Saturday, April 28, 2007
yay happiness. yay silly email. yay.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
My second inbox, gmail, which I manage to check more often, was plastered top to bottom with Facebook messages. These don't really bother me, but I wish there was a way to delete them all at once. Instead, I have to click the little check box next to every individual message, wall post, poke and tag mention before I can toss them away. Luckily, despite my slight hangover, and my sleep deprivation, I noticed an email hiding in the midst of the Facebook entries. Murasaki had initiated a prank. Not just any prank, mind you, but a continuation of endless pranks between herself, the Email King, and a number of other students who thankfully graduated last year. It would seem that while I was busy trying to survive my way through Japan, Murasaki & company were busy plastering a certain professor's door with dilapidated attempts at Godzilla origami.
With all of the conference prep happening these days, my interactions with said professor have increased tenfold. I suppose Murasaki, as isolated as she is in Japan, has been feeling nostalgic and perhaps a little left out. Not to be deterred, she put together a little surprise for our prof, and sent it off with the following instructions:
I'm feeling a little restless in Japan...
It's been a little while since I've gone a-pranking.
Assist me in this matter and I will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.
1. Open the attachment
2. Print off the document you find inside
3. Deliver it, as is, to The King
4. Use whatever means necessary, although waiting until AFTER he's done the bulk of his duties for the conference would probably be best. Don't tape it to his door; slide it underneath. (Be discreet!)
5. Do not tell him who it's from, even he threatens you with a stapler. He'll know without being told.
6. Coordinate your effort, as there only needs to be a single print-off. Whether you execute delivery alone or together is up to you. Bonus points for creativity.
*Lunch is a whole other story for a whole other day.. But to everyone who came, who feasted, and who shared their hugs, you are Princes.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I'm feeling inspired to write short anecdotes. I always feel like this after reading Vinyl Cafe. The little stories make me laugh and cry and I wonder if I will ever be eloquent enough to have that affect with my writing. Not that it matters really.. what I write, I write for me. What I blog, is for you, but since you seem uninterested these days.. maybe its time to get back into the habit of writing for me.
random thought? I want to see Lora in her blue sequined dress.
How strange to be able to say that, but still have no clue what it really means. My University life is over. The lifestyle I have grown so accustomed to, will change. The friends I've made, the relationships I've formed.. those will last.. won't they?
It's never easy saying goodbye. Some of them say it's not truly 'goodbye', and I try to convince myself that they are right. Some of them will be a part of my life forever. But will I be a part of theirs? No way to tell. No way to know.
Richard says I have attachment issues. That these are normal for "kids of divorced families". I don't mind when he psychologizes me, I just mind when he's right. But there are still things I'm too shy to tell even to him. I wonder if he knows anyways? Sometimes I think he can see into my soul, and that miraculously he isn't scared away. Has anyone ever known me like he does? I wonder. So many shared secrets. So many quiet laughs.
I've made a new friend. (well, a friend by my definition at least). Just one more person that I will leave behind, but this means that he will not have the chance to abandon me? Too many times I've been hurt. Too many times I've felt left behind, but maybe I'm drawn to him because this time I won't be hurt? But I enjoy our laughs, and our talks. I wonder if I would have allowed the friendship if I hadn't known I was leaving?
I can't articulate tonight. So many thoughts swirling around. They are each fighting to come out, but none are willing to wait their turn. How strange. Such a rarity, but I wish I had someone to talk to right now. I never want that, and yet, here it is. Someone to talk to. Actually, my friend. I've wanted to talk to him all day, but I've restrained myself. Instead, I spent some time with Michael Moore and Charlton Heston. They may not listen to what I have to say, but they recharge my passion for politics.
Too bad I'm not in the past, working on Whyte. I miss the days of political debate with Amy and Ivan. Sharing POVs with Kris, and feeling ideological. Instead, today, I feel insignificant. Not in a futile way, but somehow, it is comforting. I've lived up to my parents' expectations, and earned them a University degree. The rest; the future.. well now I live for me. Now I get to find my path. Now I get to live the life I never knew I was meant for. Now, I live for me.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
During the day, his cell phone died, for no apparent reason. (I'm fairly certain this -wasn't- the phone that he accidentally dropped in the toilet?) A quick visit to Telus ended his relationship with them in no uncertain terms. When they mentioned the little detail that his contract was over long before he thought it would be, he happily sauntered across the mall to Roger's, where he began getting cozy with his blackberry.
