beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
[personal profile] beboots
 Today was a lovely day! ... Not the least of which was because I did next to no homework! (I may pay for it in stress later on, but man if it doesn't feel good right now. <3 )

The sun is shining! I feel that spring is on the way. After a long dark winter, the snow seems to be consistently melting. You get these lovely patches of crackly ice on the sidewalks that make a satisfying crunching noise as you walk over them in the morning just after the sun has risen. I've loved doing that ever since I was a child. 

So today, I had my last seminar class with Dr. Susan Smith, my research supervisor for my thesis. That was a bit melancholy.  I'll definitely see her again, though: I have to pick up my paper from her next week, and I've received her mailing address so I'll send her postcards from Spain and France... but I won't have a class with her again unless I get my master's at the U of A, which isn't looking likely. Still! It was a good class. We went around the table and talked about our research experiences with the papers we were just handing in for that class (another thing I don't have to worry about anymore: finishing that paper!), and professor Smith actually brought us snacks - cookies, chips, juice, some granola-chocolate things, and tiny little oranges. :) It was lovely.

We ended an hour and a half early (it's normally a three hour class) but I stuck around and chatted with her afterwards. :) I'll miss her. 

I then went home, changed, did some homework, then drove to Fort Edmonton for my costuming appointment. (I'd rescheduled to today from next Thursday to get it over with and because I had free time.) I'm really excited. I get almost the same outfits as last year... plus one. 

I was super excited to learn that I will be portraying one of the Rowand daughters this year! :D I'll still be the Métis country wife on some days, but I'll also be portraying one of the fine ladies of the fort... and I'm the only female interpreter in 1846 who gets to wear the pretty dress. :D I'm really, really happy about this! :D I'll be able to knit! Be served tea! Be photographed endlessly! (Although apparently the latter is really exhausting, because according to last year's Rowand daughter, since you're often the first lady in nice costume that a lot of the visitors to the park see, they haven't grown sick of photographing pretty ladies yet, so EVERYONE wants a photo. I shall practice my strained smile!)
After that I parked at the university (at least I know how much parking costs there, and where it is) and then took the LRT (AKA our subway - Light Rail Transit) downtown to the Alberta Learning building for my job interview for the Odyssey program (in Quebec). 
I decided to still do the interview for this thing even though I'm 85% certain that I'm going to be going to Rouen, France. Why? There's no sense in cancelling the interview, slamming the door of opportunity behind me, only to have to go crawling back weeks later because for some reason the people in France don't want to take me. 
I was interviewed by a very nice young francophone man, mostly in English. He asked me questions like "Why did you choose the Odyssey program?" and did situational things like "If you were to accompany your class on a ski trip that was cancelled half an hour before departure because of a big snow storm, and you cannot leave the school... With fifteen minutes preparation time, how would you keep them entertained and educated for three hours until the school day ends?" I laid out a plan in which I'd give them four or five options for good English language movies so they could vote on the one they wanted to watch (so they still get a bit of a treat) and as the movie plays I'd write discussion questions, so they're forced to practice oral English too and so I can test their comprehension. 
The point where I realized that I really had nailed the interview was when he asked me this strange and difficult question: "Draw what the Odyssey program means to you." He then gave me a marker and gestured to the whiteboard. Luckily, I had a minute to think, and what I drew was this:
A really, really rough version of the map of Canada. You could see the St. Laurence, the beaver-shaped Hudson's Bay and James Bay, and at least Alberta and Saskatchewan are pretty recognizable geometric shapes... Now, I knew that this program is run by the government and it's supposed to encourage cultural exchange across Canada, not just language exchange. He'd already asked me about what I thought Albertan/Western Canadian/anglophone culture was like. I essentially talked about how maps can be very meaningful (someone once referred to the formation of Canada as a distinct country as a "miracle of cartography"), but people in real life can feel very isolated and very attached to their localities. The Odyssey program, to me, was about drawing links between these places. I then drew a few arching lines between the St. Lawrence/Quebec City region and the Edmonton dot in the Alberta blob.
I realized I actually sounded eloquent. \o/ Very deep. 
We chatted for about ten extra minutes after that. I commented that I hadn't drawn Ontario, and then I joked that "well, it's only in the way, right?" We both laughed - I think he liked that, as a Quebecois, because there's this intense rivalry between those two provinces. He then commented that I hadn't drawn the maritime provinces either and then he drew some blobs too. Pop quiz! Which is which? I identified Prince Edward Island (because it's an island), Newfoundland & Labrador, because they're up north and almost attached to Quebec... but I always get New Brunswick and Nova Scotia confused. I tentatively identified them... incorrectly. I then joked that I must be fired, now. He assured me I wasn't. 
We had a very short conversation in French, which was clearly set up to test to see if I was lying when I put "expert" or whatever as my French level on my resumé. He explained slowly in French that I could talk about a specific topic or he could ask questions, and he said that I should tell him to stop if I didn't understand. I then noticeably surprised/pleased him with my French skills, and he said it was "evident" that I was fluent. :D I then told him, in French, about my background - French immersion from kindergarten, university French translation courses, then studying in Lille for a month and a half... 
Man, now I kind of want this job. I think I have it, should I want it... but I think that I'll still go to France if it comes down to it. I won't find out for sure about Quebec until late May to early July. 
I think that I came across really confident... partly because I had no real huge stake in this interview. I'm pretty sure I have a job in France. But now I  feel reassured that I have this one, just in case. :) 

