beboots: (aang says yay)
 Hey guys!

So I checked my e-mail this morning, and I found THIS in my inbox: 
Hello,
Congratulation!
Your application for a position as a Teaching English Assistant in France for the year 2011/2012 has been approved.
Your application will be forwarded to the Academy (school board) of ROUEN for an high school level which is a 7 months contract.
Before giving you the next procedures regarding your visa, could you please confirm that you are accepting this position ?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Regards,

Félicitation!
Votre candidature pour un poste d’assistant de langue anglaise en France a été retenue pour l’année 2011/2012.
Votre dossier sera proposé à l’académie de ROUEN pour une affectation au niveau secondaire d’une durée de 7 mois.
Avant de vous donner plus d'informations concernant les démarches à faire pour votre visa, je souhaiterais que vous me confirmiez que vous acceptez bien ce poste.
Dans l'attente de votre réponse,
Cordialement,
[NAME OF THE WONDERFUL LADY AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY IN OTTAWA]

All of those tears and stress have finally paid off! I'm so happy I didn't just give up when I found out my application was late! <3 <3 <3 Now I have to apply for a working Visa, do research about the city, find a place to live... BUT I HAVE A JOB! It begins October 1st, so I'll probably leave for France in the first week or so of September... <3 <3 <3 I am super excited! :D 
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Good evening, everyone! Happy Valentines day, for those of you who celebrate it! 

First, a brief link recommendation. If you've never heard of Postsecrets, you should definitely check them out: essentially, people send in anonymous postcards with their secrets on them. Some are sad, some are quirky, some are touching, and all are absolutely awesome. This week they have a Valentine-themed series of postcard secrets for you to look at. This one was my favourite: 


Furthermore, the Edmonton Journal (which, along with the National Post, I read almost every day to keep up with news about the world) apparently held a contest for the best Edmonton-themed Valentines cards, most of them poking fun at the city. This particular one was my absolute favourite, mostly because I had to cross that bridge five days a week to get to Fort Edmonton this past summer. It was murder during rush hour when it was down to one lane. >_<; It's been under construction for at least two and half years.

For more, see here!

As a side note, I did celebrate this Valentine's Day as a single person. Here's hoping that I shall find my true love in the coming year! :) I should mention that I mostly enjoy Valentine's Day because it also doubles as my dearest mother's birthday! We have flowers and chocolate about the house, then, regardless of the state of our personal lives. :) Happy birthday, mother mine! Now, tomorrow is the holiday I look forward to even more than the events of St. Valentine... Cheap Chocolate Day! Celebrated: wherever chocolate is sold!

On a final note... I actually began writing this post in response to the lovely surprise left for me at [livejournal.com profile] atla_valentine. I hadn't realized that people would leave me messages! :)  They made me smile. Therefore, my original plan had been, in response to people writing lovely flattering things about the history dorkery that goes on in this journal, to write a post about some of the crazy little tidbits I've been learning about in my History of Translation class... which just so happens to be what I'm studying for at the moment (even as I procrastinate reviewing for the midterm to write this post). I'll get around to that very soon! It will still happen!

I did, however, just have a thought. Maybe I could do something completely and utterly crazy and unprecedented. I could... do a history meme. I want to share the love with you guys. I love telling historical anecdotes; I like to think I got quite good at it while working at Fort Edmonton. Maybe no-one will want to play with me. I will still tell crazy history stories to the world! Just give me a direction, guys. :) What do you want to hear?

It shall be a shameless effort at trying to emulate the cool kids (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), only instead of fanfic, it will be random history tidbits, in the style of the posts that have appeared in this journal before.

THEREFORE, what I resolve to do is ask you, the readers, for history prompts! Ask me a historical question: anything you like. For instance: "who is your favourite member of European royalty and what was the most interesting thing they ever did?" "What do you think is the silliest reason a war ever started?" "What is the most unusual historical artifact you have ever seen in person?" "What can you tell me about Canada's participation in such-and-such a war?" It can even be something like "tell me the craziest thing you know about the 17th century/the bubonic plague/aboriginal history/etc., etc., ad nauseam." I shall even search for an appropriate image to accompany the historical blather! 

If I don't know the answer to your question, I resolve to use my research skills and access to university databases to find the answer! You may get more coherent history squee if I've heard of the topic before, though. I have studied European history across the ages, some East Asian history, and lots of Canadian and American history, but still, don't let that limit your selection! I suspect that if you ask me something about the history of medicine or the French or English languages you will get extra-long anecdotes. Indulge your curiosity, and I will try to be interesting in return! :) 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Hey guys, today, I'm here to talk to you about poppies. Specifically, the red one that you wear on your lapel at around this time of year if you live in certain countries.

