Monday, December 8, 2008

At last!

So today was the last day I needed to be on campus for the semester. (I still have one more final, for Field Methods, but it is a take-home paper that can be turned in online.) The Greek final was... well, not that great, but I think I will manage a decent grade. I wish I had studied that last tense a bit more, though - *sigh*.

We gave a friend from CanIL a ride south with us after the final, since she needed to get to SeaTac to fly home to Vermont. It was quite fun to have another person in the car with us - made the trip go faster.

And now we're home! It feels very, very good - although being pretty much done with the semester still hasn't quite sunk in for me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Very close!

I turned in my last assignment today! It was a backup DVD of all the data I've gathered on Ilocano over the past three months. I even decorated it with a picture from one of our elicitation sessions. It's quite cool.

Now, all I have left is to study for two finals: syntax tomorrow at 9 AM (ugh, too early), and Greek on Monday afternoon. Both will certainly require plenty of studying, but I'm not too worried. And mostly, I'm so very relieved to be so close to done! It's been a wonderful and very challenging semester. I'm ready for a break.

Edited to add: By the way, the end of the semester LACA party was yesterday, and it was a blast! So much delicious Arabic, Karen, and Ilocano food, hilarious in-joke-ful skits and songs, and of course fun with friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Further adventures

Today was our last Language & Culture Acquisition elicitation session. We made chicken adobo under Esther's guidance (oh my goodness, extremely delicious!), and then were evaluated on our ability to have an actual conversation in Ilocano. That was... fun, though I felt like I stumbled on almost every word, and I don't know how good of a grade I'm going to get. But Esther was pleased with our ability to speak, which is encouraging, even if she's just being polite. ;)

About halfway done with the 10-page culture paper that's due tomorrow at midnight. I think I'll finish it, if I can just make myself focus for long enough. (Writing this is only a small diversion, really!) Then there are a few more Field Methods assignments, a revision of my Syntax Language Data Project, two finals, and... am I forgetting anything?

Then a much-needed break!

Oh, and this weekend will help in that department. American Thanksgiving! And a real celebration of Mackenzie's and my birthday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today in our elicitation session, Mackenzie and I asked our LRP to teach us an Ilocano song. Esther had looked for a Christmas carol, but she said the ones she found were really, really long, so she went with a simple little praise song. The English title is "The Lord our God is Good," which is Ti Dios Tay Ket Naimbag in Ilocano.

Esther played the guitar and we sang it through several times, once in English and the rest in Ilocano. It's a beautiful song, and it was just plain amazing to sing it with her.

God knows Ilocano, too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The end is drawing near

The last weeks of the semester are going to be crazy busy. I have a group presentation tomorrow, several final papers to write, several more that I have to edit and put together, a Greek test and the final to study for, the last few weeks of elicitation sessions that have to be prepared for somewhere in there, and a final in Syntax.

In order to stay sane, I will have to use my time well (obvious, I know, but not easy), but also leave room for important non-school things like Mackenzie's and my birthday, and (American) Thanksgiving.

*deep breath* Back to work, so that I don't fall behind...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


...we have a long weekend this weekend (Remembrance Day on Tuesday, and only one class on Monday). Due to scheduling conflicts, we can't go down south. We also have very few classes for the rest of the week!

So... anyone want to come visit?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tourist activities

After church today, Mackenzie and I finally made a trip into Fort Langley, the picturesque historical part of Langley. Even though the weather wasn't great (it's November now, so that means gray, rainy, blustery days!), it was a lot of fun. I can tell it would be a cool place to spend quite a bit of time.

We went into the Ruby Slipper, a fun little candy shop that specializes in crafting specialty chocolates, and also sells a decent variety of British chocolate and confections as well! That, as you may have guessed, was the main reason we wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, they don't have jelly babies, but they do have Turkish delight, Cadbury's dark chocolate, an Australian candy bar called Violet Crumble, and a lot of other things that didn't appeal to us as much (like nougat, licorice candies, etc.). Mackenzie and I now have some tasty-sounding treats to try out later.

Then we took a short walk down to the river (the Fraser River), just to take a look. Again, even in the gray and the rain, it was beautiful! There's still plenty of fall foliage on the trees, as well. I was touristy and took a few pictures, which are at the end of the album in that link. On the way to and from the river, we also window-shopped a bit and decided which restaurants we'd like to check out sometime.

