that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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it happened

I figure it is time to stop looking at that lemon meringue pie — it’s not as if we savoured it as long as my blog would so onto bigger and better things.

Like graduating university. WOOT. See Auntie Carolene? It happened.

Convocation was a bit anticlimactic as we had been marinating in the fact that we already graduated but whatever, pomp and circumstance is important and I am glad that I participated. Triply glad that Mom, Dad, and Jayme came for the day.

Here are some highlights:

PLEASE don’t judge my flip flops! I have a broken toe and couldn’t fit any shoes on my feet.

Getting hit on the head – the traditional ‘welcome” to the Faculty of Education.

Not taking this serious thing seriously…Carly- well behaved, Kate- having too much fun, Aisa- bored…very indicative of our teaching degree experience.

Look at us go! 8 years later, graduating with my best friend AGAIN. Teachers? Really?

Sorry I didn’t get a trade, Dad 😦

Matching shoes! And smiles. She’s ok that I didn’t get a trade.

Duck face for Chrissy. Eyes closed for effect.

Bree, Linds, Carly and I with our favourite professor (taught philosophy). He was so glad we finished and are outta his face (and not watching his curling matches anymore).

Look who else graduated? My other best friend.

He’s a pretty big deal…and a pretty big dork.

… going to change the world!

Oh… it wasn’t all a delightful day of successes…

     

Oh, well. First year as a somewhat real fan…proudly not a bandwagon one…a little disappointing that this special day will be memorable for painful reasons.

Anyway…. thanks to all the fantastic people in my life who have supported me and shown me the love over the last 7 years…and those who came out to celebrate, especially under the circumstances:

I appreciate it, Trav, more than you know. 🙂

I am sooo glad this chapter is closed for the time being. Kate Stam = no longer university student. Feels awe-some.

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a mess of things

It’s the end of week two and I am ready to take on  the world. I think I’ve peaked and learned everything I need to be a successful teacher.

Can you imagine it would be that way? Between raging disbelief that I am on the cusp of my dream-come-true and the intensity of the teaching program itself, already, it’s felt like a semester…not a few weeks…have passed already. It’s all very theoretical and practical and intelligent but what I forgot to add to the equation were two resounding things:

1. Other classmates. For the very first time ever I’m actually in a group/cohort of people that are doing the exact same thing I am. A little hard to fathom. And at other times, difficult to handle as I am learning, albeit very slowly, that other people’s opinions are exactly that — they don’t have to be mine.

2. Fear. All of a sudden I am trembling at the responsibility I am learning for. Can you believe in 15.5 months I will be teaching? I can’t. I am afraid. Excited, but afraid. Wow.

So that’s school. I’ve met a couple really spectacular people that I am oh-so-excited about. You really do need like minded people to meld with, especially for group projects. Can you imagine teaching the joys of steak eating with a vegetarian for a partner? Exactly. So I am humbly blessed by the magnetic force that attracted us to one another. It’s great.

On the home front, my little apartment is quite the place. I am fully unpacked and organized which is fantastic but it’ll still take a bit to feel like home. In other words, it’s a bit of an adjustment being solely on my own. I have to pay for everything myself, clean entirely by myself, and then come home to no one. It’s very nice and I enjoy my own space but after spending the summer at home and the year before with some of my favourite people in the world, it just all feels so very quiet right now. I am hoping I will get used to it. Nicest part so far? Walking to school, snuggling into my comfy couches with a book, and having people over where they just feel totally at home. I like being a host — I think I get that from my mom! — so it is pretty fun to have people over and let them just relax. So feel free, I can guarantee quality conversation and cinnamon buns.

I got my practicum placement yesterday and I am pretty excited about it! It’s close to home so when I return for Thanksgiving, I will stay for two weeks to do an observation and meet my mentor teacher before the real deal comes in the spring. I will spare the details for this highly publicized domain but I am very excited about it. I had hoped to go out to Camrose but for whatever reason, the high school there was not taking student teachers. Maybe it’s the conditioner I use? Either way, the practicum advisor’s exact words were: “Sorry Kate, Camrose doesn’t want you” — maybe there is a lesson in that.

Up and coming? Trip to the mainland for a grand tour of Dad’s masterpiece renovation in Vancouver that has been completed and running further than the 5 ish k I am up to now.

And on top of all that, it’s so nice to be back. I miss home, for family and friends, but I am pretty excited about the possibility of everything here. I had a conversation yesterday with Luke where we were questioning each other’s motives and “styles” of living life (sort of what we’d want our legacy to be). With all that I am learning in school and doubly in my personal life I think I want my way of life to simply be this:

Authentic.

I want to know who I am and be okay being that. I am pretty sure that I am on the fast track to getting there. So stay tuned for more… and a lot less “update” styley (word?) posting. I just wanted to get in touch.

Cheers from one of the most beautiful places in the world!


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habited again

I am in Victoria, borderline all moved into my very own place, and welcome to company, visitors, and people who want to clean for me. This is an open and standing invitation providing that when you arrive you are not awkward — I hate awkward. Or judgmental, because the place is small and I have tried to maneuver my belongings as effectively as possible. It’s cozy. Anyways, I forgot toothpaste so I need to pick some up this morning but after I’ve done that it’s FAIR GAME so come over.

