Thursday, December 3, 2009

The end is near, once again!

The end of the semester, that is. But this time, it's more significant.

Mackenzie and I are going home for Christmas break on either the 11th or the 12th - either of which are so very close! Despite the fact that I have a lot to do still especially in my online course, I can't help but not feel too anxious, because break is so very close! I'm really looking forward to it. And also, I have been granted an extension for that online course, which definitely helps with the not-stressing thing.

Also, the first tuition payment for next semester is due tomorrow. Thanks to loans and financial aid, that will not be a problem, but the main thing is, this is the last time I will be paying tuition. Very possibly forever!

It is a weird, weird thing to contemplate the fact that this time next year, I will not be in school. In fact, I will not have been in school for quite some time. Life without school will be quite a change.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sometimes you learn things from the strangest of places

Last night after dinner, the Americans in the house who are part of our dinner club were treated to a Canadian specialty that we'd never had before: Laura Secord chocolates. They're apparently quite famous in Canada, but can't be found (or at least not commonly) in the US. Though the chocolate I had was delicious - some kind of tasty raspberry liqueur-type thing - it seems somewhat obvious why you don't get them in the States.

See, Laura Secord was a Canadian hero during the War of 1812. (As my sister and I were reflecting last night, we hardly learned anything about that war in our history classes! Maybe because it wasn't all glorious for the US.) She's particularly remembered for a Paul Revere-like journey to warn the British about a planned American attack. Her actions, as you can read in the above link, led directly to a decisive defeat of the Americans by the British forces at the Battle of Beaver Dams. (Incidentally, is there a more Canadian-sounding name than that? Heh.) This, in turn, helped lead to the end of the war itself.

It just seemed very odd to be eating chocolates from a company named after a famous Canadian who was anti-American. Now, I still don't know much about the War of 1812 - though I think I'll read up a bit on it now - but even so, it was an interesting experience. A reminder that though we are quite similar, Canada and the US are in fact separate countries with quite distinct histories.

ETA: Interestingly, Wikipedia makes no mention of Laura Secord or that battle in its entire article on the War of 1812.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yay, linguistics!

Over the past couple of weeks, Mackenzie and I have noticed yet another interesting difference between American and Canadian English. This difference has only occurred with a few Canadians we've heard speaking. It might have taken longer for us to pinpoint if we hadn't both taken that seminar on intonation in our last year of undergrad.

So as background: perhaps you have noticed (perhaps faintly) that in many dialects of British English, question intonation is quite different from most dialects of American English. It would be easier to get this with graphic representation, but I'm not skilled in that area, so I'll try to describe it as clearly and as non-wordily as possible.

American yes/no questions normally have rising intonation at the very end of the sentence. Imagine (if you are American or probably if you are Canadian, as well) saying a sentence like, "Do you have a cell phone?"
The rising intonation at the end is one way we signal that it's a question rather than a statement.

For many dialects of British English, yes/no question intonation has a rise earlier in the sentence, and then it falls again, and then rises a little bit at the very end. If you can imagine a British person saying, "Do you have a mobile?" (since they wouldn't say "cell phone"), you might be able to imagine this different intonation.

The whole point is, a few people at the house where we're living - including the lady who owns the house and who actually lives in northern BC - often say yes/no questions with this same British intonation! I wonder if it is a holdover from the days of British colonization... and yet the US was a British colony in the past, and I've never heard that intonation from a native-born US citizen.

Anyway. I thought it was pretty interesting!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The rainy season has arrived

Which is to say, we have now reached that part of fall where one doesn't expect to see much more of the clear, crisp blue sky, and one does expect to see a lot of rain and wind. I bet we will still have a few more sunny days, since the leaves haven't completely turned yet, but 'tis also the season for raincoats and umbrellas.

A lot has happened since my last post. Most importantly, my grandmother has gone to be with her Lord after several days of failing health. I'm very grateful that Mackenzie and I had the chance to go home and spend some time with her and with family. I'm also going to miss her.

We also had the chance to decompress a little bit by going to see Snow Patrol in concert this past Wednesday night in Seattle. That was awesome and beyond my expectations.