So, next time friends or family visit, if we can find a good place to park in case of weather that prevents much walking, Fort Langley is definitely a place we'd like to take you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Another cultural observation

I'm pretty sure Canadians (or at least British Columbians) care a lot more about Halloween in general than do most Americans with whom I am familiar. I'm used to elementary school-aged kids dressing up and going trick-or-treating or going to a harvest festival, and I'm used to carving jack-o-lanterns and all that. But up here, it seems like a whole lot more: store clerks were almost all dressed up, and people in our neighborhood went all-out decorating their houses for Halloween - some more tackily than others! And all the radio announcers (except maybe on the Christian station) were wishing their listeners happy Halloween, and playing appropriate music - such as the theme from "Ghostbusters", and Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Back in Washington, radio stations might mention the holiday once or twice on the actual day (not several days leading up to it), and might play a few Halloween-ish songs.

Also, on the news on Halloween night, the news anchors mentioned that police would be out in force to make sure that fireworks/firecrackers (?!) didn't get out of hand, and that there had already been an incident. I mean, I guess sometimes teenagers go overboard on the whole "trick" side of "trick-or-treat" back home - and probably moreso in other cities than my home city - but not so much that it's generally mentioned on the news as a state-wide thing.

And of course, since Canadians have already had their Thanksgiving, they start thinking about Christmas early on in November to an even greater extent than most Americans, I think. I know that stores start putting out their Christmas decorations quite early in the States, too, but since there is still a holiday for us between Halloween and Christmas, we might still be slightly more delayed on switching to the Christmas season than our neighbors to the north.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A first time

I am voting in my first presidential election today. In Canada. (By absentee ballot, of course.)

I feel patriotic. That's not sarcastic, though of course it is slightly odd to have this first while I am a resident in another country!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Checking in

I figured it's been a while since I've posted an entry, so I'll do a brief update.

School's going pretty well. I had a Greek test that I think went decently - I actually did some significant studying beforehand, which is generally helpful. Heh. Language elicitation sessions have been going well, too. Ilocano has some really interesting grammatical things going on that will be challenging to tease apart, but it's a fun puzzle.

The weather has been alternating between gorgeous, clear, crisp days and cloudy, drizzly days, which is normal fall weather as far as I'm concerned. The autumn leaves are simply amazing around here, and it's always uplifting to drive to and from school with so much beauty all around.

Had a few more days of work, and the job is still okay. Today I'll be working four hours, which will hopefully not be either too exhausting or too dull. I'm slightly irritated that my longest shift so far is on a Saturday - severely cutting into the weekend downtime that I really do need - but oh, well. I have scheduled in some non-schoolwork time this weekend, so that will maybe balance it out.

Though I'm still enjoying classes and my classmates quite a bit, I'm also getting increasingly ready for the semester break. It's not too far away! And there is still American Thanksgiving to look forward to, even though we (of course) don't get days off from school for it. And a birthday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Language learning awesomeness

Today in elicitation session, Mackenzie and I decided to elicit numbers and colors. We had been given broad hints that colors in Ilocano are quite different from colors in English - and so it is! Ilocano only has four colors: black, white, red, and yellow. Things like blue, purple, and green are all called "not very black," and things like orange and pink are called "not very red." Whoa! Our LRP said that they now have borrowed words for "brown" and "green"... but it's just mind-bending to think that to an Ilocano speaker who has never learned English or another language with more color terms, the sky and the grass are both "not very black."

The different ways speakers of different languages look at the world are just plain fascinating.

(Numbers, by the way, are fairly straightforward. You count to ten, and eleven is "ten plus one," etc., and twenty is "two tens.")

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


In today's elicitation session, our LRP brought us a special Filipino dessert, made with sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and condensed milk, then brown sugar, then coconut strings and more condensed milk on top, before it's baked in the oven. It was delicious, though very rich. Then we recorded her telling us how to make a dish called chicken adobo, in both Ilocano and English (our task was to record a 2 to 3 minute text). That sounds delicious, as well. I'm looking forward to a future group cultural elicitation session where we'll all make Filipino food together.

