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Farewell 2009; Salut 2010

2009 has gone and 2010 has come. Good time to collect my reflections on the high and low points.

2009 the Highs

  • Travel: I travelled a bit. Highlights —
    • Portland in February: connected with dear friends, and saw the city that is the apple of Richard’s eye.
    • Toronto in January: ChangeCamp Toronto.
    • East coast in July: New York, Montreal, Toronto (/Scarborough/Niagara Falls/highway in between). Much emotional closure, joy, and re-discovering the independence and fascination of my first trip in 2005. Reconnected with family — something I will be very glad I did as the self-proclaimed family oral historian-poet.
    • Courtenay (Sept/Dec): two trips. As I often state, very important to immerse myself in how the other other half lives.
  • Career:
    • I was accepted and started the Master’s program at UBC SCARP.
    • Events I attended and enjoyed: Northern Voice 2009, Mental Health Camp*, Open Web Vancouver, ChangeCamp (Toronto and Vancouver), Participation Camp*, BarCamp Vancouver*, Transport Camp*, Interdisciplinary Themes.*
    • …where I presented* or attended sessions on the topics of civic open data, social media in transportation, community GIS and community mapping, and BarCamps in community-building around urban & transportation issues (with a very important sidestep into stigma of mental health issues from a cultural perspective).
    • I helped Social Signal bake up some social media awesome.
    • I then started applying lessons learned as UBCevents‘ communications coordinator, and learning unbelievable amounts about UBC — so many research groups, people, initiatives, general neat stuff going down!
    • Did some media without really intending to. Huzzah. I want to continue to cultivate and articulate my perspective, experiences and opinions in a meaningful way.
  • Health:
    • Biked. A. Lot. And learned to maintain the bike a bit too.
    • Mental Health Camp was a treasure trove: new naming for old, old habits.
    • I’ve settled at eating vegan now about 3 to 4 meals a week. The commitment to reduce my consumption of carnivorous fish is holding, somewhat shakily (wild sockeye salmon caught by friends on Vancouver Island does not count, ha! And this is more an eating-ethics thing than health-related).
  • Projects:
    • Stepped up more fully as the Public Transit coordinator for the Vancouver Public Space Network. SkyTrain party! Burrard Trial!
    • Submitted a proposal for the Knight News Challenge. (A formal countablysilly collaboration too.)
  • Skills:
    • cooking (on the cheap)
    • time/project management
    • communication — the whole shebang.
    • writing (’tis a winding road)

2009 the Lows

  • Still learning the ropes on getting the best work out of myself, consistently.
  • There were a few moments of hard learning and orientation when realizing the nature of where I currently am, where I want to be, and the tools and paths for helping available through the mechanism of the aforementioned Master’s program.
  • Showing I’m grateful! Figuring out what to do with the huge raft of gratitude I have that I’ve yet to express properly for the incredible opportunities I’ve been able to have, the kindness I’ve been shown, the joy and generosity I’ve had the fortune to participate in.
  • Asking for help when I actually need it. Learning how to determine with some rigor when this is true or false!
  • Identifying, accepting, working through and lightening baggage. Oh, Lord.
  • Generally not letting life take the wind completely out of my sails.
  • DEADLINES. Enough said.

So all in all, a good mix of everything, no matter how you cut it. All setting the stage for…

2010 the Horizon

  • Career: the orchestration will be hugely challenging, but with any hope, not entirely impossible.
    • Conferences! (…travel squeezed in with that?)
    • Internships! Gunning heavily on working on something neat for this coming summer. I’ll be posting more about this very soon…
    • Talking to people! I’ve been generally terrified of speaking to planners as I learn to navigate the precise names for what I want to do. I’m going to be thinking really hard about what I can do to make meetings with faculty less uncomfortable, more relevant for me and them, and to do more reaching out with people of similar interests online and at the University.
    • Mentoring! Building up the courage to put into words what I’m having trouble with and how I would like to get help — and what I can offer people in return for their time, effort and energy.
    • Reaching! I want to explore doing a semester overseas, possibly in Britain. Who do I talk to, to make this happen? What can I offer research-muscle wise to make this a win-win for someone else? What do I actually want to get out of this? Answering those questions to the best of my ability will be a mighty feat, but do-able.
  • Projects: continuing to spread those odd, crazy ideas around and learn to shuffle them to life. More work with the VPSN, more time at VHS, more open data hackathons. More making of things that didn’t exist before in general. And maybe some Processing.
  • Health: continuing to bike, maybe some swimming. More dark leafy greens. More unencumbered breathing. More sleep. More mindful yeses and noes, for my sake. Oh, and due to certain holiday blessings, there will definitely be more social and regular consumption of homemade waffles too.
  • People: Getting better at making time for friends. More making awesome with awesome people. More telling them they I enjoy their company. More bowing head in gratitude.

That sounds just about right. Manageable, but still ambitious enough.


  1. Loved your wrap-up. =D Looking forward to learning more from you next year, particularly that mentoring bit! =D

    Posted January 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  2. Karen, sounds like quite the year past and quite the year to come. I look forward to hear more about the UBC SCARP program. How is that going?

    Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink
  3. Theresa

    Hi Karen – what a year. You do so much. You must not watch tv. Where are you priorities?!? ;-) Always like hearing about what you’re up to.


    Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Thanks for your support, T. I in fact have stepped up my TV consumption a bit, mostly in the Futurama and Star Trek: TNG respect. It means I’m slowly becoming either obsolete or overly idealist. :)

    Henry: I will try to do a post on that very topic soon :)

    Posted February 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

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