A Canadian gal in Stuttgart, Germany, who loves nothing better than crafting by the seat of her pants. See her snip, sew, knit, knot, glue, sculpt, splatter, spin, and of course, talk about herself.

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Monday, November 27, 2006
A moment to breathe and learning something new
Most of the time, I would say being sick sucks, as would most people, I think. It's not a lot of fun to be oozing icky stuffs or making strange hacking noises, or best of all, feel so weak someone could knock you over with a feather. But right now, for this hour or two in between lying in bed trying to restore my strength and putting that strength to work on a report I should have been at the office working on today, being sick is not so bad. I had a million things to do today, but there was no way I was making it to work. With Bunny being sick all last week, and me running around like a headless chicken the last two? four? weeks, I guess I can't blame my body for making me take a break. At least I can finally try n catch up on blogs a bit :)
mini christmas
Just so you don't think it's been just work and feel too sorry for me, here are some pictures of darling little doll things I gushed over at a craft/antique toy fair not too long ago. Feel free to just enjoy the pics, I need to blab a bit about my work life today, but will post more about several FOs and WIPs in the next couple days.

The main reason I've been so busy is that in addition to my normal translating and research report/proposal writing duties, I've been asked to help out with the lectures. More specifically, I was put in charge of organizing and running two workshops for about 45 students in our class for socioeconomics of organic farmingThe wokshops focus on agricultural policy that affect organic farming. .mini toys This was both scary and exciting. My background is really more biology and agriculture, and most of what I know about economics and policy was read on my own since I started working in this department of ag economists or picked up from talks during coffee breaks. Also, this was my first experience teaching a large group. I've done tutoring before, but it's not the same as a room full of eyes looking at you expectantly, waiting for you to offer up your fountain of knowledge. Luckily, I had help from some other people in our department and we were able to split the group into three, to make group discussion easier. So that left me with 16 students. The first day was rough, I was pretty nervous and stressed due to the fact that a screw up in room reservations almost had my group kicked out at the last minute, and the students were anything but enthusiastic. But the second day went a lot better, the students voiced their opinions more, and I didn't feel like a had to tug the discussion along the whole time.mini knitting
The second workshop was held a week later, and was a bit more structured than the first. Of the two, it was this second one that didn't go so well with students the year before, so I did my best to come up with ideas on how to keep things lively and to deal with any problems that might arise. Luckily, this year my supervisor included a bit about the workshop in his lecture, so the students seemed clearer on the concepts we would be discussing. The discussion in my group went really well, the students had a lot of interesting ideas and opinions, and I was able to teach them a lot more than I thought I knew about how agricultural policy influences our food, organic or otherwise. It made me really happy to have the feeling that we all got a lot out of the experience. I was even more impressed when I realized that I'd accidentally kept the kids longer than scheduled, and they were all still totally into the discussion even though most of them had been in class the whole day (which is atypical of universities here). mini cakes
It's funny how changes can occur subtly, over time. There was a time when I had no understanding of economics or politics, or any desire to have one. I was totally obsessed with nature and its workings - money and politics seemed to be the opposite of everything I thought beautiful and perfect. The tools people with power use to devalue what's really important and turn life into nothing but a series of dollars and cents. Although I still believe this to an extent, I've also learned that it's important to understand some of these forces which are always working in the background, to shape our world. And I'm really happy to have had the opporunity to share it with such a great group of young people, who have come here from all over the world to educate themselves and take their knowledge back to help their home countries. I got to hear about agriculture in Peru, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Thailand, China and Cameroon. These are countries which are very different in terms of culture and political climate, but share the problems of poverty and exploitation of natural resources. Being someone who often worries a it too much about the state of the world, it means a lot to see these students who are so dedicated and brimming with ideas on how to improve things. When I had to give up pursuing a career in international development I often thought I must be the only person left who still gave a damn. I'm happy to say these students prove me wrong.
mini bakery shop

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