Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is this a trick question?

I got an email from my prof/tutorial leader stating "Your interim participation grade for my [History] tutorial is B+/A-."

I want reply an ask her "so, aside from actually DOING the readings, what can I do to bring that grade up?"...but I think I know the answer.

I think she's on to me...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Parle vous Francais?

Quick recap: I am a History major in first year university with a goal of working in interpretation, so at a museum or National Historic Site.

It's pretty much unanimous among everyone I talk to that, if I want to work for Parks Canada (the people who run a lot of the National Historic Sites), I have to be fluent in French. I'm okay with that. I actually want to increase my French and knowing I need it for the job I want to do is a great incentive. I don't actually have a French class until next semester, and even that is beginners French. So that means that, aside from cereal boxes, I have had hardly any exposure to French for almost 12 years. (Hence the beginners class). Because of that, and because I'm really, really looking forward to getting back into the language, I've joined the French club at school. They are a fabulous group of people. Very encouraging and friendly. I've noticed even in the few weeks that I've been seeing them once a week, my French is starting to come back. I can't speak it yet really, but I'm recognizing a lot of words and for the most part I can follow conversations.

Knowing this, I'm looking for more ways to surround myself with French so I get used to reading it as well as hearing it. I have been listening to French CBC when I'm in the car, but that's not very often. Today I was talking to the president of our club and she shared a bunch of websites for me to explore. So far my favourite is this one for French Country Music Radio. Not all the songs are in French but I'm having a blast listening to it. This is my kind of music, in a language I'm trying to learn!

I also changed my Facebook language to French (and of course Internet Explorer is freaking out "THIS WEBPAGE IS IN FRENCH. DO YOU WANT IT TRANSLATED?" No thank you!!! LOL I'm looking at changing my BlackBerry to French too. Yes it makes it a bit harder to use but that's the point. Pretty soon it will be natural!

Who knows, maybe I'll even be ready to read by the time next semester starts!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joseph Boyden

So I haven't blogged in a month now. I obviously have tons to write about but unfortunately not a lot of time to do it in. I had a cool experience tonight though so I want to quickly share it.

My North American Studies prof references TONS of movies and lots of books during lectures. A few weeks ago I asked her for some recommendations of Canadian Historical Fiction (you know, incase I ever decide that sleep isn't important and I actually find time to read anything other than my text books :P) She mentioned an author named Joseph Boyden and noted that he was actually coming to Waterloo (my new town) just after his next book was released. I didn't know until a few days ago if I could go for sure but yesterday I bought the book (the $10 ticket is free if you do) and tonight I went to the event. My prof was there as well, with her mother who happens to be visiting from BC! She introduced me which was pretty cool :)

The book is about the famous Metis leader Louis Riel and his not as famous counterpart, Gabriel Dumont. I haven't read the whole thing yet (note the above about textbooks) but it's a fairly easy, gripping read so far. Hearing Joseph talk about the book, about his process in approaching what to include (because it's relatively short considering the vast subject that is Louis Riel) and his struggles of getting it all down, was fascinating. He also read most of the first chapter and the Epilogue (you can read the epilouge with a non-fiction book. Everyone already knows that Riel died :P) Boyden is a Canadian (Metis) living part time in Louisiana so he has an interesting mixed accent. Both his talk and the Q&A after added an extra dimension to the book and I can't wait to finish reading it.

I was able to meet him afterwards and he signed my copy. I was telling him that I had driven from BC to ON and had visited some of the areas featured in the book so his epilogue (which is about him being in Saskatchewan) really resonated with me. As I type this I remember reading on his website that he's acutally BEEN to Abbotsford so he would know where that is, that's why he included when he autographed my book :)

As far as I can remember this is my first author/book event (I've done tons of concerts obvbiously but this is different) and I hope to do more!