Sunday, April 5, 2009

Moving On or Moving Out?

As the year draws to an end, all of us scramble to turn in last minute papers and study for finals. For me, it is more about finishing the school year. It is about getting to go home and be with my family, boyfriend and friends. It also symbolizes a time of change for me. My family at home is getting ready to move to another city farther east, it means it will change my life drastically. I graduated from high school in my current city, met my boyfriend at school, and made many friends along the way. I will be finishing my second year of university and this year has been one filled with many ups and downs. I have grown as a person through all these experiences and learned more about myself.

Next year, I will be living in a different place with different people. My roommates and I are going in three different directions. I am staying in residence, but heading back to Alumni Hall to live with a friend from last year. Three of my roommates are moving into a house that was bought by one of their parents off campus. All of the boys in the downstairs are moving with them as well. The final roommate is moving to another house off campus with different people. I feel as though this will be a good move for me. I do love my roommates; they all have their own qualities that I've grown to love. However, it has been two years together and I think it is time for a change. I do feel as though we will all be friends for a very long time, but true friendship is tested by distance and absence. We will be separated from each other, but if we are truly friends, we will find our way together again. I have learned so much from them, and will take away many memories.

Blogging this semester has been an experience to say the least. At times, my blog has been an outlet for my frustrations living in this house. I only hope that this blog was enjoyable to read for all the readers. I will be taking a leave from blogging for the summer, because I won't have any roommates, other than my family. This summer will also be busy, with the move, a summer job, a slightly neglected boyfriend at home (things have been crazy lately), and many summer plans. I might perhaps start up again in September, with a new roommate and new experiences sure to come. If I don't continue this topic as a blog, I may start a new blog about something else. Either way, I wish all the best to my readers and to fellow members of 26-397, especially to those graduating from Windsor. Have a safe and happy summer!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Each weekend in residence with my friends is usually spent watching them get intoxicated and sometimes do unintelligent things. These weekends aren't the most fair because there are a handful of us who don't drink like the others, so we usually feel left out. However, there are the odd weekends when we actually plan something to do together, usually a party of some kind. Our parties tend to have themes, mostly based on what the next holiday is. We did the Halloween party and the Christmas party, and celebrated birthdays together. In my opinion, the best party we had all year was our Pyjama Party.

As you may have guessed, it did involve wearing pyjamas. We also decided to have breakfast for dinner. My house hosted, and we had a pot luck breakfast. Many of us don't eat a proper breakfast each day, like eggs and bacon. We miss that so we made breakfast foods and ate them at 9:00 at night. There was so much food: pancakes, bacon, eggs, French toast, toast, hashbrowns, muffins and much more. It was like a buffet breakfast. We ate a lot of food, finishing off almost everything, and going through about four jugs of orange juice. It was nice because it involved people not having to drink to have a good time and it brought us all together. It was also a break from homework and midterm studying. After we finished cleaning up everything and digesting all that food, we played a game. It was a game that tested your knowledge of each other, so we had questions we had to answer and then we had to guess who gave each answer.

If you're looking for some kind of party or get together that doesn't involve alcohol, I suggest breakfast for dinner. It's a nice change and is also fun because everyone gets to contribute. It also adds the advantage of not having to get dressed all day.

Our Bacon and Eggs, Delicious!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Baking Baby

As I've mentioned in the past, I share the same major as one of my roommates. She's in the Creative Writing program and I'm in the English Language and Literature program. We do share common classes though, and do enjoy spending time together. This year, she has been taking the publishing class offered in her program. Many of my fellow bloggers in 26-397 know my roommate from their publishing class. This is the same roommate that flooded the house over Thanksgiving weekend. During our last blogging workshop, two of my classmates asked me about my roommate's baby. I was very confused at first, I had no idea anyone was expecting in our house. It turns out they were referring to the baby doll that has taken residence in our house. I completely forgot about this strange little baby that had become part of our lives. Why I didn't think of this to write about before I don't know. It was definitely a highlight of the year.

