#FêtesGL Gratitude List

Hey y’all! Welcome back to my blog. Sadly, this week I am 100% under the weather. I got a bad stomach bug/infection from something I ate, so I am spending most of my time a) resting b) drinking buckets of water… OK TMI!

Anyway, in an attempt to stay positive while I’m sick, I thought I would compile a short list of things I am grateful for this holiday season…

  1. The opportunity to spend the holidays abroad! As some of you many know, I am leaving this week for my exchange in the U.S.! I am super fortunate to be the recipient of a Killam Undergraduate Fellowship and will completing the last semester of my undergrad at Arizona State University in Tempe. This means that I get to spend the holidays in sunny Arizona. I will miss my family for sure, but thankfully I did mini Christmases (aka dinners) with them this past month to make up for it.
  2. I AM GOING TO THE GRAND CANYON! This one is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re confused about the details, refer back to 1).

    grand canyon
    Photo from Pexels.com
  3. Amazing friends. #RealTalk this semester has been super challenging for me, but I am grateful for the friends who reached out to me lots, loved me harder, and shared tons of positive vibes when I was on short supply. Actually, this list was inspired by the awesome convos about positivity that I keep having with my BFF Jani.
  4. MY SISTER IS COMING TONIGHT!! My sister is the sweetest: she’s coming for basically 48 hours just to help me get ready for my trip and to chill one last time before I leave. Honestly, she’s an angel.
    An oldie but a goodie of me and Maggie. 

    See ya soon, folks! Next week I’ll be sharing some of the things I am bringing for my #EXCHANGE… In the meantime, #StayGrateful.


5 Questions BILINGUES with Dr. Lee Frew

Bonjour à tous et à toutes! Rebienvenue à mon blogue. Aujourd’hui j’ai le plaisir de discuter avec Dr Frew, professeur et chercheur dans le département d’anglais de Glendon. Il nous parlera de sa recherche, de sa philosophie d’enseignement et de notre cours de lecture dirigée.  Comme francophone qui étudie la littérature anglaise, j’apprécie beaucoup mes cours avec Dr Frew parce que je suis si bien entourée : not only am I learning a lot about English literature (and postcolonial criticism – one of Dr. Frew’s fields of expertise!) but I am also constantly improving my pronunciation in English! It’s a win-win. PS. I have added a few comments in italics. 

  1. Parlez-nous de vous brièvement.

Je suis professeur d’anglais spécialisé en littérature canadienne et postcoloniale. J’ai commencé à travailler à temps partiel à Glendon un ou deux ans après avoir complété mon doctorat à York en 2011. C’est ma deuxième année dans un poste contractuel à temps plein et j’apprends actuellement beaucoup au sujet de l’administration comme directeur adjoint du département d’anglais. J’essaie aussi de parfaire mon français en suivant un cours de premier cycle au département d’études françaises. Et je suis la personne la plus cool que tu connais, pas Alberto.

  1. Décrivez s’il vous plaît votre recherche actuelle.

 La plupart de mon temps est actuellement dévoué à mes tâches d’enseignement, mais je parviens toujours à poursuivre ma recherche. Je suis en train de finir le manuscrit d’une édition critique des œuvres d’Ernest Thompson Seton, un naturaliste et artiste canadien qui a contribué à l’invention d’un genre de fiction réaliste à la fin du XIXe siècle représentant la vie des animaux sauvages. Je m’intéresse à la façon dont ses histoires s’engagent dans les discours coloniaux pour tenter de légitimer des revendications territoriales des colons.

  1. Tell us about your Directed Reading on Canadian Gothic literature with Emily.

I think this has been pretty fun so far since the Gothic is so fascinating. I love how it can be over-the-top hilarious melodrama, but also that it can be used quite effectively to broach subjects that may otherwise be unspeakable. This is my first Directed Reading, and I’m really enjoying it as a mentoring opportunity, although I’m fortunate at Glendon to be able to spend quite a lot of time helping my students one-on-one with their assignments. I think the Directed Reading has let you just go for it and fully nerd out. It has been great to see you tackle such a large reading list because we’ve both been so engrossed in this material. It has definitely helped prepare me for a new Special Topics course I’ll be offering in Canadian literature on the Gothic the year after next.

