Monday, March 26, 2007

where have you been all my life????

I have started a new love affair with Wikipedia. I have used it here and there in the past but have only realized in the past 24 hours how useful it truly is. I have a meeting with my professor after class today about a seminar I am shortly presenting on foreign aid in developing countries. But sadly I have not been able to sift through the stacks of journal articles he thrust upon me after our last meeting, Happily though a quick search on Wikipedia for "Foreign Aid Effectiveness" revealed a page summarizing the three most important articles on the subject. A cheat sheet for my meeting if you will.

Certainly not sufficient to start writing an essay but certainly enough to get me through a 20 minute update meeting.

It has also been saving my life for my Industrial Economics class. The professor talks at us for three hours spewing out economic terminology until my head starts to spin. With no recommended textbook to use a safety net I was beginning to feel the startings of a stress ulcer formulating every Tuesday morning. But now I just make a little list of all the terms I should know and then one by one plug them into Wikipedia to obtain concise descriptions and neatly displayed graphs.

So a big thank you to all those altruistic people out there contributing to Wikipedia and saving me from the fire that is this semesters workload.

Creepy Critters

Living in a semi-tropical locale has meant that I have had to toughen up on many of my mild phobias. It doesn't matter how clean one keeps an apartment in this climate, the occasional insect visitor is sure to pay its respects. I am living alone a lot of the time now and so when I get a visitor of these sorts, which I seem to about every third night or so, I have to hold in my desire to scream/run into the other room and instead buck up, grab the broom and scare the thing out of the apartment. So far in the past couple of weeks I have had two reasonably large spiders, a weird flying bug and another rather large something that I am choosing to not call a cockroach. (There are also of course the geckos but I am quite content to share my walls with them. They don't have that unpredictable scurrying all around habit that spiders and other insects possess.) I am always quite proud of myself each time I successfully hold it together and defend my personal space.

So the fear of insects is definitely abating. But yesterday in the middle of the afternoon while sitting and reading on the couch I nearly had another much larger visitor. You see we have a family of possums that live in the trees around my building. At night I can hear them shreaking and fighting with one another. I have always taken solace in the idea that they would never think to enter an area inhabited by a human. That whole they are more scared of you than you are of them mentality. But yesterday with my backdoor left open to allow for a breeze I heard a disturbingly close pitter patter. I glanced towards the door area to see a possum sniffing around my doorway. I quickly jumped up and went for the broom but the possum had already bolted. He never actually made it across the threshold but I fear that the damn things may be getting bolder. And I know if I saw that ugly rodent type thing making itself at home in my humble abode I would not be remaining nearly as calm as I have been with the spiders.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

That Crisp Autumn Feeling

It is technically autumn here in Australia. And lately I have had urges to wear jackets and scarves and go for a hike in a forest filled with technicolour leaves crunching beneath my feet. But that is not to say that the tempertures here warrent such a wardrobe. First of all, the crisp autumn feeling comes from the temperatures dipping below 20 degrees at night. There are no brillant displays on the trees. The flora here just never evolved to display a myriad of colours in a firey display before heading into their deep slumber.

Autumn in Australia is actually beach season. It is just too hot to be out in the sun during the summer months so once the daily max reaches only the high 20s people flock to the oceanside to truly enjoy the offerings of this island nation.

It is in the times of seasonal change, when I am reminded of the differences between Canada and Australia that possibly I miss home the most. But it is also the time when I truly appreciate the chance I have had to live in places where the term 'seasonal changes' is open to interpretation.

Just for reference these are some of the images that have been running through my head.....

Monday, March 19, 2007


I have had a really hard time settling back into life in Australia. I suppose it has to do with a great December spent with my wonderful family and friends followed by a great January meeting interesting new people who shared so many of my interests. Since I have been back I have found myself often engaging in mindless activities just to numb my thoughts of all the people at home that I miss so much. So instead of studying my time has been spent surfing the internet for new ways to procrastinate, charging up too many purchases on my credit card or watching bad australia tv. Anything but studying that is.

I have lost sight of what is really important and why I am actually here on the other side of the world to begin with. Sure partly it is to be closer to the man I love. (Of course it doesn't help that 75% of the time said man is 600 km away) But more than that it is the chance to study in this program that the moment I found it I knew it was the path that would lead me closer to where I wanted to be.

I am not putting this out there to get a boost from anyone out there in cyberland or anything like that. I just want to document this moment of enlightenment so that tomorrow I can get up and start afresh.

So can we start again?

Second semester? Hi, my name's Alicia. Nice to meet you.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

yet another sign....

....that I have reached the twilight of my twenties. Last week I received a generous sample of L'Oreal's Refinish. The stuff is amzing. Its take alot to impress this cynical someone who's skin care routine generally consists of whatever fash wash was on sale the week I had to stock up. Not only is my skin blemish free (which I am sure has more to do with my junk food free diet) but it literally has made my pores smaller, my skin tone more even and my complexion more radiant. All those unbelievable claims that are splashed across the box have in this case been the truth. So I was loving my new found glow until reading the enclosed brochure a little closer.

"Replenish has been developed for people aged 30 and upwards"

Well this 29 year 7 month old is sporting smooth soft skin even if it does mean that reality is sinking in.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It Was An Honour Being Nominated

So the other day I got a random email from Travelpod telling me that two of my photos had been selected to be featured. Hardly the oscars of photo distinctions but I was intrigued. I wondered which two of my many posted photos had been selected and by whom. It turns out that one was from a small hike I did with friends while staying in Xela last year and the other from our climb up Volcan Santa Maria. I guess it is true what they say the beauty is in the eye of the beholder because I seriously do not think they were some of my best examples. In my opinion I have certainly taken better exposed and more vibrant photos in my travels. Just for reference here is one of them....does anyone out there see something I don't see?


I have internet at home. After four painfully unplugged (except for the terminals at campus) weeks I once again have the world at my finger tips. I honestly don't know how the world functioned before the internet.

I love knowing that any random question that pops into my head can have an answer within mere moments. Is it going to be stinking hot again tomorrow? Can we find Chris a better mobile plan? When did the Boer War take place? When is the next bus to campus?

I love the ease of lying back, my feet up and only a few key strokes seperating me from whatever method of procrastination appeals me at the moment.

And the latest little gem I have just recently discovered....Tumblr.

Tumbling is the new blogging. You can quote me on that.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

See Alicia Shrink

Shrink Alicia Shrink

After a November of exam filled stress eating, a December of holiday indulging and a January of consuming rice and beans with very little fresh produce the pounds piling onto my stomach and hips had reached a critical mass. I resolved to quickly get back down to my 'ideal' 140 lb, a weight that allows me to feel healthy, fit and comfortable with my body without feeling like I have to give up all the things I love in life....namely good food and wine.

I decided that drastic measures were needed so I rejoined weight watchers for the third time (It is the charm afterall). This time I have determined to make lifetime member, an accomplishment that has always eluded me in the past. My sister Erin also decided that 2007 was the year that she would lose a few extra pounds and get fit.

So far I have lost a respectable 6.4 lbs which means I am about halfway to my goal after only three weeks. I suspect things may be a little more slow going from here on but so far the motivation remains high.

Erin and I have been tracking the trials and tribulations of our weightloss on another blog. So feel free to take a peek over there at how things are going.