My roommate found out about this strange phenomena called Baby Reborn ©. The basic premise of it is you get shipped parts of a baby doll that you need to assemble. You just don't assemble it, you have to paint it to look life like, by adding flesh tones and eyebrows and redness to the cheeks. The best part, at least in my opinion, is that every time you paint a new coat, you need to bake the baby. I know that sounds sick and twisted, but I'm not lying. You heat the oven and put the pieces of the baby on a baking sheet and bake it for 20 minutes. Eventually, you add hair and put the baby together, attaching all its limbs, and you have real-looking doll. Sounds creepy right? The thing actually looks real; it could pass as a baby. Things may not have been as creepy or weird, if it didn't take up space on the kitchen table. All these limbs on a baking sheet on the table and the head just looked terrifying. I support any hobbies my roommates want to take up, but this was one that just weirded me out. Just to add a little more amusement, our oven is very temperamental and likes to either cook too fast or too slow, there's never a medium. In order to prevent an overcooked baby, my roommate cooked downstairs at our neighbours in their oven. There were multiple times that people would walk by and see my roommate exiting and entering houses with parts of a baby on a baking sheet. Then there was the time she left for reading week and carried just the head outside with her to the car. It reminded us of those shrunken heads you see in ritual ceremonies.

I don't know what you can do with a baby doll after you've finished creating it, other than look at. It's not exactly the best toy to play with. I think staring at it for so long would trick my mind into believing that it may be real. It also costs a lot of money to create these dolls, because you have to pay for the body, the paints, the brushes, the glaze, and shipping and handling. It's not a cheap hobby that's for sure. This isn't the only baby she plans on creating either, she has already started to imagine what her next Baby Reborn© will look like. I don't think I could sleep in my bedroom with fake babies all around me. But if that's a hobby she wishes to take up, even if it is a creepy one, we're all supporting her in whatever baby she chooses next.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Money, Where Are You?

Many university students can relate to my financial woes. We pay so much in tuition, books, additional expenses, and either residence fees or transportation fees. We can hold down part time jobs during the school year, but that money won't stretch to cover everything. For me to afford school, I had to apply for OSAP, get a student loan, and work part time during the school year. Even still, there are still times that I'm short on cash. I do have to pass up certain trips to the mall or to dinner or the movies with my friends because I simply can't afford it.

You should know first of all, that I am the only one who is working during the school year, out my house and the boys downstairs. I struggle to cover interest charges on my line of credit, and buying groceries sometimes means putting back certain things to lessen the bill. It does make me upset sometimes that my friends can afford to go a movie, or go the mall and on a whim, buy a new pair of shoes. I'm usually the one at home, doing homework or watching t.v., much like tonight. Everyone else has gone to a movie at the mall, but I declined the offer to save money. In the end, you have to pay for your ticket (and ticket prices for the movies these days are ridiculous), snack food (we all love popcorn, admit it), and then transportation to and from. So, it's just me alone in the house, which sometimes isn't a bad thing. For some reason, no one else seems to understand the financial situation I'm in. When I say I don't have money, they look at me like I have six heads. Only a few of us have OSAP as financial aid to help us through, and I'm the only one who has a student loan already. I have no idea how to make them understand that I'm not well off financially, and neither is my family.

I don't mean to vent in my blog about things, but sometimes writing is the only way to get it out. I'm sure there are plenty of other students out there who have some financial trouble, but they have those friends who seem to never run out of money, ever. They have some endless supply of money to their bank accounts. I'd be open to any suggestions from anyone who has any tips on how to deal with this problem. I'm almost at the end of my rope over here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Perogies, Pasta, and Patience

After finishing my blog analysis paper last night, I realized that I have an interest in food blogs, despite being untalented in the kitchen. I did my analysis on a blog that was called Slashfood, and I've taken an interest in the food blogs being written for this class. I like learning about new foods, even if I can't make them. I'll admit that I have very little skill in the kitchen, but I get by. I can make simple things and maybe even more complex things if I have time. I enjoy helping with the cooking at home, my dad takes control of the kitchen when he's home. He's the guy who watches the Food Network, and then tries out the recipes in our kitchen. Being away from home means I miss home cooked meals.

There are a few staples that I rely on in the kitchen, and I'm sure many other students do as well. I absolutely love perogies, they're always on my shopping list. They are quick, easy and delicious. Many of my residence friends enjoy perogies, we sometimes go to Costco and pitch in for a huge box. Any kind of pasta is good as well, at least for me. I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but I enjoy pastas none the less. Sidekicks are another staple in our house, they're easy as well. You boil water, add pasta, drain pasta, add milk and butter, and let stand, and you're good to go. I think most of our cupboard space is occupied by Sidekicks. When I don't cook, I order in or use my meal card. But that costs money, and being a university student, money is hard to come by. So, cooking it is.

