Everybody needs a little sunshine in their life. And Corgis. Sunshine and corgis.

To You,

My Mr. Husband-Face and Corgi-child Emma Bear made an unexpected trip up to Canada to support me through some unexpected stress surrounding immigration last week. I will follow-up with a post regarding the unbelievable stress we endured and conquered during that week, but for now some photos I snapped with my dad’s 35mm Chinon from our well-needed hike through the Little Bluff Conservation Area in Picton, Ontario.

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Beautiful day for a hike, chip trucks, and good ol’ fashioned fresh air.


Lots of love, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Durham Sits at Number Seven, and it’s Shortly Onto Number Eight

To You,

I’m feeling uninspired. Rather tired. A little on the blah side of things. This weather for sure doesn’t help. Neither does that the fact that I have the first chapter of my dissertation due this Friday. I feel mentally drained for the most part. I think my mind has been flying overtime (which is truly no rare feat in my life), and I’m exciting myself, as well as worrying myself, over all that is about to end and all that will then begin.

Flight is booked, I am to move back to North America at the end of July, which means I am leaving Durham around the 23rd so that I may spend my last week in the UK in London, my second home. I will try to see as much family as my time allows me to, and then it’s back to Canada. However, before I settle down in a Canadian town I will be heading south to Indianapolis to finish up my dissertation and bid adieu to traditional academia for the time being (oh Lord, I cannot wait). I figure while I have the time and freedom to do so, I will spend some extra time with my adored few in Indianapolis as I know many of the said few are planning to jump ship quite shortly following. And since I have this little dissertation to construct, and landing a full-time job in the midst of that would deem a teensy bit stressful, I’ve decided to spend some time with them before my life becomes rather grounded again. Who knows – it may be the vacation I’ve needed, to settle down before I do something crazy and the circle repeats itself 🙂

Overall, I am ready to head back. And more than that, I am ready to live in my beloved Canada again – shockingly enough, and a fact that makes me feel rather old, I have not lived full-time in Canada for almost 10 years. I could not believe it when I broke the numbers down, and I have missed my homeland and my home friends dearly. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the functioning of other countries of which I was residing in throughout that decade, however I feel rather lost and out of touch with Canadian culture and society – I’m not always good with catching online news updates, and I’m much better at learning from experiencing within. So back to Canada it is, forever my home of all homes. I kind of just wish I could be there already. 🙂

But yes, less than two weeks left in Durham – mad how it’s already come to an end. These next two weeks I’ve loads of writing and researching to accomplish, and loads of photographs to snap. My digital as decided to go wonky on me and so I will be resorting to shooting with my new little Minolta film camera for the time being. I will be writing a few last letters, and packing my flat up. I’ll be sad to leave this flat. It’s been my own, and in the time that I inherited it from the previous tenant, I was very much in need of something all of my own as I felt like such a concept was out of reach.

Anyways, that’s it for now. Speak soon 🙂

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

I Be Trippin’, Yo.

To you,

I am sure that there is plenty for me to be working on. However, caught up in the flickering moments of free time this week, I have grown rather bored. I’ve two readings left for this week, 1 assignment, and the completion of one power point presentation. Apart from that, zip. I feel as though this week is the calm before the storm, however. Only 70 pages of reading, and one presentation? I feel something troublesome brewing beneath the cobble stone roads of Durham.

If I were to look ahead on my planned out calendar listing due dates and presentations for the remainder of the Epiphany Term, I would notice a quick rise in activity approaching.

But alas, here I type, shrugging off busy times as if it were apocalypse.

This week overall has been rather uneventful, with a few personal tasks accumulating on my to-do list. Trips to book is #1. Numero uno. As quiet as this week is, I do have a few trips coming up in the next couple of weeks. February 20th I’m headed back down to London to visit big bruvah and Georgina, and to catch the last few days of Anselm Kiefer’s exhibit at the Bermondsey White Cube galleries and Grayson Perry’s exhibition “The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman” at the British Museum. Those few days will be packed with excellent visuals.

