have a to wait week or maybe even two before the next lecture or seminar came around. Here, it's constant. I have consumed much coffee (including my first ever Tim Horton's), learned that every single depiction that I've ever seen of a Native North American person is in someway offensive, sat reading in the quad, met new people (one of whom I'm pretty sure thinks my name is Megan), won the heart of my self-confessed anglophile Shakespeare professor just by saying words, turned up to class in my Exeter hoody to find that Jess was wearing an identical one, actually did all of my reading (to the extent where I took Joyce to dinner with me), and even engaged in educational discussion about James Joyce. No, really. Joyce has been less painful that I'd thought, and while I'd initially been dreading it, it could turn out to be one of my favourite classes. Except for the part where the class is 3 hours long. I will never grow to love that. Now, I'm aware that I'm only three chapters into A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, undoubtedly one of his easier books, and that as soon as I get to Ulysses, with it's 254 pages of footnotes, my mind is probably going to explode. But so far, aside from the 25-page hellfire sermon through which I had to drag myself, I'm quite enjoying it. Let's hope this optimism lasts. :)
Not only have there been good academic developments this week, but I've also had a wonderfully musical week. I went to my first choir rehearsal on Wednesday, which was wonderful :) The people were lovely, the conductor is a sweetheart, and the music is really pretty and all stuff I've never sung before :D While it was wonderful, I have to say that I've never felt as British as I did in a room full of people saying "New York" in Canadian accents, while I joined the chorus with a very conspicuous "New Yawwk". It reminded me of singing hymns in my Granny's church in Northern Ireland, which made me giggle. :) I also joined an orchestra this week. With the help of a very enthusiastic Ben, who went on a mass googling spree one night in August even though he's not in Ottawa, I found an amateur orchestra called the Divertimento Orchestra, and I think it's pretty safe to say that I've found the best amateur orchestra in Ottawa. The players are amazing, the conductor is great, the rehearsal was efficient, the repertoire is good (Sibelius 1 and Faure Requiem <3) the music already sounds good and it's only their second rehearsal and to top it all off, the people are LOVELY. Absolutely lovely. And they've got quite a few Brits, which is nice :) I can't remember the last time I was so enthused by an orchestral rehearsal. There was such a sense of community, but there was also such a good work ethic and sense of discipline during the rehearsal. Gordon, the conductor, knows what he wants and says what he wants and gets on with it, but he's still friendly and relaxed. If he says we're going to run something, we run it, even if things go wrong. I know that I'd be happy just being in an orchestra, but to be in an orchestra like this just makes me so ridiculously happy. It was just a wonderful atmosphere to be a part of, and I've got a feeling those rehearsals are going to be a highlight of each week, not least for the fact that it means I actually get to play my violin. :D This paragraph has rambled on a bit, and I apologise, but the music geek in me has been really happy this week, just in case you hadn't already noticed. :)
Other events of note this week include the aforementioned trip to Ikea. It was wild. Along with the most amazingly fluffy dog in the world, I bought some suitably colourful bedding, a corkscrew, ice cube moulds, some more pretty pictures to put on my wall and an artificial flower. Nothing frivelous at all... At least I didn't buy the wooden train set, which was very tempting. I also bought something amazing, but I can't disclose what it is because I'm keeping it to give to my amazingly wonderful sister for her birthday. Speaking of my amazingly wonderful sister, I got an amazingly wonderful card from her yesterday, which I collected from my personal mailbox (I have a special key and everything) and it made me smile lots and lots and lots and I miss her lots and lots and lots <3 I also got some books in the post. That was less smile-inducing.
I think I've rambled on quite enough for one night, so I'll shush now. I'm going to go exploring downtown tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll have lots of stories and pictures and excitment to share with you soon. :)

Friday, 16 September 2011

TGIF.

Never did I think I would be the kind of person who lives for the weekend, at least not while I'm a student, but for the first time in my life I can honestly say TGIF. The "G" stands for "goodness" of course (hi, Dad).
Anywho, after fifteen hours of classes in four days (I have Mondays off), I am in need of some relaxation time. So, while I promise to you great tales of Ikea, dinner dates with James Joyce and wonderful musical adventures, they will have to wait for now, because I'm off to have a glass or two five of wine. I truly am my mother's daughter.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Today, one of my professors said "he could care less"...

