Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Goldie Lockes in the Middle Kingdom

(now if only I had blonde hair...)

Yes, is settling itself here in "middle country" (more commonly known as China). After being here just a little over a month I have finally settled back into life and some sense of routine-ness is beginning to develop.

I have decided to rent a "service apartment" for the next 5 months. I tried to find a place I wanted to live in that was a normal flat, but nothing made me feel like I was "home". After having spent the past 8 months with Jean, Jen and Nina in a house, all the spaces and places here lack character. Everything I looked at just seemed to be too ... well ... too. Too small, too big, too dirty, too fancy, just too... This, compounded by the fact that Mike is still inBeijing so there is just me and my 3 suitcases (and a bicycle) means that I don't want too... I want just enough (not too big, not too small, not too hard, not too soft, but ... just right).

Service apartments are great if all one want is a place to sleep, shower, eat, read and watch a little DVD from time to time. Plus, the one I am in is less than 15minutes walk from work, close to the lake, close to a starbucks, close to a supermarket and close to the football stadium ... all the important things in life.

I have finally been able to unpack my suitcases ... we shall see how long I can sit still for this time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

D'boyz Conquer D'Wall Again

May 19th, 2007 - after a 5 hour journey that should have taken three the night before, and a meal of now cold pasta, we were back on The Wall for another year. It was hard to sit and watch all the runners prepare for the challenge as I very much wanted to be amongst them ... but a painful shin splint has me grounded. So, I attended as an avid support of D'boyz, Kat and Angus.

It was a gorgeous day and after a bit of warm up and stretching they were off...

Sarah, Marissa and I cheered on the masses under the blistering sun and watched in amazement as the first full marathoner flew down the stairs - it was incredible. Gravity was very much in his favor, not to mention training. He finished in just over 3 and a half hours which is an incredible speed on The Wall.

Mike and Andre were both happy with their finishing time, but it was the company of good friends was the best part of the memory.


It has been some time since I last wrote and so much has occurred. Between packing up life in Victoria, heading to Vancouver to run the marathon, flying to China, starting to get settled and flying between Hangzhou and Beijing life has kept me hopping.

The Vancouver Marathon was a challenge for a number of reasons - though I had aimed to try for Boston Marathon qualifying time there were some obstacles in training in the last few weeks and so this became unobtainable. I was doing well running at under 4hrs which was still good, but by the time I reached the 30k marker the drive to push was dissipating.

It was then that I met Charlotte from Seattle. She was struggling with an injury and was weary of finishing so we made a pact to get her to the end. It was so very worth the journey. Yes, it could have been done faster - but the memory would not be as rich as it now is. And, in the end, we got the t-shirt - haha. I wish I had better pictures to share, but these are the best I can do ...

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Given by Marty and Shirley Jay - Thank you

Do what makes you happy.
Look upon what give you joy.
Listen to what lifts your spirit.
Speak to those who warm your heart.
Surround yourself with sights and sounds and people
who make you smile!

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Today was an absolutely gorgeous day and it was also the gathering of the Huot clan for Grandma Huot's 80th birthday celebration: aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the most important guest, grandma.

It was quite an honor to be given this chance to celebrate with people whom I am a blood relative of, but am only just beginning to get to know and it is an amazing memory to carry with me as I head back to China.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The 5th Roommate

Pussy-cat, pussy-cat,where have you been?
I've been to London to see the Queen.
Pussy-cat, pussy-cat,what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouseunder the chair.

Though the lovely Dina has never met the queen and the mouse would probably frighten her under the chair, she has be a loveable addition to the house.

Over the past 8 months she has timidly crept down the stairs stealing herself in and out of doorways until she made the house her home.

In just a few short days she will be whisked away to a new life in Alberta with her chosen Jen, but I have enjoyed her company as she hops up on the table to bath in the sunshine while I work on papers, runs after my shoe-laces when I prepare to head out for a run, and bats at my hand when she is certain I have not given her enough attention.

Thank you for picking me as your friend Dina!

Sunday, April 22, 2007



Today was Jen-girls final recital and the last step of her academic journey thus far. She did an amazing job! Proud of you girlie-girl!!

Another Thoughtful Thought

Comes the Dawn
(thanks Aunt Rita)

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand
and sharing a life
And you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
and company doesn’t mean security and loneliness is universal

And you learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up
and your eyes open with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build your hope on today as the future has a way of falling apart in mid-flight because tomorrow’s ground can be too uncertain for plans,
yet each step taken in a new direction creates a path toward the promise of a brighter dawn.

And you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much,
so you plant your own garden
and nourish your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn to love,
true love always has joys and sorrows
seems ever present, yet is never quite the same
becoming more than love and less than love
so difficult to define

And you learn that through it all you really can endure
that you really are strong
that you do have value

and you learn and grow with every goodbye you learn.

-Joy Whitman-

Thoughtful thought

Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart...
Try to love the questions themselves...