EL: I am so nerding out in this class BUT that’s definitely one of the reasons I love it! Our reading list has so many texts that I am now obsessed with — including one I mentioned in my previous post!

Here are a few of the texts we read this semester. 
  1. Tell us about your teaching philosophy.

My teaching philosophy is based on my belief that engaged citizenship requires one to have critical and analytical skills sharp enough to cut through so much of the nonsense we’re inundated with every day. It often seems like things are getting worse—fake news? “alternative” facts?—but we need to remind ourselves that before now there’s been a long line of other wingdings out there. I think all this stuff tends to get as much traction as it does because most of its adherents—the ones without clear-cut agendas—for whatever reason lack the skills needed to separate fact from fiction. If I can just help my students get to a point where they can really question things, and understand how art allows us to do this, then I feel I’ve done my job. As Oscar Wilde said, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

EL: Dr. Frew’s courses are always getting me to think outside of the box, and be critical and thoughtful about what I am reading. I am especially thankful for the class “Postcolonial Literatures and Theory” (GL/EN 3205), which I took with him in second year, and has influenced so much of my research since. 

  1. Parlez-nous de votre livre préféré.

Tu pourrais être surprise par la fréquence à laquelle on me pose cette question quand les gens que je rencontre dans des situations sociales découvrent que je suis un professeur d’anglais. La vérité est que je n’ai pas vraiment de livre préféré. Il y en a certainement beaucoup que j’adore, bien sûr. Pour garder les choses décontractées lors des cocktails, cependant, je dis simplement, “tout par Alice Munro,” ce qui est assez vrai. Je suis toujours émerveillé par ses nouveaux textes, et de l’écriture comme la sienne me donne envie de lire tous les jours de ma vie.

EL: Alice Munro est la meilleure. 

Merci Dr Frew! À la prochaine!

The top photo features, from left to right, me, Dr. Natalia Khomenko and Dr. Lee Frew during Fall Campus Day 2017. They were helping me put the finishing touches on an essay! 


How I was the QUEEN of self-care this week (almost)

Hi folks! Welcome back to my blog. This week has been hella busy for me and, sadly, my life won’t slow down until the winter break AND I LEAVE FOR MY EXCHANGE AT ASU IN ARIZONA. All of this is OK though, because I am taking care of myself. STOP. I wrote all this on Friday  as I normally prep my posts at least partially in advance; on Friday, this post was 100% “woo-hoo! I rocked this week”… Until today, when I totally crashed and watched Netflix and napped and studied — but didn’t get everything on my (too long) to-do list done. I thought about not publishing this post, because I worried that I hadn’t lived up to my lofty expectations for the week, or even that I was lying, but in the spirit of TRUE SELF-CARE/SELF-LOVE, here I am, posting this and forgiving myself for my less than ideal day because a) I tried b) I really tried.

Anyway, self-care means different things for me (and I’m sure for you) at different times in my life. Lately, it’s not about candles or bubbles baths (but if that’s your jam — more power to you!), but really about taking the time to do the things that make me feel good and healthy. With that in mind, here’s a list of a few self-care things I did this week!

  1. I got my derrière to the gym! This semester I’ve actually been pretty darn good about going to the gym. This week I was especially good because I went 3 times!!   I’m pretty lucky that my building has two small rooms (cardio and weights) and so I have no good excuse to not go. PLUS, I watch HGTV at the gym so that’s also a win.(My plan was to go again today, and make that “3” a “4”, but as I said things didn’t go as I had imagined — and I swapped my gym time for nap time).
  2. I went to see my counsellor on Friday! #RealTalk I’ve seen a counsellor on and off (mostly on) since the tenth grade and it is essential to my emotional well-being. I am so thankful to have access to mental health services through my mum’s insurance/union. If you’re a current York student looking for mental health services, the University has just started offering access to Well Track using the code YORK (if you decide to use this service and feel comfortable, let me know how it is!). Glendon students can also access counselling through the Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling Office. Other students can access services through Good2Talk.

    Me after therapy!! (Photo: Fubiz)
  3. I went to my physiotherapist for treatment on my wrist! During busy school seasons, I often experience pain in my wrist (à la Carpal Tunnel, although I am told it is only mild — for the moment). In order to get through exams, I knew I needed to get an app ASAP — and so I did! I’m sometimes bad at making time for what seems like non-essential appointments but I’m really glad I went.
  4. I went for a manicure! OK… totally non-essential, BUT a nice boost to make me feel like a seriously #BossLady while I write my essays. Plus, there’s this small nails place by my house that I really like so I am always happy to support businesses in my ‘hood.

