Friday, February 27, 2009

Be Where You Are

On Monday morning, I woke up to a cold, snowy day. It was close to -20, and my car was covered in snow. Since I didn't have the foresight to park away from the curb, I had to stand in deep snow to brush it all off.

On Tuesday, morning, well, see above. (Except I did park my car some distance from the side of the road so I could brush it off!)

Wednesday morning, when it hit the coldest point of the week, I started to dream about what it will be like to live somewhere that hovers around the "mid-40s." (Fahrenheit... I use the quotes because that still makes more sense to me than whatever the Celcius conversion would be.) At this point, I finally talked myself into considering something that I have learned a lot about over the past few years, and in my business classes: trade-offs.

Trade-offs mean that even though I won't be brushing off my car every morning, there will be other challenges, or foregone blessings that come with the snow. So, as I drove to work on Wednesday morning, I started a mental list of good things that come with the snow and the cold.

Here's what I came up with:

- It's pretty. Winter in places that don't get snow is actually kind of ugly. I got to drive through the river valley to work and see large evergreens with snow in the boughs.

- It makes me tougher. When it comes to cold temperatures, I feel as though I can handle almost anything. Next year, when I am walking distance from school, there will never be a day that it feels too cold to walk. And it was 26 years of Canadian winters that produced that ability.

That's all I got... Any other suggestions?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cross-Border Study Headaches

Growing up, I always watched American television. I'm relatively up-to-date on American politics and especially the American economy. In some ways, being Canadian feels a lot like being American, except that I apologize to people when I bump into them and take off my shoes when going inside.

But now that I am going to study in the States, I am learning that the US is a completely different country. Studying in the States requires a visa, which requires loans. Loans are tricky to navigate, since my options are taking out Canadian funds (a risky option as my heart sinks a little with the Canadian dollar) or paying heinous interest charges. On top of that, getting an American bank account and credit card are not as straight-forward as setting up Canadian accounts.

And then, there is the big question of whether I will even be able to work in the States when all is said and done, especially given the recent implementations of protectionist measures.

And yet as I sift through all these headaches, I watched the most recent admissions video blog. Here's a good contrast for you... In Edmonton, it is snowing and cold. I trudge through the snow to my car, feet cold from the wet snow as I brush off the snow. I drive through the slow traffic because no one really remembers how to drive in snow. Then I watch the video blog and find out it is mid-70s in C'ville. People are walking around in t-shirts.

Even if I weren't going for the educational opportunity, it's worth the headache of moving!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Covet

In A Year of Living Biblically, AJ Jacobs attempts to follow the Bible as closely as possible. In the section I just read, he unwittingly stumbles on precisely the difference between law and grace.

He talks about all the different ways we covet, and all the different philosophies on how we are supposed to avoid coveting. His commentary has a pessimistic air and ends with the hopeful statement that he is now too busy following all the biblical rules to covet as much as he used to.

This is a perfect segway into how I see God's commandments: they are for our good. If we attempt to do something, to follow God's law, without understanding that His law is about boundaries and protecting us, we will indubitably fall short. Instead, we need to understand that the whole "not coveting" law comes from God's desire for us to be content. When we start to focus on the blessings that we have, it becomes much easier to stop coveting our neighbour's wife or his donkey.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Update on Darden Financial Aid

So, I still have yet to receive my admit package (which could potentially contain good news in the form of scholarships), but today Darden announced that they will be able to secure a loan program for international students that does not require a US co-signer. Additionally, they will be providing extra funds for scholarships for international students.

What this means is that I am off to school in the fall. I knew that before, but the financing was a bit of a hurdle that I was not sure I would be able to overcome. Now that hurdle will be cleared!