Sunday, January 27, 2013


Before I start talking about my program and plans for the future I want to talk about some of the friends I have made here in Statesboro. I mentioned Kayla before and as I suspected we have definitely become good friends. She's great at getting me out when I could just hibernate in my bedroom doing school work and I'm thankful for her. Lots of people have commented that they are surprised that we only met when we arrived because we've clicked so well. One of the things she convinced me to do was to join a group called CCF or Christian Campus Fellowship. I'm not involved in any groups like that back home for a few reasons. #1 is I HAVE a church family and I'm very well connected with them. #2 is the time factor. I have so many other commitments that joining another group just isn't a smart move.

Here however, my time is just taken up by classes and school work. The other factor here is that the drinking culture is VERY prevalent. I mentioned my roommates in a previous post. They have obviously now arrived and I'm slowly getting to know them. Rachel is a Caucasian native to Georgia and I've talked with her the most just because our schedules seem to coincide the most. Terri is Black and I think from South Carolina. She goes home on weekends a bit more and I haven't talked with her that much. In any case, on Thursday I mentioned to Rachel that I was going out that evening. I knew she was as well because I had heard her discussing it and when she responded with "oh, where are you going (meaning what bar). Maybe we'll run into you!" I laughed and said "probably not, I'm going to bible study." It was funny. The point of that is to say that if you don't drink in Statesboro there's not a ton to do so it's nice to have connected with a good clean group of kids who aren't interested in drinking.

We've attended a few events with them. The first was a trivia night which I of course loved. My group won (Syrup Monkeys rule!) The second night was the aforementioned bible study and that is every Thursday night. The theme for the bible study is "Jesus at the Movies". The first week was just an introduction and this week the movie was Hunger Games so it was really interesting. The themes centered on sacrifice, how Katniss offered herself instead of Primrose, and living boldly. This style of bible study is different for me but I'm appreciating it.

Friday was an all-nighter at the CCF house. I was there till 11ish and then I begged off. I'm too old for shenanigans like that :P This morning Kayla and I accepted an invitation from two freshmen to attend church with them. It was nice. Different from what I'm used to in that it was a very contemporary service but it was good to be back in a worship service on a Sunday morning. I'm sure we'll continue to hang out with this group. Most of them are from the state of Georgia so it's nice to get to know some "locals".

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Class Breakdown...or are they giving me a breakdown?

Wow. Two weeks since I blogged last. Well, that feels about right. That's when classes started and I have been BUSY. This is my first time actually trying to juggle five classes and I am so incredibly thankful that I'm not working on top of it. A part of me misses it like crazy and I almost applied to the Starbucks on campus but then common sense prevailed and I realized how crazy of a move that would be. The weather has been a bit cooler so I've mostly just been going to classes, coming home and doing readings and then hanging out with friends. Here's a quick review of what I'm studying.

The US as a Young Republic 
I have this class M/W/F from 9:05-9:55. It kind of stinks to have an early class like that but so far it's kept me on track with getting to bed at a decent hour which is nice. It's also my only class on Friday's so that isn't too bad. The prof is pretty cool. Extremely knowledgeable and enjoyable to listen to except he is LOUD. I'm not sure if he's used to lecturing to survey classes or what but in our small 20ish student class, sometimes he just hurts my ears. He's interesting though and I really like this time period so I'm glad I'm taking the class. I have one major research paper due for this class and I'm still debating my topic. I have a few ideas though.

US Constitutional History
M/W 2:30-3:35 This prof is hilarious. Foul mouthed but not in a particularly offensive way. We just sit there and laugh all class. It is an incredible amount of information because I'm learning the Constitution from scratch but we have a good text book and his lectures are easy to follow. We have two case briefs for this class. I haven't even looked at the topics of mine yet.

Georgia History
T/T 12:30-1:45 This class is a massive amount of work. We have online and text book readings assigned for each class and we're tested in class to confirm that we've done the readings. We have a MASSIVE primary source research project and paper as well. The class is fascinating though. The prof (my only female one) is fiercely loyal to Georgia and specifically Savannah at the expense of Atlanta and all other states. It's a lot of fun. 

US as a Global Power
This class is just once a week, on Tuesdays from 6:30-9:15pm. It's long but the prof gets off topic a lot with little stories and anecdotes so it's not like he's lecturing the entire time. He is really funny as well. I make a point of bringing a handkerchief to class because I'm often wiping away tears from laughing. This is class is probably my most intense as far as course work. Three book reviews as well as a major research paper. I haven't even begun to think about what I'm going to write about so that is a bit scary. This class focuses on the 20th century and I took a similar one from a Canadian view point so it's really interesting. It's the most contemporary time period so it's a nice change. 

North American Public Policy Issues
This is a directed studies class which means we only meet a few times during the semester. I have an academic advisor though and I'm checking in with him regularly on the research paper I am writing. This is hands down the class I am most excited about. I could talk about it for forever but, as my Global Power prof says, to make a short story long, this prof is currently developing a Masters program in Public History and is working really hard to try to convince me to apply. I'm not convinced yet (and that wouldn't be for two years anyway) but this man totally gets me. I feel like I've finally found a title for what it is I want to do and he completely understands my goals. It's awesome. A part of this class is my volunteer placement which is it's own bundle of awesomeness but I'll save that for another entry.

So there, that's my five classes. Four major research papers. Three book reviews. Two case studies. Midterms and finals in the first four. I can do this. Gulp!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Georgia Southern Day One

Well, as you can guess I made it the rest of the way to Georgia without incident. I stayed with Pam, who I know from ScrapShare in North Atlanta on Monday night and finished the trip on Tuesday. I got to Statesboro around 1pm but it took the better part of the afternoon to figure out my way around, get my parking pass, check in, get my room key and then go and figure out phone issues. I'm not super happy with what I have set up but I picked up a bug along the road and I'm not feeling particularly well so it will do for now.

Today was our first day of orientation. It was a lot of sitting and listening. We got some questions answered but a lot of it was just officially repeating what we've already been sent. The international program is quite small, about 40 students over all and only 10 or so are exchange students so we got to know everyone quite well. So far I have clicked best with another Canadian (of all people :P) named Kayla. She actually lives next door and I can tell we're going to be good friends. Neither of us are into partying and we both want to explore the area as much as possible. I'm looking forward to hanging out with her more. There's also a girl from Denmark who is super nice, two guys from the UK, Zack is from England and Ben is from Scotland. They both have super thick accents so it's a lot of fun. There are two students from Morrocco and some from Nigeria but I didn't get to talk to them very much. Maybe tomorrow. All the staff are super awesome as well. Everything you've heard about southern hospitality and friendliness is true. They just embody it. I'm ready to start classes but I guess we have some paperwork to get through first. We have two more days of orientation although tomorrow is only a half day and Friday is a general session for all new students at GSU (international or not).

I will have three roommates as well but I'm not expecting them to show up until the weekend because classes don't officially start until Monday. That will be a whole new adventure. In the meantime I'm just working on settling in a little bit and finding my way around. It's going well so far!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Update from the Road: Kentucky

Have you ever planned for and imagined something and then had it play out so exactly as you had hoped that it ends up feeling a bit surreal as it happens? That's what the first two days of this trip has been like. I crossed the border at Detroit without issue, met a friend for lunch in Ann Arbor and then made my way down to my first stop in Ohio. There I stayed with friends and had a wonderful time. I got to see the people I wanted to see and spend time with the ones I wanted to spend time with and this morning I packed up and hit the road again. From Ohio on I don't know exactly what to expect but I'm okay with that. It's pretty much a straight shot down I75 and I'm travelling with the oh so helpful advice of "if you get lost you may as well turn around and go back to Canada" :P Anyway, I am feeling very peaceful right now. Yes I am excited but I'm not at all nervous and even though I don't have it exactly planned out, I know everything is going to play out exactly as it is supposed to.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Happy Birthday Ashley

I wrote this post on Friday night but I didn't have internet access on my computer until now. 

I’m having a horrible time right now with missing Ashley. Sunday would have been her birthday and she passed away just a week later. That makes this the first anniversary of her death. I don’t think it would be nearly so bad if I wasn’t heading out on an adventure so similar to when I went to Quebec. When I went to Quebec I didn’t know I would be living with two other students, never mind ones who became such dear friends. How can you miss someone so much when you only knew them for such a short time? These past few weeks I have found myself composing countless emails, texts and Facebook messages to her in my head. I know she’d be ecstatic about what I have planned for this coming year and I wish I could share it with her. It’s not like I don’t have hundreds of other friends but Ashley was special. I think when someone dies they achieve an immortality and their significance in your life grows. I think nothing of shooting off a quick message to any number of friends or family members and getting a short reply, but knowing I CAN’T with her is hard. Instead I have to allow the memory of her short but bright life, inspire and encourage me. Know that she is looking down and cheering me on and look forward to the new friends that I will make that have the potential to touch my life as she did. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

One Word 2013

I've been participating in the "One Word" challenge for a few years. I was introduced to it through Ali Edwards and I posted this definition a few years ago: "A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow." The idea is that you pick a word that gives you a tie post for the year. In the past I've used: Peace, Dream, Discover and last year my word was "Abide".

2012 was a year for Abiding. Waiting patiently. Doing what needed to be done and laying the groundwork in order to make 2013 an epic year. So my One Word for 2013 is ADVENTURE. I think it's rather appropriate. I'm leaving for Georgia in two days and in May I fly to Europe. This will be a year I will look back on for all the memories and I can't wait to start making them :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Just a quick update. Yesterday was New Years Eve and I spent most of the morning packing. I worked from 1-9:30pm. It was a weird shift because it was fairly quiet but then when we were ready to close it got busy. Rather annoying. Plus my coworker was fighting with his boyfriend (via text) so he was in a bad mood so it wasn't my favourite shift ever. Anyway, we got out just after nine and I headed up to my friends place in Guelph (about a half an hour north of Waterloo). When I arrived the group of people there were playing Cranium. They threw a question at me just as I walked through the door and I answered it correctly so both teams started arguing over "who got Heidi". That was a good ego boost :D

It was a nice relaxing evening. We finished the game (my team won), visited, played some crokinole and then the guys broke out the guitars and we ended up sitting around and singing till midnight. One of my friends is a FANTASTIC picker so we were singing gospel songs at a super fast pace. It was a blast. We did the big countdown to midnight and I texted a few friends (while everyone else kissed :P) I left sometime just before 1. It was a wonderful way to ring in the new year.

For the past few years my friend Leasa has hosted a New Years Day get together and has invited me. Of course I was always back in BC so I missed it. This year I was in town and I told her I wanted to collect on the rain check. Turns out she didn't plan a big bash so it was just me, Leasa, her husband David and their two adorable children. It was actually perfect. We just visited for most of the day and had a big lunch of homemade pierogies and farmers sausage from Saskatchewan. David's dad joined us for dinner as well and he's a Newfie so he's a ton of fun :)

David and Leasa live about an hour south of me and I have another friend in the area so I stayed at their place until 7ish when my friend Nate finished a family dinner and then I met up with him and his friend who was visiting from Peterborough. It was funny because the friend and I spent the whole time going "Oh! You're THAT friend" to each other because Nate has talked a lot about each of us to the other :P It was good to spend time with all these people. I'm definitely going to miss them while I'm on my Grand Adventure but Nate's coming to Europe so I'll see him there.

Happy New Year! Here's to an EPIC 2013 :)