Tuesday, September 30, 2008

organisational tool

i am trying not to just post lists of things i have been thinking, but cannot seem to thread together thoughts to make a coherent post about a single topic. instead, i have made nice headings and grouped my thoughts. at least it is a start.

  • i kind of miss having a french canadian prime minister. i wouldn't vote for the liberals just to get dion in office, but i do love the accent.
  • was canadian politics always this nasty? i don't remember it being such a name-calling, finger-pointing, adolescent schoolyard fight, but it does seem to have those qualities this time round
  • i volunteered in the democratic process again and although i just fill out forms, i enjoy being involved and learning about how a campaign is run (or not run). no more steve sightings to report. i think he is done with campaigning in calgary and for good reason.
  • i find elections kinda exciting. if you hadn't guessed.

getting my life together

  • i had a job interview for a job that i am not sure is right for me right now, but that i know i would be great at and let me sleep easy at night
  • a certain soldier has been granted his work visa, yippee! i love canadian efficiency. or, even more, i love the trust inherent in a british passport within the canadian immigration system
  • i am calming down, but have a few panic attacks daily about careers, cars, houses, money, social engagements, etc.
  • i keep thinking, i should be running, i should be working out, i should be starting on operation get fit (phase 2), but i don't. i am not sure what that is about.

the plummeting economy

  • is it really plummeting? i am not an economist nor do i claim to know a lot about ecomonics (despite those undergrad courses in micro and macro and international political economy), but it seems that people are just automatically freaking out in canada because of the american mortgage crisis and corresponding bailout. i am very sure that the american and canadian economies are closely linked, but it seems a bit alarmist and panicky to me.
  • now, who wants to give me a mortgage??


  • i have been pretty impressed since returning home with the friendliness of my townsfolk, whether it is help in the job search, compliments on my outfit by perfect strangers (pencil skirts, i tell ya), or general courtesy from other drivers (ok, the bad drivers talking on the phones are exempt from this kudos), i have been pleasantly surprised. but i guess that old stereotype about canadians being friendly rings true.

Friday, September 26, 2008

election fun

just hanging out on a friday evening, watching the american presidential debate. obama is looking a titch more grey than he did at the beginning of the campaign. i cannot imagine being on the spot like that and not saying something stupid. mccain just seems a little too smug.

here is something (sort of) exciting - during my volunteer commitment this morning, i saw stephen harper. well, i think it was him because i did not have my spectacles on, but we were in the same mini mall while he popped in to say hello to his riding office. i knew something was up when i saw the csis (or who i thought was csis, does csis protect our pm??) guys walking around with their earpieces and curly cords stuffed into their jackets. then i saw the fancy black cars so i popped my head out to find a bunch of guys in suits. if the guy who i thought was harper is harper, he is taller than i imagined. no sign if there were any ill-fitting vests worn.

during some downtime today i read the liberal platform and although i have not read the others, i like the idea of a longer grace period on student loans and increased financial support to the global fund. but deciding the very date that canada will be out of afghanistan? i have mixed opinions.

more exciting news - i got a blackberry today. and it is pink! and i have no idea how to use it, but i am up for a new learning curve. and i have a special place in my heart for organisational tools.

welcome back

i keep thinking i should post something, but the truth is that i have always felt that i don't have much interesting to say (for the 5 of you who regularly read this!) when i am at home. i am going to have to get over that...

i have had the typical welcome-home head cold (which is far better than the welcome-home strep throat that i had a few years ago on a visit - the pain!) and i am bored of not doing anything while also trying to sort out my life. and it has only been 2 weeks.

but i did buy myself a pencil skirt and i am pretty sure that it will be the key to finding my perfect job. i will keep you posted on that one, but sheesh, job searches are soul destroying.

and i watched the last episode of last season's grey's anatomy then last night's first episode of this season. both pretty medium, if you ask me. an icicle? i think the writers of that show need a bit of a kick in the pants to get things back to their former tear-inducing glory.

Monday, September 22, 2008

chicken or the egg

i have been at home for nearly a week and people keep asking me how it feels to be back. for which, really, there is only one right answer if you are talking to people at home...

yes, i am happy i made this decision and yes, i am looking forward to building a new life in my hometown and yes, i think that it is a good personal and professional move. but there is so much to do and i have no freaking idea how to go about this getting settled thing.

or, i should say, i don't know which order to go about this getting settled thing. i know what i have to do, but i can't very well go out and buy a car without having a job and i can't very well go out and find a job without spending a lot of time applying for them. deep breaths and priority lists are keeping me sane.

and i am the most impatient person in the world so as far as i am concerned, it should all work out and work out NOW.