Now, I should probably get down to some of the homework I haven't been doing because of all these things. Thankfully, my professors are very understanding and have given us some extra time, along with their sympathy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I seem to like posting on Sundays

I've got my first Greek test of the semester tomorrow. It's not a major thing, I don't think - all four of the quizzes together make up 20% of the grade in the class - but still, Greek tests are stressful. I have done a somewhat decent amount of studying, but more must be done.

The service at Ft. Langley today was very good. I'm still very much enjoying the Ephesians sermon series. The pastor has recommended we all read through the entire book at least a few times every week; I can already tell that will be really cool to do, if I can just remember to do it. (Heh.)

During the worship time today, there were a few people in the row behind me who were Korean, and didn't speak or read much English. There was one guy who was very enthusiastic about trying to sing along to the worship songs, even though he didn't know them. He could get the tune reasonably well (most of the time), but he couldn't read the words on the projection screen. I thought it was pretty cool, though, that when we got to songs that said "Hallelujah" or "Hosanna," he could sing along there just fine. I wonder if those words (and others like them, such as "Amen") are transliterated and adopted into the worship lexicon of every language.

Well, I think I'm gonna go make oatmeal cookies, and then do some more studying.

Oh! I almost forgot: today I finally finished my Wycliffe application and sent it in. It's hard to describe how excited this makes me!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The sermon series at our church up here is going to be on Ephesians. I'm excited - I've loved Ephesians especially since Urbana, and delving into it again at the same time that I'm taking theology and exegesis courses seems like it can only open up more new lessons for me to receive from God.

An interesting note/question: is it a Canada-wide thing to refer to people who get involved in a youth group, perhaps as small group leaders, as "youth sponsors"? Because Mackenzie and I have heard that term several times now, from both our church here and from people at Trinity, and it wasn't until today that I actually learned what it meant. When we asked our friends at church about it, they agreed that the name is misleading - it sounds like you give the youth money and support them so they can go to school or something. In case anyone is curious, at my home church in the States we'd call them "youth workers" or just "small group leaders."

Oh, and Mackenzie and I have joined the house dinner club at the place we're living. It's going to be fun! Everyone cooks dinner for the other club members once every two weeks (and those for whom you cook do the cleanup). There are eleven people involved. So that means free dinner every week night - well, every week night that neither Mackenzie nor I are scheduled! ;) I'm scheduled for this Thursday, and I'm pretty sure I'll be making my version of Thai peanut curry. I've never cooked for more than four people before, so that part will be an adventure.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First day of classes, part 2

So Tuesday was the first day of Hermeneutics. The professor seems pretty cool, and although it's going to be faintly annoying to have to stop class partway through every time to set up for chapel, at least it means we won't be skipping any Tuesday chapels! I've missed chapel, and it was good to be back. Another good thing about the interruption of the class is that it means it will be harder to fall asleep afterward. Even when the material is interesting and the prof isn't a really dull presenter, two days in a row of classes that start at 8:30 and go for almost three hours make it a bit hard for me to stay awake.

Today, some of the people who are in the online version of Language Program Design and Management met up for lunch on campus. It was good to meet a few more new people and chat with the prof about the course's setup. I'm looking forward to getting started with the course itself, as well.

On a linguistic note, I also got my chequebook in the mail today - for my Canadian chequing account. That "q" really makes me happy. :) I think it makes total sense for the spelling of that kind of cheque to be different from meanings involving a check mark, or checking to be sure of something - and besides, it sure makes it easy to distinguish between my American and Canadian accounts!

Monday, September 14, 2009

First day of classes, part 1

First off: all tuition-related issues are dealt with! Hooray! At least until the second payment, but still.

All right. Today was the first day of actual class meetings, starting with Believers Church Theology at 8:30am. I had no idea what to expect, really, except that the prof is the guy who taught my least favorite of my online courses this year. However, in person, he seems like he's going to be awesome - not afraid to point out the problems and failings of the evangelical church of today, and yet very enthusiastic about teaching theology and history. After only one introductory class meeting, I think this course might end up being one of my favorites.

Before I move on, in case you're wondering what "Believers Church Theology" is (and I certainly was before today), here's the working definition the prof has developed over the process of teaching this course for several years:
The Believers Church Tradition is that group of Protestant Christians who give absolute priority to the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the need for personal faith in the saving work of Christ, the call to be committed to personal maturity and the community of faith in terms of teaching, fellowship, and worship with the mandate to be engaged in mission, evangelism, and ministry, for the sake of the kingdom of God.
Pretty good stuff, I think.