And as a last food-related note, Mackenzie and I are going to try to make a pumpkin pie to take to our friend's house on Friday for her Thanksgiving celebration. It's the first time we've made one by ourselves, so we'll see how it works. If it ends up looking not fit to take to a friend's house, maybe we'll bring it home. ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Cross-Cultural Experience of Sorts

Today's chapel speaker was a woman who helped found Healing the Culture. She spoke extremely well and extremely passionately, but I'll get back to more on that in a bit. When Mackenzie and I heard last week that the speaker was going to be someone from a pro-life organization, we experienced some culture shock. See, even though we've been raised in a family and church environment that are definitely pro-life, we've also only gone to public schools. And especially at UW, the state school in the middle of ultra-liberal Seattle, that meant constant exposure to pro-choice sentiment... so to have a pro-life speaker at school - even though it's a Christian school - took us a while to get used to. Also, unfortunately, most of our prior exposure to pro-life activists/activism has come in the form of people ranting about it or holding signs with pictures of dead babies, which doesn't inspire confidence in a movement dedicated to "promote a culture of life," as the Healing the Culture website says.

However, as I mentioned, Camille Pauley - who is actually based in Seattle! - spoke very well, simply, and with a great deal of passion (but not ranting, by any stretch). I found myself agreeing with just about everything she said - except a very small section where her Catholic beliefs diverge from my Protestant beliefs. All in all, it was a very valuable thing to hear. I wish she'd had more time to speak, and I think this organization is definitely going about it in the right way. As a plus, when I looked at the website, none of their endorsements are from ultra-right wing fundamentalists (or at least not the one in particular I was fearing).

On another topic, some more cultural observations about Canada:
1) Canadians often celebrate their Thanksgiving earlier in the weekend, and then leave the actual Monday that is a holiday as a time to relax. Interesting!
2) I am still not used to this construction, which not all Canadians use but is obviously acceptable grammar here: "When you're done the workbook, we'll move on to... etc." It's just so strange to me that they don't think it's necessary to have a "with" in there! I think this also possibly occurs in some areas of the States, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, things are still going well. It's getting to the point in the semester that all of my classmates and I do really want a break, though - good thing it's almost (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Every now and then, while I'm doing homework or between classes at school, I remind myself to step back and think about what this is all for. Why am I doing all these classes? Why am I learning how to learn Ilocano (in addition to actually learning it), why am I learning Greek declensions - especially the really hard third declension? Why am I learning how to accurately transcribe and enter data into a lexicon?

It's not just because it's really amazingly fun - most of the time - or because it's helping me understand more about language in general... though those things are true.

It's because someday soon, I will be using this information and these skills as part of a team of people working to bring the Word of God into a language that has never had it before.

9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The end of the first month approaches...

Wow, that went quite fast!

Things are really starting to get busy here. I have a 10-page paper due tomorrow at 10pm (why am I not writing it right now, you ask? Well, because... I... oh, look over there!), which I'd like to finish before classes start for the day, so I can then move to concentrating on my Greek homework. Thankfully, there's not as much of that this week. Then of course I have my usual elicitation sessions to prepare for, and Ilocano data to listen to, enter into the dictionary program, and use to begin to figure out a phonology of the language. Also, I'm sure there are some course readings I need to do... ahem.

I have had two shifts of work. It's quite physically demanding: I set up dividers in the cafeteria for a private event on Saturday morning, and put them away yesterday while Mackenzie moved the tables and chairs back to their normal positions. Those dividers are quite heavy, and sometimes they really don't want to go back into storage. But I think the job will be okay. I'm just a little worried that since it's so taxing, it wouldn't be a great idea to have many hours of it per week, in addition to all my coursework. In turn, that would mean I'm not earning as much money as I'd like to, for things like rent and gas money. Hmm. By next semester, it'd be nice if I could be a TA instead.

Mackenzie and I have pretty much decided that we'll be going to the E Free church that's quite near Trinity (and thus not far from us). We went again today on this surprisingly beautiful Sunday morning, this time to the service with more students. It was very good: good music, a good sermon, and fellowship afterward. It would be nice to join a small group there, though we're both a bit disappointed that no CanIL students seem to go there.

Lunch time! And then I should really get back to that paper.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another brief cookie-related post

Tonight's experiment was chocolate HobNobs, which we got from the local IGA (a grocery store that seems to be rather like a bigger, fancier Safeway). The verdict? Quite delicious! Not nearly as sweet as Tim Tams, but that's what I expected based on their description. They were good both by themselves and dipped in milk, and I imagine they would also be tasty with tea or coffee. I love oatmeal cookies, and these are like a drier, crispier version of those. I bet I would also like the plain ones, though I would definitely need a beverage to go along with them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time for a school update

Mackenzie and I have now had our first LACA (Lang. & Culture Acquisition) elicitation session. Those are quite different than the Field Methods sessions - you have to have a concrete lesson plan with an overall topic relating to more than just generating vocab. Our topic for our first session was actions and describing pictures. It went pretty well, though Mackenzie and I were quite tired from staying up late doing homework (and the session is already in the mid-afternoon), so it wasn't quite as energetic of a session as others have been.