    How I feel while I get my nails done. (Photo: Fubiz)
  5. Hung out with friends! I made some awesome American friends during my Killam Fellowship Orientation and I am so happy to get to hang out with them in TO — and hopefully some more once I am south of the border!
Us at our last dinner party!

What are some of your favourite self-care strategies? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on twitter @EmLeahyGL

Remember to forgive yourself — and if you can’t do that yet, start with writing a reasonable to-do list. See you next week XX.

Long Distance Relationships: BFF Edition Part 2

It’s November and you’re either a) trying to pick your uni for next year, but wondering what you and your BFF will do if you live in different cities b) already at uni missing your BFF. I totally get the feeling! In twelfth grade, I was a): majorly worried about leaving my hometown for university and how it would impact my relationships, but four years later, I am happy with my choice to move to a new city! That said, I am currently feeling b), but that’s OK! Distance may be challenging but it’s made better by fun things like the fact that my BFF Jani just answered some questions for me and I am so excited to share with you all about our amazing friendship.

For those who missed my first post from this series, the format is: questions in bold, my BFF’s Jani answers in regular font and my responses in italics. 

1. Please share your name, where you live, and what you do

J: Hi! My name is Jani, I live in Ottawa and I am a psychology student at the University of Ottawa.

EL: Jani is my academic inspiration. Like this girl has got drive like you wouldn’t believe.

2. How long have you known Emily?

J: I’ve known Emily since I was about 4 years old. Although, it feels like I’ve known her for many lifetimes.

EL: ugh!!! Yes. It does. It feels as though different parts of our lives = different lifetimes. Right now, undergrad is one.

Here’s us in high school at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. We went out for a fancy BFF dinner for Christmas.

Continue reading “Long Distance Relationships: BFF Edition Part 2”

What’s in my Book Bag? 

As you may or may not know, I’m studying English literature at Glendon. The thing is, I’m not actually a normal English major– I’m a head-over-heels-obsessed-with-English-lit-English-major. Sorry for all the hyphens! Lol. Anyway, I can never seem to get enough when it comes to good books. I want to share some of that love this week by telling you about some of the books/short stories/plays on my syllabi this year! They are a pretty eclectic bunch, but that’s one of the fun parts of being an English major: you get to read so many different things!

One of my favourite courses is my directed reading on Canadian gothic literature with Dr. Lee Frew. I met Dr Frew for the first time in my first English course at Glendon. The course was taught by Professor Danielle Russell (who is an amazing professor and mentor), so I only got to see Dr. Frew once: when he gave a guest lecture on Southern Ontario gothic literature. His lecture presented CanLit in a way that I had never seen before and I was seriously impressed! Anyway, fast forward a few years and I am now exploring more Canadian authors with a focus on the Gothic. We have a pretty stellar line up of texts, so it was hard to pick just one, but I have to say I loved Margaret Atwood’s Wilderness Tips. It’s a compilation of short stories that deal in gothic tropes, the domestic, and take place around Canada. I highly recommend this collection for some intense but short reading.


P.S. If directed reading interests you, I have another post coming out later this school year that discusses in more detail my directed reading and my work with Dr. Frew. Stay tuned…

Continue reading “What’s in my Book Bag? “

Halloween Franken-Pumpkin Tutorial

That right’s! I invented a word! Franken-Pumpkin sounds cool, right? Anyway, happy halloween my friends! I’m posting before my usual Sunday night, because I thought I would give you a bit of the weekend to use this post as inspiration for your own pumpkin… But beware! Halloween is coming up quickly — it’s on Tuesday! Quick! up the scare factor of your apartment or dorm room ASAP.

Anyway here are some pics of the fabulous pumpkin I carved to celebrate Halloween! In case you didn’t already guess, it’s Frankenstein’s monster from the classic novel by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is one of my favourite novels of all time and so I wanted my pumpkin to be an ode to the story and Shelley. Hope you like!

Here is the before pic (featuring this eucalyptus arrangement I created for my dinner table):


Continue reading “Halloween Franken-Pumpkin Tutorial”