Tag Archives: Canada

A bed big enough for two

31 Mar

I won’t lie. It’s been kind of intense lately. The sum total of food in my house will tell you that I’ve been too busy with homework to do much else. Of course, probably two thirds of that time was wasted on simply worrying about homework rather than getting anything done. And if you were curious, here is the sum total of food at my house, excluding condiments and spices: one egg, a sleeve of saltine crackers, 2 strips of fruit leather, one packet of Oregon Chai instant latte powder, 4 carrots, a package of frozen cranberries left over from Thanksgiving, one mini-bag of microwave popcorn, half a bag of chocolate chips, and 3 onions.

Apparently, according to Molly, I’ve been pretty incognito as well. “I don’t call…I don’t text…” So I wanted to check in on the blog and let you all know I’m alive.

I’m entering my last week of classes–EEK! I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done with graduate school. That’s just seems so preposterous to me. Slowly, but surely, I am checking things off my homework list and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Easter is coming up, which I couldn’t be more excited about. It’s not my favorite holiday, but it does have my favorite holiday candy. I am hosting Easter brunch at my house for (so far) 14 people, with hopes that they won’t mind sitting on the floor next to our golden retriever Mackenzie. The forecast predicts sun and, wait for it, 0% chance of rain! I didn’t think that was possible in Vancouver. Here’s the photo if you want proof. (51 Fahrenheit = 10.5 Celsius)


After school ends I will be doing a two-week practicum at the Vancouver Public Library. I am super excited to get my first real library work experience. Although I’m not sure they’re going to let me do much besides watch. At any rate, I’m stoked.

In other news, I bought a bed today. I’m marginally creeped out that I got it off craigslist, but I’m dealing with it. I was assured it comes from a clean, bed-bug-free home*. I’m looking forward to both a more comfortable mattress, and a big enough bed to have someone sleep with me. That sounds so dirty! What I mean is that when people come to visit, they can either stay with me, or in the case of a couple, they can share the bed and I’ll sleep on the couch. My first visitor will be my dear friend Angela, who is coming to stay for a few days and then make the long drive back to SLC with me. She has already told me she’s looking forward to our upcoming snuggle parties.

I’m doing my best to savor (or savour if I’m being Canadian–aka wannabe British) my last few weeks here. I’m thrilled to be going home to my beloved mountains, family and friends. However, I’ll be sad to leave this beautiful place. One thing I’ll miss is the crazy cheap insurance. I’ve been dealing with a mysterious back injury these last few weeks. Basically I couldn’t stand up at all for 2 days, and not straight for more than a week. Luckily, at only $10 a visit, I’ve become great friends with my new chiropractor, and I’m about to order my custom orthodics (a $300 value!) for free. While I remember all too well the torture of waiting for hours with Molly at the emergency room, the healthcare system here does have it’s benefits.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo I stumbled across today that I’m just in love with. Here’s the link to the original blog. I’ve always been a fan of this painted wall, and if I remember correctly, it is located in SLC in the courtyard behind Sam Wellers books.


*Do we have bed bugs in Utah? Until I moved to Vancouver, I had never even considered the possibility of anything being tainted with the vile little things. Even the library books here are infested.



13 Jan

It’s that time of year. The time where we all reflect on the past year and look ahead at what’s to come. 2011 was just the way I like it–lots of travel and many strange and wonderful experiences.

I enjoyed 6 weeks of vacation. I visited four countries and saw 6 states. I crossed the US border 9 times. I took 6 plane rides. I drove from SLC to Vancouver three times and  up the  California coast from San Diego to Sacramento. I visited great friends and had great friends come visit me. I rode a bike in the Netherlands and didn’t die. I went punting down a canal in England and was actually good at it. I drank cactus beer in Belgium. I became an immigrant.

I moved twice and spent the summer with the greatest roommates I’ve ever had.

I started two book clubs, each with moderate success.

I applied to, got accepted to and started graduate school. I got 1/4 of the way closer to becoming a librarian and found out I actually like it. I also discovered I might even be good at it.

I posted 45 times on this blog.

I spent my first Thanksgiving away from home. I made a turkey for the first time and enjoyed the holiday in October and November.

I ate the greatest hamburger in the world, made the best french onion soup, tried poutine, learned to make sushi, and discovered Tim Tams and Coffee Crisp.

I learned to share my twin sister and was truly happy for her on her wedding day. I gained two wonderful brothers-in-law and two amazing step-nephews.

I took out my first student loans.