Before that, we also had our first group elicitation session (for Field Methods), with the married couple who is also learning Ilocano. It was a lot of fun! Our FM teacher helped us out, since it was the first group session. He did a kind of monolingual demonstration, holding up a rock or a flower or a bigger rock and saying the name of the object in a language that no one else in the room knew, and then our LRP said the word in Ilocano. Then we all started combining the words with simple actions like "give", and trying to figure out how to say "bigger rock" or "two rocks", etc. Our LRP also enjoyed watching us all act out words or actions. Hee!

There was also the first relatively big test in Greek. Despite studying a fair amount I hadn't quite memorized all the forms of the definite article - Biblical Greek has a different form of "the" for feminine, masculine, singular/plural, and four different cases! - so I knew I wasn't going to get a perfect score. But I did manage to remember more than I thought I would, especially when I got to the translation part of the test. At the end of the class period (it's long enough that the TA has enough time to grade everything during class, which is kind of nice), it turned out that I got a pretty good grade. And I am getting all the cases and paradigms memorized, so that's good!

Today's regular Field Method elicitation session went very well. Not only did we have a good time acting out simple words like "push," "pull," "eat," and "drink" (and I think our LRP enjoyed guessing what word we were acting out, too!), we had a fun conversation - in English, not Ilocano yet - about snakes and spiders, and whether or not we found those particular animals scary.

Unfortunately, after the session, Mackenzie and I found out that not all of the words we tried to record ended up actually being recorded. Sigh. The little MP3 recorder that we used is apparently quite tricky, even though we really tried to make sure it was working correctly. Oh, well - at least we have transcriptions for all of the words.

Sorry for the somewhat jargon-y post! Hope it wasn't too boring.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Commonwealth... a good thing. Why, you ask? Because it means that Canadian grocery stores carry food items that you most likely wouldn't be able to find in North America if it weren't for Canada's ties to the UK.

Mackenzie and I have heard from our online friends who live in the UK and Australia that we must try certain biscuits/cookies. The main ones are Pims, Tim Tams, and HobNobs. Safeway in Seattle carried Pims, so we tried them and found them pretty tasty. Today, Mackenzie and I bought Tim Tams. They are delicious. They're like a Twix bar, only no caramel, much more cookie-ish, smoother, and just really light and pleasant. It has been recommended that we try them with tea or another hot beverage, which I think would work very nicely.

Next shopping trip, we'll try HobNobs.

Edited: Apparently they are available in the US, but not nearly as readily so - in world trade stores and the like. I bet they're more expensive there. ;)
Edit 2: Weird... this was supposed to be posted yesterday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First elicitation session!

Today was the first session with the LRP (Language Resource Person) for Mackenzie and me. We had been feeling relatively okay about the whole thing before LACA this morning (man, I feel like I should have a key with all the acronyms I'll be using - that's Language & Culture Acquisition), in which we delved into what was expected in each session more deeply. That was, ironically, what made Mackenzie and me start to feel like panicking. I felt so unprepared and like I was going to freeze up and not be able to gather the data we need - and Mackenzie felt the same way. Fortunately, we had several hours between the class and the elicitation session. So we spent almost all that time preparing, and could feel much less nervous when the time actually came.

And it was fantastic! Our LRP is extremely nice, friendly, and very sharp. She also has experience doing this, which is always helpful. :) We got a lot more data than we'd thought, and although the recorder ended up having some issues such that we didn't record one of the short lists of vocab, that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Also, I think my first data notebook entry is quite messy, but that will get better with time and experience. Ilocano seems like a really cool language (but aren't they all??), and I'm really excited to keep learning it and learning about the culture - as well as getting to know our LRP better! We did get a chance to chat a bit while we were taking a break from our actual data gathering, and I look forward to that kind of thing for next time, too.

Oh, and by the way... Mackenzie and I have jobs now! We both will be working on campus, helping set up & take down for conferences & meetings as needed. All I have to do is get a Social Insurance Number card (sort of like a Social Security card) and turn in some paperwork, and it's official. Yay!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Life Tastes Different in Canada"

Elise came up to visit this weekend, which was a lot of fun. We caught up, chatted, laughed, went swimming, ate Canadian Oreos (excitement!), and watched The Princess Bride for the millionth time. We also caught a bit of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, which none of us had ever seen before. Seems like a fun show! It's clear that the guys on it take any excuse possible to blow stuff up - naturally. ;)

The title of the blog entry (very deep, isn't it?) is in reference to the fact that Mackenzie and I have tried two different varieties of Life cereal while we've been here, and even the one that looks the most like the normal version in the States doesn't taste the same. It sounded like a good title to us all this weekend, so I said I'd use it on my blog. Hee.