... I died a little inside. He's clearly never seen this:
This is same professor who made me feel like a decidedly bad Brit, as he took the class through a brief history of Britain in the 18th century, and I realised that most of it was news to me. Now there was the odd name that I recognised, or a war that sounded vaguely familiar, but other than that, I was as ignorant, if not more so, than most of my Canadian classmates. The only fact I did recognise was the premiere of Handel's Messiah in Dublin in 1742, so at least I know the important stuff.
The only other news I have to report is that today it finally rained. The rain has been imminent for a while, and after a day of confusing grey-and-windy-but-still-warm weather, the heavens opened while I was finishing off my dinner. Now my initial reaction, naturally, was "Oh fiddlesticks, I'll have to walk home in this treacherous rain" (or something to that effect). I then, however, in a moment of sheer joy, remembered that every building on this campus is connected to every other building by a series of underground tunnels, which means that I never have to go out in the rain or the cold or the snow. Genius. I love this place.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Books are expensive.

Today I spent over $250 on books, and I still haven't bought all the books I need for this term. Searching for discounted/used books, only to find that even then you're still paying $50 for one book is pretty soul-destroying, as is paying $35 for 6 Shakespeare plays, when you know fine well that you've got a nice little 3-volume collected works of Shakespeare sitting happily on your bookshelf on the other side of the Atlantic. Money aside, however, I do love books, and the fact that I now have more than two on my bookshelves is making me quite happy. :)
In other news, I've officially been here a week! It feels like longer, to be honest, because I feel like I've done a lot, even though nothing is really springing to mind when I ask myself the question "What have you done this week?"
On Friday night Jess and I hit downtown Ottawa withmy suitemate Brittany and her friends. We went to a classy establishment named "Tila Tequila" which is apparently the most promiscuous bar in Ottawa according to a delightful chap named David who took it upon himself to strike up a conversation with Jess. "I'm not saying everyone here is cheating on their other half, but if you were going to, this is the place to do it." He was quite the charmer. It was actually a pretty good club, and we danced the night away. We were then dragged out for some standard post-club fast food. Brittany told us that we had to try Poutine, a special Canadian dish. Poutine, as it turns out, consists of chips, cheese and gravy. It's hardly groundbreaking stuff. It was, however, a good end to a good night. :)
Yesterday we ventured out to Walmart again, which was less stressful this time. I bought cutlery and a plate and food and a $9 hairdryer. They had Ben & Jerry's for $3.33. This made me very happy. I later ate said Ben & Jerry's with a fork, because Walmart didn't have any spoons for sale. I also purchased a Canadian cell phone, so I can now keep in touch with my multitudes of Canadian friends. So far I have 5 numbers in my new phone. One of them's mine...
We also discovered the best place on earth yesterday: Bulk Barn. It's like a pic 'n' mix sweet shop but with everything. Sweets galore, chocolate, flour, sugar, salt, tea, pasta, rice, dried fruit etc all just in big plastic bins, and you just scoop out as much as you want/need into a bag and pay according to weight. For anyone who likes to bake (such as myself, and many of my friends from home) it was heaven. They even had an entire section of cake decorations, including large quantities of edible glitter in every colour imaginable. It was AMAZING. They also sold pinatas in the shape of nearly every major Disney/cartoon character. And they had a few shelves of British goods, such as gingers nuts, Galaxy, Yorkie and Penguins. Since I am incapable of resisting Penguins, for both their chocolatey, biscuity goodness and their unquestionable wit, I had to buy them, even though they were $5. Bulk Barn also allowed me to acquire tea of various types, so it pleased me greatly. :)
Tomorrow is Monday, which means I don't have any classes :) It also means I'll actually have to do some reading :( Got to make the most of all that money I've spent, and somewhere along the line I might even become a good student. Emphasis on the word "might".

Friday, 9 September 2011

James Joyce and Basketball.