I attended my first black-tie event and was grateful that my mom taught me good enough manners to blend in reasonably well.

I was pulled over for the first time and got my first speeding ticket.

I was rehired and quit my job at the law firm for (hopefully) the last time.

I went from being an animal hater to an animal hater living with a dog and a cat.

Looking back, 2011 was pretty alright. Although I’ve decided not to worry about 2012–I’m pinning all my hopes on 2013 to be my year–here’s hoping that the next 12 months are as interesting as the last. Or at least that the world won’t end.

School is hard

18 Sep

Since I decided to get my Master’s in library science, a lot of people have asked me, “What do you actually study in library school?” Well, that in addition to the clever the first time, but super lame the 100th, “It takes two years to learn the Dewey Decimal System?” Hi-larious. So I thought I’d let you all know where my academic pursuits have taken me.

Everyone in my cohort has to take the same 4 core courses this first semester. Three are regular classes on campus and one is online. The idea of these courses is to start with the very basics of technology skills and LIS (library and information science) theory to bring everyone up to at least the same base-level knowledge.

All in all, I’m finding the grad school experience to be whole lot of work. The work itself isn’t that hard. I would say it’s not any harder than some undergrad classes I took, it’s just a lot more time and effort that I have to put in. Mostly in terms of the amount of reading I have to do. I spend at least 4 hours a day just reading–and that’s with a lot of my lazy skimming. Along with that it’s been a challenge to make and keep a work schedule. I only have class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (each class meets only once a week), so I have five days in a row without class. I’m also not allowed to work for the first 6 months that I’m here. All that free time makes it easy to push tasks, most often reading, to another day. However, if I procrastinate at all there’s just simply too much to do in one or two days.

The rest of this post is just a description of my classes, so you can stop here if you’re no longer interested. I won’t be offended.

Foundations of Information Technology: This is my online class. We met up once at the very beginning of the semester to go over the interface of the course. From then on it’s been strictly online. We have content modules where we get all the information of the class, and we participate in online course discussions. There are also optional computer lab demonstrations to help us with the technical aspects of the course. This class covers the very basics of LIS. There are two components:

1. The syllabus states: “It deals with the development, current state, issues and challenges of information technologies in society at large. While the implications of these techno0logies for libraries and other information-based organizations will also come up, the course generally takes a wider view of information technology and society.” So far we’ve  been talking about what information actually is, how we use it and classify information, and how  technology and access to information impact our lives.

2. This is the technical skills portion of the class. We have 3 assignments that deal with PowerPoint, web design and social media.

This class is one of the most difficult for me so far. I’m finding it hard to really concentrate on all the reading online. It’s hard because I tend to skim when I read online, so I have to go back and re-read things several times. The online discussions are hard because they never end. I log on every day and I usually have between 40-75 new messages to slog through. This is one class that is really testing my ability to manage my time.

Foundations of Information Society and Information Organizations: This class is focused on professional roles that students will fulfill after graduation and issues of interest to information workers. It emphasizes the development of professional skills, including reading and analyzing academic and professional literature, presenting, writing, and giving and receiving constructive feedback.

We have 3 assignments that include

1. A presentation where we have to teach a portion of the course material to a small group and lead discussion activities

2. A paper in which we discuss an article from the popular media that focuses on a topic relevant to LIS

3. A critique of a scholarly article from the class

So far this class seems fine. We haven’t really delved to far into the material, but I’ve enjoyed learning about the different kinds of libraries and all the career options for LIS grads (i.e. public libraries, archives, academic libraries, hospitals, law firms, gov’t organizations, newspapers, corporations, and the list could go on and on…)

Foundations of Resource Description and Access: This class focuses on how information is actually organized in libraries and various classification systems. There’s a lot more to this process than I ever knew. It takes a ton of work to figure out how to organize information and documents in a way that makes sense, looks good and allows for easy location and retrieval. This is the class where I learn about the Dewey Decimal System 🙂

There are 3 assignments. (Sensing a theme here?) Two have to do with classification systems, and one is about subject headings.

So far this class is SUPER technical a.k.a. boring. I think I will get more into it once I get the basic terminology down. Right now it’s like blah blah blah metadata systems blah blah indexing blah bibliographic control. It’s important information to know, but I know it’s going to be a tough one for me.

Foundations of Information Sources and Services: Where the last class focused on how information is organized, this course focuses on how to find and access information. Basically this is what you need to know to provide reference services. It emphasizes both the technical skills/research strategies needed as well as interpersonal and communication skills.