It was a very, very good way to start off the week, all in all... though of course too short.

The second week of Greek was much, much less draining than the first. I'm sure it helped hugely that Mackenzie and I were fully prepared for class this time. This time, it ended up more like the feeling after you finish exercising: tired, but only an appropriate amount for how much effort you just expended on a fun activity. I know it might sound crazy, but I love learning languages in a classroom environment. While things like paradigms and declensions, and how they tie into case, seemed more than slightly confusing when I just read about them in the textbook, the way it was laid out in class was very clear. (Now I just need to memorize it all!) And it is just so cool whenever one of the exercises in the workbook or that we work on in class is translating a verse directly from Greek.

Yep, I love Bible translation.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Mackenzie and I went to the nearest Superstore today, to try it out and to stock up on more than just a usual shopping trip's worth of groceries. The verdict? It's awesome - almost everything is vastly cheaper, and it's Costco-like in its selection (and the niceness of the store). You don't have to be a member, though you do have to bag your own groceries. But that's fine; we had to do that in Paris, too. Things like cheese and cereal aren't really any cheaper, but overall, we both think it's worth the extra distance if we plan well so that we don't have to go out there too often. (It's not too far away, but much more so than the other grocery store.) And it's very nice to have stocked up on fresh vegetables, more variety of pasta, and other good stuff. I also bought a 2-liter bottle of lychee-flavored pop, because it was only 98 cents and was very intriguing.

Now, to make dinner, and try the exotic pop. ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One week down

So today marks the end of my first complete week of grad school. Right now, I still feel excited and energetic, in general (that last part might be because I took a nap yesterday), and I think I can do well if I can just keep on top of all the various things I have to do. Another lingering worry is that I haven't heard back about any of the jobs I applied for, even though I have kept in contact with the job offer-ers as best as I can. I bet there are still positions open in food services, but I more than kind of wanted to move away from that. I guess we'll see.

Anyway, things to do: begin the first Syntax language data project, finish Greek assignment for Monday (memorize vocab, do workbook, read chapters), read the rest of the LACA (Lang. & Culture Acquisition) readings, mentally prepare for the first meeting with Language Resource Person(!!!!), physically prepare by doing tutorials for the sound editing programs we'll be using.

Oh, by the way, I ended up choosing to do Ilocano, which is the Philippines language that I mentioned before. It helped that some second-year students said that they really enjoyed doing it, and that the LRP is really nice. I think she actually works at CanIL.

Still been really awesome to eat lunch in the CanIL common room. We met a bunch of our Norwegian classmates today, and chatted with them. They seem to be a friendly and intelligent lot.

Notes about Canada, and where Mackenzie & I are living in particular:
1. When we go back to Washington to visit and for the semester break, it's going to seem like speed limits are insanely fast. Our neighborhood and all the roads in the Walnut Grove area (at least the parts we frequent so far, and of course not including Highway 1) never have higher speed limits than 60 kph, which is less than 45 mph. Most are under 50 kph, which is around 35 mph. So slow!
2. Macaroni & cheese (the kind that comes in a box) is mostly known as Kraft Dinner here. Even the non-Kraft brand has to have the word "dinner" in the name. But apparently that's how Kraft originally marketed it in the US, too - according to Wikipedia. Weird!

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Monday of class

I had to wait until I'd eaten dinner and taken some time to decompress before I started composing this. Whoa. That was a long, brain-draining school day... in the best possible way! Mostly just the last class of the day, since it's three hours long. More on that later.

Today was the first day of Language & Culture Acquisition. This is Mackenzie's and my only class that meets with the ling undergrads, so it's also the biggest: around 35 students and three TAs. The teacher seems really cool and has a great sense of humor - to illustrate what language learning is not going to be like, he played the "I would like to buy a hamburger" scene from the new Pink Panther movie. Hee!

This is the second class for which we'll be learning a language (either Ilokano - a Filipino language, Arabic, or Karen) from a Language Resource Person (sort of conversation partner). In this class, we're not analyzing the grammar of the language as much - that's Field Methods. But it's nice that the classes fit together so much and so well. And I'm really glad they want us to pick just one option to use in both classes; it'd be insane to try to do both Arabic and Karen, for example!

