Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: school

A tour of my office

I was poking around my office and noticed some strange and amusing things scattered around. Apparently the previous occupants of my shared office had an interesting sense of humour. As we are located in the “basement” of a building (our window is situated at ground level…relative to the campus, not the office), and the Glaswegian skies are almost always some shade of gray (no references intended what-so-ever), I guess my colleagues decided to brighten up the place a little. Here are some of the funny/weird/absurd/WTF things that I found around my workspace.

Meet Mr. Lego Rabbit, or 3D pixelated rabbit, or whatever you wish to call him. Not sure if he actually belongs to anyone, but he was just sitting on a shelf, probably observing us as we work…or pretending to work in our office. He isn’t Bunnicula…right?

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Toronto, September 2012

I realize that the more I travel, the harder it is for me to write about a place as simple as home. It’s like taking it for granted and not feeling that it is necessary to write about it because it’s not such a “special” place, when on the contrary, home is the best place in the world. No matter how many exotic cities I’ve been to and how many adventures I’ve indulged myself in, nothing quite beats home.

September has been quite a hectic month. I booked my ticket back to Toronto in January for my friend Florence’s wedding – yes it was planned way ahead of time, but as the maid of honour, not attending was not an option, so I made reservations as soon as I found out the wedding date. Yet, the wedding was not the only reason why September was hectic. I had three events that needed lots of attention – the wedding, my baptism (both occurred in Toronto), and my midterm comprehensive exam in Belgium, which took place at the end of September, after my trip.

Amid all the logistics and planning for these three main events, I set aside some spare time to spend with my friends and family. You can read about the baseball game with Derek, the pre-wedding “retreat” with Florence, and my visit to Waterloo. Or you can read on to find out about other bits and pieces of my precious three-week vacation back home, in good ol’ Toronto.

I’ve wanted to see Toronto high up at night for awhile, and after a downtown dinner with Jay one night, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to head to the top of the CN Tower for a visit. The last time I went up must have been more than 10 years ago…I don’t remember. Jay was a little hesitant, since he claimed that he was afraid of heights, but hey, who isn’t? 😀 So I dragged him along with a little bit of convincing. We only went up to the bottom observation deck where the glass floor was, and didn’t bother with the SkyPod, but the moment I looked out the window I thought, wow, the view was…dazzling, to say the least. I knew Toronto was beautiful at night but seeing it from the CN Tower was a COMPLETELY refreshing and worthwhile experience! (Thank God for manual mode…and my purse which served as a tripod 😉 )

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Waterloo: Five years in a day

On Friday, September 21st, 2012, I went back to the University of Waterloo for the opening ceremony of the new Quantum Nano Centre. It was in Waterloo that I spent five years doing my undergrad studies in nanotechnology engineering, and since my convocation in June 2010, I haven’t been back. Within the past two years, I was told that much has changed, so I took this opportunity to revisit my alma mater, on the day before my departure for Europe, ending my 3-week vacation in Canada.

I took the 7:15am Greyhound bus from downtown Toronto, but getting to the bus terminal was an adventure on its own. First of all, I assumed that at 6am, Finch buses would be pretty much empty, but I was severely wrong as the bus I hopped on to was full of sleepy people trying going to work. Then at Finch station, I took the subway southbound and made the mistake of getting off at Bloor because I thought the bus terminal was at Bay and Bloor. I asked some guy at Starbucks and was told that it was at Bay and Dundas, three major blocks down the road. Oops. Having a relatively good idea of the distance scale of downtown Toronto, I knew how far away that was, and with 15 minutes left, was I going to run for it and hope I make it, or just try to catch the next bus instead? I dashed forward down Bay but after 5 minutes realized that there was no way I’d make it. About to give up, I reached for the nearest TTC bus stop and saw on the schedule that a Bay bus was supposed to arrive in 2 minutes, so I crossed my fingers and waited for that 7:09am TTC bus. YES, IT CAME ON TIME. Even though I had to pay an extra token to get on, I arrived at the Dundas terminal at 7:11am and made it for the Greyhound bus. Yahoo!

So, note to self – make sure you know where you’re going BEFORE you actually go (has it been THAT long that I had forgotten where things are in downtown?) and don’t hate on TTC…the bus COULD actually come on time!

Alright, the bus got me to Waterloo at 8:50am, in time for the opening ceremony at 10am. Of course, aside from this ceremony itself, a greater purpose of this visit was to see my campus again and relive the best five years of my life in one day, in 2012. Here we go.

About this QNC, the construction started in 2008, if I remember correctly. Of course, it being completed in 2012 meant that three nano classes that have graduated already (including mine, which was the first ever batch) never got to use any part of it. I vaguely remember the administration telling us that the building would be done before we graduated, but I know better now than believing the words of administration. So, the appearance of the QNC is supposed to resemble that of a carbon nanotube, which I guess is depicted by those hexagonal shapes on the right. To be honest I was a little disappointed. I was actually expecting something like a cylindrical structure, that would have been cool. Unfortunately I didn’t get to tour the inside of the building; I left right after all the speeches were done at the opening ceremony to join my friend for lunch.

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Wait, what do you mean I’m doing a PhD…Part 2

So, I should probably start this entry with the situation that I’m in right now…or rather, a PhD student’s daily 5-minute meditation in the morning.

Good ol’ Phd Comics…the story of my life!

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