Saturday, July 22, 2006
Books. lectures, assignments, all mean one thing: back to school! And though the leaves haven't hinted at a change in hue, I see small signs in Staples advertising "Back to School" items. Besides the books/lectures/assignments one more important detail comes to mind when thinking about a post-secondary education: money.

So, despite know for about a year that I'll be heading to our Southern neighbours to start law school and having a pretty regular job, I managed to squander a lot of my money and save little (next to the amount I need). So in the last few months I've attempted to mend my weary ways and start saving and paying off those evil little plastic cards designed to give you spending freedom and open you up to a down-spiral of debt.

Now, despite my efforts to make myself out to be different than the norm, I've somehow landed face-flat into the stereotype that girls like to shop. A lot. Though I know I'm not a greedy or stingy person; most items I buy are for people in my family, still we don’t share the bill. And good intentions cannot pay off a Visa balance. And I won't say how much is "a lot" (it's more interesting to let each person interpret it for their own) because each opinion will be different. But dangle a shiny silver bracelet, or stylish top ("does it come in aqua blue?") and you've caught the attention of the majority of females.

I bought something at a local store (one of those Zellers/Wal-Mart type ones) and though it cost a little more than I'd expected from a store of that quality/credibility, I bought it anyhow (despite the disapproving look I got from my mom) with some deliberation and indecisiveness. A week later I decided that I had enough clothes and that this particular item of clothing wasn't all that necessary to own. So off it went back to the store from which it came. Once returned I got back a rounded figure of $40. Happy with myself I thought, since I didn't have much else to do that day, I'd walk around the shopping centre attached to the store just to browse -- of course, since I'd made back my $40 and was on my no-buying-useless-items streak, I wouldn't be buying anything.

My luck ran out the moment I stepped foot into the busy crowd of the shopping centre and in front of one of my favourite stores. "Won't hurt just to look around at their new items!" I naively think to myself. So I scrunched up my determination and walked in. No sooner had I done so and a trendy, young salesgirl approached me.
>Hi! How are you? she asked
>>(my, what spunk you have!) Umm, fine thanks.
>Can I help you find anything today?
>>Nope, thanks, just looking around
> Ok, great! (there it is again) Just so you know all of our jewelry is on sale as well as our T-shirts which are 2 for $20! Great deal!
>> (Ugh, why'd you have to go and say that for?) Ok. Thanks. (Must stay focused! Do not fall into the 'bargain deal' trap. Been there, too many times, not going to work - you're a fierce, non-shopping, penny-wise girl). As I pep-talked my way through the store while flipping through different items displayed on racks, another trendy salesgirl called out a greeting to me and explained the promotions in a store. This time I just nodded my head and kept my gaze lowered to avoid eye contact with any other salespeople who may be looking around for a prey. I saw one coming towards me, his hands filled with items to for the display, his head turned to one side, he couldn't see me in his pathway as I quickly ducked and turned only to come face to face with yet another salesperson.
> "Hi!" said the chipper voice of the older trendy woman.
>>"Hi" I mumbled back.
>"Can I help you look for anything? I noticed you looking at some items, can I help with a size?" she said, eyes full of hope
>>"Uh, no. No, thank you. I'm just looking around." I tried my best nonchalant smile.
>"Let me show you some of the jewelry we have on sale," she persisted, hand on my shoulder guiding me to turn around to look at the display behind me, "see anything you like?"
>>"No, well I mean yes, I, uh, wait...this is nice" I said, voice faltering as a picked up a pale gold necklace. 9.95? Marked down from $24.99, well...that is pretty good. And I can wear it with some different things..."Sure, I'll take this."
>"Great! Now, how about a top to go with it?"
>>*Click* Whoa lady. "NO! I mean, no thanks. Just that please." I said, suddenly realizing the tiny voice at the back of my head repeating my pep-talk from moments ago.
>"Oh, well sure, ok. I'll have someone ring it up for you."

Ok. Down by $10 bucks from the $40 or so I got back. I'm still up by $30. It's ok. Minor set-back. Just get out of the mall and you'll be fine. Get out. Repeat. Red alert. Get out! Get o--!

Too late, I spotted Sephora the make-up haven for non-drugstore items that were rare, ie. expensive, to find in most department store. Well..I could use a nice eyeliner. Something of better quality for evening events. Ok. Just one eyeliner. It is, afterall, something I need, not a frivolous expense.

