Monday, March 5, 2012

University of British Columbia

A View on North Vancouver and the Mountains.
We began our day by setting off in search of MacLeod’s Books - the biggest used bookstore in Vancouver. We browsed through their haphazard, staggering stacks of paperbacks and came out very satisfied with their Canadian literature section, but thoroughly disgusted with the complete lack of critical texts on offer. Burdened with books, we took a stroll around Downtown, happy to finally see some sunlight and bits of the mountainous landscape in between the skyscrapers (which is not something you get to see every day, because even though it’s generally quite a bit warmer here than in Poland, the sky is usually overcast and it rains a lot, so the mountain tops are hidden behind heavy clouds). 

UBC Campus Sign Post. Yes, You Need Those.
Around noon we took a bus to the University of British Columbia, which is situated immediately on the coast and is a bit removed from the rest of Vancouver. The campus is like a small city, complete with its own sports centre and hospital. It’s an incredibly beautiful place: open, green and a bit mismatched, combining a multitude of architectural styles, from towering glass structures to quaint Victorian manors. It is no wonder that finding Buchanan Tower, where we were to attend a seminar of Dr Sherrill Grace, was a real challenge. 

Buchanan Tower, UBC.
The class itself was a treat and we were very warmly welcomed thanks to Dr Grace, who is a lovely, open person. It was a graduate seminar on Timothy Findley, a postmodern Canadian writer. Today we were discussing one of his novels, Not Wanted on the Voyage, which is a retelling of the story of Noah’s Arc, albeit with a twist. Here Noah is an authoritarian figure, abusing his position in the family, his wife smuggles her blind cat called Mottyl onboard, Ham’s wife, Lucy, a beautiful transvestite, is in fact Lucifer in disguise, unicorns are brutally killed, and the olive branch the dove brings from its flight comes from its cage on the Arc, and not from the promised land. The discussion that followed the presentation of one of the students was very lively and interesting, and it’s a real pity we couldn’t participate more, but none of us had read the book before, as we’ve only found out about it two days previously. 

Koerner Library, UBC.

In Front of Irving Learning Center, UBC.
After the class we spent at least half an hour looking for Koerner’s Library and repeatedly ended up at Irving Learning Center, where we eventually decided to have a quick lunch. As it later turned out, the library we were searching for was exactly in front of where we were sitting, which was just typical. All the hassle had been worth it, however, for the visit at the library was very fruitful and each of us found something of interest. Afterwards, we walked a bit more around the campus and found a spot with an amazing view of the ocean and the surrounding mountains. If only Polish universities had such beautiful locations!

Exams Seem So Much Easier If You Can Come Here to Study for Them...

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