Day 33: Santa’s elves would be jealous

I am extremely proud of myself today. I was so productive today! Mao Zedong himself would have given me a gold star. Insane diligence began at 7 a.m.

I surprised myself and finished every single one of my points, and then some! I finished going through my journalism pitch, editing, adding, backspacing, and just plain cutting entire paragraphs of “What was I thinking?” But I managed to get something that didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out when I read it, and I printed it off. Done and done.

But I didn’t stop there! I gained momentum! Next I tackled Chinese. I really owe Past Veronica a giant thank you, because it really wasn’t bad at all! I just remembered I forgot to go through the pinyin, so that was a little rocky. But I knew Chinese characters and English definitions so well, I could translate in my sleep! Thirty minutes later, I could work at the Canadian embassy in China! (Assuming of course that the embassy has a vocabulary of about 30 words.)

When I had sucked out all the information I needed from Chinese, the morning was still young. It wasn’t even 9:30 a.m. yet! I moved on to making follow-up calls for the Charlatan. Everyone was unexpectedly angry, but at the same time, understandably so. As it turns out, the Charlatan didn’t handle the changeover of writers for this story very well. All my sources were complaining that they had replied through email to another student calling from the Charlatan and basically thought it was a waste of time to talk to me.

What could I do? I apologized profusely … and then pressed them for information. Hey, the show must go on! So I had to wade through a lot of passive aggression, but I nailed down some answers (or at least got one of them to email me back before noon, a.k.a. 1 p.m. on their perception of deadlines, and another one to call me back before noon, which again meant about 3 p.m.) See, this is exactly why I never tell people when my actual deadline is. What happens if they miss my deadline? No way I’m going down just because they think missing a day or two is no big deal. I told people my deadline was last night, might as well light a fire under them.

With that out of the way, I moved on to CKCU and did some intense research on environmental news. Not only did I manage to pick my stories, I even managed to finish writing three of them. Now I’ve only got two more briefs to write and I’m all set for tomorrow. I can shoot those out in twenty minutes tops, and still have time to read the news for tonight.

And let’s get some perspective, people. (I apologize in advance. Today I feel like tooting my own horn a little so you’ll bear with me.) I got all that done by 11:15 a.m. and headed off to class!

I was going to grab a coffee on my way to class, but I had to get through the University Centre to do that. Let me tell you, it is no picnic getting through there. It would give the Shanghai metro station (during rush hour!) a run for their money! There’s no other way to describe it, but it truly feels like someone’s herding cattle. (And there’s always some funny-man who thinks he’s clever and shouts, “MOO!”) So I ended up being driven past the Starbucks and into class.

At break, though I rushed out and grabbed a latte. My luck strikes again! I didn’t just get one, but two free drinks. There was a grande latte and a grande chai tea latte. I already paid for my own latte, and I’m not a big fan of chai, so I just grabbed the free latte in case I wanted a refill when I finished my first one. But on my way out of the Starbucks line, I saw a girl from my class – Chelsea (if you’ll recall, this is the girl who’s always scribbling away in her notebook and pumps me dry for Chinese grammar tips). It was about two minutes before we had to be back in class and she was way at the end of the line. So I decided to just give her my free drink. She was really excited and I still had my paid-for latte so no one really lost anything.

It may be too soon to say, but I think I nailed that Chinese test. There were no surprises and I was feeling pretty confident about it. Afterwards, we spent the class singing again. This time the song was actually pretty catchy. It’s about a guy who’s looking for pretty girls, and surprisingly, it put our whole class in a good mood despite the nasty weather outside. (It’s been rainy doom and gloom all day.)

From there, I jetted off to Roosters, the coffeehouse run by CUSA (Carleton University Student Association) to meet up with Maghen, and we worked on our front page story. I finally got my interview with Ottawa Public Health and we sat in the newsroom and typed away, firing sentences at each other – awesome leads, horrible cliches and half-baked ideas – anything that came to mind. By 5 p.m., we had that story done and sent off to a very happy editor. Ahh the smell of victory! (Actually it smelled like apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. Someone brought in a giant apple crumble in with a big tub of ice cream as a treat for the Charlatan crew. And of course no one had plates so we were just gobbling it up as fast as possible. It was great, especially since I hadn’t eaten since about 9 a.m.)

Now I’m taking a break, going to go grab some dinner, and then sit down and write that enviro news. I love productive days!

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