from forests and oceans inside of you

Category — Commuting

a walk on the wild side

Whoa man!

These past few days have just been, well, insane. I can’t believe I am finally starting classes tomorrow! I must admit, it had started to feel like I had some idea of how things work here, sort of thought I had the lay of the land down to some sort of sketchy scribble in my head. I even thought I might just be… “on top of things”. Well, add 45 thousand students to a campus, and, as you can imagine, things tend to change – drastically. Swarms of students now fill a once rather peaceful and serene campus. Bike bells try to warn you of the oncoming steel horns rapidly approaching your butt – you may think yourself lucky at receiving the heads up, however, it’s not like you have anywhere to go, unless you’ve already mastered the art of student “management”.

We were all wearing colors specific to our chosen faculties, so the masses looked particularly vibrant. Purple is the color us Arts students love to adorn. Red, green, blue, yellow and white were all doing their thing there too. We were all divided into MUG groups (My Undergraduate Groups) and shown around campus with sporadic, distressing getting-to-know-one-another games. I just can’t seem to keep up. I can’t for the life of me figure out how attaching my elbow to someone else’s ear is going to “smooth” things along!? Free pizza, however, now that keeps people happy. All everyone can do is smile and nod and “mmmm” – a series of movements we all understand and find a little less threatening, particularly when in comparison to a knee suddenly happening upon your lower arm. Anyway, I had a lovely little group, we kept things nice and international. Oh, and it’s been so lovely to meet some CANADIANS! I have hardly met any since arriving on campus!

So I guess it’s time to get started with school. I can definitely see how time management is something to keep your eye on here. There is ALWAYS something going on. Yesterday a few of us went to the PNE fair in East Hastings. It’s quite the mission to make it down town, but definitely worth the trip – whipped butter, honey and raspberry scones, apple, cinnamon and cream crepes.. you know, the usual evil carbohydrates 🙂 There were some great rides and fluffy things to win, tarot cards to be read… lots, lots, lots to do and see. But, what’s left ringing in my head, has undoubtedly left me without a smile on my face.

Some of the Jump Start coordinators had tried to warn us of the East Hastings “situation”, but nothing could have prepared me for just how terrible it is. Now, I’m from Africa people. I’ve seen my fair share – if there is such a thing – of people in shocking situations. This was something else though. Maybe it was the broad daylight. Maybe it was because I thought Vancouver would be a little better. Maybe it was the fact that only a few roads west you’re able to see beautiful buildings bordered by swept streets and shiny high heels.

I remember, a few days into Jump Start, we were introduced to this amazing organization that is doing there very best to provide food that is culturally suitable to the homeless in Vancouver. So many people couldn’t understand why an organization would focus on the problems Vancouver has when there are entire starving countries!!! And to worry about food being culturally SUITABLE? I know I’ve certainly come from a country with some serious problems. But when you have such devastation right here, a few doors down from your pretty little Vancouverite doorstep, it wouldn’t take much much to convince me of that lovely little cliche, charity starts at home.

Now, there are so many factors, many of which I’m almost definitely not even aware of, that are being affected by and effecting the homeless, but nobody can tell me there isn’t a problem. Anyway, it wasn’t my plan to get all morbid. There are so many opportunities to be seized in tackling this problem. “Get involved!” everyone keeps saying!

Well there’s no shortage of options – or freebies if you look enthusiastic enough! An outright shortage of time, though. I really haven’t been able to establish what to choose, or even what to choose to choose from. Definitely have to learn to ski…

Mmm, I can see I’m starting to blab now. So I’ll see you all when I’m feeling constructive again!

September 2, 2008   3 Comments