So, I acquired me some pep and went to the basketball game...
Look at me. I'm so spirited and peppy and Ravens-loving. The game was pretty good. I chanted and cheered and got a little bit bored when we started to lose, but perked up again in the final quarter when we were winning again. :) My one problem with the game, however, was that in true British fashion, I felt like we should have been at least applauding or acknowledging the other team's achievements, just to be polite. They were from somewhere in the US, and had very few, if any supporters with them. Everytime they scored the room just washed over with awkward silence and a general air of disapproval. I found it a bit unsettling. I'm clearly too polite and British and not competitive enough. I'll have to work on that. I have, however, got the chanting down, although my low and (relatively) well-spoken British tones aren't ideal for enthusiastic yelling. And the chants have been stuck in my head all day. Another good part of the game was when Rodney appeared. He's a babe <3
The game was followed by an outdoor screening of Toy Story 3, and as much as I tried to convince myself to be a responsible student and go to bed, the thought of Spanish Buzz was too much to resist, so I went and sat in the cold until gone midnight eating candyfloss (NOT cotton candy) and drinking pop. It was fun. :)
Getting up for my 8.30 class was less fun. The class was Aboriginal Literature. I think it's going to be pretty good, and it's not something I'm ever likely to get the chance to study at home, so I'm looking forward to it :) The one problem is that I'm the only non-Canadian in the class, and I'm clearly going to have massive gaps in my knowledge when it comes to general info on Canadian and Aboriginal history, so I'll have to turn to my good friend Wikipedia for some background reading.
Then came the big one. James Joyce. I'm still quite sceptical of the class, especially since the current plan is to spend four weeks on Finnegans Wake. Four weeks. It's going to be tough, but the professor's a little bit awesome and isn't some great Joyce expert, so can relate to our overwhelming confusion, rather than looking at us like idiots. We'll give it another week, and we'll see how I feel after a few chapters of Portrait.
Other events of note include my lovely choir audition, in which the new director marvelled at the Wesh national anthem and was generally absolutely lovely. :) I also went to the pasta bar in the Caf today. You pick what you want in it and they make there and then. It's amazing.
Tonight we're going to investigate downtown a bit, and just enjoy not having anything to do, which I know won't last long.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Go Ravens!

We won. Yayz. And there was the added bonus of the outdoor showing of Toy Story 3 after the game that I'd forgotten about. However, it is currently 12.38am and I have a class in less than 8 hours, so a full update will have to wait until morning. Sleepytime now, once I've removed the smudged red lipstick from my cheeks. And my hair.

Education.

Today, my satchel and I went to our first classes. I set off at 10.25, giving myself plenty of time to grab some food and find the building for my 11am class. Turns out the class was actually at 11.30. Silly Hannah. With an extra half an hour on my hands, I found myself, Starbucks in hand, sat under a tree in the Quad. Yes. The Quad. I felt thoroughly North American.
Class no. 1 was Shakespearean Drama. I think I'm going to like this class. The prof seems lovely, although he basically worships Shakespeare, which, as anyone who took the first-year Shakespeare module in Exeter will know, is a rather different attitude from the skepticism with which we were advised to view Shakespeare. Nonetheless, he's clearly very passionate, and I love Shakespeare, and it'll be nice to view the great bard from a different perspective.
I promptly ambled my way across campus for History of Ethics, which was simply a brief introduction to the course and then we were let out after half an hour. Unexpected hour-long breaks are wonderful things. Anyways, that class looks set to be really interesting, and I finally get to study some philosophy, so I'm happy. :)
Final class of the day was British Literatures II. For someone on an exchange in Canada, I still seem to be doing an awful lot of British classes. Oh well. Stick to what you know and all that. Another class that I think I'll enjoy. Not quite as enthused by it as Shakespeare, but we'll see. We're covering a lot of texts, so it'll be a lot of reading but also a lot of breadth and variety, which I like. :)
Tomorrow brings Aboriginal Literature at 8.30am (kill me now) and a three-hour class on James Joyce deceptively named "20th Century Fiction". The jury's still out on whether or not I'm going to stick with that one, but we shall see.
Before that, however, I have a choir audition, for which I have no music, so I'm going to sing them the Welsh national anthem, because I'm awesome. Then later tonight I'm going to watch a basketball game. Don't laugh. I'm actually going to go, and attempt to enjoy it. Somewhere, deep down inside of me, there is a sports fan waiting to emerge. I'm sure of it. Kind of. Ish. Not really. We'll see. I can but try.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Guess which society I joined...

