Friday, November 7, 2014

Gardening, Seminars, and Holidays


It is possible I was a bit overzealous in our gardening trip. I may or may not be pinning all my hopes and dreams on these fruits and vegetables growing and thriving... But I have always wanted to have a garden so I figured I might as well go all out. We bought fertilized soil and extra fertilizer as well as a medley of seeds. We also bought a jalapeno plant and parsley, basil, mint, raspberry, and strawberry seedlings. Please, something, grow.

I spent several hours over the past couple weeks weeding the garden bed and found a large rhubarb plant still thriving which I let be but removed everything else (mostly weeds). There was a lot of rain this past week so I figured it would be a good time to plant. Today we marked out what would go where, put down fertilizer, put down some soil, spread the seeds, covered them with a thin layer of soil, then watered. I also transplanted my berry plants to the corner of the bed. Now we wait. If things happen, I will post updates. If it fails, there was never a garden attempt.

Postgraduate Seminars

We spent the past two weeks on-campus in sessions designed to help postgraduate students stay on track, progress through the writing process, network, present their research, finish their paper, and get a job. I wish I had had something like these sessions either at the start of or mid-way through college, because they really encourage you to think beyond the present moment about what your plans are for after you finish. You have to start networking and getting your resume/CV full of the things you'll need before you reach the point you need to seek employment. Even if you think you'll be prepared for the job you want, it doesn't hurt to have backup plans and support for career changes (especially as younger generations can expect to move jobs more frequently).

The first week's sessions were the first time the postgraduate office attempted to do them all together instead of spread out over a year, and everyone agreed it was better this way. We were able to see familiar faces each day and make acquaintances which made the time spent more comfortable and enjoyable. There was a large number of international students as well, and I met students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Sweden, and Canada, which is probably the most exposure to other cultures and accents I've had in one compressed space. It really makes you think twice about things you just assume everyone knows or does.


We had fun carving small butternut pumpkins, although the actual night was a bit of a let-down because we only had one group of kids trick-or-treat, and even then I had to flag them down through the window since they completely missed our pumpkin on the driveway. We ended up driving over to give a bunch of the candy to our previous homestay host's children since they weren't able to go trick-or-treating. I won't say we didn't keep some of the Cadbury chocolates for ourselves...

Guy Fawkes Night

Since we found out that fireworks are legal here (only during this week), we couldn't wait to buy a pack and celebrate the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes Night. The grocery store had them for 50% off the day before, so we bought a $60 Thunderstorm pack for $30. It rained all day so it almost didn't happen, but it finally let up after we started watching the awesome V for Vendetta movie, so at 9:00pm when it was dark we went out into the cold. Super cool! I haven't lit off fireworks since I was little at my grandma's house, and it is still fun. We didn't have the parachuting army soldiers or the black snakes, but we had spinners that whizzed, fountains, sparklers, smoke bombs, screamers, and a few big, loud, traditional fireworks. Can't wait till next year!


Our cat has definitely adjusted to life here, as well as becoming an "old" cat who sleeps under the covers during the day and night. He also enjoys having furniture he can scratch and/or sleep on. He does not provide a good role model for someone trying to get work done.

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