Next course to meet was NT Greek Exegesis, which frankly I was not looking forward to at all. I was mostly happy to be done with Greek last year, and working on the workbook assignment for Exegesis before today's class was... not terrible, but not exactly a barrel of fun, either. After today's introductory lecture/going over the workbook, though, I think it'll be a good course. I can definitely see the value of knowing more about doing exegesis for translation purposes, for one thing. Also, the prof knows what he's talking about (and has a bit more linguistic knowledge than our Greek teacher did), and is flexible about the workbook answers.

Tomorrow, I have my first Hermeneutics class. I'll post my thoughts afterward. The fourth course I'm taking is the online version of Language Program Design and Management, which is (I think) about how to set up and complete a language project. I haven't started doing much for it yet, but I expect it will be interesting and valuable. It's taught by my Principles of Translation teacher, so that's a plus!

So far, I'm excited to be back in school and very much looking forward to the rest of the semester. And I'm also looking forward to collecting more examples of the differences between Canadian and American English, and our cultures. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking forward to a new school year

Well, it has been an eventful summer. I'll give a quick rundown of what I've been up to:

1. Mackenzie and I were able to play flute in our church's production of The Music Man in April. That was an absolute blast! We've been in the pit orchestra before, and I think each time we have more fun than the last.

2. I didn't end up getting a steady summer job, though I cannot count how many applications I sent out and I cannot tell you how tired I got of filling out my employment history, etc. ... but I did earn some money through house- and pet-sitting. I love animals, and so I had fun taking care of various dogs, cats, rats, and fish. Mackenzie was able to land a job at Regal Cinemas, so the family got to see a couple of free movies. It was pretty sweet!

3. I co-taught Sunday school with Mackenzie for 4s and 5s at our church for quite a bit of the summer. That ranged from being very fun to a little stressful, depending on how willing the kids were to calm down when it was time to stop playing!

4. I took Intro to Theology and Intro to Bible online. Both were fascinating and extremely useful (not only because they're required prerequisites for this upcoming year's seminary courses), but involved a LOT of writing. I've decided I'm not a huge fan of distance online courses. I need more structure and more in-person interaction overall. But I learned a lot, and feel more able to articulate what I believe - which is an important thing.

5. We're also both in the process of officially applying to Wycliffe. The application process is very detailed, but having taken those summer courses has already been helpful, since it involves plenty of writing about what I believe about various theological and biblical topics.

Mackenzie and I will be heading back up to CanIL this Monday. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing everyone up there again! There are still a few wrinkles we need to work out regarding financial aid and registration, which is the main damper on my enthusiasm at the moment. But I know that worrying about it won't be helpful. Instead, I'll try to just be excited about what we'll be learning this semester!

More later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Yesterday, I turned in my last final paper of the semester. So that means... I am DONE with school for the year!

(I guess I still have two summer courses to get through, but they're the online distance courses that I'll be doing from home. From looking at the syllabi, it shouldn't be too bad.)

It is such a huge relief to have no more assignments hanging over me right now. I'm excited to go home, though I'll miss many parts of living up here. I'm going to try to get pictures of all the beautiful scenery in the Langley area before Mackenzie and I head home on Saturday, and I'm glad there are still a few days to hang out and spend time with other CanIL folks.

So this may be my last blog entry for a while!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One more day?

Well, the Greek final is done, and I got a pretty decent grade on the test and in the course (he asked us to wait around after we finished if we wanted our grade right away - other grades have not been posted and won't be for a while). That was a major relief.

Tonight (or early this morning, I guess), I have just about finished with my Discourse final paper. I only have to print out one part of it at school tomorrow. And I finished my Translation final project last week, and have my notes all ready for the open-notes final tomorrow.

The only thing I'm still worried about is finishing my Ethnography paper. It's supposed to be done by tomorrow if I want detailed comments on it. I don't think that's going to happen. Hopefully I'll be able to get it done by the next day, so I can still get some comments on it. I don't know, though... it's not going very easily.

But anyway! I think I'll make it. And then, done until the online summer courses start!