We started out the class by writing down four questions that we thought we could easily ask someone, other than "What's your name?" Then we were told to pick a partner who we didn't know very well, and attempt to ask them those questions without the use of language - only gestures or simple drawings. It was quite fun, and amusing to watch and listen to. :) But as is becoming usual, the courseload sounds like it's going to require a lot of effort, as well as time management. I guess grad school is a good time to learn that skill... heh.

Lunch was had in the CanIL common room again. I hope that stays a tradition! It's so fun to talk to classmates and program-mates about linguistics, and whatever other random topics we come up with. Mackenzie and I tried the instant kimchee noodle bowls that are for sale there (along with a lot of other food options, don't worry), and found them pretty good. It mostly just tasted like spicy instant noodles. I have no idea if real kimchee would taste similar!

While waiting for the next class to start (a few hours), we spent more time in the computer lab, making sure to mix in some homework with the general surfing the internet. ;) Greek started at 2:30, in the building right next to the CanIL building. It only meets once a week, for three hours in the afternoon, theoretically for people in the surrounding community who want to get seminary type degrees and may not have time to go to a course meeting more than that often. This particular class is pretty small, but there is one other girl in it other than Mackenzie and I who is pursuing an MLE, which is nice. She has an advantage over us, though, since she took classical Greek one year in undergrad, and M and I have not taken any before today.

The class was extremely fascinating and cool, though M and I both wished we'd read the syllabus online to see that we were supposed to have read chapters 1-4 of the textbook before today. It might have been nice to have been slightly more familiar with the Greek alphabet and whatnot before actually starting right in, but oh well. It worked out. And I can already tell how awesome it would be to be able to read the New Testament in its original language... and how useful that would be in translating it. However, we were both severely brain-drained after the class got out, so much so that I couldn't even bear to listen to the French language radio station on the way back because I couldn't deal with hearing another non-English language!

So I still don't know whether I'll be sticking with it. I'd love to - it's fascinating, like I said, and I don't think feeling that mentally exercised and tired one day a week would be too bad. But the thing is, I don't know that it would end up being just one day a week, once the other courses really reach their busy points. Can I memorize 50 vocab words and prepare for various quizzes each week, as well as doing the language projects for Field Methods & Lang. & Culture Acquisition, and the slightly smaller language projects for Syntax & Semantics? I think it's possible, and it has been done before. Need to think about it more.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


So my change when I paid for groceries today was $8 something. I was briefly quite confused as to why the only bill I got was a 5.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pictures from San Juan trip

Here is a link to the pictures I took on our trip.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First day of class

... And incidentally, due to somewhat wacky scheduling, also the last day of class for the week, since I don't have any Friday classes!

Anyway. This grad school thing? Is going to be awesome. Hard work, for sure, but awesome. I can't express how cool it is to be in a building full of people who all have the same passions as I do, including the teachers.

First class was Field Methods, taught by one of Dad's former students. This sounds like it's going to be a lot of work - gathering data from a native speaker of one of three non Indo-European languages (in other words, not closely related to English), figuring out what sounds they have in that language, doing a rudimentary phonology (figure out which sounds are important to native speakers), and composing a theory about one aspect of the language, as well. The three language choices are a language from the Philippines with a really long name that I've forgotten (not Tagolog), Karen, and Arabic. I'm a little hesitant to choose Karen, despite some family connections, because it's tonal. But we'll see.

After that class, we chatted a bit with the teacher, who is extremely nice. Then, since we had plenty of time before our next class, we checked out the collegium - basically a really nice student lounge - that's available for ACTS students, and then got our student IDs. My picture is at least a bit better than the one I had for my UW ID, so that's good. ;) Next, we decided to check out the CanIL lounge. It's also very nice, and full of awesome people. We met a lot of new friends, both further on in their degrees and our same year. We also shared in a lot of awesomely nerdy linguistics jokes. Yay! :)

After a quick stop at the library to get the ID card activated, we spent some time in the CanIL computer lab before our next class. We did a lot of ice breakers in Syntax & Semantics, so I feel like I know all of my classmates at least a little bit. They all seem cool, and as usual, come from a very wide variety of places, from other areas of Canada & the US, to South Korea, Romania, and Norway. The professor is from the UK, so I especially enjoy hearing her accent. :) And she is also very nice, with a great sense of humor.