Anselm Kiefer: Il Mistero delle Cattedrali

Grayson Perry: Tomb of Unknown Craftsman

Following those few days in London, I will return to further assignments being due (another reason as to why I should be filling these soon-to-be fleeing moments of spare time getting way ahead on projects). About a week following these events, I will have formative essays due, and a trip to the Scottish Highlands with my brother and a few of his mates to drive around and climb whatever mountains we find ourselves at the base off. My kind of trip, to be frank. So for about 4 days we will roam Scotland until the Sunday when my brother and myself depart the group to head back to Durham for the night (about 1.5 hours on the train from Edinburgh). It is then that I will bid farewell to the big bro as he will be moving to Perth, Australia the following weekend. It has been a refreshing change living in the same country as him for the past few months, as it had been over 4 years since we had lived in the same continent. Perth will be a trip I will cover soon… not very soon, but soon.

Following my bounce around the highlands, I will be in Durham for the remaining 2 weeks of the Epiphany Term – two weeks. What is so monumental about those two weeks that I purposely lay weight to their significance with the assistance of bold text, you ask? Well, it is my final two weeks of courses in Durham. Cray-cray if you ask me, but I’m ready. Within those two weeks I will have 4 assignments due and two presentations. Not too bad, me thinks. Finishing things on March 16th, I will be in Durham for almost a week before departing once again (or at least that’s the plan). I’m planning on going to Berlin for 4 days to attend the Arts in Cultural Diplomacy conference of which I am nerdily giddy about. Nothing has been finalized, and deposits have not been submitted, but I have a place secured for the next week if I choose to attend, which I am very much leaning towards right now. It would be an excellent opportunity to attend forums and lectures based around the subject matter of which I am planning on doing my dissertation on.

Directly following the conference in Berlin – a city I love and adore – I will be flying home to Canada land 🙂 I am most definitely excited to go home to Trenton, finally see and play with my cuddle bug Emma Tugboat, and visit with close friends and family. I’ll have work to complete during the visit, but I’m feeling pretty good about it all – much more so than last term.

Emma Bear Tugboat, the Awesomest Welsh Corgi in the World (awaiting rebuttle from the Queen)

After spending about a week in Canada, I will venture down to Indianapolis to see my lovely chap for what should be a ridiculously busy few weeks since he will be culminating his thesis work, and I will be working towards mine. Even if all we have time for are a few enthusiastic high-fives in passing everyday, it will be worth it to see him even in the caffeine-depleted grumpiness (remind me of this when I am stressing out over my piles of work, s’il vous plait? ;-)). I will be in North America until the near end of April, when I will return to Durham to hand in my assignments and finish my thesis proposal before handing that in on May 4th.

And then…. we wait.

So anyways, all of these trips will be occurring within less than a one and a half month time span. Nuts! But, me likey. Financially, it’s going to be a stretch (mainly for Berlin since that was unexpected and so close to my trip home), but I’ll make it work. I want to get this show on the road, because right now I’m feeling the anticipation and doing my best to get ahead before I become swamped with trips and assignments.

Tonight, however, I would rather watch a movie and eat nachos. It’s a shame I have neither a selection of movies, or nachos. :-/

Instead I’ve sat here on my couch typing, sifting through images, and attempting to finish up a power point presentation. I have been sifting through thoughts as per usual as well, trying to figure out a way to manage all the components of my life as they occur in the present, and as I foresee them challenging one another in the near to far-off future. I feel rather silent in such thoughts, not quite ready to diverge from the inner dialogue that’s been occurring for the past couple of weeks or so.

I look forward to the coming weeks as they rev up for action! I’m really enjoying my modules this term, which obviously helps when you’re drowning in an avalanche of readings: it’s an avalanche that you desperately want to ride upon rather than hide beneath a rock waiting for it to stop. [That statement will prevent me from ever getting hired within an avalanche rescue team.] We’ll see – my posts within those weeks could express highly contradicting sentiments 🙂

Okay, I’ll leave it there. I’ll be writing more letters/postcards this week 🙂

Peace, love, and passer-by high fives!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A Tale Full of Chapters Untold: Weeks filled with Laughter, and a Coffee Filter with Mould…

To you,

My hiatus has been a long one, as mentioned in my brief post a few days ago. But with very good reason, as November has flown by without a moment of flickering acknowledgement. I have decided though, since my exhaustion has still ceased to disappear completely from my mind’s functioning capabilities, that I will update you with my days past in a few separate postings – or ‘chapters,’ if you will.