Content with the console I gave myself, I wandered the brightly lit aisles looking for the much coveted eyeliner. After a short consultation with a nearby salesperson, I found what I had long-searched for and I checked the tag.
>>"$15.00?"
>"Yes! It's a great deal for our own line. Perfect for what you need it for." she said nodding enthusiastically.
>>"Really? Well, it is cheaper than all the other brands..." and I would have eventually bought one, right? Why are they all so spunky?
>Also check out the clearance items we have here now. Everything is marked down to $5!
>> Gulp. "$5? Sounds good..." too good. Dammit.
>It is! And we never have sales, so it's good to take advantage of now.
>"Oh, ok then, I'll just check what's there. I really should be spending money. I'm saving for school" I blurted out.
>>"Really...?" the salesgirl smiled eyeing my other bag in hand, "you must be pretty disciplined to do that."
Great, she's mocking me. Lady in the make-up store with too much make-up on is mocking me!? With a nervous giggle I attempted to explain myself. Afterall it was only a couple of items. Why was she judging me? She's the persistent, pushy salesperson! And there were more like her in every store. I only have so much will power!

10 minutes later, I walked out of the store (and straight to the parking lot) with my new eyeliner, lip gloss, and hilighter crayon (I still am not clear on it's purpose, but the salesgirl said it'd brighten my eyes -- who doesn't want bright eyes!?) tucked away in my black and white Sephora shopping bag. I did a quick calculation in my head. It seems, that despite the "effort" I put into my day, I came out of that shopping mall with a net gain of $0.10.

Wonderful. Now I can afford one page of a textbook for school.
Friday, July 14, 2006
  • Kellogg's Vectory cereal is called a "meal repleacement" cereal...if you're going to be eating this, or anything for that matter, during breakfast/lunch/dinner, doesn't that edible item become your meal replacement?!
  • How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
  • Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice?"
  • Why lawyers charge for every noticeable movement you or they make on your behalf. I mean there's a damn copy fee! For photocopying. Does paper, toner and pushing a button really add up to that much? (Yes, this coming from me. Who just may end up charging that very fee in the future)
  • Why is there no chanel 01?
  • How in the world a Michiganer(??) can make fun of a Canadian accent when they pronounce many 'o' sounds as 'a'. Thamas. Apportunity.
  • Why do people on MSN Messenger (and anything similar) put "DND [do not disturb]!!! Do not msg under any circumstances, I m very bz" next to their names when they don't want others sending them a message - why not just 'appear offline' or be offline altogether?
  • If the majority dislikes the US so much, why is the world homogenizing itself as it's mirror image?
  • The warning "Caution! Contents are hot" on styrofoam/paper coffee cups (Actually I do get that one - the random idiot who spills it on himself may decide to sue when he scalds himself...damn lawyers :p)
  • Why does my school needs proof of financing for an 1-20 form to be issued, but my financer needs an 1-20 to give me funding.
  • Why do people have stopped thanking the drivers who let them into their lanes! (A wave or a flick of the hand is all I ask, c'mon)
  • Why we can't have a group of Prime Ministers/Presidents. Wouldn't it be more fair that way, rather than to elect one person to that position?

I had a few more, but my short-term memory has lost any trace of what they were. Instead I'm still giggling to myself about the Sherman's Lagoon comic from a couple days ago:

Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Namesake

This movie is based on the book (same title) by Jhumpa Lahiri. It stars Kal Penn (that Whitecastle movie, and Superman). The book won a Pulitzer price and the story line does seem pretty good.
Monday, July 03, 2006
It's about 2:45 pm and after claiming the back seat in the minivan for myself I've woken up after a short nap to find that we're lost once again. But this time around we're around civilization so we should be fine...

I got the apartment that we came for, though it took a little effort since the apartment manager had left for awhile so we stood around until my mom got the maintenance guy to track her down (that's so like my mom!).

It's as nice as can be expected and we checked out the surrounding area and found the place is about a 10 minute walk to the campus. I forgot to take pictures but I'll do that next time.

So as of August 15th, I am the proud renter of a downtown Lansing, Michigan apartment and few weeks thereafter, I fully fledged law student.

Oy...that's just 6 weeks away...

Anyone got any boxes to spare?
So I made it Here. Here being Michigan.

After a lot of tantrums and heated arguments on the prospect of me moving out, I have arrived (forcefully) in Michigan, my "home" for the next 3 years. And that's exactly what we've come for, to search for my new place. It's not that I'm not excited about law school. I am. Am I? Yes, yes I am. It's just the nerves talking. Though I won't admit it to my family, who thankfully doesn't read this, I am nervous about what's coming up in the next couple months. I remember back in high school all the kids who couldn't wait to get out of their homes and go to a school further away. They purposely chose to apply to every out of city school so they'd have to home. I, on the other hand, chose to apply to schools within the Greater Toronto Area - all the ones I could commute to and indeed ended up going to one that was about a half hour drive from home.

Now that I'm 23 (and a half) my parents are growing weary of my presence at home and support (a little too enthusiastically?) my leaving for school. I know they actually are happy about the law school part and not about my leaving (save your consoling speeches).

But leaving the safeness of the parents home (you mean no one will cook for me anymore!?) is unnerving me enough that I find myself going through the commonly believed "5 Stages of Grief" : Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

At first I didn't want to believe that the closest place I got in to law school was Michigan - the one state I loathe (for many, valid reasons) and I denied I got that specific acceptance at all. I wished it away; scrunched my eyes tight and willed it to be an error, that some other large manila coloured envelop was on it's way. Obviously I should've scrunched my eyes and willed a little harder because I'm in Michigan as I write this.

