The last two weeks have been very busy ones.
In the few days before I left for Ottawa I managed to churn out 14.5 pages, bringing my total written pages for my candidacy proposal to 61.5. Unfortunately those pages are for only one part of my lit review, so I’m going to have some significant cutting to do. But that’s okay: I would much rather cut material than having nothing.
Since my return from Ottawa I haven’t written anything, per se. I have several pages of notes on a new subject area, but I have sixteen more books to get through this week before I can start writing again. Once again, I’m okay with this too since as soon as the notes are done because of how I’ve set them up writing should happen pretty quickly.
Now the more important stuff: Ottawa was a lot of fun! Exhausting, but fun!
At CHESS I got to see some places in and around the city I had never been to before, and take a bunch of photos. I got to meet some really interesting environmental historians, who see the world in a way much differently than I do. I also got to see a bunch of cute and fluffy animals (moocows! sheepies! goats! llamas! a donkey! bunnies! duckies!) at the Central Experimental Farm/Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
I found Congress this year to be much different than last year. I felt it was not as well organized and there were some accessibility issues, for others as well as myself. It also was not as friendly: the volunteers last year seemed so excited whereas this year they did not have the same level of enthusiasm. My presentation at CSSE went over well and I got some great feedback from the academics in attendance. I only ended up going to one other panel, and I’m okay with that. I find conferences pretty exhausting because of all the people and all the thinking so it was nice to get a ‘break’ from thinking for a little bit.
With Congress being the biggest academic conference for the social sciences and humanities in the country, I also had the opportunity to do some visiting (which I did before CHESS started as well), which I really appreciated. It was great to see a lot of people I had literally not seen in years, and to catch up. Though we’ve maintained friendships virtually, it’s a whole different matter to see folks in person. I’m glad that next year’s Congress is going to be in Calgary, which means my travel expenses will be considerably less ($160 bus ride versus a $600 flight).
I was also fortunate enough to find some space at the Delta hotel to hear the TRC Commissioners deliver the summaries of their final reports. Since the summary has been released, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for me as a settler, as an ‘educator,’ and because it overlaps with my dissertation topic. I was appalled that the Prime Minister was not there even though he was in the city (and literally within walking distance of the hotel). His apathy is telling, and I hope it means he looses in the election this fall.
One thing that was particularly difficult for me while I was in Ottawa was that I was in pain for most of my trip. More specifically, I mean my pain levels were for the most part above my ‘normal,’ so I had to rely on stronger medications. I’ve noticed for the past few years that heat, humidity and air pressure changes are really hard on my joints. Initially I thought it was part of the healing process from surgery, but I don’t think it’s the case any longer – I’m ‘healed’ medically speaking. I guess this means that heat, humidity, air pressure changes and cold are going to be really hard on me for the rest of my life. I suppose I will get a better understanding of what this means for my future when I see my surgeon again in August. With a hotter-than-average forecast for this summer, I’m curious, albeit apprehensive, about what this will mean for me over the next couple of months as well.
And with that…to the books!