Imagine my surprise when his story didn't end there. While he was sitting at Roger's filling out his new contract, Dad walked into the store. Unbeknownst to Stephen, Dad had decided to stop at Telus on his way home from work. His cell phone has also been encountering problems lately, and he wanted Telus to send it in to be repaired. Telus was happy to do so, but they had no loaner phone to offer him during the interim. Since Dad needs his phone for work purposes, he was unimpressed with the situation. He too, walked across the mall to Roger's hoping for a new phone, new contract, and an improved level of customer service. Running into Stephen was just gravy, since they both ended up getting the same phones, same plans, and were able to keep their same phone numbers.
So, in one day, three Plucers ended up with three unplanned new cell phones.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Instead, I called FIDO right away and put a lock on my phone #. They apparantly have no way of telling me if anyone has been using the phone, but I am responsible for any extra charges that might show up on the next bill. (The Fuckers.)
I ran to the mall and picked up a new phone. Since it's the only way to keep in touch with me - other than Facebook, apparantly - I didn't think it was worth waiting until I get home next weekend.
So, my phone number is the same, but I have no access to my old phone book. If you want to get in/keep in/stay in touch, please call me, email me or send me your numbers via carrier pigeon.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
My first visit to Lora's began normal enough I suppose. I was given the grand tour, where I bore witness to so many objects and relics from Lora's past. The blue sequined desk hanging in the closet.. the dusty trophies from so many years of dance competitions.. the innumerable paintings and artistic creations that poked out of nearly every nook and cranny. It was as though I'd been given a key to the past where so much of her childhood and growing pains were on display for the curious passer-by. Of course, I wasn't so much a passer-by as a nosy-friend-who-wanted-to-snoop- even-though-she-should-have-been-studying.
Our afternoon was spent sitting at the kitchen table, with sun shining down on us through the living room bay windows. Studying came in waves, and then fluttered away into nothingness, leaving Lora to wander back and forth from her room, and me to struggle with my final paper, wishing it would somehow write itself.
At times, our chit-chat got the best of us, detouring us from the task at hand, but somehow we managed to progress through mountains of work. At one point, Lora burst out into a fit of laughter. I thought she'd finally gone crazy on me, but this was only her reaction to rhyming poetry printed across the pages of her history book.
Somehow, the matching syllables enraged her to the point of giddy laughter, and composing her own verse in story-time voices. I'm not sure I share her loathing for rhyming poetry (god knows I just loathe poetry whether it rhymes or not), but her reaction to it was a welcome break from the monotony of my linguistics.
As the temperature outside dropped, and the sun began to fade behind the clouds, Lora's parents came home, and dinner was soon on the table. I told stories of my roommates and future home between tasty mouthfuls of home cooked food. I supported Lora's plans to teach English in Japan, much to her mother's dismay, but that was quickly forgiven.
When our meal came to a close, and our bellies satiated, homework again seemed to represent an unyielding force. I decided to return home, where I could finish my paper amidst my billowy quilt and fuzzy plush dolls. Our farewell, as it were, was not to end my Sherwood Park Adventure. Instead, as Lora and I said goodbye, her mother delivered a packed lunch into my hands. Thus, when the stars are out and my stomach gurgles for food in the wee hours of the night, I will explore the brown paper bag that now sits quietly in my fridge. Until then, Sherwood Park, I say adieu.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Rumour has it, confirmed rumour that is, that the East Asian Department will be moving this fall. No longer will it be in our beloved Old Arts Building. No longer will it be within arm's reach of not one, but two Java Jives. No longer will the sound of organ practices resonate through the halls and offices we've grown so attached to over the course of our undergraduate degrees. Instead, the Department will be moving across campus, to reside in its shiny new academic home.It's interesting that there are articles written in protest for the graduate students that have lived in and loved Pembina. These articles mention the communities that developed within its hallways and under its ancient bricks, and the social networking that existed because of the building's location and proximity to classrooms, eateries, and professors. This is interesting to me, because as disappointed as the graduate students of Pembina's past and present seems to similar to the nostalgia I felt walking through the East Asian Department earlier this afternoon.