(I'm talking about the one with the really long needle that inevitably falls off so you are forced to buy another one, but hey, it's all to support the veterans! Also, tip: push the end of the needle through the edge of the flower, and it won't fall off. Genius!)

Anyway, I just wanted to put in my two cents in the whole "debate". There are some people out there who object to wearing red poppies. Now, I can understand if you are in, say, the Republic of Ireland, or are a very recent immigrant who feels absolutely no attachment to the sacrifices of Canadian (or British, or other British allies') soldiers especially from the First World War, but also other battles since. I am fine with that. 

But what really makes me angry is when people start using Remembrance Day as an anti-war day. Like, a forum for current politics. 

You know what? Remembrance Day ceremonies (if you actually go to them, and most of these objectors don't) don't glorify death, as many object. At least, none of the ones that I have ever been to have, and I have gone to a ceremony on November 11th ever since I was literally a babe in arms. They are respectful of death. Yes, they use the words "supreme sacrifice" far too often, and sometimes the presenter's take on history is a bit shaky ("When we fought the GERMANS" like they were solely at fault and fighting alone against the entire world in both world wars). Yes, they don't question the validity of the justification for going to war, but they respect the men who died for their country all the same. 

Although we do honour all veterans since the First World War, Canadians haven't exactly participated in a whole lot of controversial wars (unlike in the States with Vietnam and Iraq). You may not believe in the mission in Afghanistan (and, uh, before you rant about it, can you double-check your facts and make sure you're not angry about Iraq by mistake? PLZkthanks), but that's still no reason to disrespect all soldiers, point blank. Even if you are fervently anti-war, can you not at least summon up a modicum of decency to respect people like the Canadian soldiers who liberated Holland, which was being slowly starved (quite literally) by Axis forces during the Second World War? For (and this feels like a cheap shot, but it has to be said) the men who fought Hitler and his allies? If you are anti-war, I'm pretty sure you're probably anti-Hitler. I'm just saying. So have respect for the guys who helped take him down.

I should also take a moment to talk about my own background. Yes, I come from a military family. My father's a Canadian military engineer, now retired, who served in the Gulf War. My mother is British, and my grandmother still lives in England, and she lived through the Second World War (out near Manchester, I believe). My father's mother is a Dutch War bride, from the Holland that Canadian troops liberated from the Axis.

(I also had a Great-Uncle who lost a leg during the First World War when a grenade was thrown into his trench and he had the choice of doing nothing and letting everyone there get killed or stamping down upon it, absorbing the impact, and losing a leg/possibly dying.)

Perhaps these family facts make me biased. Perhaps they make me able to see through other people's bullshit.

Furthermore, if you're all about the justifications of war (like, "we shouldn't be honoring the guys who fought an unjust war!"), the First World War was fought on rather... strange justifications. Almost everyone acknowledges this. But that doesn't change the fact that thousands and thousands of our men died an ocean away from their homes, fighting for their King and country. Look, blame "the Man" all you want, but have a little respect for the people on the ground, guys. 

(I can understand if you're from Quebec and your great-grandfather was drafted against his will to fight for "England's War", though. The Quebecois at least objected, riotously, and pleaded their case at the time... which, incidentally, was one of the reasons that Prime Minister Borden justified giving women the vote in Canada in Federal elections - you could vote if you had a man in the war. So you could vote for his Conscription Bill, obviously, but it's because of the contingencies of war that women enjoy the political power they have today in our country.)

And as for those people selling white poppies "for peace"... I understand the sentiment. I really do. And I'm still torn about the idea of wearing both a red poppy for remembrance and a white poppy for peace. It's a neat idea. Except that most people DON'T wear both. They wear the white one. And it politicizes things. And remember: the purpose of selling those lovely red poppies (by donation) is to help veteran's services. (Another thing that pisses me off: people who rob the poppy sellers. I'm beginning to feel old when I feel the need to exclaim" Now what is this society coming to?") Where does the money paid for white poppies go? I've never seen it publicized (but I'm willing to be informed, if anybody reading knows). Making Remembrance Day into a debate about the merits of war vs peace is silly, and it's taking money away from the veterans by discouraging people to display the red poppy. 

By the way, guys, the vast majority of these soldiers were not fighting because they WANTED TO. They weren't fighting because it was "fun", or because they liked being violent. They were fighting for the same thing as you: peace. And guess what? They succeeded. More or less. 

