Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy 2009!...




Calvin & Hobbes!




Just dropping by to wish everyone a wonderful New Year, from cold, snowing Canada!


I thought it was pretty hilarious Calvin building Snowmen down the road, because heck, people here have to shovel snow every morning just to get to work, and there he goes adding more snow!




I'm still on my break (that includes blogging, actually) and am enjoying it thoroughly. It's great to sit at home and do nothing but sleep and watch episodes after episodes of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'!


With the rest of the family at work, it's just me and...the TV set...



Woohoo!



Puppy's pointing at you!!! ;)



Have a wonderful year ahead, you!


Happy 2009, everybody!





Friday, 19 December 2008

Icicles Outside my Window, and the End of Term...





Outside the Psychology Department, with what I believe, are called Crab Apple trees...




Y.E.S!!!

The Autumn semester is officially over. I finished my exams today, and guess what's going on to 'help' me celebrate?






Outside my bedroom window...



A SNOW STORM...


Oh well, it's just snow! Weather forecast estimates we'll have 25-30 cm of snow tomorrow, but oh well, just another day in Canadian winter...It's Canada, of course it's cold!!!

I wanted to show you the scene on the bridge (the one that connects the East and West Banks of the river on campus), but I didn't have my camera with me. Holly smoke, the wind was howling and the snow was blowing ferociously...There was no path on the bridge anymore!





Icicles...



I'm beginning to enjoy it actually...Lovely to see icicles hanging outside the bedroom window; I'm so tempted to climb out, coat it with juice, and suck it like a popsicle!





More Icicles!



On a lighter note, I have enjoyed my term here. It was hard work...I usually only finished work every night at, the earliest, 2 am, and at times, was on the verge of just giving up and not bother, but hey, it's been worthwhile!


I'm very glad I'm here, because the educational experience has been great. I enjoy the fact that discussions, however controversial, are always allowed and respected. People don't always agree with you, but they allow you to talk. And what's more, I was pretty surprised at how culturally sensitive people are, and they always look for people from other cultures to share their take on a particular topic (Hey, my Psychology textbook 'gives credit' that the word 'amok' is a Malaysian term! They actually specifically said Malaysian...).



I have made many friends here, from all walks of life. Some are people just like me, struggling through university, some happen to be professors of mine, and others are people whom I’ve met along the way.


But now, TO TORONTO for a HOLIDAY! There is talk that the roads might close, but oh well, I'll leave a day later then...No worries!


After browsing over 300 research papers, reading over 80 of them (ranging anywhere from 7-30 pages), writing 10 annotated bibliographies, 3 thought/critique papers, 2 abstracts, 1000-word essays, a seminar presentation, 2 lab reports, 16 lab papers, carrying out 2 field work studies, and surviving 5 interviews+training-sessions for my volunteer work placements, I am looking forward to a much needed-break.



If anyone thought studying Psychology was chicken’s feet, come to me, and we will have a discussion...



Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bereavement Counselling is Essential...



Today was a nice day. It was cold, but not cold enough to make me freeze. I went to work (volunteer work, that is) early on, so I could get back to study, and I went in humming to myself.


My chair looked very inviting, and I was looking forward to some quiet time alone, with nothing but piles and piles of papers.


Halfway through, a man dressed in shirt-and-pants (alot of people wear scrubs in the hospital) came in and asked me how I was doing, and if I was ok...

I initially thought he had gotten the wrong person, since I recently took over from a lady who had been working there for a long time.



I must have obviously looked very confused. Because he then explained that he was the chaplain of the hospital, and that early that morning, one of the staff members of my department had passed away in unforseen circumstances.


He then explained that as part of the services, the hospital was offering counselling and bereavement support to all who knew or worked with her, and needed someone to talk to. Since the news was still so fresh, they were making sure everyone who was in the building had access to support...


I didn't know her, but my mood did drop many notches. She was, after all, working in the office space directly opposite my room, and I could have even possibly passed her before.



But I was impressed enough that the hospital offered such services, and so promptly. The hospital boasts about 2350 staff, 600 volunteers, and serves about 300 000 people.

I was definitely impressed that the chaplain (like a priest/pastor/rabbi etc) approached all staff. Cos if I had known her, and well enough, I would have very much liked his presence, whichever religion-denomination he might be representing..


Bereavement support is very essential, especially when people are still coming to terms with the news...I'm glad they offer this service...



Sigh...Spare a prayer for her newly departed soul, will ya? May she rest in peace, and my dearest condolences to her family and loved ones...


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas Wish Lists in Knee-Deep Snow...



The snow is falling heavily today. It's nothing but snow everywhere...My friend Eva, who went out, swears the snow was up to her knees. It was -20 degrees today, with windchill; tomorrow, -24 degrees (with windchill)...


The Trent International Program had their Christmas Open House just two days back. As luck would have it, we missed it, because surprise, we had work!



But in the spirit of the season (we spent the entire last night listening to Christmas carols and singing along, with the wind howling outside and the snow coming down heavily), I am going to post up my Christmas Wish-List!