Do not now seek the answers,
which cannot be given
because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is,
to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps you will then
without noticing it,
Live along some distant day
into the answers

Rainier Maria Rilke

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blossoms Galore

They are just so gorgeous that I had to add a few more photos (if you click on them you can sometimes get the full version).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

D'boyz Run Again

A few weeks ago the boyz ran yet another Marathon/Half Marathon in Xiamen. It was HOT and HUMID and...did I mention HOT - but they all made it their respective distances without passing out.

(David, Andre, Mikael, Pete, Mike)




After 7 months the first stage of my PhD studies is wrapping up. April 5th was the last day of class and, as I tie up the loose ends to my final policy paper, I am taking a moment to reflect on what I will have accomplished by the time I depart for China on May 8th:

15 papers - written
4 powerpoint - designed and presentation
3 modules - designed and wrote
3 scholarship applications - submitted
1 scholarship - won
3 conferences - presented at
2 social presentations - given
2 trips to Beijing and
1 trip to Hangzhou and
1 trip to Omaha and
1 trip to Prince George
3 trips to Vancouver
1 marathon - trained and ran
2 half marathons - trained and ran

It has been a very interesting and rewarding journey the success of which has been dependent upon a number of key things:

hours spent on msn and skype with Mike
more hours spent on the phone with Dad
laughter and the building of memories with Jean, Jen, and Nina (and Dina-the cat)
the amazing friendship of my cousin Michelle, and friends Dirk and Gigi, Ron, and Dwayne
inspirations and running support from James, Katherine W., and all those in China (Andre, Peter, Mikael, David...etc)
the incredible support of my supervisor Jessica
and the faculty and staff (Katherine and Sandra!!)
finding the humor in statistics with my 4 colleagues
the knowledge that others were enduring similar challenges balancing life, work, school
(David B. - good to know you were out there too)

late, late, late nights
copious amounts of coffee
a very comfortable chair
the reliablity of my Dell

From wondering what I was doing here to a renewed excitment in academics, this has been a journey with much to be remembered.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Marshmallow Cottonball???
(It's all about the fuzzy bunnies)

This one goes out to MR. Cottonball (you know who you are). As Easter approaches I thought it would be a nice idea to capture images of some of the lovely bunnies hopping around the UVic campus. For those of you who have attended UVic, you are well aware that the bunny is the true mascot of the institute. There were more rabbits before but their overabundance means periods of catch and release. Soon there should be numerous little baby bunnies bouncing around and I shall try to share a few photos of them when I can. Until then, I shall continue to wonder how Easter Bunnies lay eggs (it is all a little mysterious, don't you think?).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring has Sprung.

Victoria is an absolutely beautiful place to be in the spring (unless of course you have allergies - then you may disagree). However, school gets so hectic that, at times, it seems almost impossible to stop long enough to notice that the trees are budding and the flowers are in bloom. It is on the days that I run that I notice the season is changing - but then I don't have my camera with me. I tell myself to get back out and take some photos, and then life gets busy and I forget. So today I had a "stop and smell the roses (and other such blossoms)" moment to share with you!

JEN'S 1ST 5K!!

Sunday, March 25th has been an absolutely beautiful day. I was on the road by about 20 after 8am for a run up to the University to meet up with Jen at the SUB for the start of the AVP (anti-violence project - on-campus sexual assault centre) 5k run. Jen started running just a few months ago and the goal was to complete the 5k today. AND SHE DID!! I am so very proud of her accomplishment - she made it all the way around, without stopping, with a little kick at the end to boot! WELL DONE JEN!!

Next up - through the village to the ocean's edge and back!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I was deeply saddened today to learn that my other kitten, Mika, passed away during the night. It is a struggle to come to terms with how quickly the lives of both Mika and Sammy ended. As much as one can comprehend a viral or parasitic infection, that it can have such a devastating effect in such a short period is heart-wrenching. It is to Paul and Kat that we owe the greatest debt of gratitude as they made such great efforts to care for the cats but, in the end, were the one's who had to endured the blunt end of this tragedy. Mika was a little spitfire. Born as an orphan she made it through the first weeks growing into this tiny little furball that was determined to survive. I first saw here in a cage at a pet food store only weeks after she had been born and, at 5 weeks, was given permission to take her home. Placed in a box, she bounced and jostled along as I peddled my bike as speedily as I could to my flat. Once there, the small bundle of fluff had to endure the wrath of Sammy's distaste towards territorial intrusion.
It only took a few days of hissing, spitting and a few good swats by Sammy before she decided that Mika was not a threat and could stay. Within the week they had become siblings. From tearing around after to curling up with, they were inseparable.

With such similar coloring but a distinct difference in size, many thought they were mother-daughter. Whatever the connection, it is clear that one could not live without the other.

Mika will be remember as the most loveably independent little orphan and the mysterious bump-under-the-blanket.