Sunday, June 2, 2013

Off to see the High Commissioner, eh!?

 The High Commissioner is....
the senior diplomat (equivalent to an ambassador) in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another. 

So before you think there are only a few countries that have High's the list: 
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu and Zambia. 
File:Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations.svg 
So Canada's part of the Commonwealth club....

Here's the flag....probably never seen it! 

 So the Canadian High Commission to the UK is located in Trafalgar Square (London). Seriously, the BEST location ever! I had the opprotunity to present my research findings at a Conference for the High Commissioner. There was a group of graduate students with topics ranging from Gene therapy for Cystic Fibrosis to the Arctic Council boundary disputes. Common link...the students were Canadian or the research was Canadian-based. It was very interesting and refreshing.
photo.JPGI learned many things....first of all I adore CANADA and Canadians! It was a piece of home....and so comforting hear a few "eh's". I met a fellow presenter from Fort Frances. Talk about a small world. He presented his PhD topic concerning using wood for high-rise buildings. It was incredibly interesting. I especially enjoyed the finance presentations studying what made Canada weather....and "safe" during the US housing crisis and recession. 
Incredible view!!!
Overall, it was inspiring to think about the uniqueness, quaintness and inventiveness that makes Canada. I have so much to be grateful for....honestly, Canada stands in such a unique place--comparatively stable economic stability, growing investments, environmental innovator, peace mediator, human rights example, educational leader, rich in natural resources, etc. 

photo.JPGAt the end of the day, Canada's asset is truly it's people. Each research project was strikingly "Canadian". I don't really know how to describe it. But the questions you determine to ask reflect what you believe. We asked "Canadian" questions....which were refreshingly meaningful and world-changing in their own ways.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!!!!

Best Video!!!

I have taken a very very very extended break from the blog world. No excuse. Life has been very full of the incredible and a few dots of incredibly awful.

Here's some of the incredible...HARRY POTTER! I live it....not the flying or spells....or quidditch.
But the essence of Harry Potter is my life. We are all on a seemingly impossible quest....I am living in a different...magically academic (stress infused) world. We speak our very own vocabulary...have our own manner of dress, and precise codes of conduct. 

This week I am in the midst of more data analysis for my thesis.....and I'm feeling just like this...
“I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”
-Professor Dumbledore

Friday, March 15, 2013

Living through end of survival kit!

Lent term ended today!!!! 

After the horrendously stressful conclusion of Michaelmus term, 
subjecting myself to 'that' 2 more times...seemed cruel. 

But here's the thing, stress usually results from a loss of perspective/ shift in priorities. solution was to identify and then do the things that "ground" me daily (and often hourly). 

I my survival kit had to include spiritual, social, emotional and physical goals. So here it is: 

1. Begin each day with scripture study and matter how much earlier I'd have to get up. 

2. Go for a run. So...when I have writers block, I run outside (in the rain). Honestly, my best ideas often come during running.  I actually am to the point that the run is a reward! I'm excited to lie! 

3. Because of #2, I have added ice packs to the list. I will definitely be ready for a FULL marathon by the time my thesis is done. 

4. Eat my favourite breakfast (oatmeal)...I actually NEVER get sick of it! And I have ate it every morning this term!! 

5. Dance breaks...and breaks where I actually TALK TO A PERSON! First term I went 3 days....without speaking to anyone at all!!! 

6.  I have to set the environment....with ear plugs (any of my old room mates can attest to this one. I think this term I've spent more time with ear plugs in than out!),  desk light(s), reading glasses, and (this one will seem odd) eye drops. Really I need to go to sleep earlier (that's next's terms big goal, but my eyes are blood shot most of the time). 

Thanks Josie...and Mamma!
7. This one is essential for me...POPCORN. It is my absolute favourite snack. (please note: although I like any type of popcorn...I actually prefer white popcorn....which the UK doesn't have) 

8.  Let/ ask someone to 'rescue' me...haha! When I get an invitation--instead of thinking (instantly) potential word counts per min lost--I try my best to be there for at least some of it. 

9. Make a list of all this things I'm grateful for....and if they are people GO TELL THEM. 

10. As soon as I feel the stress boiling over I start the list up again. REPEAT. 

So I survived. My eyes are still blood shot... I've got some cold sores muscles are a bit sore....But it was the best term ever. Tomorrow I'm heading back to Canada for 5 weeks of thesis fieldwork!!!!!

Ohh and love letters to strangers....nothing to report yet....I'm hoping the strangers found them. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Love letters to strangers....

I am a strong believer in LOVE letters.  I have a serious addiction to stationary....'real' most especially STAMPS. I save these things for the precise moment and the perfect person. Sometimes for years!

