Saturday, December 23, 2006

Finding the Funny Bone

hehe...on my way to increasing my humor...

The secret...

" happiness is a good sense of humor and a bad memory!" I read that on someone's MySpace page ... it holds some truth to it. So, as I learn to to find my humor and lose my memory the world is starting to look brighter.

Stuck in the Big V

random thoughts spewed across a screen for no particular purpose and no one's particular interest, save my own I guess. Blogs are great if you send out the address so that others can read them...I seem to have trouble with that step though. I think maybe a whole 5 people have access to this...

At any rate, here is sit in D & G's apartment on Dec. 23rd...2 days before Christmas...and I sit. Snow storms in Denver made it impossible to fly out the day before yesterday and the cancelled the morning flights, my flight, yesterday. Now all flights are running as normal (why but of course they are). So, due to the backlog of travellers and the overbooking of flights I am stranded in Vancouver until at least Dec. 25th. Yup...Christmas day.

I get to get up before Santa even finishes his rounds and head out to the airport to catch a flight that will take me to Omaha by 2:30ish pm. I want to complain. I want to yell, scream, and be frustrated. At least, I think I do. But, then again, whenever I think about how selfish my actions for not getting what I wanted are, I think of all those who are so much less fortunate than I. The fact that I can even afford to get on a plane is so much more than most. I have the time and freedom to travel and all I can think about doing is complaining. Good Grief.

I must be a real headcase. So, today I shall try to do some work and will hopefully have a chance to meet up with DC before he flies off to 'loops and then tomorrow it will be lunch at Naan with SS. Monday morning, bright and early I shall make my way to the airport and begin the journey. It shall all be but a distant memory to recall in a later year as something funny that happened on the way to Omaha.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good ol' China ways

I have been working on preparing an application for the Canada-China Scholar Exchange Program. The process is more complicated than any of the other applications I have done so far. It would be wonderful to get as it would mean I could come and study in China for 4-12 months. However, I am required to have notorized copies of this and that, 5 copies of everything, a guarantor here in China, a medical check, and and idea of which school to study at, why and with whom. All this is do-able...except for anything that has to do with China.

It is the age old struggle of first finding the information then, once found, convincing the school officials that what you are asking can actually be done. I contacted ZJU and was told that I needed to have HSK 6 to enter the program. I responded by explaining that I didn't want to enrol as a grad student but would be under and exchange and would like to get in touch with one of the professors from the department of Sociology with whom I might be able to arrange something. I was again told that the key professor in the department could not speak English and, hence, HSK 6 was necessary. I responded again by requesting anyone within the department who could speak English and, if this individual was unable to assist me I understood and would ask for assistance from my Chinese colleagues in Hangzhou. Funny enough, the next message provided me with the name of a professor from the department who had written an article in English that I might be able to speak with.

When the answer is "no" here you can't stop pushing because you know that it really means "this is complicated and I would prefer not to deal with it so it is impossible".

PKU was slightly more helpful in that they responded positively. However, the email address to the Sociology deparment didn't work and I was told to get in touch with the webmaster (who may or may not be able to understand my request). ACK!

And now we know why everything here is "manman lai" (it will come slowly).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I have arrived!! I flew in on Saturday afternoon and M met me at the airport with a beautiful long stemmed rose. perfectly perfect. We had dinner at a great little Spanish restaurant and just enjoyed being in each others space again.

I have yet to get my bearings in this city. It is unfamiliar to me and it is huge. I have a Sbux - which is fundamentally important - and I can find food. Tonight I will get to see M's office and we will find somewhere in the area to eat.

I still have a paper to finish and a project to keep working on ... motivation - 0%. Requirement 100%. Hmmm...the yin and yang of life.

Friday, December 01, 2006

1 More Sleep

It is 12:18am. In a little over 12hours I will be on a plane about to take off for Beijing. YIIPPPEEEEE!!!!

Last night was a short night after having put together some materials for the research project I was working on, heading to bed at about 2:30am and then rising at 8:00am so that I could make my way up to the Uni to drop off some Xmassy giftos, fax some docs and mail some cards and a package before getting back to the house to grab my luggage and head to the PCL bus depot for the 1pm ferry sailing.

Once on the ferry, I settled myself into reading a good book (though I probably should have been working on my final paper - but I keep saying that). I bussed into vancouver, took a taxi to D&G's place and spent the afternoon chatting with G till D got home. We had a late dinner (9ish) and then D headed to bed around 10:30ish as he was exhausted.

Now I sit, writing this and preparing to try and find sleep. I will read a bit which may help. G has offered to drive me to the airport tomorrow morn (what a sweetie) which means a 9:45ish departure (not a bad hour). I think I am ready...whatever hasn't gotten finished will just have to not be done.

Sigh...1 more sleep, 1 more sleep, 1 more sleep...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Oh, the weather out side is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

Yes, Victoria has been hit by the white stuff. Not that there is much of it. But for a city that isn't used to it - well, let's just say that school has been closed (now if only it would stay that way for tomorrow I would have no more classes ...)

I headed out this morning to brave the wintery wet stuff for a haircut (which, I might add, I am very pleased with). After a quick stop at London drugs I trudged home. Having the great foresight that I do (and we all laugh at this) I actually took my camera with ...

There is nothing quite like a beautiful snowy day. As I now sit in the warmth of the house drinking my hot cup o' joe it is easy to admire its beauty.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wind, Rain, Cold

The weather just isn't letting up. I don't remember it ever being this stormy during the winter before. I mean, there has always been rain. Sometimes even a little snow. But this winter has been filled with winds strong enough to stop the ferries from sailing. Crazy.

It is Saturday night (Sunday morning actually) and I am about to try and find some sleep. My night hawk time table from days of old has returned and I find sleep hard to find.

I finished the Trudeau Scholarship application. What a feat. I am very happy with what I finally wrote for my personal statement. Though I am certain it could use some tweaking, it is pretty good for a first/final draft. It might not get me a scholarship, but it is important to me that I have produced something I am happy with. Now it is just a waiting game.

I went to a movie on Friday night "The Inconvenient Truth". Very interesting. It is strongly visual and I appreciate that the objective was not to politicize it, but rather to share the images so that individuals could determine for themselves what impact the photos would have.

Tonight I went to listen to the Chamber Choir as the girls who live upstairs sing in it. It was at St. Andrew's Cathedral and the sounds were incredible. It was a nice way to spend a few hours. I only wish that M could have been there to share both last night and the night before. I want to be able to talk to him about it ...

I also worked on writing up some Christmas cards today. I am trying to get ahead of things. I have bought almost all the gifts I need to buy this year and will send off those that need to go somewhere this week. There is much to do before next Friday - busy is good though as it will help to make the time go by faster.

I finally received some photos from the UBC Fall Classic and so have attached one. That is one more run under my belt. I have now set up my schedule for the Van Marathon and solid training starts Jan. 2nd. 2007 is going to be an good year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

17 pages

So, the application for this scholarship is 17 pages long. I am on page 15 - 2 more to go and 24 hours it possible?

So, the whole "free hug" thing is catching on. When I was in Vancouver there was a whole row of people looking for free hugs. Apparently China is on the “Hug” bandwagon. From Changsha to Hangzhou…

But, then again, maybe they aren't quite ready for it all.


With so few days left before I head out I am having a great deal of concentrating on what needs to get done. I am still staring mindlessly at the blank page of the computer screen. I have a 750word statement to write for a scholarship but it isn't coming to me and I need to have it done by Friday - ACK. I have all the other components for the scholarship with the exception of one transcript. I hope it would arrive today - but it didn't. If it isn't here tomorrow morning I am going to have to find a way to get an unofficial copy so that I can hand something in.

What am I doing instead of writing. 1) I spent time looking at RVM pics 2) I started planning my training schedule for the Van run in May 2007

My legs have pretty much recovered from the UBC Fall Classic. I am still waiting to see if there are any pictures from it - if yes, I will put some up. If no...ah well. I will get out and run this weekend, just to keep at it. When I am in China I am hoping to join a gym for a few weeks so that I can keep running. JAN 2nd....that is the first day of scheduled training. It is going to be a hard push to make Boston time in May...but I must!
...I should stop procrastinating and get back to work (though I will probably find something interesting to write again later.

Single Digits

....9 more days before I fly!!! Need I say more.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


And so I sit....

Yesterday I ran the UBC Fall Classic half marathon and today I prefer to legs are too sore to move. I did not train well for it and it was a cold, wet, windy day. I decided to run the entire distance without stopping - I figured if I stopped I would get cold - and I hate being cold. I don't think I have every run 21.0975 km (~13 miles 193 yd) without stopping. Usually I walk somewhere along the line. Not this time. I did not finish well (1hr57min), but it has kept me running through the fall - and that was the point.

I was just doing some research and it turns out that I am a beginner runner. If I can run a half in about 1hr45min then I would be classified as an intermediate runner. Though, out of the 159 women who ran, I came in 59th. I am not first, I am not last...

Only 10 more days and I get to pack my bags to head back to China. I am already losing a great deal of motivation ... I need to stay focused but it is difficult. I have a scholarship application to complete and can't seem to find the words that I need to get it done. Frustrating.

I guess I shall take a break from it and work on another project that needs to get done. This way at least I will be moving ahead on something instead of spinning my wheels in the mental mud.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rain Rain go away

It is yet another rainy day here in Victoria (surprise surprise). I feel exhausted - no known cause, no known cure. It could be the after effects of the stress that arose when Mike called to say he was in a vehicle accident. I am SO thankful he was uninjured! Being thousands of miles away is hard enough without moments like those.
4 more days to the UBC Fall Classic Half Marathon. I am not ready to run in the cold and rain so I keep my fingers crossed that the sun will find its way through the clouds even if only for that morning.
I must work on another paper and another scholarship application. I am looking very forward to the holiday!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Funny that I should have just written about procrastination. A dear friend popped up on MSN and, though I did not chat with her, the little message attached to her name said "excellence is a habit". I like it. Funny though - in considering this I wonder how much of me would become a work-a-holic if I were to drive for pure excellence. It is the whole yin-yang idea. There must be balance in life. This is probably my major issue right now - that I lack it. Maybe i should start to meditate. I tried yoga but it seemed to mess with the balance of my body and challenged my running. Once I qualify for Boston that might be a good time to start yoga...more to chew on.