I was angry at myself for not doing better in school, on the LSAT and at the situation it self. It didn't seem fair that though I had the grades, I didn't get into any of the Canadian schools I wanted.

I bargained with myself that in the year that I had off I'd do something major to turn this situation around. The most I did was win an award at work for my sales and service.

Then the depression set in. I was, in order to fulfill my aspiration to study law, going to have to move to Michigan and leave my sanctuary of a home to do it. Everything seemed bleak and I got angry at the mention of the keywords of "law", "school", "Michigan", "moving" and any combination of those or related words. That was until about yesterday.

Today, as I sit curled up on the chair of our Holiday Inn suite, I'm coming to terms with the situation and at last accepting the fact that I am here. I will have to move away from my home (my poor baby sister...), family and friends (love youuuuuu). I will be here for 3 years (hey, time goes by fast these days, right?), and God-willing, will be moving back the second my degree is handed to me.






So I had a long time to think all that over. Not what I would write, but about the situation itself, on the long drive here. Normally it should take about 4-5 hours from my house to Lansing, Michgan. But it took us about 6+ hours to make it to our hotel. We planned to get here Sunday afternoon, check out some of the nearby stores and familiarize ourself with the area before going apartment hunting the next day. We were supposed to leave at 10am, so natuarally about 1pm, we set off on the highway towards our destination.

Two rest stops, on account of my sister and brother having too many drinks in the car, 2 chip bags (French Onion Sun Chips and Mrs.Vickie's Jalapeno flavored), a lot of poking (I think have some faint bruises on my arms), yelling, shoving, arguing and laughing (all inevitable side effects of having my brother, sister and myself alone in the back of a minivan), and a 3-hour Indian move later we made it into the state of Michigan.

My mom planned it out so she, my dad and I would split up the driving time, but as my dad would have it, he drove the whole way. Which may have in part accounted for us getting lost a few times before we found our hotel. Funny enough, we found out that the whole time we had been lost we actually had been making circles around our hotel. The last time we actually stopped to get directions at a gas station it ended up that we were standing across from the hotel.

My dad seems to fall under the age of stereotype of men and direction-getting - i.e. that he won't stop to ask for any, despite the consistent request from my mom.
Lansing is...interesting. There is a lot of farmland around some areas, and some areas that have a really nice small-town-America feel to it. At the moment I haven't seen the school itself so I don't know about the area surround my school, though it is downtown, and Lansing being the capital of Michigan, I imagine there'd be a lot more traffic and people.

That's all I can seem to type now. I can't sleep well in strange places, hotels included, and I'm an owl when it comes to nights so this is why I have all the patience to write so much in one sitting. And I've been told that my posts are not as long as they used to, and should, be.

Wish you hadn't said anything now huh Furheen? ;)
Saturday, July 01, 2006

Selections fromrom the Globeandmail.com Social Studies Section

Words to live by

Canada's official national motto is A Mari Usque ad Mare (From sea to sea). This spring, leaders from Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon, noting that the Arctic Ocean has been overlooked, advocated the slogan be changed to read: "From sea to sea to sea." Provincial slogans, too, reflect what's on people's minds:

Newfoundland: Quaerite Prime Regnum Dei (Seek ye first the Kingdom of God)

Prince Edward Island: Parva Sub Ingenti (The small under the protection of the great)

New Brunswick: Spem eduxit (Hope was restored)

Nova Scotia: Munit Haec et Altera Vincit (One defends and the other conquers)

Quebec: Je me souviens (I remember)

Ontario: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Loyal she began, loyal she remains)

Manitoba: Glorious et Liber (Glorious and free)

Saskatchewan: Multis E Gentibus Vires (From many peoples strength)

Alberta: Fortis et Liber (Strong and free)

British Columbia: Splendour Sine Occasu (Splendour without diminishment)

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, news services

Eh, Canada
"One interjection, one sound, one word seems to identify Canadians wherever in the world we travel," writes Bill Casselman in Canadian Words & Sayings. However, it is well over 600 years old, he adds. He quotes the late Canadian lexicographer Walter Avis, who noted that "eh? is a feature Canadians share with Britishers but one which some Americans consider unusual." Americans say huh? more often than eh? contends Mr. Casselman.

Canadian identity
The recently issued New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English defines Canadian as: 1) a Jewish person (U.S.); and 2) a multiple bet (Britain), citing a source that says this bet is also known as a Super Yankee.

Thought du jour
"A Canadian is lost when he asks himself what a Canadian is." -- English essayist V.S. Pritchett

HAPPY 138TH BIRTHDAY CANADA!

Having lived in a few different places around the world has helped me to understand that there's no place like home! And even though I'm deserting the country for the next 3 years, I can't wait to finish school and come back for good! Link