Thursday, May 21, 2009

Amazing how a little "solid" can make you feel like flying!

I broke down and emailed my Uber Supervisor last night. I haven't heard from him in 2 weeks and I have no direction, no tasks, no idea if my thesis draft is total crap or worth the effort.

No idea whether to expect hundreds of lengthy changes and edits like with my thesis proposal (cue doom music), and if so, when I would get the chance to begin making it better.

So I emailed him in an anxiety-riddled moment at nearly midnight last night. Holy desperate grad student Batman.

This morning, the dreaded answer arrived in my email box.

Did I dare open it?

Ohhhhh....Gods, I clicked on it...

The following made me jump for joy:

"[I]t looks solid so far with only minor changes. Can you begin to draft a discussion and conclusion (with limitations and future research sections)?"


You're going to have to peel me off the ceiling. If I find a swing set, that's where I'll be until dark!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Carpe Diem in Tofino

For almost all of my adult life I have wanted to see Tofino. It is a divine and fabled place to me. The roar of the ocean, a beach that stretches for endless kilometres and raw wildlife that surrounds a fishing and surfing Mecca.

For years I have put it off for so many reasons: I didn't have enough money, couldn't get the time off to go, couldn't afford to stay once I got there etc. I'm that person that tells people that its so easy to find excuses NOT to do things we wish for, that we have to spend energy looking for reasons to do it anyway.

That's right, be afraid and do it anyway. But for years, I couldn't take my own advice.

Until this past week on the Island. We decided to be afraid, and do it anyway. Carpe Diem.

So we Carpe'd Tofino.

It took my breath away. The first view of Long Beach left me speechless and all I could do was laugh and cry at the same time.

We spent hours upon hours on the beach, exploring the rocks, poking around in tidal pools, playing in the sand, deciphering animal tracks and basking in the sun.

On the third day we saw wales exhaling from the beach. We even saw them rolling around in the shoal of herring they were feeding on. That was an amazing sight.

The roar of the waves is hard to describe, you have to see and hear it to believe it. Watching it, you couldn't help but feel awed and reverent for the power of the ocean and the natural balance of things.

Tofino is a place in transition though. Its raw beauty and powerful natural surroundings draw people from all over the world. No longer a hidden gem for fishers and surfers, Tofino is being populated with resorts and shi shi poo poo restaurants and boutiques. A bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon was priced at $11. In a fishing village.

So the wealthy want a piece of Tofino too and they want to sell YOU a piece of Tofino at a profit. They want to build resorts that cost $900 per night so you can see the ocean and hear it, play in it wish all the brand name gear and eat a gourmet meal every evening.

There is such a huge contrast between the wealthy tourists and the everyday surfer / camper. How will they continue to co-exist? The cost of visiting Tofino is skyrocketing. Getting a campsite reservation at the one National Park campsite - Green Point in the Pacific Rim National Park - is nearly impossible. Tofino is overrun by people from all over the world, desperate to experience Northwest Coast nature in its most raw and beautiful and the more we flock to Tofino, the more we contribute to ruining its very essence.

We did Tofino on a very small, low budget scale. We camped in the shoulder season, made all of our own meals, didn't take any whale-watching tours or surfing lessons and tried to leave as little of a footprint as possible, except when we were barefoot on the beach.

I love Tofino. I miss Tofino. I can't wait to go back again...I just hope Tofino is still Tofino when we finally get there.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The road to success is mined with edits, changes and hate mail

I sent it.

I opened it today, I scanned it, I considered messing with it and realized I can't even SEE it anymore.

I have worked on it for hours on end, days in days out for months. I can't see the thesis for the data tables.

I decided to just send it to the Uber Supervisor.

It's May 1st, Beltaine, bonfire time. New beginnings, new growth.

I can't just hold onto the draft in perpetual fear that its not perfect for several reasons:
a) I like my sanity (fleeting though it may be)
b) I'm a perfectionist and no matter how hard I try, I can't achieve perfection
c) Uber-Supervisor is even more of a perfectionist than I am and I can't meet his expectations no matter how hard I try
d) There will be edits and changes from the WHOLE committee, not just Uber-Supervisor. May as well get them kick-started.

In the meantime, I'm going outside to celebrate the sun. To celebrate relieving the weight of the beta draft from my shoulders. I'm going to set aside the hamster wheel and let my shoulder rest.

I'm going to have a glass or two of sangria, light a wee bonfire and drink to the possibilities of edits, changes and future hate mail from my Uber-Supervisor.