Again, there are 3 assignments.

1. A written report analyzing our experiences using information services. Basically we have to go out with some sort of need, have an information professional at the appropriate location help us address it (at a library, bank, insurance company, etc.) and then analyze the experience.

2. A set of written responses to information seeking scenarios

3. A group project in which students identify the information needs of a real or hypothetical organization and design a reference collection to serve those needs.

This class is also a bit dry so far, but I think it’s going to have TONS of great and practical information about how to be an effective resource for library patrons.

I guess I’m officially Canadian now, eh?

2 Sep

I’ve been in Vancouver for a whole week and now feel sufficiently ready to give you some initial impressions of my new home:

  1. Super confusing address system
  2. Super convenient public transit system
  3. Made of lots of neighborhoods
  4. Expensive
  5. Green
  6. Filled with artists and foodies

1. Super confusing address system. When my mom and I first arrived in the city it was dark and late. We had been on the road for about 14 hours and we just wanted to find my house and get to sleep. However, the streets here are super deceptive. Many of them are numbered, but the addresses don’t correspond with the numbered cross streets. For example, the addresses for the houses between W 41st Ave and W 40th Ave on Balaclava St. are not 40__. They are something like 1304-1386. It makes no sense to me. Even with mapquest directions, it was a pain to find my house. It doesn’t help that all the houses have huge bushes in front of them so you can’t see the house numbers. We ended up parking and walking down the street to find it. We were only 3 blocks off haha.

I’m getting the hang of my neighborhood more and more, but it’s still rough when streets end suddenly and then pick back up a block  up from where they left off. Luckily, I don’t really have to go anywhere and when I do I can use mapquest.

2. Super convenient public transit system. I just started using the bus system here, but from what I can tell, it goes pretty much everywhere. I have a bus pass from school, so I’m trying to take the bus as much as I can to save on vehicle expenses. It helps that I live in a particularly convenient part of town. I’m a half a block from the bus stop and it only takes me 15 minutes to get to school and 25 minutes to get downtown.

3. Made of lots of neighborhoods. If you look at a map of Vancouver, you’ll see that it’s made up of a bunch of different areas. Now that I’m here I can say they really are like a bunch of tiny little towns. Some are only a few blocks across. Each one has it’s own identity and stereotypes and sort of people that live and shop there. It’s been interesting to hear about each of them from the locals (at orientation and from my roommates) and to explore a few on my own. It’s also fun because you don’t really feel like you’re in a huge city unless you go right into the heart of downtown. It’s more like a collection of small communities.

If you’re interested, I live right between Kerrisdale and Dunbar. About a kilometer and a half up the street in Kerrisdale there are a bunch of cute shops and restaurants. The weekend I arrived was Kerrisdale Days. Apparently Utah isn’t the only place that has a celebration for every town. Half a km the other direction is Dunbar. It’s less happening, but there are still a few shops and a grocery store. All in all, I think I chose a great place to live. The rent is reasonable, it’s in a good location (i.e. safe, residential but still close to stuff, not super ghetto) and as far as I can tell my roommates aren’t ax murderers.

4. Expensive. I was prepped for Vancouver to be more expensive than SLC, but I still was surprised at how much stuff costs here. They have a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax on all non-essential goods here (basically everything but groceries, rent and utilities) which makes shopping and going out quite a bit more expensive. It doesn’t help that the US dollar is still pretty week and everywhere charges you fees to change money. The upside of my neighborhood is that there are tons of cute little produce and specialty shops nearby. The downside is that they want to charge $4.99 for a dozen eggs.

5. Green. Vancouver is a land of cyclists, organic cotton wearers, fair trade coffee drinkers, public transportation riders, recyclers and composters. Even the taxis here are Prii. (As in plural for Toyota Prius–look up if you don’t believe me.) So far I haven’t found too many hipster eco-snobs for my taste, and I appreciate the green focus of the city.

Along with being earth-friendly, Vancouver is also quite literally a green city. There are tons of beautiful parks and green spaces within the city, and the UBC campus is filled with giant treets. Perfectly green and manicured lawns however, don’t seem to be as important here. I think I’m just used to the vanity with which people in Utah regard their lawns. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some amazingly landscaped yards here, but I would say it’s much more a rarity here than back home.

6. Filled with artists and foodies. This is one aspect of the city that I love. Everywhere you go there are art galleries, delicious restaurants and shops selling stuff from local artisans. I particularly like the focus on supporting local companies, farmers, artists, etc. It’s something I wish more people paid attention to.