PS Think of me tomorrow — I have my orientation for the teaching program!I hate orientations…because I hate awkward…but this should be good!

Cheers!


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twenty-four

For my birthday weekend I combined celebrating with visiting with househunting in the humid heat of Victoria, BC. Or home. Whatever you want to call it.

I arrived Thursday night around 9:00 to which Luke and I had dinner at Montana’s and went to see the latest installment of Harry Potter. I might’ve almost fallen asleep twice and jumped once but after the gorgeous day driving and ferry riding, it was so nice to be there and so nice to see him. The following day, my birthday, I had a delightful coffee with Auntie before melting at the minigolf course on my birthday date with Logan and Connor (and Ky too)! Not that it matters, but I won. :). The day got better as I got to meet Elias Riley later that afternoon before going to dinner with some friends at one of my favourite restaurants in Victoria. Either the Booster Juice portion of Luke’s gift to me or our continued celebration up on Mt. Tolmie where Luke and I got his car locked inside the parking lot (who knew it had a curfew?) and subsequently had to walk back to his house made 24 seem to foreshadow great things to come — a fantastic day!

Saturday found us hitting the house hunting trail pretty hard, even though I ended up renting the very first place we saw — success! I also saw Nadina and Ty’s new place right before Luke and I spent some time people watching at the breakwater café. So fun(ny?). That night we had a beach fire with Georg and it was so good to shoot the breeze, share some homebrew, and laugh in the company of great friends. After a trip to DQ and a hug goodbye, I went over to Brooke and Amanda’s for a little catch up and more laughs in their new-old suite.

And Sunday I signed my renter’s agreement, did more househunting in effort to find Luke a home as well, attempted to go have a scooter adventure which was a crushed dream when we found out the place was closed, had a caricature drawn in the inner harbour, bbq-ed at Scott and Ky’s, went to the Lagoon and then went to see Bedouin Soundclash (compliments of Amanda and Ry!). Though the concert came with high anticipation, my mood faltered when I was there for only a brief period of time before the cocktail waitress lost her footing and therefore, her drink tray, which came crashing down…and all over me. So I was soaked in a myriad of alcoholic beverages. And covered in sand from the Lagoon which I had forgotten about. They put on a good show but I think I was a bit of a downer — so not my fault. 😉

Then on Monday, I went to see my place one more time, PICKED UP MY UVIC DEGREE, and had lunch with Luke outside his work before calling it ‘a weekend’, going to pick up Kels, and hitting the ferry home. Now I am back and it doesn’t even feel like I was there two days ago.

I guess the point is that time and timing are everything. I think while being 24 I hope to get better at making the absolute most of the time that I’ve got. I’ll never know when an opportunity is sitting at my feet, a conversation needs to be had, a quiet moment is a fleeting breath, or that life is simply too short to waste or worry on the impossible — because nothing really is, if I am not paying attention. Maybe the greatest gift is not just life itself but the sweet surprises that are unexpected, unappreciated, and sometimes missed altogether. So for sage, insightful, 24 year old wisdom? I’ve got none. But this weekend was a lesson in the responsibility I have to myself and to the closest people/person/lives around me to be as open, honest, real, spunky, easygoing, and free-spirited as I can because that’s who I am. So anything less than that means I’ve lost sight of that in some way.

Reserving the absolute best parts of myself for the people that matter the most — doesn’t that make the most sense? But also be ok when there are times when being vulnerable or insecure or afraid is a part of me… at least it’s being honest or real. I think? Doesn’t mean I consider those the best parts of me, I guess in showing those parts means I’m getting better at being a little more transparent. Potentially?

Maybe ask me when I am 25 — hopefully by then I’ll have a better idea. I am so grateful for the weekend, the great times with some of the best people I know, and the pure reality that when I am measuring up what could happen being 24 against being 23, I have a hard time wondering how it truly can get any better — I think I would argue any of you that I have one of the very best lives and absolutely adore living it. And more than the appreciation I have for my own life, I am so overwhelmed by the gift that you’ve given me by allowing me to play a part in yours. So on my birthday weekend, more than remembering my dreams or the years I’ve had, I also remembered that some of the best parts of it have come from the company of the best people — it’s been an honour. And a favour I hope to return one day.

Happy birthday to me. And thanks.


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awkward abyss

So I am back in Victoria. Waoot (cross between wahoo and woot…I learnt that in my young adult lit class two days ago). So far, it’s been the most relaxing transition back to school yet.   Maybe it’s because I just moved into Rutherfords, which has been wonderful. Maybe it’s because it’s not all ‘new’ to me anymore, UVic etc. But I think it’s just because I am in my FIFTH year of post-secondary education and I am ready to punch a hole in the wall.

I know this dark tunnel has a light called “Katie Justine Stam, BA” at the end of it, but five years is a long time. Long time. In five years, I learnt how to cook, do my own laundry, study until 5 am, live on quesedillas, use transit systems, live in a city, mend a broken heart, trust God, rollerblade without falling on my face, cheat the textbook system (libraries), and pump my own gas… honestly, I don’t know how much more I can take.

