Friday, May 29, 2015

Food Sovereignty Conference

I'm overcoming political and cultural tensions today, sitting in a lecture room at the University of Michigan. Yes, folks, it can be done. ;)

(I don't actually care about sports or the UofM v MSU rivalry. It's just entertaining.)

But in any case, I'm having a grand time in Ann Arbor at a Food Sovereignty Conference run by the UofM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. "Food Sovereignty: Local Struggles, Global Movement" is being hosted at the School of Natural Resources and Environment. There's a good balance of social and natural scientists as well as activists in the room.

The discourse around food sovereignty is less directly applicable to me, but it's fun to hear how the conversation is moving forward, and I'm getting some great updates on work that's happening in and around Detroit. It's nice to be back in my Michigan food justice roots for a few weeks as I prepare the first chapters of my PhD dissertation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And back to work

I had a very fun weekend catching up with old friends and getting to know the extended families of the bride and groom. Many photos were taken; many more have yet to be received from the photographer. They had a photo booth at the reception, which was a total blast. As a bit of a taste:

And now...I am in Ann Arbor, presenting at a conference on Thursday and Friday, and doing a lot of work over the next few days to catch back up to things. Here we go!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's wedding weekend!

Not mine. No one get excited. 

I had a very rejuvenating few days at my parents' house in Mount Pleasant playing board games with them and catching up with folks from church, and then a lovely couple of days at the Fat Toaster Farm (, home of a beloved pair of friends from social justice ministry work. 

And now...the time has come! I'm off to Sterling Heights for the wedding of the century. Or, at least, a really lovely wedding I get to be bridesmaid in. One of my undergrad roommates is tying the knot Sunday. We've got rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tomorrow, the ceremony on Sunday, and then fun in the hotel's waterpark on Monday. Fun shenanigans, here we come!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Way to Help Nepal

I don't generally post this kind of thing, but I know a lot of us have been struggling with how best to respond to the (now multiple) earthquakes in Nepal. I thought I would pass along this opportunity to give to a trusted source that will be doing very local rebuilding.
One of my father's students at Central Michigan University is from Nepal and has organised an effort to start rebuilding it. Right now, his goal is to raise the $25,000 that is necessary for the school to once again start running classes on a tentative basis.
Khila studied at this school as a youth, went on to teach there for over a decade, and served as Principal for a few years. He is currently pursuing higher education in the States, where he works on teaching English as a foreign language. Khila intends to once again teach at this school some day.
Khila is going to be traveling home in July to see his family and assess the damage done to his own house and whatnot. During that trip, he plans on taking the funds directly to the school and helping the rebuilding process. This is thus a unique opportunity to give directly to an area with no overhead cost and know exactly where it's going.
You're invited to contact either Khila (1-989-854-4313, or the school (+977-1-691-5987) directly if you have any questions. Please do consider giving as you're able!

For more information and to give:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hello, America!

Well. It's certainly been a last trip to the States was in July and early August 2013.


Here I am! Hullo, America. How you been? (Other than all of the depressing stuff I've seen on the news...)

I'm in the country for a few conferences and a wedding, and frolicking around my various old cities to catch up with mates of yesteryear.

One of yesterday's highlights was lunch at my favourite East Lansing restaurant, Thai Princess, with the GenCen crew:

I also snuck in catch-ups with several old faculty and staff mentors, a dinner with my grandparents at Olive Garden, and an excessively nostalgic walk into campus. As well as a reactivation of my American credit now I'll need to go spend some money, clearly! I'm off today for wedding shopping with the maid of honor and another bridesmaid. Time for presents and dress accessories...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cousin Reunion in Ireland

I am back on British soil after a very lovely jaunt to the Emerald Isle, the highlight of which was definitely the people - I got to see some Farnum cousins I haven't laid eyes on for 3-4 years and meet a fiancĂ©. 
Of course, even had the company been crap, the views would have made it worthwhile. Deanne found a fantastic travel guide that was well worth it, even though I don't generally buy the tourist books. She planned everything based off that, so I got to simply and happily sit in the back of the car snapping photos and taking in the glorious scenery as she shared various historical tidbits. The food was absolutely phenomenal and often accompanied by Irish fifers and fiddlers. 

All in all, a rather lovely interval. 
I am now in the UK for a whopping 30 hours before boarding a plane to a place I haven't been in some time...heading to the U.S. for two conferences and a wedding. We'll see how that shakes out - it's rather foreign to me these days! ;)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ta ta for now, teaching!

Today marks the end of my first placement with The Brilliant Club. After some five weeks of not seeing my kiddies and a round of essay marking, I am headed back into the schools today for my Feedback Tutorial. I'll be meeting with each of the students 1-1 briefly to discuss their essay, class performance, and future plans.
It's definitely bittersweet, as I've really gotten to know and enjoy the students and will miss them!
Au revoir, dearies. Good luck with the end of your school year! And It's been grand!

PS -
Unashamed bragging: My students put together some amazing essays. For the one that is public and I have permission to share, check out a really fun comparison of Appe v. Samsung:

Sunday, May 3, 2015


A friend from the North came into London for a mini-break during her Bank Holiday weekend (tomorrow is a day off for the UK!).

To give her a proper holiday, we splurged on musical theatre...and finally saw "Book of Mormon"!

It was everything I was promised: a heck of a lot of inappropriate, crass, rude, and utterly offensive humour. That also happened to be completely and entirely hilarious. I was virtually on the floor of the theatre during a few choice moments.

Highly recommended. If you have a high tolerance for rude and crude.