One of these days I'll remember what my degree is actually in, but for now the music geek in me will continue to reign.
Today we had academic orientation. We weren't sure if we actually had to go because we're not freshman, but we thought we'd go anyway, if only for the free tshirt. It turned out to be a couple of hours of waiting around as they piled 4000 students into one room for convocation: a weird event involving bagpipes, the national anthem, a very anecdote-happy guest speaker and pledging to be good students and not let ourselves die. It was strange. We planned to hang around for the free food, but the prospect of standing in a massive queue for the sake of a burger was a bit much. Instead we went to Chicken Chicken, which is next to Pizza Pizza. They really go for ingenious company names here.
I spent the afternoon lounging around eating Malteasers and watching Chalet Girl. Ed Westwick makes me happy, although in my head I think I spent the entire film thinking of him as Chuck Bass. <3
Later came the Expo (freshers fair/squash) where I considered joining the Quidditch team, before realising that no amount of Harry Potter references could make me run around a field on a broomstick chasing someone in a yellow tshirt. Although it does slight worry me that it's the actual running around and not the general ridiculousness of it that's putting me off.
We then established that Carleton really doesn't have talent. Really.
The big event of the day was a talk from MTV's The Buried Life. For those of you who don't know (I certainly didn't) they're basically four guys who travel around trying to complete their bucket list, and trying to help other people do things on their own bucket lists. They've done some pretty cool stuff, like sneaking into the Playboy mansion, riding a bull, playing basketball with President Obama, as well as helping people reconnect with long lost children etc. It sounds amazing, and not at all like anything you'd ever associate with MTV. They spent the time talking about what they'd done and encouraging people to do what they want to do and to make dreams a reality. I'll be sure to take them up on that advice once I've figured out what my dreams are. Anyways, listening to these guys talk and hearing students share the things on their bucket lists was really interesting and gave me a lot of respect for Canadian people. In true British fashion, I've been pretty cynical so far with regards to the passion and enthusiasm that these people have, but I actually think that it's lovely that these people are so happy and open. Yes, the screaming and cheering can be a little a lot terrifying and I find myself missing the reserved and repressed ways of the Brits, but the spirit and pride that these students have for their school, their country and just the fact that they're alive is something to be admired. Having said that, an entire song about how much they hate the University of Ottawa (culminating in a chorus of "Fuck you Ottawa U) is a bit much.
Classes start tomorrow, which means I should probably get some sleep, since tomorrow alone I have almost as many hours of classes as I did in an entire week in Exeter, and I'm not sure how well reacquainting myself with education is going to go.
And yes, that is a Carleton University bandana in my hair. Go Ravens!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Today was good day.

I slept, watched Doctor Who & Outnumbered, properly unpacked so my clothes are no longer sprawled all over the floor (that won't last long), ate a Beaver Tail (first of many, I predict) and watched a pretty light show on Parliament building. Today did not involve pep. Hannah is content. :)

Curled up in bed with this man...

Hurrah for iPlayer, VPNs, duvets and chocolate! The only thing that could make this better would be a cup of tea, but since I have neither a kettle nor any tea bags, that could be problematic. Never mind. Matt Smith is more than enough to keep me content. :)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

In other news...

I said "parking lot" earlier. I nearly disowned myself. Bad times.

Pep rallies are terrifying.

I am tired. Very tired. Travelling yesterday was interesting. After they boarded us over an hour after the flight was scheduled to leave, we then sat on the plane for an hour before being told to get off. Then they gave us free food vouchers (win!), so we knew we'd be there a while. It was lovely though, because I made some friends, and during the flight the four of us found an empty row at the front of the plane and proceeded to talk and giggle and flash lights hilariously and obnoxiously, and I could think of no better way to pass the time. :) We finally boarded for departure over 5 hours later than scheduled, and set of on the 9-hour flight.  On the plane I watched Glee. As the name suggests, it made me happy. A later connecting flight meant that I arrived at Carleton at about 12.15am. After an hour of wandering back and forth between Prescott House and Res Commons, I finally actually got into my room and promptly slept badly due to a lack of bedding and warmth. It was stressful.
Today was better. Today I saw Canadians being Canadian and crazy people helping people move in. And I saw a chipmunk. It made me happy. I went to Walmart, which was less exciting than aniticipated because it was busy and confusing. Apparently women's spray deodorant doesn't exist here. Who knew? I did, however, buy comfort chocolate to ease my tired soul, which was gratefully received by my stomach. Speaking of which, the food hall is AMAZING. There's just food everywhere, of all different varieties, and you can eat as much as you want. I had bacon and maple syrup. I felt thoroughly Canadian. Soon, I shall turn into a moose. A very fat moose.
This evening, we went to a pep rally. There were (not very good) cheerleaders and chanting and stunt men/acrobats and cheering and massive beach balls and a crazy woman screaming nonsensically on a stage and a video of Rodney the Raven pissing on the University of Ottawa. It was an interesting and sweaty experience. We tried to be enthusiastic, but we reserved Brits just don't have the spirit of these high-on-life Canadians. In true British fashion, we proceeded to the pub, only to find that it was shut for Orientation. This was not well received, but we were all too tired and jet-lagged to care.
So now you're all caught up, I'm going to go and be unconscious for a while, because 10.30pm is just about justifiable, in spite of the fact that I've been tired for hours. Tonight I get to sleep with an actual sheet, pillow and quilt, rather than a towel, a folded hoodie and a not-quite-big-enough blanket. Yay. :)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Packing.