Added to the brilliance of taking five years to do my four year first degree (I still have to do another one to be a teaher), is the fact that I transferred provinces. So this year is littered with first year courses. Which is bloody (cue the deep British accent) awkward. The other day in my History 105 class, our prof called attendence and asked us to say what our “History” experience is – and to be honest. So one by one, the students said a myriad of responses including one or all of only these three phrases: “I took history 12”; “I took History 12 and this is my first university history course”; or “I didn’t take History 12 but this sounds interesting”… until he called my name. To which I responded “I am doing this backwards, I am in my grad year, this is a pre-req, and I’ve take probably 7 other history courses and this semester I am taking Canada-America Relations, US Foreign Policy, and WWI on top of this course.”

The prof, sympathetic and full for remorse, mouthes “I am so sorry.” Then later asked me why in the world I put off an intro course for so long. I was thinking, The same reason I walked from Armena to Camrose last week… I have no idea!

On another note, my profs are all fantastic and I am taking SIX courses this semester so I am on overload… or I will be. My new “roommates” are fabulous, too. And my new car is fine but it cost 390+ dollars to buy a parking pass for UVic so I am struggling with that financial strain.

I guess with the added pain of leaving my mom behind (I love you), I really just think I need to get over myself, the fact that I am still at university and in first year courses (don’t even get me started on my Intro to Human Geography class) surrounded by first years, and embrace what this year has in store. Sound convincing? I don’t think so either. You should see the finalized list of goals I have set. It’s just so awkward.

The reality is that I am fired up to be here and graduate before starting the next and becoming “Katie Justine Stam, BC BEd”… but I am desperate to get on with my life. Ya know?

See you and me have a better time than most can dream of,
better than the best, so we can pull on through, whatever
tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can
be done, we’ll make the best of what’s around.” -DMB


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up, up, and away

‘Here I go again on my own…” cue the cheesy 80’s music…I leave for Camrose tonight! All week I have stuffed down any minor excitement over that fact due to homework, going to Dad’s, purchasing Prison Break Season 2 (Which I watched in-season, I just needed to add it to Season 1), and writing two [relatively] large papers and a midterm this morning, I am currently off from univ. for a solid 11 days! Yeaaa! So now I can get excited. I can’t wait to see Jes and Mark and a friend’s brand new twin boys and Mark’s family and some decent movies…I am going to see it all! But more importantly, I get to leave this heinous Victoria weather.

Heinous.

I don’t care that 80% of my blog-reading population is a Victorian…by choice, I am assuming…but please. It has been pouring rain all morning and it’s also been in the positive temperatures. I guess I like going against the grain because most people relish in the mild temperatures. I do not. I think February should feel like February; spring and winter should be highly definable, different seasons. This morning when I took the bus to school, it was not raining and it was not sunny, it was gray and there was this odd sense of walking through a mist. I thougt after 6 months I would be prepared for rain at every turn, but apparently I am not… what suffers more from this trauma than my [wanting to be] cold heart, is my hair. There is nothing worse than a mist-intoxicated-Kate-head-of-hair. Coupled with the fact that when I left school it was full on rage-raining, and I had to wait 20 minutes at an uncovered bus stop, there is no break for me! And don’t even get me started on the lack of a rain gutter on this house…it just pours onto my head as I walk out the door! Unfortunately, it seems to be like this relatively consistently! So I am excited to leave the perma-wet streets of Victoria, bundle myself up with boots and a toque, and get off the plane in much more un-heinous temperatures…

 rain2.jpg

Yes, that’s me. I got a haircut and tan. That’s how heinous it is.

Don’t argue with me. Honestly, my heart broke the other day for Alicia as she told Jordi and I that she doesn’t know what a true winter with snow is like. What a shame. What. A. Shame. Maybe she should come to Alberta with me.

Also, heinous means hateful; odious; abominable; totally reprehensible, grossly wicked. So in a line from my English professor “Hey, if the word fits…”

Heinous.

I think I will need a week to get over this morning. Have a fabulously, un-heinous number of days… I leave tonight at 7:30 so please pray for safe travels and growth in maturity over things that I cannot control. Clearly I need it!


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no longer an english major

That’s right! Can you believe that you DON’T need to have an english major to TEACH ENGLISH? I CAN’T!!! I had my two advising appointments this past week, along with a ton of studying and homework…and I found out that as long as I satisfy the education requirements FOR the english teaching career, I don’t have to have a MAJOR! So now I will graduate…in MAY 2009… with a BA in Humanities, with a concentration in History and English…that way I satisfy my two teachable areas…and then I will apply into education for the September 2009 10 month program. Are you fired up for me? You better be. Only a couple more years and I will be teaching your children high school english and history…consider yourself blessed.

PS I bought Memory Foam slippers today…on sale at SportChek…they are fascinating, and the most brilliant invention by whomever invented them.
PPS And Megan, I bought my very first item from RW & Co. because you love them so much, and I love it all too! It’s a green-ish sweater that has a neat zipper on the shoulder. I am into it.

Cheers