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.

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."

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.

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. :)