Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm Cheating..Kind Of

Well, I promised to write more often now that I'm settled in Kingston and apparently have loads of time to watch TLC's What Not to Wear, and discover the delights of indpendent shops in Kingston such as Cooke's Fine Foods, which provides a much appreciated venue for alleviating ALL withdrawal symptoms experienced since leaving Scotland. So, yes, I should have time to write a blog post, but as I'm sitting in front of a computer at the university, I feel inclined to actually do some know....for my degree. So, instead of repeating what I wrote in an email to some of the folks back home, I thought I'd just copy and paste, then maybe add a few more here's what I wrote:

Well, here I am settled into Kingston and my new life as a grad student and an entire month has already passed by! I do apologise for not writing sooner, although I will blame it partially on Toshiba as they decided to build a lemon of a laptop and I was the unlucky purchaser. Well, I'm very happy now, having upgraded from my Lemon to a wonderful Apple I like to call Mac.

One month into life as a Masters student at Queens and I am loving it! I haven't for one moment regretted or second guessed my decision although, admittedly, I have of occasionally questioned my ability to return to studious ways. I have classes twice a week - Monday afternoon and Friday morning. Ha. I'm taking two courses (we only have to take four during the entire program): Ecological Assessment and my core course - Methodologies and Concepts blah blah blah. The name of that course does not do it justice - it's actually bee quite fun to date - the central theme for this year is Wind Energy, because it just happens that there's a HUGE wind farm being built on Wolfe Island, which is only a short ferry ride away. So we went on a field trip in a bona fide orange school bus. I thought those days were long gone. We even had to sign a safety waiver (one of hte profs had actually been run over on the ferry a couple of years ago!).

Righto - so of course I'm here to do research right? OK, so I learn during my first week that my supervisor is leaving the university to head up some interesting project at Dal, but I've secured a new one and everyone seems very excited about the prospect of working in collaboration with a faculty member from the School of Business - I'm happy to be the guinea pig. Anyways, I've been spending some time trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to research and it looks like I'll be doing a compare & contrast of alternative/local food networks at varying stages of development. Right now, my thoughts are to study Prince Edward Island, Prince Edward County (an area just south of Kingston where they've revitalized the rural economy with a focus on local food and wineries) and either some place in Europe or Cuba. We'll see.

As for life in Kingston - I love it. It's a beautiful town, with quite a bit of history so if I drink enough whisky in a pub downtown I can pretend I'm back in Scotland. There are plenty of fun, independent shops to explore and a vibrant farmer's market. My house is great, as are my roommates and making friends has not been difficult in the least. I've joined the International Food Appreciation Team and am planning to take Swing Dance lessons. Being in a 'university town' definitely makes for a big change from Charlottetown. I now find myself surrounded now by 'young things', and am now on the OTHER side of the median age. It's strange - I meet PhD students that are younger than me!

Now Mollie, I know what you're wondering.....and maybe others are too. Well, just a note on that - I'm here to get my MES (Masters in Env. Studies), but I'm not opposed to seeking my MRS as well (but planning on making it a PhD length endeavour) and have been scouting prospects :) Anyways, that's all from Kingston for now. I'll be home in December and will hopefully have a chance to see everyone then. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the fall colours! Always love to hear news from PEI/UPEI, so please send some my way.

And that's what I wrote last night. Additional notes that may be of interest:

I refer to Prince Edward County above - this is a gorgeous, rural area South-West of Kingston about an hour. One of the main towns is a very quaint place called Picton. Last weekend, myself and three friends went to a Taste Celebration at the town's Crystal Palace. This was an all-day sampling event where local wineries, restaurants and purveyors of fine food offered up delectable and delicious tastes of the best they had to offer. Mmmmmm.. It was DELICIOUS. Amongst the most memorable tastes were Ice Cider, Apple Fritters, Elk Burger, Chocolate Bark, and Artisan Cheeses. We also sat in on a wine seminar and had a taste of 7 different kinds of Chardonnay (why could it not be Riesling?).

I'm headed to Ottawa this weekend - quite looking forward to seeing some friends and also doing some shopping. I miss Ottawa on occassion, such great memories from when I lived there, although I daresay that was due namely to the company kept at the Blair House. Well, in any case, I'm looking forward to the Market and Oh So Good.....

Ooh - I've got a canine friend named Kopka - she's a Canadian Eskimo/Husky cross and a retired sled dog. She belongs to my friend, Anna. Last week I took her for a jog (Kopka, not Anna!), and had a blast - dog-jogging rules!

Hmmm... my fellow classmates are a great group of very diverse people. I've joined the social committee and we've been planning up activities for the fall. Of course, I'm all for the idea that they should be focussed around food :)

OK, I have to get back to research.

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