dazed and confused in vancouver

New blog, new year, new residence, new me?

September 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Feels like forever since I’ve written for the Blog Squad! And, believe me, I’m happy to be back!

Second year! I feel like I’m one step closer to graduating, one step closer to being mature, one step closer to the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I adore UBC, and being in second year almost makes me sad. It means my time here is slowly dwindling! I’m going to have to make sure to make the best of it while I have it here.

So what am I up to this year? Taking 5 classes in each semester, first semester being Japanese, English (yeah, 110!), German Representations of the Holocaust, Economics of the Environment and Economic History of Europe. 🙂 I’m really excited about all these classes, I find that once you’re out of the 100-level courses, the classes get a lot more specific and more interesting. I’m trying to wrangle getting into the Asian Studies Honours program for my major and a minor in Economics. Next year is looking like doing Go Global (check it out if you haven’t already! Workshops in September and October are open for registration now), but hopefully being back in time for the Olympics as well! How awful would it be to miss those?

This summer was a really great one for me, I was glad to have the time off school. In June, I went back to Japan for 1 month (for new readers of my blog, I lived in Japan for 10 months in 2005-2006 as a post-graduation exchange program) which was AMAZING, it made me realize just how much I missed the country and its people. My mum came with me and we picked up my brother, who was also there for an exchange, and we toured around the country (Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Oita, and Tokyo!). I met some old friends and relive one of the best experiences of my life, so all in all, it was a fantastic experience.

In July, I started to look for a summer job. After being turned down from a variety of places for not being able to stay in Ottawa past the end of the summer, I finally landed a lifeguarding job at a summer camp called Camp Misquah. Camp Misquah is a camp in Quebec for adults and children with various mental disorders, and while I had worked at a camp before (YMCA’s Camp Davern), this camp was unlike any other experience I’ve ever had. I worked with people with a wide array of disorders, some that neither I nor my parents had ever heard of. Downs Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, autism, Pica Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, there were all sorts. Even though I only worked as a lifeguard and not a counselor, I was able to interact and bond with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. In my month and a half there, I saw a boy who had been labeled non-verbal (his medic alert bracelet even said so) count to 10 out loud. I just about cried. I did cry a lot, some of the time because I wasn’t sure how to deal with the disabilities I was seeing, and sometimes because I was so overwhelmed by the strength I saw in some of the people I met.

Since I’ve gotten back, I’ve done my first year as an Imagine UBC MUG leader, which was a really amazing time. I really enjoyed meeting people who were in my shoes only 1 short year ago. I really look forward to doing it again next year and hopefully getting more involved in orientations as well.

The weather here has been spectacular, so I think I’m going to finish up my readings quickly so I can go outside and enjoy it before winter hits! 🙁 This sun just can’t stay long enough.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • Humaira // Sep 27th 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Vic, your trip sounds absolutely amazing. I hope to do a tour of Asia at some point in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future…

    I’d love to know more about Pica Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome because I haven’t ever heard of them before… but I agree. Working with children with disabilites opens your eyes to a whole new world of perseverance and strength. Being able to work with some amazing kids in the past few years have definitely changed me.

    I’m so glad you got into MUG leading… Squad Leader next perhaps? It’s sunny today! =D

  • victoria tothill-brown // Sep 27th 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I hope you get a chance to go, it’s a fascinating area of the world (and perhaps the reason my major is Asian Area Studies? XD)

    Yeah, they’re both disorders that don’t get much face time. Pica Syndrome is a condition where the person feels the constant compulsion to eat things, food or not. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_(disorder). Good old Wiki. 🙂

    Prader-Willi is somewhat similar in that it involves food, but the way it works is that the person never feels full after eating, so they are constantly hungry. There’s more on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prader_willi

    I’m thinking I’ll most likely apply for that next year! I’m not sure if I need any additional qualifications, though.

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