Over the past 12 months, packing has become the bane of my very existence. This time last year came the great university adventure, which involved packing suitcases and boxes with my mountains of stuff and transporting it 99 miles south. As any student will know, unpacking your life into a box room and a tiny kitchen cupboard is no easy task. Pots, pans, baking equipment, clothes, shoes, a keyboard, a violin, a bassoon, a printer and all sorts besides were somehow found a home, much to the distress of my dear mother, who was handing me plastic storage boxes left, right and centre.
Then, over the course of the year, came the trips home, where one weekend in Wales would require hauling a massive pink suitcase onto the train in order to accommodate the number of clothes that needed washing. And let's not even mention moving home, when I made perhaps my biggest packing faux pas. The plan was simple: Dad would take most of my stuff home in the car, leaving behind only what I needed for the next two weeks, which I would then bring home on the train. Simple enough, except when you forget to send your large hardback dictionary home in the car, and you end up dragging a suitcase, two holdalls, a rucksask and a handbag around a crowded train, while strangers comment on the poor girl who was "carrying her whole life around".
And then came the summer, during which I have essentially lived out of a suitcase, not really bothering to unpack and repack during the sporadic days at home between adventures and holidays. Now, once again, I have to pack. This time for Canada.
Now, I know that I should be grateful that I get to travel and go to university in another country and all sorts of excitement and that I shouldn't complain, but I really don't like packing. Some people are good at packing, and organised with packing. When my dad's colleague went on holiday, he was packed a good week in advance; a man from church is known to do a practice pack a week or so before he actually has to pack; one friend of my sister, when packing for two consecutive trips, even drew up spreadsheets. That's far too organised for my liking. I much prefer to just wander around and pick things up and decide whether or not it's going. There's one slight problem with this method: it has turned me into a notorious overpacker, for, I reckon, these reasons.
  1. I'm indecisive. Really indecisive.
  2. I like my clothes. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm no fashion icon, but I do like the clothes I have, and I have a lot of them. I'm not the kind of person who just buys clothes because they're cheap or in fashion or whatever. Everything I buy, I really like, which makes choosing all the more difficult.
  3. I'm the queen of "it might come in handy one day". I look at everything and imagine its potential purpose, however unlikely. Not long ago, I justified keeping a top that I haven't worn in years because it might come in handy if I ever have to dress up as a zebra. Yeah.
And as a serial overpacker, the likelihood of me fitting a year's worth of stuff into one 23kg suitcase is very slim, so it looks like I'll be paying the extra $50 for another case. Bye bye money.
So, in less than 24 hours I am leaving for Gatwick, and this is my progress so far:
Now, while my boots and free Exeter University hoody will come in handy, I might need a bit more, so I should probably stop rambling in this blog about packing and actually pack (I'm also very good at procrastinating, which will become apparent over the course of the year). So I suppose I should probably get to the big questions such as "where's my toothbrush, is there room for the Welsh flag, where's the donkey going to go and is my giraffe costume really necessary?"

Monday, 29 August 2011

Ticking things off the list.