The only question brought up by class today was whether or not Mackenzie and I should drop Greek. We'll already be doing a lot of language learning in Field Methods and Language & Culture Acquisition, so adding another whole language on top of it was not recommended to us. But the teacher for Field Methods suggested we try one day of Greek (first class meeting is on Monday) and see what we think. If we drop it, we might add Ethnography to our schedules, which would also be cool.

So yeah - I think this whole thing will be really, really fun, if I just keep on top of all the work I have to do. I guess it's a good thing that the on-campus jobs I applied for mostly only offer less than 10 hours a week!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back again, and much more ready to start school

So, the trip to the San Juan islands was lovely, if far too short. Got to spend good time with family, see a wide variety of wildlife and spectacular views, and travel on ferries (pictures to come later). That's the short version.

Longer version? Mackenzie and I drove down to Anacortes from Langley on Tuesday afternoon. No trouble at the border, no trouble following the directions from Dad and from the WA State Ferries website. Mom & Dad met us at the terminal. It was too dark to see much scenery on the ferry ride over to San Juan, but it was still a fun trip. Then it was absolutely pitch black when we arrived on the island, so much so that driving on the long, windy road to the vacation house was a bit scary. We did see a fox and a deer on the way there, though!

Inside the house, we were greeted with a much less awesome type of wildlife, in the form of two gigantic spiders. Thankfully, Dad killed them both. ;) We were all rather tired by this point, so it didn't take long for us to all head off to bed.

The next morning, we all realized exactly how beautiful the views from the house were! There are lots and lots of windows, all over the house, so that each bedroom has excellent views. Even though the day started off a bit cloudy, it was still gorgeous.

When Isaac & Andrea arrived, we all just chatted for a while, which was good. :) Then we went into town - all six of us in Mom & Dad's Golf, which was a tight fit! - and windowshopped. Friday Harbor is a fun town. Mackenzie and I each got a little square of fancy French dark chocolate Grand Noir 85% cacao for 40 cents each, and also some curry paste so we can learn to make curry (and also just add some spice to our cooking in general). We all also spent a good while looking at Native American and First Nation art in one shop. Really cool stuff.

We tried to look at a lighthouse on the way back, but we couldn't find the turnoff/parking lot with a path that actually led to it. There was a nice little view point that we stopped at, though, to take pictures.

Oh! I almost forgot - Isaac found an old Atari system in the game room/closet at the house. After some trouble setting it up, we played some classic, classic games - older than us! - such as Pacman, Asteroids, Missile Command, and Space Invaders. Good times! I'd never actually used a joystick before. Hee.

Another highlight of the day was taking pictures as the sun set behind the house. Not only did we all get some beautiful views of the surrounding water and islands, but we also saw a large purple jellyfish that had gotten caught near shore. None of us could tell whether it was still alive, since it was moving but that might just have been with the tide, but it was very pretty. Isaac tried to steer it back out to sea, but it just drifted back in a few feet further down the shore. Oh, well...

Unfortunately, Mackenzie and I had to leave relatively early the next morning so that we could get back to Langley in time to do important school-related things on campus. So we said our goodbyes at the ferry terminal the next morning and walked on. This time, of course, it was daytime, so we could watch the scenery as we made our way back to Anacortes. It was beautiful, even if we didn't see any whales. :) And it wasn't hard to get back to I-5 once we arrived there, which was nice! In fact, we only worried that we'd gotten lost once we were back in Langley, since we ended up taking a different road than usual to get back to our neighborhood. But it all worked out.

At campus, we managed to catch the last half of the CanIL orientation, and then we met a classmate afterwards who also needed to do things like get her ID, set up insurance, etc., so we went together. She's actually also from Washington, though much further south than I've ever really been. But we did get textbooks, insurance, and I got my parking pass, which eased our minds about actually starting school tomorrow! Also, we met the wife of one of our teachers, who knows Dad from way back.

All in all, a very satisfying couple of days. Class starts tomorrow, bright and early - 8:20 AM! Sigh. ;)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 3: Labour Day

Man, hopefully this blog will get more interesting once school starts. ;) I'm sure it will.

So in honor of Labor Day, Mackenzie and I have just completed our day's strenuous task: to call the library guy at TWU and leave a message so we can set up a time to be interviewed for the circulation desk assistant position for which we're both applying. Of course, since it is Labor Day, there was no one there, or we could have actually maybe talked to him instead of leaving a message. But oh well.