5 Things I Want for Christmas:-



Number FIVE:



Shaffer, D.R., Wood, E., & Willoughby, T. (2005). Developmental psychology: Childhood and Adolescence (2nd Canadian ed.).Scarborough, ON: Nelson/Thomson.


Textbook for my Child Psychology class...Whopping CDN$ 160.

The kid in the picture looks like a young Phua Chu Kang...;)




Number FOUR:





Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I.Q. (2006). An introduction to brain and behavior (2nd
edition)
. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.



Textbook for my Physiological Psychology class...CDN$ 174.50...




Number THREE:


A humidifier...I drink about 2 litres of water a day (not counting juices, or (decaf) coffee, or milk), and I still feel like I am dehydrated and my skin feels like breaking into pieces, despite the amount of moisturiser/emollient/vaseline I am applying. The air is just toooo dry here...




Number TWO:



The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), Fifth Edition...



It's the 'bible' of Psychology...I'm supposed to refer to it when in doubt because what is stated in it is final...Professors themselves readily admit they don't know the book from cover to cover because it has wayyy too many rules, so we were told to bring it to their attention if we were unfairly graded...



I hated the book initially because it's 439 pages, and lists the most impossible rules for writing a paper, including where to put periods and commas *Rolls eyes*...

BUT...

Having used it to claim marks this year, I am beginning to see its use!



Daphne: "But professor, Section 3.1.9 says that I can use that punctuation".

Professor: "Daphne...Are you challenging my marking?"

Daphne: "The bible says so, so erm...yes???".

Professor: *Laughs* "Ok, you're right. My mistake".


Another case:-


Daphne: "Professor, can I borrow that APA manual?"

Professor: "Sure. What are you looking for?"

Daphne: "I think my TA marked me incorrectly. See, it says in Mitchell & Jolie (concise, student version) that I should italicise this phrase"

Professor: "Let's check the bible then, although I believe you are right"


A few seconds later...

Professor: "Woohoo! You are going to be very happy because you are right! Go and see your TA!!!"


Conclusion? I NEED that book...



Number ONE:


Mummy, Daddy, and Nick...Here...In Canada...



***



Oh well...Some of those things will be achievable (not that I have a choice with my books, do I?) while others a bit more difficult, but the fun part was writing a Christmas list...


We're all busy writing lists for fun here. Not that anyone will actually get what's on their list from someone else, since we're all equally broke, but hey, it's fun!


So, what's on your Christmas Wish List?


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

And the Semester is Coming to an End...




November and December are the dreaded months of the Autumn semester, or so everyone keeps saying. I agree...

Assignments pile up, readings pile up as well, tests pile up one after the other, and professors' expectations get very high too!




From right: Me, Eva and Jessica Lee, a fellow Malaysian and recent Trent-graduate, who has been living in Canada for the past 4 years. She invited us over for home-cooked nasi lemak!





I am still alive, though, which is good...

I can't believe the year is coming to an end...My finals are next week, and it's been four months since I came to Canada...



I have been very tempted to lock myself in my room (and my roomate and housemates out!) to get all my work done in peace and quiet, but all work and no play will pretty much kill me, so I took some time off during the weekend to go outside and be silly...






My good friend, Eva, and I out playing in the snow...It was cold, but oh well, who cares?




Eva and I volunteer with Market Hall, a community Performing Arts Centre. On days when we volunteer (we usher those with disabilities), we get to watch performances too...

So we got to watch Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew just last week. It was fun!





Part of the cast of The Taming of the Shrew...



Remember my pen-pal project with little Natalie? Well, she has replied, and this week, I was hard-pressed to write a letter to her in return. It turned out to be a good thing for me though, to unwind...She loved the first letter so much, so told me in capital letters! Turns out, we both love cats, so go figure the theme of my letter this time ;)






Letter Number 2 to Natalie...



Another thing which I recently did was meet my professor's dog...I was just very excited because her dog, Roy, is 180 pounds (about 80kg's!)! It's a mix Great-Dane and Australian Shepherd. You would think a dog that size would be a monster, but Roy is amazingly tame...






Roy and Me!



Roy and I have arms that are the same size!



I am so excited for the semester to be over...One of the reasons would be so I could get some good rest and some good home-cooked meals...



But I am also sad because many of my new friends who came on exchange would be leaving for home soon.





Malebogo and me...Malebogo is from Botswana, and she, along with many others, will be leaving for home soon...





Oh well, these are things we can't control, and we can always keep in touch online, right? And I can always make new friends, right?


On a more positive note, although the schedule is hectic, I am looking forward to next year (after I get good rest!)...





I have settled nicely into my puppet roles (making all kinds of silly mistakes, but oh well), have slowly familiarized myself with the hospital where I volunteer, am very happy volunteering at the disability services office on campus, and next year, one of my professors has given me the green light to help out in her research involving children!




Altogether, I must say that I am enjoying life in the community here. Am missing home and family very badly, but at least there's Skype!