Speaking of which, it was an amazing blessing that those courses are now paid for, in full. CanIL gave Mackenzie and me very generous scholarships, even though they aren't linguistic courses (they're our theology prerequisites that we wouldn't have to take if we'd gone to Bible college) - so they had no reason to 'have' to give us financial aid for them at all. But they did! A real answer to prayer.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

If I can just get past this coming Monday...

...I think I'll be able to make it through the rest of what I need to get done in the semester just fine. I mean, with a few days of staying up really late, but that's normal.

The Greek final is on Monday. Your prayers would be appreciated. As of now, I am trying to get some good studying for it done.

After the Greek final, I have to finish my paper for Discourse. And then after that, I have the rest of my Translation final project, which should be pretty fun, a Translation final, and an Ethnography paper. And then I'll be done!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Once again, the end approaches

It's crazy to think that the semester is almost over. Just a few more weeks! Of course, that means I have a lot of final papers, projects, and two exams to prepare for. Trying not to think about that too much, lest I panic.

Winter finally seems to be fading. The huge piles of plowed snow in the TWU parking lots are almost gone - helped by the steady rain we've been getting for the past week. There are crocuses blooming in the yards of the houses in the neighborhood, and robins and Canada geese on the campus lawns. (I prefer the robins.) Today, it happens to be partly sunny outside.

Classes continue to go pretty well. I had to do interviews with three people from the library, which is where I have been doing my Ethnography observations. I had been nervous about them, but they were actually pretty fun. And we read through 1 John 1 and 2 in the original Greek as a class, which was really cool.

Anyway, on to Greek homework. When I finish this workbook assignment, I'll be working on memorizing the Lord's Prayer in Greek. I've got about half of it down so far.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reading Week

So, we're just about done with our Reading Week break. For those of you who have never heard that term before, it's a mid-semester break, kind of "Spring" break except you're definitely supposed to still be doing schoolwork. ;)

Mackenzie and I got to spend most of the week down south at our parents' house. We caught up with friends - including some we haven't seen in months! - and got to relax with family as well. I'm glad we were already planning to come back up before the end of the week, though, as it turns out, since the weather has turned iffy again! There was significant snowfall in especially northern Washington last night, and in the Langley area as well. Fortunately, today was mostly sunny and warm enough to melt all of what was on the roads - but there's still snow in the forecast, so we'll see.

Classes are still going very well. I think we ended up with a very good combination of courses this semester. We're translating a text in Principles of Translation, which means definite overlap between what we're learning there and in Discourse Analysis, since you mostly look at texts in that class as well. Ethnography has also been quite fun - and when we learn about observing another culture, that definitely applies to our other classes as well.

The second semester of Greek is quite a bit more difficult than the previous semester. After a rocky start, I think I'm doing pretty well. And the Canadian Bible Society gave all the students in the course a free Greek New Testament, which is cool! I can read some of it (mostly the Gospels), albeit slowly and haltingly.

It's kind of amazing to think that there are only two more months of classes for this year! I'm looking forward to spring - for many reasons.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A cool experience

So tonight Mackenzie and I went to a dinner night for MKs (missionary kids) that we were invited to by a woman who works at CanIL (her husband is a professor and the director of the MA Linguistics program). We had delicious home-cooked food, lovely dessert, and a chance to just hang out and spend some time with some other MKs who go to CanIL/TWU - as well as two of the host and hostess' sons and their 14-month-old granddaughter. It was a lot of fun! We met some new people, chatted, laughed, and played Telephone Pictionary. And as Mackenzie and I had thought before, even though our family never lived overseas, we've still got plenty in common with other MKs.

This is going to be a monthly thing, and I'll definitely be looking forward to it!

Friday, January 30, 2009


This weekend is Missions Fest in Vancouver, and CanIL and Wycliffe Canada share a booth there. Mackenzie and I signed up to help out at the CanIL booth today - she teaching Language & Culture Acquisition, and me Syntax & Morphology. Student (and staff) volunteers all signed up to take on a short "class" at the booth, which had two "classrooms" where visitors could sit in on 7 minutes of LACA, syntax & morphology, phonetics, and a Wycliffe presentation. Everyone got a class-specific script to follow. Even with that, I had never taught any linguistics - or really taught anything other than Sunday school - before, so I was a little nervous about it before we got there. But more on that later.