Veterans get enough flak as it is. They need all the support that they can get. And it's one day, guys. Seriously. Have respect for ONE DAY, hell, even the ONE MINUTE (or two) of Remembrance at 11:00 this Thursday. Just be quiet for those two minutes of silence, and have respect. Go back to campaigning for peace afterwards, after having respect for the men you died for YOUR cause.

Hell, even create an international day for peace! If there isn't one already. And sell your white poppies then. I'd buy one. Just don't do it by disrespecting your elders and countrymen.

I'm just going to end with a little poem that's always read on Remembrance Day ceremonies, and when read properly, I always get shivers. (Hint, don't pause at the end of the lines: pause at the end of the sentences. In fact, I'm going to shake things up and ignore the traditional stanza divisions, and write out the full sentences. Pause at the end of every line here.)

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row that mark our place.
And in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amidst the guns below.

We are the dead. 
Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved.
And now we lie in Flander's Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe. 
To you from failing hands we throw the torch.
Be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die we shall not rest.
Though poppies grow,
In Flanders' field
s. 
-Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1915

(That turned out to be a really long and serious post after being prompted by a series of stories in the National Post over breakfast. Anyway, thoughts?)
beboots: (Default)
 Hey guys guys guys:


I found my keys! \o/ I am SUPER pleased and relieved to get them back. :D 

You see, for the past two days, since Tuesday evening, when I lost them, I've felt super-stressed out about not having these keys. Yesterday, I actually ran back and forth around campus to all of the possible lost & found bins on the route between the Tory building and the Van Vliet Centre (the gym), where I HAD to have lost them. And each time I visited the like six or seven different lost & found places, I got nothing. I have since learned a lot about the university system of lost & found, and it's actually a bit more complicated than it has to be: there's Campus Security, the libraries, and the Info Link (information booths), and they all have separate systems for lost items. If I didn't find it today, I would have called in tomorrow morning (I got business cards with phone numbers for inquiries) as a last ditch resort, because ALL of the like dozen Info Link booths accumulate all of the week's lost & found items in the one giant office in the Student's Union Building on Thursday evening, so it would all be in one place on Friday morning. 

No dice this morning, when I went running around (I'm getting exercise, at least, running across campus?), and after class, I met a friend who treated me to tea for helping her edit a paper. And as we stood in the long lineup for Starbucks in CAB, I looked to my right at Cameron Library. I never go in there, you see, it being a science-oriented library, and I'd already checked the CAB Info Link booth three times for my keys in the last few days... But I thought, what the heck, I may as well try. 

AND THEY WERE THERE. \o/ I was SO relieved. These keys are quite important, and hold significant emotional meaning to me. As a child, I always wanted a nice chain of keys (it made me feel important - and still does), and I would actually put those cheap little diary keys on a keychain just to look cool. :) I actually have some pretty neat stuff on here. 

That big black key is my car key - the first car that I really consider "mine", although it's in my parents' names. The two keys that look the same are keys to two separate rooms in the university (the Honour's room, where my desk is, and the office of the professor I worked for this summer... which I have to return next week, hence PART of my desperation to find this keychain again). The red one is my house key - luckily enough, my father DIDN'T go to England with mum and Ian last week, or I would have been locked out of the house for the evening and would have had to crash at a friend's place until the next day when I could get a key off my sister. 

I'm very attached to the three keychains, too. Coin themes! The one on the left is the newest: a reproduction of a Victorian-era one penny piece I bought while in Britain this past summer. Then is a fake Las Vegas $100 chip, bought by my  best friend when she went down there a few years ago. Then I have a reproduction roman coin (with a very similar figure as on the reverse side of the one penny piece!) from Bath, in England. I actually lost the first one I got, and this one was bought by ANOTHER friend who visited England a few years later. I love it. And the last one... you probably know. PIRATES of the Caribbean! :D They're hard to find, so I'm extra-glad I didn't lose this one. 

So there you have my keychain! ... Now that you know all about it, you have no excuse not to help me look for it the next time I lose it. >_> 

But seriously, guys, finding my keys is a huge load of stress off of my back. Also, I finished a midterm today in an area not my specialty, and I don't think that it went all that bad! So things are looking up. :)
beboots: (Default)
One of my favourite pieces of fanart ever:


John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes by `spacecoyote on deviantART
Few historians know of the heartwarming friendship between French Reformation theologian John Calvin and English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the latter of whom may or may not have been real, considering he was not even born yet.


I thought that I would let you guys know what's going on with my life, just to make sure that I don't have that negative post from last week lingering on in your minds.

I just wanted to say, first, that I really do appreciate all of the kind words and kind thoughts you had for me last week. I really was going through a tough time, and I think that having good friends and a supportive family have helped me become the person I am today. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Cut for info on job interviews and other happiness )

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