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!