Mackenzie and I took the Sky Train to Vancouver, right to the exhibition centre, with Daryn (a TA at CanIL who's very cool). The Sky Train is rather like the Metro in Paris, except of course totally aboveground. Not exactly exciting, but certainly convenient and not a bad price. It was nice to see Vancouver again, though - if only briefly on the way inside the centre. It seems kind of a shame that we've been up here for over a semester and still hadn't been to Vancouver since we first visited CanIL about a year ago.

So anyway, teaching? Was a lot of fun. Sure, there were a few small issues to deal with - such as magnets that were annoyingly hard to actually get off the whiteboard when I was switching between things to display, but I really enjoyed it. And that's cool because I have never really thought of myself as being likely to be a good teacher. I guess it really helps to be teaching something you love, for one thing. Maybe if I end up TAing at some point in the future (which would be good, I think), it wouldn't be too bad to have to teach the class once or twice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You know what's cool?

Watching a Canadian news channel's coverage of the US presidential inauguration and seeing shots of people all over the world - especially across Canada - standing to cheer and clap when your president is sworn in. They looked just as excited as the millions of people who were actually there at the Mall to see the event in person. How cool is that?

I listened to President Obama's first speech online at about 4 this afternoon, and found it very good. I got a little bit emotional, but felt a bit disconnected due to distance and not watching live. However, tonight during dinner, when I watched GlobalTV's coverage and saw Canadians joining many of their neighbors to the south in celebration, I definitely teared up.

Though I know Obama isn't going to solve all of the world's problems, it is a very cool and different feeling to have people around the world celebrating with us as the US looks to the future.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New classes

So I have now had all of my classes (except for Greek, but that's just a continuation of last semester). My thoughts:

Ethnography is quite a full class, mostly with people I had in LACA last semester, so that's cool. One of my favorite teachers is teaching it. It sounds like it will be a fair amount of work, but also fun.

Principles of Translation seems like it will be as cool as I thought it would be. However, it is at exactly the time of day when it is hardest for me to stay awake and aware, so that will be a challenge.

Discourse Analysis also seems like it will be very cool. Just the intro stuff we looked at today was pretty fascinating. The professor also seems like a very friendly, intelligent, helpful person. Always a good thing.

I also had my first shift of my new job last night. Mackenzie and I are doing the evening shift of custodial work at the CanIL building, 5 evenings a week for two hours. May not be glamorous, but it will pay much better than last semester's job, and it's not too difficult, of course.

The snow has melted almost a foot due to the all-but-constant rain. It's getting a little easier each time to get out of our neighborhood. Maybe by the end of the week, our street will be a two-way street again!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Great White North, indeed!

So Mackenzie and I were a little nervous yesterday about the drive back up to Langley, since the last fairly heavy snowfall in Kent was very recent. But the drive up was fine: no snow other than on the grass beside the roads, and only a little bit of rain.

And then? We got to Langley. There were HUGE piles of (I assume) plowed snow beside the streets, and when we got off the main roads into our neighborhood... well, let's just say I'm very glad we have studded tires on our intrepid little Corolla. The street has clearly not been plowed, there's only one lane with cleared tracks for tires, there is no street parking (cars that were parked on the streets are half-buried), there is at least a foot of snow in everyone's yards, and the piles of snow from people's shoveled driveways are just immense. We were very grateful that our landlady's husband cleared a spot on the driveway for us. Otherwise, I have no idea what we would have done.

And of course, we have heard from many friends who live in the greater Vancouver area (including our landlady's husband) that this kind of weather is just as abnormal for the area as the less-severe but still quite heavy snow that has been hitting Seattle and most of western Washington for the past weeks. Central and eastern Canada are much more used to dealing with this. Everyone is just amazed!

On a different subject, tomorrow is the first day of the semester (assuming we do actually have class. We'll be watching that closely). I think I'm ready to tackle a new set of classes. On my schedule is Ethnography and then Principles of Translation. While both sound quite interesting, I'm most excited about the latter. I have always enjoyed translating, whether in French class or when learning a little bit of other languages, and also in Greek. It's like the best game or puzzle to me. Though I know it will be challenging, I hope the class exceeds my expectations!