Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Met David Jay!!! - October 2008

I may as well begin this post with a piece of good-bad news. At the end of September I found a place to live, and moved in. I was in a one-bedroom apartment with a couple of other girls. It was downtown near Stanley Park, which is a really good location, and was close to my work, too. Unfortunately, I had some problems there, and had to move out at the end of the month. So the good news is that I had a place to live in October, and the bad news is that I'm back to being homeless and living in a hostel. It's a bit frustrating, but with a little luck I'll be able to find another place.

Early in the month I saw an exhibit that MSF (Doctors Without Borders) was doing at the library. I thought it was pretty interesting and worth talking about. It was an interactive display on their work with refugees in different parts of the world. They took us around what was supposed to be a model refugee camp. It looked like life there would be hard, but bearable. I'm guessing that in a real life refugee camp life would be a lot harder and not so bearable at times. What's really amazing is that there are people who spend years, all their lives sometimes, in places like that. Seems like a depressing way to live, but at least there are aid organisations to help them. Sometimes.

For Canadian Thanksgiving I went down to Victoria again. I didn't do much while I was there, but we did go down to see the University of Victoria and the famous UVic bunnies. It's true; the campus really is overrun with rabbits. I'm not used to seeing so many rabbits close up. They were kind of pretty.

The day after the long weekend was the election. I watched it dutifully on T.V., waiting to see if anything interesting would happen, but the only thing that seems to have decisively come out of it is that St├ęphane Dion will be stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party. Poor St├ęphane Dion. I feel sorry for him. He was so darned earnest in the debates. It almost made you want to vote for him out of sympathy! Plus, he made the environment the centrepiece of his campaign - a pressing issue if ever there was one. I wonder what the future of climate change will look like under the new government...

I'd been told when I first came here that I needed to climb Grouse Mountain, and one weekend I woke up, looked out the window, and decided to do just that. It was a chilly day for a climb, and quite misty around the mountain, but of course I kept warm with exercise. The climb was quite difficult, as hard as climbing up to see the Big Buddha on Lantau, if not more so. The average time is one and a half hours. I did it in one hour and fifty-five minutes. It was quite steep, and a bit slippery from the recent rain, and a couple of times I worried that I might slip. In the end I managed to get to the top in one piece, very tired, but glad I'd done it. I feel like I accomplished something. Unfortunately, one of the cable cars was broken that day, so there was an hour-and-a-half lineup for the ride down. Since it was already mid-afternoon, and since I'd been warned against walking down, I pretty much lined up right away, and didn't have much of a chance to see the top of the mountain. That's too bad, because it looks like there are some interesting things to see up there, including wood carvings and grizzly bears. I'll have to go back there sometime, probably in the spring. Now that I've done it once, I know I can do it again! At least I got to see the view, though. I couldn't at first, because of the fog, but once that cleared, the sight was spectacular! I could see all of Vancouver stretched out before me like an upside-down map: Stanley Park, downtown, south Vancouver, Richmond, all the way to Tsawwassen and beyond to the U.S. border - 50 km away! That alone made the climb worth it.

The highlight of the month was the monthly AVEN meet-up - which this month was extra-special. One of the Vancouver members gave a short seminar on asexuality at UBC, and David Jay came up from San Francisco to help out. Now, there's a better than even chance that you've never heard of David Jay, but he's the founder of AVEN, and, consequently totally awesome! And in case I haven't made it clear already, I got to meet him! This is a big deal for me. I've been a fan of his for years. He started the first major online asexual community; he's been all over the United States promoting his cause; he's appeared on loads of talk shows and news specials and in countless articles. Without him, there would be no AVEN. He's a minor celebrity, the poster boy of the asexual community, and I met him. Scratch what I said before. This was one of the highlights of the year.

The talk was okay, though of course little was said that I hadn't heard before. The more interesting part was afterwards when we had an informal group discussion. Then we went to someone's house and had an AVEN party with AVEN cake - my first ever! It was good fun, and I got David to take a picture with me - just for proof!

The month ended, as Octobers do, with Hallowe'en. We had a big party at work. Since most of the students had never celebrated Hallowe'en before, we encouraged them to dress up and enjoy themselves while they could. Many of them came with really good costumes. Some of my favourites were Hannibal Lecter, a samurai, Zorro, Wednesday Adams, some playboy bunnies, and the invisible man (a guy in dark glasses, a baseball cap, and bandages wrapped around his hands and head). Most of the teachers dressed up too. One man came as a woman; other costumes included a panda, Wonder Woman, an alien, a wood nymph, and a toasted western (a cowboy with toast hanging on pieces of string around his neck). I went as Sweeney Todd, something I'd been wanting to do for the last eight months, ever since I saw Tim Burton's/Johnny Depp's marvelous reinterpretation of the character. I think I did a pretty good job, although I didn't scowl at everyone nearly as much as I probably should have!

This month I found myself going back to a lot of churches, including one of the United churches, the Presbyterian church, and an Anglican church. I still haven't chosen one, though.

Books I've read this month:

Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry - Novel set in India by the same author who wrote A Fine Balance. I liked A Fine Balance better, but I still thought this was a fairly good book, with interesting characters and a good message. Now I'd like to see the movie some time.

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman - Impressively believable teen fiction about an adolescent girl living in thirteenth-century England.