I've started looking for recipes online that are easy and don't require too many ingredients. Here are some of my favourites.
Gourmet Food Express
Gaia Online

Many of these recipes make more than one serving, so they can either be saved as leftovers or they can be prepared by more than one person and split. Roommates have differing eating habits and tastes, but there's always at least one recipe that everyone can agree on. In my house alone, we have two vegetarians, one person who doesn't eat any beef but other meats, and two regular old carnivores. We do manage to work things out in the kitchen, and haven't burnt the house down yet.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Early Risers vs. Late Nighters

I have mentioned in the past that my roommates all have very different personalities. How we all manage to coexist is beyond me. Besides being in different programs, we all have different tastes in everything. Music differs, everything country to rap to classical, and our taste in t.v. and movies also differs. We also live different lifestyles as well, I guess you could say. I work a part job, sometimes 30 hours a week. The other roomies don't work at all. Three of us do volunteer work through the school, the other two not so much. Some of us don't mind clutter and don't mind a messy room, while others could be considered "neat freaks". Another difference that can be quite noticeable is the difference between the early risers and the late nighters.

Early risers. They are the people that get up with the sun, starting their day nice and early. They get things done earlier in the day, get the little things done before the day starts. Most often, rising early means retiring early. In this house, one can never be so lucky. Just because you're ready to go to sleep doesn't mean anyone else is. We also have our late nighters. These are the ones who stay up late, doing a variety of things I guess you could say. Some stay up to do work, because they work better at night, and some just stay up watching tv or Facebooking. Now, sometimes when the late nighters stay up, they keep someone else up as well. Late night means a late morning, because of the need for enough hours of sleep. We definitely clash in the house with who stays up late and gets up early. I'm sure other people who live with roommates experience this too. The clashing that exists is really unavoidable, despite everything you try to do. On the residence application form, one of the questions is about whether or not you like to rise early or are a night owl. They say that they try to match you up according to your preferences, but I really don’t think that works very well. They can never actually match you up with a roommate exactly, not matter how hard they try.

Somehow we manage to find a way to get around these issues. If I don't get enough sleep because another roommate is up too late, I try to substitute a nap into my schedule to make up for it. With a slamming front door in the house, we try to hold the door in the morning to let others sleep. We're not perfect, but we try.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rule Breakers

Quiet time was the subject of my last post, and my struggle to find some of that illustrious time. We all need our quiet time, no matter who we are. Way back at the beginning of the school year, all five of us housemates sat down to discuss rules and things we'd like to see happen. As part of our residence expectations, we had to fill out a housemate agreement form. It had all different rules and regulations on it that were about living with roommates. It had things like how often would the floors be mopped, and we all had to agree on the answer. Not only was it about the house and cleaning, but about the living situation. There were questions about quiet hours, weekends, and music, and much more. As a residence itself, Clark enforces no set quiet hours during the year. Mostly every rule is decided upon by the people living in the individual houses. So, as a collective group, who have already known each other for a year, we went through the list and everyone signed their lives away on this ordinary piece of yellow paper.

That was 6 months ago. Things change. First and for most, that paper we all signed has been taken away. The residence assistant took it from us as soon as we had completed it, and we have yet to see it since. I suppose it's her way of having some control over us; she holds the copy of our rules we made. I have no idea what we agreed on or any of the rules, save maybe a few. All I know is that we don't follow them quite so well. Of course we all try to, but we usually fail. I think the rule that we break most often is the quiet hours or study time rules. We did agree on the fact that after about 11 p.m., we were going to quiet down for the night. I usually hunker down in my room after about 10 for the night, in my pyjamas with my homework. The same can't be said for my roomies. They are often in and out after 11, downstairs to another unit and back, and then gone again. This wouldn't be quite so bad, if the front door didn't slam, shaking my whole room and often waking me up if it's later. I know for a fact that I've mentioned this in the past about holding the door and stopping it from slamming. Now, if they could only remember this.

It also doesn't help that we have a bell on the door handle from Christmas still. I mentioned in an early post about our obsession with holiday decorations, and this bell is one of those decorations. So, you don't get only a slamming door, but ringing bells. I've contemplated taking the bells off the door, but someone would most likely put up a fight about it. The rules are a thing of the past I suppose; it is hard to follow them when we don't know what they were originally. A little part of me wants to go ask for the rules from the RA and show them to my roommates, just for a little satisfaction.