So let us consider this to be Chapter 1, entitled:

Chapter I: Winter Holidays are Upon Us.. or something of similar ranging cheese-factor

For those of you whom are unaware, I shall be spending the Christmas portion of my winter holidays in England – something of which I have not done since 2005. But even more rare of an occasion is the fact that my entire family will be spending it together – myself, two siblings, and me ma – something of which has not happened in, oh, I don’t know, 5 or 6 years perhaps? I know, crazy, right? But alas, it is all of true tales. And I suppose if we are going to stay correct within the designation of dates, and with the 25th of December technically being the official celebration of Christmas (although, let’s not kid ourselves – we all know December being the month of Christ’s birth to be somewhat incorrect.. 😉 ), technically we are not spending Christmas Day together. Instead, on the weekend of December 16th, the Son family will be celebrating in Durham with complete ignorance to the fact that it is not the 25th. I mean, let us evaluate this situation, shall we? In the modern, western world, what is the celebration of ‘Christmas’ so to speak, apart from the religiously affiliated reasoning? Is it not considered a time to be with family? Is it not a time to appreciate your loved ones? Is it not a time to feast on a delicious spread of roast veg, Yorkshire pudding, and meat? Or a time to run around mad amongst visiting friends and family? Is it not a time to be giving the gift of good tidings, and great joy? (Do I need to include a clip of the Vicar of Dibley’s Christmas lunch? Um – YEAH! YOUTUBE INTERMISSION!!)

Well, then – how will December 16th through 18th not be considered Christmas? To be honest, the religious affiliation with the way the holiday is spent is somewhat (and sadly) lost in western tradition, and in my household we don’t always have a Christmas tree, and we don’t really give gifts to one another. We spend it together, as Hallmark intended it to be spent – according to their cards, at least. And no, this is not an anti-religious message, but more so an explanation that the Christmas holidays are very important to me, but more so because I can spend it with my family, of whom live near and far.

Another question you may be pondering – why the 16th?? Well, dear friends, my brother will be in the land of Aussies on the 25th, and so to avoid another missed Christmas together, the 16th it is! And you know what I am finding to be an odd ‘adult’ realization? I am hosting our Christmas this year. In my flat. In Durham. How weird is that? Most kids go home for Christmas – the Sons are coming to me this year… another new one for the books! I am very ecstatic though, although I am also very sad to be missing out on the Trentonian Christmas Eve dinner tradition with one of my best lovelies back home, and the fact that my dear puppy is back in Canada as well. Spending some winter time in England with my family will be awesome, and I am definitely looking forward to it 🙂 We will remain in Durham until mid week before we head to London to visit with my mum and dad’s families for the 25th. It will be my ma’s first Christmas in England in nearly 30 years, so for her, a definite special one!

Now, as for New Year’s. Slightly different plans. I will in fact be returning to North America for a fair amount of time before my next term commences in January to spend the latter portion of the holiday. I am beyond excited. I could be going anywhere in the planet, as long as my one reason for visiting was present with me, I would still be beyond excited. Location is completely irrelevant, and just like the holidays in general, for me, its the people you get to spend it with – not the events, the presents, the expectations, etc. but rather the people. I just recently purchased my plane ticket, and I am counting down the days 🙂 I am definitely hoping to see a few other friendly faces, but one in particular… well… 🙂

So that is my news on the upcoming winter holidays as my Michaelmas term slowly crawls to an end in a couple of weeks. What other chapters will follow? Well, the content will jump around from being inside a 17m-high snow globe in the middle of Durham Marketplace, a week-long apprenticeship consisting of 12-15hr work days, new photographic participation (the nerd inside of me lives on), and a day in the life of my life in Durham – I really want to illustrate the scenery of which I walk everyday, the atmosphere surrounding me, and life as an eternally confused Durham postgraduate student.

Until next time, and Chapter II of my tales, take care and speak soon.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo