A Snowfall, Essays, Monty Python

Toronto woke up to snow this morning! I am so excited for winter!

The view from my window

I like the cold grey weather because it is much more conducive to  spending vast amounts of  time indoors studying than when the weather is fine. I am entering the last two hellish weeks of (my last!) fall term at U of T. No time to contemplate major life changes /my greater purpose in life/ how I will make a living after I graduate.

My brother reminded me of this Monty Python sketch, below, which I quite like. As usual I am writing a paper and I currently feel rather like one of the philosopher football players wandering about, thinking, and not actually kicking the ball. Hopefully my “Eureka” moment will come soon.

 

Published in: on November 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Dad’s Leftover Soup and Other News

This is something I will miss: my dad’s amazing leftover concoctions.

Yes I can make them myself, but somehow it is just not the same.

mmmm...amazing leftovers soup!

I was particularly grateful for one of these last night when everyone had been busy and it was cold outside (we had a few flakes of snow! hurray!) and I was stressed and tired.

My 89 year old grandpa had a really bad fall down a steep flight of stairs on Friday at the farm where he and my grandma live. He is in the hospital with broken shoulder blades, broken ribs, some internal bruising, and a concussion. I am worried about him and also sad for how hard this must be for my grandma.

School is also crazy at the moment and, having had an emotional weekend, I felt sad and anxious. My wonderful dad made a soup for dinner out of the leftovers in our fridge (veg. chili, pasta and meat sauce, random leftover vegtables, sausage, garlic, etc. – sounds gross, but was SO GOOD!) which was just what I needed.

Published in: on November 22, 2010 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  

A Few Photos of U of T St. George Campus

Here are some photos from around campus I have taken lately. I am trying to remember that although school is crazy at the moment, I will miss many aspects of it when I graduate. So here are some of the details from the beautiful U of T campus:

The U of T coat of arms on the top right

On the wall panels in the Great Hall at Hart house

In 1890 my college at U of T, University College, burnt down and was subsequently rebuilt. This owl, now in the UC quad, was salvaged from the fire.

Poor old owl...

Another shot of the UC quad:

On the way to the Junior Common Room

The view across back campus to Trinity College:

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Essay Crunch Time

Emmanuel Levinas

I am in the full throws of trying to finish the first draft of my senior essay for this term, so (achem) I shouldn’t even be posting this. However, in my attempt to post five days a week, I thought I would start my week off properly, even if it is with a post about how I am too busy to post a proper post (post doesn’t even sound like a word anymore, I have written it to many times). I leave you instead with a picture of Emmanuel Levinas, a Lithuanian born Jewish French philosopher, whose work is the subject of the paper I am writing.

photo credit: borrowed from here

Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Hmmm….British Universities

British universities seem to be in trouble these days. According to the BBC (as of a few days ago) government funding for teaching is being slashed by 40%! FORTY PERCENT!!!! Not to mention the fact that funding for the sciences won’t be touched, so the total 40% will come from……the humanities and social sciences! Typical.

A few days ago there were large (mostly peaceful) protests in London because the new coalition government has also raised the cap on tuition fees so that universities can now charge students up to THREE TIMES AS MUCH as they currently do. Considering tuition used to be free in England not that long a go, people are pretty mad.

Go read these articles on the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11726822

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11728003

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11732787

And solidarity with fellow students in the United Kingdom who are standing up for affordable education!

Photo credit: borrowed from here

Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

I might be living here…

My boyfriend has already been accepted to one of his top two universities, but still has to wait till Januaray to find out about the other. Then we have to wait again to find out about funding. Then, finally, we will be able to make a decision about where we will go. It will be such a relief to actually be able to make concrete plans! Right now I have been exploring (via the internet) the town of the university that we know is an option. It looks beautiful, but very small, which will be quite a change from having lived in Toronto for my whole life. Maybe this time next year I will be punting along the river, whiling away the hours marked by the tolling of chapel bells (see picture below).

This could be my life...

Actually, I will probably be frantically looking for a job in an unwelcoming economic climate/already have a job but be working a million hours a week to be able to afford to live in such an expensive part of the country. One of my friends moved back to live with his family after graduating from a university in the USA and said that it is really hard to get a job in this town. I will simply have to hope for the best and trust that something will work out.

photo credit: borrowed from here

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oh the University…

Alright, my goal for five posts a week (still what I am aiming for) was laughable this week. I hang my head in shame and promise that I will be on my best behavior next week.

Yesterday I went to my mother’s graduation ceremony at Convocation Hall where her title as a Doctor of Philosophy was officially conferred. I am really really proud of her! Here is a picture from inside Con Hall during the ceremony.

Inside Convocation Hall

In first year I had a class here (ANT100 – it was terrible!) and I must say, Con Hall looks much nicer when it is filled with well-dressed people and with professors and graduates in colourful robes, than it does when only an eighth full of bored 18 year olds talking to friends, playing solitaire on their laptops and utterly ignoring the poor professor standing tiny on the stage talking to no-one in particular for 2 hours!

