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!