29 September 2014

Home, sweet home

I am finally starting to feel settled in my new apartment - all of the boxes are unpacked, the pictures are up on the walls, and I am just waiting for the piano tuner to come and make the piano sound nice again after its long journey.

When I came here for a weekend in August to go apartment hunting, I came prepared with a spreadsheet to use to compare apartments.  Price was a factor, but I used it to rule out apartments without even looking at them if the rent was over a certain amount.  The factors on my spreadsheet were:

  • piano will fit in to the apartment (i.e. no long flights of stairs!)
  • pets (specifically cats) are allowed
  • on-site laundry (coin-operated was OK, I just don't like traveling to laundromats - which reminds me, I have to do laundry this evening!)
  • natural light (I have lived in apartments with minimal to no natural light - I don't do well there)
  • off-street parking (especially since I'm not using my car very much these days)
And so, after looking at a pile of places over a few days, I came up with a short-list of 4 where I could see myself living.  Why did I pick this one?  The character.  I am renting a flat in a Victorian mansion (built in 1895 by the former mayor) - picture lovely high ceilings, crown moulding, hardwood floors.  It is a bit of a commute to get to school (50-60 minutes with public transit; 20 minutes driving not at rush hour); but I found that my rent dollar goes a lot further in Dartmouth than it does in Halifax.  I could have rented an apartment a few blocks away from the school for the same monthly rent, but it was maybe half the size, and with no character - your typical cube apartment in a large apartment building.

I think that I am going to be happy here.  There are lovely windows with lots of sunlight all day long.  My landlords are great.  I have lots of space for visitors (hint, hint).  I enjoy my daily commute (especially the ferry ride).  And Dartmouth is smaller and less busy than Halifax, I I find it easier to get around.  The downtown core is a 5-10 minute walk away, and there are lots of grocery stores etc. that are easy for me to get to.

Picture time!

 (living room at the front of the house)

 (dining room / office space in the middle of the house)

 (bedroom, towards the back of the house)

(kitchen, and back door)

23 September 2014

Chapel Services

Being a theological school, chapel services are part of the daily and weekly routine here.  Attendance is encouraged, but not compulsory (for example, I don't have classes on Fridays so I don't anticipate making the trek over to school very many weeks for Friday chapel).  Monday, Tuesday, and Friday the service is quite short - 15-20 minutes only - usually with hymns, readings, and prayers.  On Thursday, it is a bit longer - 45 minutes or so - with a guest preacher from either the school or the community.

Planning and presiding is done by teams, and teams rotate from week-to-week.  It is ideal if there is a mix of denominations, as well as year of study on each team.  There is also one faculty member with each team.

Being the keener that I am, I signed up to be a part of the team for the very first week.  Hey - why not grab hold of the chance to take part before the course workload gets too overwhelming?!  And so our team of three students (a 2nd year and a 3rd year and me) and one professor planned out the services for the week.  Each day, each one of us took part in the shared leadership of the services, taking turns leading the prayers and reading the scriptures.  On Monday, the chapel organist was away so I even had a chance to play for a service.

And I had so much fun, that I have signed up to be part of a team one week near the end of term in November.

If you are an observant reader, you may have noticed that I skipped over Wednesday in my schedule above.  Wednesday afternoons we meet with our denominational groups, and so each denomination worships separately at different times in the chapel, in the style of our own denomination.

And so my adventure at seminary continues.  I've handed in a couple of assignments at this point, and feel a bit more on top of my readings this week.

(a view of the chapel from the organ loft)

14 September 2014

What the heck am I doing here???

I've survived the first week of classes - I just don't know if I am going to survive all of the reading I have to do before the second week of classes!

My weekly schedule is as follows:
Monday morning - Research Methods and Practices
Tuesday morning - Theological Foundations
Tuesday afternoon - United Church Worship
Wednesday afternoon - United Church Formation
Thursday morning - Biblical Foundation:  Hebrew Bible
Thursday afternoon - Pastoral Foundations:  The Search for Meaning and Connection

I think that it was some time around Tuesday afternoon that I had a sensation of being completely overwhelmed.  What the heck am I doing here?  Why did I give up a perfectly good career and home to do this?  Short term goal:  to make it to the end of the week.  Longer term goal:  to make it until the end of term.  Breathe.

That feeling has settled down a bit.  I'm getting in to the assigned readings (and getting through them, mostly on schedule).  And I'm enjoying the readings!  Maybe this isn't going to be as impossible as I thought?  But then there are the assignments - first one due on Tuesday afternoon.  What the heck am I doing here?!

I can do this.
One day at a time.
One chapter at a time.
One assignment at a time.

On another note, I finally have internet at home!  3 weeks after making contact with them, someone finally came by yesterday morning, plugged in a modem for me, and 5 minutes later I had working internet.  Yay!

I'm almost unpacked here in my apartment - just in time for my first visitors from "home" are expected this week.

(this term's texts)

6 September 2014


I have made it in to my new home!  Actually, I arrived on Monday afternoon, and this morning, 5 days later, the moving truck arrived.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks - 1 1/2 weeks of intensive packing up following a year of gradual purging.  One morning for the movers to load my stuff in to the moving truck.  4 days of driving to get from my old home to my new home, plus a 3-day stop to visit family and friends at the half-way point.  3 days of orientation at my new school.

Courses have been registered for; textbooks have been acquired; and classes are set to begin on Monday!

I am ready to go.  Except for the gazillion boxes (give or take) left to unpack.  Except that I don't yet have the internet hooked up at my new apartment (I've been fighting with the provider for the past 3 weeks to get this done).

I have some exciting new textbooks to geek out over.
I have a bus pass (included with my school fees) and the ferry ride across the harbour is lovely, especially on a sunny day.
I have a gym membership (also included with my school fees) - though I only got that sorted out yesterday so I haven't had a chance to visit it yet.
I was able to get a public library card yesterday, and they have free WiFi.
And I get to sleep in my own bed tonight rather than on the floor!

And so...