Etymology: Latin procrastinatus,
from pro- forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow

transitive verb : to put off intentionally and habitually

hmmm... this seems to be an aweful lot of what I do lately. Everyday that I feel I "waste" I always strong arm my mind and swear that the next day I will get up and be "productive". It isn't that I do nothing. Today I had a bath, did laundry, walked to the market and picked up groceries and am now sitting here getting ready to (procrastinating) work on some papers and a scholarship application form. I just know that my time isn't nearly as productive as it could/should be.

Maybe it feels that way because I am used to interacting with people. Now, my primary interaction is with the computer. When I am not working on it I feel like I am not working. While others would go out for coffee with friends or putter about on other life tasks I read cnn, look up scholarships, surf general info...but don't really "work" on the tasks I need to get to.

I find that my mind is not really here. It isn't that I don't do well. I finished my first course (theory) with an "A-" which is ok. But I feel that to be here I should push harder. I find that I am rather a lazy person.

I could read a lot of "self" help books on motivation - but maybe I don't want to be that motivated. Maybe this stage of what I am doing is just not that interesting to me and, hence, there is a lack of drive. If I reflect back, I wouldn't say that I am generally lazy. I have worked incredibly hard on certain things - but they were usually things I wanted to be working on ...

These past few months have been quite the challenge - I am having to learn about my"self" and trying to find my feet (not literally) to determine where I want this journey to take me.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Introducing "M"

Since I am still up I thought I would introduce M. We have been together for half a year and, since I am in Canada right now, we are loving each other across the miles. It isn't the most fun, but we both know that it is a finite amount of time ...

So, he is a US American ... yes, yes we have heard all the jokes. He is from middle America - Omaha, Nebraska to be exact, and he is my perfectly perfect - intelligent, intelligent, intelligent, kind, honest, atheletic, romantic...did I mention intelligent.

At present he is working in BJ for FIFA as the Women's World Cup will be held in China next year - which is rather exciting. Hopefully once that contract is up he will have made some great contacts and something just as incredible will come along for him.

Only 3 more weeks and I get to jump on a plane and fly back to be with him for a month so I am VERY excited about that...I just need to stay focused for 3 WEEKS....sigh.


It is now 1:38am and as has been standard for the past several days I am STILL awake. Tonight I have a very large storm to accompany me. The wind is picking up speed and the rain is going to come down in buckets. I hope it will taper off before morning so that I can get my weekly Friday run it. The UBC Fall Classic half marathon is in only a week and a bit. Not feeling 100% ready for it, but it is keeping me out there running so that is great.

Turns out there might be a huge crew of us running the Great Wall next year!! Can hardly wait! Though M and I weren't really thinking of running it again this year - with a big group going it should be a lot of fun.

So, tonight, for the first night in several, I don't have to do any homework - though I have lots to do - so I went out for a nice dinner at spinnakers (highly recommended-BTW) with LB. It was a very nice shift. LB was my prof and mentor during my undergrad and this is the new shift to LB the colleague and friend. It is very nice to get to know her as a "real" (whatever that means) person.

Once I returned home I sat and watched some of the braindrain box until J came home. Then, together, we drained more of our brains until she headed up to sleep. Now here I sit, and type, and chat with M....and the wind blows.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


So, this past weekend was big in the world of Marathoning. Most people know about the New York Marathon - particularly with Lance Armstrong running it this year. Friend's Paul and Kat Strous were able to run in it as well and made it through to the finish line.

Not so well known is the Hangzhou Marathon held in Hangzhou, China - my home of 5.5 years. Last year only a handful of us were out to run it, but this year many more jumped on board and I am soooo proud of all of them. Pete, Mikael, David, Marissa, Katherine, Jen, and Sara!! Well done all. Sorry I missed out but I will see you all in 2007 ON THE WALL!!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rainy Day

I am arriving late to the blog scene, but have decided to get started and see what I can share. I arrived in Victoria two and a half months ago and it has been a tumultuous ride. After living in China for more than 5 years, I have struggled to find my feet in N. America. Not to mention starting a PhD. I am still here though - which is a good sign, I think - and am only 3 weeks away from finishing my first semester.

The 30page papers have been killer. I didn't think I would make it through the first one and I am now struggling to figure out the second one - but I have time and anticipate that, at the end of the day all will be done.

When I first arrived in Victoria the weather was gorgeous. I started training to run the Royal Vic half marathon. With that over (early October) I have since been training to run the UBC Fall Classic half marathon. Unfortunately, the weather has not been so cooperative. There was slight break in the rain yesterday and I took the opportunity to run my long run. However, today it is pouring yet again.

I like the rain - it is very relaxing - just not condusive to running. If it was just a light drizzle it would be better - but it is coming straight down.

It works in my favour for getting school work back to the books for me.