Day 12: I’ve got mail!

Today was fairly stress-free, surprisingly! It’s a good feeling. I can finally breathe, step back and enjoy university. But something tells me I’d better take advantage of it while it lasts, because it’s not going to last for long! In fact, as the night slowly slips away, I’m getting closer and closer to the end of my first week of school (Goodness, that was fast!). And you know what that means. It will soon be time to start the whole crazy cycle all over again!

I didn’t have class until 11:35 a.m. today, so it was a bit of a lazy morning, which I needed. I got some honing time for my journalism assignment (due tomorrow) and I had a chance to read up on some news (news quiz is tomorrow!). I don’t really know if I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s two quizzes: one on CP style (the riveting rules about capitalization, punctuation, and whether it’s e-mail or email.) and one on the mayoral elections in Ottawa (a.k.a. old white guy vs. old white guy. I know, the suspense is killing me too.) They’re the kind of quizzes where you can never be finished studying the material. There’s always going to be more news to read and there’s always going to be more rules and exceptions for CP style. At this point, I’m just going to review my notes and hope for the best.

The only class of the day was Chinese! It was another class of silly fun. Our laoshi likes to put Mandarin phrases into familiar tunes so we can sing while practicing our pronunciations. I don’t know if it’s an effective way to learn (because Kitty’s class is really far ahead, learning simple vocabulary like “chair” and “table.”), but it’s certainly a lot more interesting! Our laoshi really said it best: we have to learn like kindergarteners because in terms of Mandarin, we are in kindergarten. I personally prefer funny rhymes and tongue twisters over mind-numbing repetition.

The bane of my existence: Ryan. There’s a guy in my Chinese class who’s life goal seems to be acting like the world’s most obnoxious un-know-it-all. What is an un-know-it-all? Well it’s a term I like to use for someone who thinks they’re brilliant in all respects and takes pride in pointing out the errors of others, but in fact knows absolutely nothing. That, in a short definition, is Ryan. He has Chinese friends who have been teaching him little Chinese phrases for the past two years, and he thinks that entitles him to teach me about my own culture. I’M CHINESE. I think I know what dynasties are and why people made seals. He drives me insane! Today, he offered to read aloud to me so that I could learn from his pronunciation. Excuse me while I gag, throw up, and hurl myself off the nearest cliff. His pronunciation is none too admirable, and he says every word in the same flat tone – a clear sign of a foreign speaker. And I made it a point to tell him so. That shut him up for all of 30 seconds.

After class, I headed up to the CKCU office. (That’s the Carleton radio station, for those who need a bit of a memory jog.) The program director who was supposed to show me around wasn’t in the office today, but another guy filled in for him. It was just me and one other Italian girl who seemed to take a page out of Ryan’s book and kept telling me all about how she knew everything there was to know about radio because she already had her own amazing radio show back in her university in Italy. I only have one thing to say to her: Fiddle dee dee.

Broadcast journalism still hasn’t ignited any fires in my soul as yet, but I think I’m going to keep popping into the office to see if I can pick someone’s brain or at least find out what the difference is between radio and print. If in the end, I realize I don’t want anything to do with radio, then I’ll deal with that later. There’s really no downside. I’m going to have to learn about radio in third year journalism anyway.

After my little radio tutorial, I headed back to my room where I buckled down and tried to get some of my Politics reading out of the way. I sat there for a good hour, poring over my textbook, only to realize … (I feel so stupid) I was reading the wrong chapter! Well there goes 70 minutes I’ll never see again. Well I now know more about ancient Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Roman international policies than I ever cared to know. I try to console myself by calling it “background information” but I think we all know I’m never going to have to use any of that ever again. Maybe I’ll just stick in some random facts into an upcoming essay question. Heck, if I had to learn it, my professor’s going to read it and give me marks for it!

I tried to change gears and work on polishing that journalism assignment, and good thing too. I almost left out a whole section of the assignment. We have to include a cover sheet explaining how we chose the story we covered and why it matters to the audience. Simple stuff. (I hope. You can never tell with journalism. Everything is so vague. Our profs always give us a whole list of values and requirements to keep in mind while writing, and yet they always finish with, “But in the end, it’s all based on your own judgement.” Thanks for the mind-blowing clarity.)

But let’s get to the best part of the day: I got mail! My lovely mom sent me a surprise package. She’s actually been pestering me to check my mail, which I have, but not with a great deal of urgency. There’s just been nothing there for me yet. But since she insisted so persistently, I decided to head down and take another look. Lo and behold, I had a package and a cute little card with some Peanuts cartoon quotes. We’ll get to the package, here are the quotes first:

1.  Linus and Charlie Brown

Linus: If you have some problem in your life, do you believe you should try to solve it right away or think about it for a while?

Charlie Brown: Oh, think about it, by all means! I believe you should think about it for awhile.

Linus: To give yourself time to do the right thing about the problem?

Charlie Brown: No, to give it time to go away!

2. Linus and Snoopy

Linus: You know what, Snoopy? I don’t understand people. No matter how hard I try, I just don’t understand them!

Snoopy: I know how he feels. I gave up trying to understand people long ago. Now i just let them try to understand me.

Well that just made me smile. My mom always knows how to cheer me up (especially after I shaved years off my life getting back into the school routine.) But the best is yet to come! I tore open that package and waiting inside was … A GIANT BOX OF COOKIES! That’s right, good people. My mom actually sent me fresh (as of Sunday), homemade cookies. And not just one kind, but two. There was chocolate chip (a classic, and much-appreciated part of any care package), and mocha chocolate chip. Mm, coffee and chocolate. If that’s not a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is.

I think some clumsy handler must have dropped my precious care package at some point on the long journey here because a lot of my cookies had become cookie pieces. But that didn’t stop me from gobbling up a good three or so cookies right on the spot. I ran out of milk in the process, but it was worth it! Don’t worry, I shared with my roomie.

That was really the highlight of the day. Cookies alone already make my day, but cookies from my mom? Well that’s just a whole different level of joy. Thanks, Mumsey!

Now I’ve really been indulging in my blog. I haven’t even watched the news yet, and I’ve only just started reading Politics (the right chapter this time). But that’s just how much I value you readers. It’s certainly been fun reflecting on my day, but I’m afraid it’s time to return to reality and hit the books.

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