It's just so special to know that the writer touched the paper. It's easier to 'hear their voice' when you read the words. Plus, I adore the diction on the individual. The spelling errors and run-on sentences. It's like they're having a conversation. No spell/grammer check. Just the real deal. Sometimes the only way to even partially express gratitude or admiration is in a letter. It comes the closest, I can get to how I actually feel.

I have had many pen pals over the course of my life. Some very frequent. Some occasionally. But if you've ever sent me a letter, I still have it and know exactly where it is. Sometimes I re-read this collection. It's a very interesting type of journal. I learn new things when I read them. I can look back retrospectively and the words often take on more significant meanings.

Here's the thing about letters...they always come at the perfect time. The moment I need a little reminder. A nudge--that the world is full of people with incredible stories-heartache, miracles, business...and that I'm part of there story. That's incredible! And often times, letters remind me of who I really am (or am becoming).  They remind me that separation won't last forever. 

While studying at Cambridge, I have been the recipient of many love letters. They have kept me going....and although my returns are not always prompt...I love sunday afternoons when I sit by my window and write the people I love in Utah, Ontario, Texas, Alberta, Manitoba, Cambridge and....the strangers.

I sent my sister, Josie this incredible postcard from Paris (for Valentine's day). I love postcard shopping too! I had already picked out and bought 3 postcards for JOSIE. But then I saw this one. It was the winner. But I couldn't get her another one. I walked away....then I had to go back latter in the day and FIND it. Now the incredible miracle of this card. It is exactly the same one Josie sent me....4 years ago when she was in Paris. I didn't remember right then, but my heart did.

Yup so here it is--my challenge. This week is a bit STRESSFUL! Term 2 ends FRIDAY! The library is packed. Thus, I spend basically the whole day and night wearing earplugs. Plus, everyone is grumpy/worried/stressed...So I Cambridge Library Love letters from me...this week! I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

...Infected with the "Cambridge Disease"?!

At the beginning of my studies, the Senior Tutor of St. Edmund's college gave a stellar address. I have reflected on it often over the past few days. 

She said, "Most, possibly all of you will suffer from this disease during your studies at Cambridge. It can potentially be deadly. It's called the imposter syndrome. 
You'll look around and realise you're not suppose to be here. You'll start to worry that you don't belong with this brilliant, disciplined and refined lot.  Maybe somehow after the cumbersome application there was a mistake-- and you got in. There is no cure for a fictitious disease. You got here because we wanted you. So be you. In the end, what makes Cambridge renowned is the students who attend." 

My attempted "secret" deliveries!
Yup, I'm a sufferer of this fictitious disease...not everyday, but sometimes. The people around me are grappling with the world's biggest problems. They come from every country...(almost!). We are all under a (inhumane) amount of stress. ...This Valentine's day was full of moments of gratitude for all the people who love me (in Cambridge, Canada, Utah, Idaho...). Here's the highlights:
Valentine's Tea Party!
Most adorable Valentine from my sister!
Valentine's Bop (aka DANCE)
Mail from Daddy, Josie and both sets of grandparents!!!

Institute with Rebecca and Sister Balderson
Okay not on Valentines exactly but close! Special delivery....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Carly Exclusive: Love Valentine's...inspite of your relationship status!

 I have come to ADORE St. Valentine's Day. It combines all of my favourite things:

1) Based on a beautiful story about a martyr for Christianity (full story of my first ever blog entry) 

2) LOVE notes, letters, mail, parcels, etc. 

 3) Flowers from my Dad!

  4) DATES and DANCES Parties!
5) Secret deliveries! 
6) Heart-shaped pancakes with raspberries, strawberries and cream! 

7) Raspberry jello hearts!

8) A reminder that I am a child of an Eternal God who loves me. 

 So I love Valentine's day....with only 1 exception. Last year, I was a middle school teacher. That was the most trying, horrendous, and wild day of the entire year. Next time....I'm finding a way to get out of it! 

I realize that many people hate, loath, curse and try ignore this holiday. And are probably thinking (if you know me) "Um Carly, you're just trying to get around addressing that Valentine's day has become about romantic LOVE!!" I admit briefly this is what I have to say about "THAT"....

Become the type of person you want to love. In my observation...and experience love is when the best parts of who you are become accentuated when your with that person (and hopefully vise versa).  Or as Regina put it....

"This is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again"

Love is like cliff jumping. It's scary and exiciting and risky and unknown.
But happens when you finally decide that
 all the fears aside...what's at the bottom is worth it-
You jump! 
And then you look back up at that cliff and wonder why you almost didn't jump.
Fear almost made you miss out
So for all those on the peering over the edge--go for it.
And for all of those treading in the water--become/prove you're worth the jump! 


Happy Valentine's Day