Lima 2001-05-17

It was a short, four-hour bus ride to Lima. One that featured six or so official passengers, and countless others who managed to flag the bus down. Julie and I walked through the busy streets to a most intriguing hostel. It was adorned with so much junk that was art and art that was junk that it was great. One had to squeeze past a giant Michelangelo`s David head just to get to the rooms.

The hostel was in the nicer, more colonial part of Lima. The Plaza d'Armas was a gorgeously sedate square that was very different from everything else peruvian. The Pedestrian Mall was filled with people, and countless places selling fried chicken. Further south in the city, the attractive museums, pavillions and gardens were squeezed between noisy streets and delapated buildings.

The area of Central Lima, on the coast-Miraflores is home to most of the embassies and expatriates, but wasn't all that appealling. The Canadian embassy was very disappointing, since it was an ugly squat office block surround by a high security fence. Kudos to the countries that managed to find vintage buildings for their embassies.

On the last night in Lima, Julie became very sick and had a couple fainting spells. However she decided not to go to the hospital and persisted enough to get to the airport, although she did ask for extra air sickness bags, none of which were thankfully every needed.

Vancouver 2001-05-20

Arrived back in Vancouver, with Julie feeling a lot better, and Meg, Jan and Erica waiting for us at the airport. My parents were coming into town from the island and staying at Boris and Louise's, but I spent the first night at Jan's in North Van after. Jan and I watched the Raptors be eliminated from the palyoffs, which would cause me to have even more time to spend with her.

We arrived on Sunday, and my Graduation wasn't until tuesday, so the task at hand was to saveur as much of Vancouver as possible, given the transit strike. When my graduation did come along, the sun was out and everyone milled around in a bewildered state (appropriately enough in the grad centre.) Only seven of the twelve Honours Econ students were able to attend, but Econ as a whole had a large representation during the second of twenty-three graduation ceremonies.

It was slightly disappointing to receive our diplomas before we even headed into the Chan Centre for the ceremony, however we still had our name called out and were tapped on the head by the Chancellor. The President, Martha Piper was in excellent form and remembered my announced name so that she could say, "Well done, Michael" I replied, "It was fun", which I felt summarised the most important point. Contrapositive-Mike had the most attention paid to him, since he won the Governor-General's silver medal for countless acedemic acheivements (Well done!)

Afterwards, Boris, Louise, my parents and I went out to lunch and then I managed to pop in on John in the evening.

The 24 of May seemed to be the day when everyone else graduated. I hung around campus in the morning to catch the post-ceremony festivities for Julie's group. And then my other major, International Relations, had there Ceremony finish at noon, so I could see the Keele girls again for the first time in a while and hear how they had defied their pessimistic expectations and all landed internships. And finally catching Jan's graduation, as well as the necessary photo op and and my third go at the snack table.

In the evening, Julie held a party at the beach, to which parents and us kids were all invited, and there were scrumptious mexican foods and great weather that Vancouver too rarely chooses to outdo itself with.

The rest of the week went fairly quickly, and pretty soon I was at YVR heading home. I can't say how long I will be away from Vancouver, but I really hope it isn't for too long.

Toronto 2001-05-28

I Returned to Toronto and was very quickly back to work for the Toronto District School Board. Gosh I love that job, but it is very touch and go considering the ups and downs of almagimation and the school board's funding. My first assignment was Whitney PS, which is a shockingly 95% white. That is mostly due to the fact that it is in North Rosedale, however the one shouldn't equal the other in a city such as Toronto.

My second assignment was Dundas PS, which was much more diverse, although at least 40% Chinese. It was also a longer bike ride to work, but I did very well at never taking public transit, at least not until Jan came.

We both managed to relieve our transit withdrawl symptoms (the strike is still going in Vancouver) for a week as Jan and I relaxed in Southern Ontario and Montreal before heading to our respective french schools.

Jan's visit included a couple days at the farm, which featured some very welcome relaxing in the lake. I hadn't been swimming there for over a year. The hay was so high that wandering the land wasn't so convenient, however we kept ourselves amused, which resulted in a nice break.

While in Toronto we managed to squeeze in a day canoeing to the island, a trip to the pride parade, as well as a night clubbing with Josh and Jennifer plus a show at the symphony. We had to go to the CN tower three times, before we finally made it up. Jan had managed to blag free tickets using her old tower club membership card from her work. However a promotion had the price of admission costing only $5 and everyone and their brother was down their for the deal. Still, with less than two hours before our train to Montreal departed, we made it up to the observation deck.