Friday, 2 January 2015

Post 38: New Year, New Semester, Setting Perspective

Happy 2015! Wishing everyone health, happiness, a small dash of good luck, and many good times with friends and family for the new year.

I got into Victoria with a bit of a bang last night; my flight was delayed by about an hour and a half due to mechanical issues with the plane, and to top it off, the baggage folks ran out of room at the back of the plane, so we had to take on some of the bags at the front of the plane! So in total, the travel time from home was once again, over 9 hours. It is, at the best of times, a challenge to get out of the Kootenays. This post is more personal than any of my previous ones, on account of it just having been New Years and Christmas.

My hometown, Kaslo, as it sits on the banks of Kootenay Lake, slightly hidden from view by the trees.
It's rainy in Victoria—quite a different scene from the white snowy world of the Kootenays that I've been immersed in over the past 2 weeks, visiting my family. The break was great: I did a little bit of work while I was home, but between walking Laika, my parents' dog, shovelling a bit of snow, bringing in firewood, and helping with my family's business, it felt really good to take a bit of time off. I should also admit I was forced to take a bit of a break: my sister's fiancee came back from a visit to his folks out east with a horrible cold, which he gave to my sister, which I seem to have picked up from her. So, bogged down with a stuffy nose, head cold and headaches, I wasn't doing much for a few days, but that was fine, too.

Laika, bounding through the snow, always in action. 
Back in Victoria, I'm staring at my calendar. I have a few days before I lead a 1.5 hour conference session at the TA Conference here at UVic. I also want to wrap up my edits to my third chapter, my methods chapter, in the next week or so. TAing will start in the next two weeks, so it's good timing to be thinking about how to start first tutorials again, and what my relationship with a new class and new batch of students might be like. There are a couple of other small things on the side of that: I have a few hours to make up from my second research project, and for that project, an abstract is due in about two weeks for a conference at the end of May. For the same project, I've also to go download and figure out how to use HyperResearch, a qualitative data analysis program similar to NVivo (look for a post on that coming soon!) It feels like a very different world from one at home where I was walking the dog every day, and finding someone to play cards (mostly Skat), or having tea with my whole family, where I'm listening to my grandparents reminisce about their drives around various parts of Germany or surrounding countries.

I'll admit I'm a bit stuck on my memories of home, so this post will have quite a few photos of my time there. Laika, my parents' dog, is fantastic company. I got out almost every day because she needs a walk, and she paid me back by staying up with me later than most people in my family (my parents are bakers, and rise very early). She was an almost constant companion. I really enjoyed my time with my sister and her fiancee, and my brother and his girlfriend and her son, my grandparents, and my parents. Everyone. I miss them a lot when I'm not home, and while sometimes it's easier to forget that I miss them, it's that much harder when I go back home. And of course, there are always the mountains and the landscape of the Kootenays. What a phenomenal corner of this province I was lucky enough to grow up in (and here chime the sentimental bells...).

On a mini-hike up a ridge about 5 km outside my hometown; looking across Kootenay Lake.
I'll say it's a bit difficult coming back while still getting over a cold. I spent the day in today, tidying around the small apartment I share with my partner, putting clothes and presents away, catching us up on some dishes, accepting vegetable soup from his mother, and doing a little bit of reading. It's been a quiet day, but I haven't yet felt up for more. Perhaps tomorrow will be a day for getting more work done, and for facing the rain. Here's a photo from earlier in December here, with Oak Bay Avenue light up by Christmas lights (below). I hope they stay up for a good bit longer, as Victoria usually faces a good stretch of grey this time of year, which is arguably the toughest to face.

Oak Bay Avenue, at night, with Christmas lights!
But, I am very fortunate to have had great company to pick me up starting at the airport, where my lovely partner, Mike, came out to greet me.

So here's to starting off 2015 right, and readying for a great conference presentation taking place in under a week!

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