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Here and Now

I am currently in the process of figuring out how to manage this blog, that is, figuring out what to post and when to post it. My goal is to write five posts a week. I am saying this, of course, as I enter the busiest weeks of term, but five posts a week remains my goal.

In thinking about why I started New Woman Old World and what I want to do to with it, I realized that one of my goals throughout the process of relocating is to be in the moment and that New Woman Old World would have a part to play in keeping me grounded in the (to use a rather overused and buzz-wordy phrase) “here and now.” I have been thinking about why exactly I want to document this period of my life for, as a fairly private person, I have been feeling a bit strange about my desire and my decision to begin writing about my life on the internet. In thinking about all this, it struck me that the process of documentation demands a certain attention to the details (both material and emotional) of what one is experiencing and that the process of documenting, of taking pictures and regularly writing posts about this transition, might help ground me in my life at the moment. Yes, a part of me is (preemptively) mourning the change and what I will leave behind and, as discussed in Friday’s post, that is okay, but I am also here, in Toronto, now. I do have lots to look forward to in the future and a lot to sort out, but I am currently surrounded by the people and places I know I will miss, so the smart thing to do would be to enjoy being where I am, now.

So, in the spirit of the above, as a (sort of) side project of this blog I would like to document Toronto as I know it: my neighborhood, my favorite places, U of T etc. When I move, I will do the same thing as I explore my new town.

Here are two pictures of my cat, Rasmus, who I rescued as a kitten a year and a half ago. Truly, I think we can all learn a lot from cats in their ability to thoroughly and unapologetically indulge in the pleasures of the moment.

Ras, sleeping sitting up

Published in: on November 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The first big Adult Decision

Deciding to move with my boyfriend to England is the first really big, life shaping, future-affecting decision that  I have made. It is indisputably an Adult Decision. It is not that I have never had to make big decisions before, but this seems like the sort of decision that capital-“A” Adults make. It is the kind of decision where I had to really look at my life and ask myself about my priorities and the kind of a life I want to live. Of course I didn’t think about the decision exactly in these terms when I made it (I kind of made it gradually, and one day realized, to my surprise, that I had decided to go), but along the way I had to ask important questions of myself.

Yesterday I was feeling rather scared and sad about leaving. I am in this weird place emotionally where leaving Toronto and my family is constantly on my mind even though it won’t actually happen for another ten months or so. Despite this the decision to leave hangs over my head. I am excited and sad and scared all at once. Mostly I wish that I could just skip the leaving part – the packing up my room, hugging my younger brother goodbye, saying bye to my close friends, my parents, family friends etc. I will be moving away from a really wonderful and supportive community. It is not the actual going away that I am scared of, it is what it means. Taking this leap signifies that I am leaving a part of my life behind – my childhood and my teenage years – and stepping out the door (across an ocean, more like) and figuring out what it means for me me to be an adult in the big wide world (i.e. an adult who does not live in her parents’ attic). I feel as though I am a character in the opening pages of a bildungsroman and I feel like things are about to change forever (because they are) and that is scary.

It is the end of an era for my family, too. My brother will be finishing high school about the same time I will have finished my last credit of my B.A. My mother just finished her Ph.d. and is figuring out what to do next. For the past three years my boyfriend, myself, my brother, my mother and my father have all coexisted in our big old ramshackle house in Toronto. We eat together most nights and get along surprisingly well, considering our rather unusual living arrangement. When my boyfriend first moved in I thought it would be a bit weird to cohabit with both him and my parents. Over the past three and a bit years, however, many of the kinks have been smoothed out and our full and busy household operates fairly well. I am feeling a bit sad at the moment that this will all change.

I randomly stumbled across a  a post on another blog that talks about the idea of allowing oneself space to grieve the “small deaths” in one’s life. The post points out that for any choice we make there are an infinite number of things that we did not choose – and that it is alright, and even healthy, to grieve for these things  even as you stand by your choice (or are elated about your choice!) and that the grieving for the lost possibilities does not necessarily mean that you have chosen erroneously. This idea is helping me to put in perspective how I feel about deciding to move. I am really REALLY excited to go have an adventure, but I am also really sad that things will change and it is scary that I am deciding to make a big change when everything is already going pretty well, as opposed to simply being passive and waiting for change to happen to me.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Northern New Woman

New Woman

Here is a picture of a New Woman hockey player. This picture has hung in every single house I have lived in. It is one of those things that makes home feel like home.  The woman is no relation of our family’s – my mother simply  bought it many years ago because she really liked it. This is a very Canadian New Woman: she has traded her bicycle for a pair of strap-on blades and a hockey stick.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 2:55 am  Leave a Comment