Pembina Hall, built in 1914, has stood amidst the University of Alberta's growing campus as one of its proudest building. Known best as its home to graduate students, the University received the Heritage Canada Award (1977) for painstaking renovations which preserved the building's original character - marble flooring, oak paneling, open-beam ceiling, and leaded glass windows. Now, nearly a century after its construction, Pembina Hall is under construction similar to that undergone by its neighbours, Athabasca Hall and Assiniboia Hall, more than two decades ago.
For over 4 years of studying at the University of Edmonton, my home has been in the East Asia Department on the 4th floor of the Old Arts Building. It's within those hallways and behind those office doors where I've made and built lasting friendships, where I've shared in laughter and tears, and where I've formed some of my happiest college memories. Where else could Lora & I have caused such a scandal by asking permission to use a vacant desk so many semesters ago? What other kitchen could have been my secret access portal to coffee, tea and sake? And which other hallway could have seen so many students tip-toeing their way to the Email King's office door to participate in random shenanigans (much to the chagrin of the dragon lady behind the reception desk)?
I'm so fortunate to have had the Department for my university career, and so equally fortunate that I will be graduated before the official move takes place. I'm sure Pembina will have its benefits for the Department and the future students of Japanese and East Asian Studies, but for me, the 4th floor of Arts will always be home.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Finally, at 5:15, after nearly jumping out of my seat to run for the hills, K-sama finally released us from her class. Granted, it was with a sincere "enjoy your summers" but still; we just wanted to get out of there! Dragging Chee by the pully-thing on his knapsack, I led him down the stairs and eventually over to the dreaded PowerPlant with Lora & another girl in tow.
After pulling a few tables together, and joining the crowd that had surrounded a certain elusive professor, who actually referred to himself tonight as the "Email King", Lora, Chee & I found ourselves staring wistfully around the wait-staff-less restaurant. After nearly 20 minutes, and at the suggested behest of the Email King, the three of us trudged off in search of beer. After placing our orders, and sweet talking a waitress into visiting our table a few more times throughout the night, we sat back to celebrate the end of the school year.
Conversations jumped (as they do) from topic to topic, but generally strayed somewhere between talking about The Department, and just general tom-foolery. At one point, I was flipping through the pages of SEE Magazine checking up on movie listings for this weekend, and Chee pointed at a photo on one of the personal ads and exclaimed "that looks like my Mom!". What could I do besides guffaw and then begin the laughter than wouldn't quit all night? The ad he'd pointed to wasn't so much a personal ad as an ad for a late night telephone service, and I'm fairly confidant that the bikini-clad blond bimbo offering to "chat" with us, looks nothing like his Mom. To be sure, I whipped out my camera (thank goodness I never leave home without it) and snapped a picture of Chee and the magazine. I'm pretty sure there's no family resemblance. ;o)
The PowerPlant kicked us out around 7 - I guess they were charging cover for the live band tonight - but not before I'd had the chance to have a decent conversation with the Email King. I got some career advice, some opinions about my future, and finally made arrangements to meet in his office next week, to talk about reference letters. He seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say about The Department and was candid with his answers on the topic. We talked about facebook and ratemyprofessor.com, and the semi-obsessive way that some professors seem to worry about their image among students. And, to my surprise, he seemed curious about what each of us (Lora, Chee & myself) blog about, but only in a mildly interest, and not in the I'm-going-to-rush-home-and-google-you, sort of way.
As the PowerPlant was kicking us out, Neill & Ross, were just arriving, and we quickly decided to head off to another watering hole. The Email King had headed home, but the rest of us made our way towards Earls. The crowd waiting for tables was discouraging, so instead we ended up at Avenue Pizza. Over a couple of pitchers, and the next few hours, I divided my time between encouraging Neill's never-ending sexual euphemisms, and trying to protect Chee's innocence that was slowly being whittled away (amidst various head, foam, jaw and other side-splitting jokes).