 Today was a really good day. I needed a day like this, after weeks (months, really) of stress about my future and about papers and research and such. The end of the semester is in sight! I'm feeling really positive at the moment. :) I hope that some of my good cheer spreads across to you, o reader! I'm thinking positive thoughts your way. :)

Date: 2011-04-08 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yaaaaay for really good days! It's nice when the universe cooperates, isn't it? :D

(PS - smart answer on the "cancelled ski trip" thing! As a professional educator, I approve of Emergency Movie Deployment... we always hit our kids with a lot of Pixar in the last week before summer vacation. LOL)

Date: 2011-04-08 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww yeah Pixar. :3

Yeah, the universe seemed to love me today. We'll see how tomorrow works out - it's my birthday, but it's also the day of the dreaded group presentation... I'm prepared, but are the others?

Date: 2011-04-09 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay good news! Photo-exhaustion does happen, but people are usually cute enough about asking that it's not too bad. If in doubt, start making amusing faces (hyper-exaggerations of prim/proper, sidelong looks at some likely or unlikely candidate, focused study of some very odd aspect of modern clothing) and go back to smiling later. I was one of the Cool Counselor-Types at camp because I let kids play with animals and run around in fields and dye their hands whatever color they wanted. (Food coloring, even when kids apply directly to palms, will be gone completely in approximately 2.5 days.)

And yay for the job interviews and fun-times and France!

Date: 2011-04-09 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good advice! History is very serious, after all. I'm thinking that I could theoretically freeze in a frowny-face pose for a ridiculously long time, and if asked/addressed, I could mention the long waiting types for these newfound daguerrotypes, and I'm sure that it's blurred now because the exposure was only for 15 seconds, and don't you have to wait at least a minute or two? Then I could act suitably impressed by their cameras and use it as a lead-in towards discussing the history of photography. (Why did people from so much in early photographs? Because it's hard to hold a straight smile for more than ten seconds straight.)

Yay for employment! :D Huzzah!

Date: 2011-04-10 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The history of cameras is really, really cool, and holy crap the many things that they played around with-- whoever stepped from black-and-white to color photography had a very good hand with chemicals and physics. There are some amazing really early series of color photographs like

There are many, many variations and galleries. I think I lost a few hours there.

Date: 2011-04-10 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm fascinated by the history of photography. It's been a thing of mine for the last few years, especially since I've been learning about the Civil War. The first use of photographs in medicine! Of course, they only have portrait photography to go off of, so you get some interesting compositions, but... ;)

Ooh - thank you for the link! Here is one for you:
GIANT folder on flickr of high quality scans of early photographs from the 1860s and earlier.

Date: 2011-04-10 05:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Links, yay! Those pictures are already way better than what I'm looking at for class. I'm really, really hard to gross out. Parasitology managed it. Ew.

Date: 2011-04-10 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eww parasites... ;) I'm glad that you like those images! Flickr is really good for high quality documents.


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