Now, the next item of business is getting ready to drive back down to Washington, to spend a few days with our family in the San Juans. Should be quite fun, though there won't be any internet. So this may be my last entry... for a few days.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 2 continued

So the shower actually was tricky. Good, I'm glad we weren't just blind - and I'm also glad it's not broken, since I'm sure it wouldn't have been repaired for a while, what with it being Sunday and tomorrow being Labo(u)r Day.

We also met our landlady's daughter, who heard we were trying out churches in the area and invited us to go with her and her husband to the Evangelical Free church in Ft. Langley next Sunday. Apparently, it's going to be a big outdoor service to kick off the year! Should be cool.

Day 2 so far

I slept pretty well on my shiny new (satin, so they are literally shiny) sheets, and woke up at 8:30 to have plenty of time to get ready in time to walk to the local Lutheran church, which has a 10:30 service.

The only wrinkle so far with the basement suite is that Mackenzie and I can't figure out how to work the shower head. (It may actually be broken, or we may just be clueless. Either way, we'll talk to our landlady after lunch.) So we ended up taking sort of baths this morning, for the first time in a really long time. But hey, at least it worked all right.

Oh - while eating breakfast this morning, we noticed that not only do they translate all the nutrition facts and stuff on the cereal box into French, they also translate Rice Krispies' "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" into French! The version a la francais is "Cric! Crac! Croc!" Hee.

We were both slightly nervous to see if the Lutheran church was more conservative than we're used to - as in, would we be the only women who weren't wearing a dress? - but we decided on the walk over that if so, we would just take the attitude that this is after all a "foreign" country, so we could just use differences in local custom as our excuse. ;) The walk is not far at all, and the weather was absolutely beautiful.

As soon as we arrived in the parking lot (which was nicely full), we saw that we wouldn't be the only women wearing pants, which was a relief. :) The church has recently gotten a new facility built, and it's very pleasant. A cool surprise upon entering the sanctuary: our friend from KCC, Kristina, was there! So we sat next to her and her friends.

The service was very good. It's clearly meant to be inter-generational, since we sang both hymns and more current worship songs, including my absolute favorite Michael W. Smith song (Agnus Dei). The sermon was good, as well, and it only took Mackenzie and me a little while to get used to how the pastor said "about" and "been." I think it'll take longer to get used to "again" and "against", for some reason. Maybe because that's not as big a part of the stereotype Americans have for Canadian accents. We also noticed that his accent got a little stronger when he started talking about where he's from - Saskatchewan.

Another plus about the sermon was that he showed a clip from The Fellowship of the Ring to illustrate how when one person takes on a big goal - like Frodo accepting the responsibility of taking the Ring to Mordor - other people might just join in to help. And even though there were some minor technical difficulties in showing the clip (just like home!), it made Mackenzie and me quite happy... and also made us want to watch the movies again. Hee. But more importantly, we decided that we certainly wouldn't mind coming back to that church again, though we do want to try other ones that were either recommended to us or looked good when we looked around for churches near this house.

Now, time for lunch. More later.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Random discovery

From change that I received from various American businesses by mistake in the past couple of weeks, I have now discovered 36 cents in Canadian money! I should invest this...

Move-in day

So Mackenzie and I made it up to Langley today, and we're all moved in! Well, we forgot a few things, but they weren't too essential, thankfully. I think. Ahem.

Anyway! We drove up in two cars today - Mackenzie and I with our parents and our brother. We got a later start than we'd planned, but that's pretty much business as usual with our family, and we didn't have a defined appointment with our landlady either, so no big deal. The trip up was smooth, and the border wait wasn't too bad. And even the process of getting student visas was surprisingly smooth! They just wanted to see our passports and the documents that Trinity had told us they'd need. They didn't even charge us a fee, and had them ready in about 10-15 minutes. Nice!

Then we moved in all our boxes at our new place, and the landlady went over a few more things with us. We also met her granddaughter, who is about one year old and is adorable. Her son-in-law showed us how to use all the numerous remotes we're going to need for the entertainment system (!!) and made sure our internet connection was working all right - both very important things. Hee. Then the whole family went out for dinner at A&W - darn good root beer! Interestingly, this was the first time Mackenzie and I had eaten at an A&W. Kind of reminds me of how we had our first ever Big Macs at a McDonald's in Thailand. We just have to be non-traditional, I guess!

The last stop of the day was picking up some groceries at a nearby store, which will hold us over for a while though they were much more expensive than we'd been expecting. It will be a while before the novelty of seeing all the writing on packages, signs, etc. in both English and French will wear off for me, I think. Good for keeping me literate in French, too!