but i have made a dent in the to do list and that will have to be sufficient for my 6 days of home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the democratic process

a week or so ago, my step-dad emailed me a straight-from-the-conservative-party's mouth sneak preview to their campaign video, knowing i would probably roll my eyes and have a chuckle. which is exactly what i did.

then today, after a pedicure that was three times as much as martha's in kenya and was about one third as good, i walked by the liberal campaign office for our riding (which is just a few yards away from harper's campaign hq) and thought i would stop by and see if i could get a lawn sign to bring home, to see if i could get the same reaction from him. which is exactly what he did.

while i was there, i had a little chat with the aspirant and sort of offered to help her out if she needed it, which she clearly does if she is going against harper in an election. i have no idea what she stands for other than she thinks that this riding needs better daycare and improved services for seniors, but i don't have a problem supporting the democratic process and anyone who believes enough in that process to go against the incumbant prime minister in one of the most conservative ridings in the country has earned my respect, if not my vote.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

a good time to be going home

(september 15, 2008)

sitting at the hannover airport, sipping a warm cappuccino, wrapped in a handwoven scarf from kenya, i am ready for this. ready for the shock of cold weather during a canadian winter and ready for rebuilding and rediscovering. as the day that I Move Home approached, i have been thinking, ‘am i ready for this?’ and really, is there ever an answer to that question? are you ever ready for anything? what the hell does being ready even look like?

all you can ever do is prepare as best you can and gather your hopes together in case you are in need of defence then go for it. readiness is not something that can be measured, collected, and packaged for each event or activity. it is fleeting and misleading and, at its worst, overrated.

i have done what i can, but i realise that most of what will need to be done cannot be done yet. and i will have to be patient with myself and the universe. because sometimes when you give something to the universe, it can’t respond right away. i guess you must just trust that it will.

am i ready to stop being the person who lives in africa, who is a regular at heathrow, who works in development and parties like a rockstar? not entirely. but i am ready to expand who i am to include something more. and maybe that is as ready as i can ever can be.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

the fun bits

entertaining visitors, watching army parades, shoe shopping, and helicopter rides keep a girl busy. so while i am enjoying my last weeks in germany, i leave you with some photos of what fun it is if your boyfriend is a soldier.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

accents, aid, arrogance & arrivals

i am never going to be comfortable with the way the bbc reporters pronounce new or-lee-ins. same with hirosh-ima. being native to neither of these countries, i am not sure that my way of pronounciation is correct either.

* * *

i wish i was in accra, ghana this week for the 3rd high level forum on aid effectiveness. i wrote my master dissertation on the ineffectiveness of foreign aid and it was a bit of a downer to research how foreign aid hasn't worked without coming up with a whole lot of new ideas of how aid could be effective. then i moved to kenya and my job was funded by that same foreign aid and i am no more convinced that any development actually results from all the money spent, especially in kenya.

i still believe in foreign aid, development, and humanitarian relief, if that is something to believe in, but it is rather difficult to reconcile my belief that foreign aid should continue and increase with the knowledge that it hasn't been effective in pulling most of africa out of poverty. i am not ready to give up on my belief just yet and am interested to see what comes out of this 'high level forum.'

* * *

i found this quote and it finally sums up what i have felt about the travellers' arrogance that drives me batty. especially when it comes from canadians, which it does more often than others, in my opinion.
We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can 'show off' and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can't shake off. All our passengers are paying strict attention to this thing, with the end in view which I have mentioned. The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad
* * *
my mom arrives tomorrow for a visit!

Monday, September 01, 2008

this and that on a monday morning

him: i remember listening to the bbc worldservice my dad's old radio, although i can't remember if it was on the medium wave or fm by that point.

me: you know, i have never understood how radios work.

him: well, there are radio waves...

me: i'm ok with not understanding. i'm more interested in the story about listening to the bbc worldservice in africa.

* * *

i watched The Kite Runner last night and i am proud to say that i managed not to cry. but i think i got all those tears out when i read the book. the movie is great, the book is fantastic. it was great to have visual images of afghanistan, i especially like the market scenes as the market-lover that i am.

* * *

i am surprised how excited i am to have a table and chairs in my breakfast nook. it is a sunny place to sit and enjoy coffee and omelets on a sunday morning. we got them from a second hand shop and apparently the saleslady was quite annoyed that we only wanted 3 chairs of the matching set. who needs 4 chairs when you are only going to be in a place for a few more weeks? which reminds me, i need to buy a third mug for when our visitor arrives this week!

* * *

since the army doesn't seem to be letting up in our last battle, even though i gave it everything i have i am apparently no match for the military with my pouting, scowling, and shaking of my fist, i am pretty sure i will head back to canada earlier (by a few weeks) than i anticipated. after considering all the options, i am totally ok with that.