When our gathering slowly broke up, I sauntered my way home, stumbling only slightly, but content with the night of celebrating that completed my university career. I still have one paper to write, and a couple of final exams, but classes are done, stress levels are on their way back to normal, and I've managed to nestle my way into a comfortable group of friends that I will have to say goodbye to shortly.
The world, as they say, is as it should be.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
I wonder if he'll be there all night? I can hear the snoring from my room. SMIRK
Friday, April 06, 2007
Today was a good day. For the first time in what feels like forever, I got to be alone.
Not alone in my room with the noisy roommate messing around in the kitchen, and not alone walking down the street with my headphones in, but actually alone.
For three solid hours, there was no roommates, no chaos, no distractions, not even a sound to be heard, and I finally let myself unwind enough to feel comfortable in my own skin.
These last 4 months have been so hard. So fiercely unrelenting that sometimes I have felt as though it has eaten away at any of the happiness I could have found this semester. Friends haven’t been what I remembered them to be, Edmonton hasn’t been the home I thought it was. I don't know if they changed or if it was me, but either way I feel so disconnected from those I need the most.
I miss inspiration.
I miss happiness.
Strangely, I’m feeling really melancholic tonight.
I know that my life is moving forwards, a little faster than I was ready for, and I’m afraid of what's been left behind.
Is it possible that going to Japan was the biggest mistake of my life? How strange that something I dreamt of doing for such a long time ended up messing up so many of the good things.
People always ask me why I don’t want to go back. But how can I answer? How could I make them understand that I cry everytime I think about leaving... everytime I contemplate going back...
I’ve already lost so many of the people I cared about the first time – I’m not strong enough to lose them again.
I feel how distant we are.
I feel that emptiness when we’re together, moreso than when we’re apart.
So many people and faces from the past. Our lives have moved in such opposite directions, that we don’t belong together anymore, and that’s so impossible for my heart to comprehend.
Maybe this silence; this blessed moment of isolation, can help?
Is 3 hours enough to relieve the pain inside my chest?
. . . . .
And as though an invisible stopwatch has been counting down in the distance, I hear a key turning in the front door. My privacy; my seclusion, my shelter will be violated again, and I have no choice but to hide once more.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Today is History. I have to present for 20 minutes or so on the paper I'm supposed to write next week. What is the logic of presenting a paper you haven't written yet? This assignment is ridiculous. This whole class has been a waste of my time and energy. I wish I had more control over the classes I got to take this term, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have chosen any of the 'required' core classes that I got stuck with.
Linguistics. Ugh. The only thing I learned in the entire term was how much I dislike linguistics. We are expected to do our own research, analyze it and put together a presentation (again before writing our paper) and then write a final paper. Did we do anything over the course of the semester to teach us how to accomplish this? Of course not. All we did was read a different journal article for each class and then pick it apart.
Our teacher's favorite line: what are the pedagogical implications of this research find?
The answer? There isn't any. We have no control over curriculum development, and as students, we have no control over individual teaching styles. So what is the purpose of the entire class? I think Neill's got the right idea - renaming the class Impractical Japanese Linguistics.
My politics class hasn't been so rough. But, my prof wants to teach it about as much as I want to be up for a 10 am class every Monday. The semester has been divided up into weekly presentations of different topics and issues, and aside from the week I had to present, I've been able to coast through without doing any of the readings or even paying attention in class. In fact, I'm writing this while sitting in my last Poli Sci lecture. Today we met in the Telus Ctr on campus instead of our usual classroom. It's a pretty sweet conference room - cushy chairs, plug-ins for our computers, and a nice big boardroom conference table that we're all sitting around. Too bad we couldn't have had our classes in here all year.
My head really hurts.
Today's presentation is gonna suck.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
It wasn't on the radio.. but perhaps it was in response to AJ's incessant playing of Kansas "Dust in the Wind" on his PC even though HE'S NOT EVEN HOME. grrr.
Have I mentioned how much I hate living with people?
At least when I ask people if it's April yet, they can finally say YES!