Category Archives: Off-Campus Life

Shovelling Snow

Yesterday I came home to find one of my neighbours’ sidewalk shovelled beautifully clean of snow. Determined not to be outbeat, I tried my hand at shovelling for the first time.

While my technique probably leaves something to be desired (having never seen anyone shovel snow before, I’m just making this up as I go along), I still managed to clear a path from the door to the garden stairs. A friend slipped on the stairs recently; I cleared that up as well, worked on clearing some parking space in front of our house, and chipped away a square metre of ice from the pavement before it started to get dark and I got tired.

I was planning on working on the rest of the pavement today, but thank goodness it’s raining and I don’t want to get soaked (my excuse) — my body is aching all over from shovelling for over an hour yesterday while running on two hours’ of sleep. I slept like a babe last night and could’ve slept for way, way more than nine hours if I didn’t have a morning meeting to consider…

Term 2, Year 2

Many hours and much flirting of the Korean air host with the Korean female passengers next to me, I am back in a flurry of snow, most of which I seem to have missed over the winter break. No regrets there though. The weather in HK was 20’C most of my holiday through, sunshine and blue skies. Good stuff.

And school starts in two days! I’m going to buy my books on Monday when I suppose most of UBC will also be there. Fortunately, my reading list this term isn’t long — I dropped two courses so I’m down to just three. This suits me fine since it’ll give me time to concentrate on finding a co-op placement for the summer. As long as I don’t change my mind, and as long as I find co-op placements, I’ll be working this summer and the next autumn term, so this will be the least amount of schooling I’ve ever had since I was… two. Two is clearly a very symbolic number in this post.

More things to do with two!

It’s going to be the Year of the Ox in a few weeks, and the Ox is the second animal in the Chinese zodiac.

There are going to be two conferences on January 10th: the Student Leadership Conference and Model United Nations. Pick one to go to!

I have two suitcases to unpack. This is not counting my carry-on luggage. I go.

Exam Excitement

I just found out that exam timetables are up — I don’t know when they came out — and my schedule resembles something like this:

Monday: Term paper due
Tuesday: Take-home essay/paper due
Wednesday: EOSC exam
Thursday: Chinese exam
Friday: Old English exam

and I will probably have a Chinese oral exam to do online due around then.

The crunch is really not the exciting part (in fact, I think I will get butterflies in late November).

The exciting part is that I’m done by December 5th. I’m walking about a little dazed and stunned by the possibilities this opens up to me — I can go home earlier, maybe even much earlier. (My ticket’s currently booked for the 21st.) My two weeks’ rushed holiday is a month. I can get my wisdom teeth pulled out before they close for the winter holidays (I insist on going to my lifelong HK dentist; I fear Canadian dentists). I may be able to make it back in time for my mother’s birthday. I can visit my secondary school and see some of my old teachers.

But while a part of me is tempted to jump onto the next available midnight flight between the 5th and the 6th, I suppose I should check with all my various commitments and find out when they can spare me, and I was going to take some time after exams to get my L driver’s license (that’s right, I have not yet done the written test and am not qualified to drive, mostly because legal driving age in HK is 18 and there wasn’t enough time between my birthday and leaving for uni to learn), and I was looking forward to hanging out with friends here for a couple of days after exams (because face it, there’s hardly any time to really relax together during school)…

Oh forget it, I want to go home.

Not such a golden moment

So in the city of Vancouver, individual households get a yellow recycling bag for paper products and a blue recycling bag for newspaper to be put outside by the giant garbage bin on rubbish-collecting day.

As it’s been raining a lot recently, when I went to pick my bags back up and bring them back into the house, I found what resembled snails lying all over them and some inside as well. Only they didn’t look like snails, lacking houses, so I poked one to see what it was.

It was slimy.

I guess they’re slugs.

I left the bags outside to hose down on some day when it’s not raining so much.

Grocery Shopping On Campus

The days of making a trip down to the Sasamat Safeway for my fortnightly four-litre jug of milk are over; having moved off-campus, it seems I’m going to be doing most of my shopping on it.

This is for several reasons:

(a) Getting from home to place-that-sells-food without a car requires me to take two buses (or one bus and walk quite far). I believe in direct routes. And minimal walking when burdened with a week’s worth of groceries, i.e. the jug of milk + other items.

(b) I’ve discovered that Canadian vegetables are like their cookies: Very Big. I can only consume one vegetable per week since I only dine on it. (I eat toast for breakfast and lunch at the SUB with my leftover money from last year’s meal plan.) I prefer not to take a special half-hour trip to buy a single vegetable those weeks I don’t need milk and eggs.

(c) My vegetable tends to die halfway through the week. (Correction: My vegetable tends to wither and stop being fresh halfway through the week. I realize it’s already quite dead.) And I only have time to go grocery-shopping over the weekends.

So instead, I have found places on-campus where I can buy my beloved groceries while I’m in school, thus killing two birds with one stone (what a brutal metaphor):

Sprouts in the SUB Basement is a student volunteer-run fresh-produce store that also offers baked goods, freshly-made soup and other interesting organic items, including one of my favourite chocolates ever. They sell vegetables from the UBC Farm, a place I love and support, and have the added advantage of being organic. Not being a varsity athlete, I figure I can afford to spend the extra dosh on organic food. To be honest, I’m not sure how much more expensive it is compared to conventional foods from Safeway, but my budget isn’t hurting yet. Plus since the portions aren’t quite as insanely huge, I can buy something fresh and different mid-week. Yay variety!

The Specialty Food Store in the Village whose name I don’t actually know is a gem of a place. It has the oddest variety of fruits, vegetables, organic substances, packaged items, Asian foods and seasonings… I’ll admit the Asian foods and seasonings have me. This will save me a trip to T&T whenever I’m looking for something the least bit homey.

The UBC Farm runs Saturday markets which, alas, I have not yet gone to or am likely to this year. The Farm is unfortunately less easy to access without a car, and no longer living on campus, it becomes even more difficult to get from here to there. I believe there’s another farm market nearer me right now than UBC. But I highly encourage any food-lovers to go check it out, tell me what you think of it and whether it’s as good as I always hope it will be. Perhaps next year I shall be able to make it out there — unless UBC does the cruel thing of selling the land and turning it into property housing, thus bringing an end to the last working farm in Vancouver and forevermore removing all chances of there ever being a farm again.