Over the past few months, I've had a mental "things that are happening before Canada" list to go through. It's been quite a nice little list, allowing me to live happily in denial of the fact that I'm leaving the country. But it's now a matter of days before I leave. Not weeks, not months, but days, and I find myself nearing the end of my list.
Exams: Check
Summer term music events: Check
Say goodbye to Exeter: Check
Birmingham: Check
Nash Choir: Check
Ireland: Check
Leipzig: Check
Vicar party: Check
Leaving party: Check
All that's left now is a farewell meal with my family, and then that's it. No more events or trips. Just Canada. Well, apart from packing, but that ordeal warrants a blog post of its own (watch this space).
And with my list of events also came a list of goodbyes. When someone you love leaves, even only temporarily, saying goodbye is always emotional, I find. When you're the one leaving, it's the same goodbye, only you have to do it a lot more times. And some goodbyes aren't that hard. The friends you probably wouldn't have seen for a year anyway, the flatmate you didn't see that much of, the people you saw in rehearsals but weren't that close to. They're easy goodbyes, requiring nothing more than a "have a good year" and a friendly hug. But then come the other goodbyes: the horrible goodbyes. First there were the new friends: the people in Exeter who were wonderful to you all year and welcomed you into the group. The next goodbye was to the county music friends, some of whom you'll miss more than others. Included in that is the girl who is practically your little sister, who is joyously cheery and special and intelligent and for whom you wish nothing but good things. Then we had the gay best friend, who lets you ramble and rant about anything, just because you can. Next came the friend who, completely out of the blue, you became ridiculously close to one choir course when you bonded over ducks, and who somehow ended up at the same uni as you, and without whose weekly catchups, Wednesday evenings will never be the same. And the most recent goodbye was the first of two people without whom this past year would not have been possible.
And while many tears have already been shed and are currently being shed, there are plenty more to come. God only knows what will happen when I have to say goodbye to the second of the aforementioned two people. Add to that my childhood best friends, my sister and my parents, and I'm looking set to have a pretty emotional 5 days ahead of me.
Because that's all it is: 5 days. And while somewhere in my mind I know fine well that excitement is brewing, it's currently proving quite difficult to find behind a lot of emotion and just a smidgen of "Oh my goodness, I'm f**king terrified."
So while I wait for the excitment to inevitably resurface, I apologise for the rambling emotional blog post and say this to you: I love you, and I'm going to miss you like crazy.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Welcome to my blog.

Come in. Have a seat. A cup of tea maybe? How about a biscuit? I'm afraid I've run out of chocolate Hobnobs, so you'll have to settle for some Custard Creams I found at the back of the cupboard.
Now, sitting comfortably? Good.
Hello :)
I'm Hannah, and blogging confuses me.
Now at this point you're probably wondering a) How confusing can blogging be? and b) If blogging confuses this poor simpleton so much, why has she started a blog?
And very good questions they are too.
Now, I'm not a complete idiot. I understand how blogs work. You type, publish, and the blog is posted for all to see. It's more the "blogosphere" that confuses me. I used to think that a blog was simply like an online journal, a place to jot down thoughts on a daily/weekly/monthly/whenever I can be arsed basis, and it didn't really mean a lot. Well, apparently there's more to it than that. The blogging community is huge, from what I can tell. My limited experience with blogs already shows great attention to design and content and theme and target audiences. People can do blog swaps and join groups to connect with similar bloggers. This whole blogging thing is huge, and worldwide (well duh, it's the world wide web) and for a 19-year-old English student with the attention span of a labrador, it's all a bit too much. And since I'm not an aspiring write/photographer/artist trying to publicise herself across the vastness of the internet, I trust you'll forgive me for taking my blog back to basics: me writing stuff about what I'm doing or thinking on my adventures.
Which brings me to your second question: Why is this girl writing a blog in the first place?
Well, it would appear that in a mere 11 days (eek!) I'm jetting off to Canada for a year. Very exciting, I know. And since I'll be spending the year studying in a new country, continent and culture, it seemed appropriate to create this little blog as a journal of sorts, so that I can record what I'm doing and seeing, and so that anyone who cares can keep track of me on my transatlantic adventures.
But I warn you now; I am not a writer. Don't get me wrong: I'm perfectly capable of stringing a sentence together, but I'm not a maticulous planner or scrutinous paragraph-former. My blog posts will not be perfectly crafted with tasteful eloquence. I will write whatever pops into my head as and when it does.
After all, if I spend too much time writing about my adventures, there won't be any to write about.