Winter's College Orientation 
I find my way to the Winter's College. A college is a sub section of the student population according to faculties. Winters is for the Fine Arts, Communications and Education students.
So breakfast is supposed to be somewhere. Found it, in the Absinthe Pub, a student run pub. Bagels and fruit and bad coffee. I think I'll go get a better cup of coffee as I wait for the meeting to start.
Loud rock music and partying frosh are in the quad. I somewhat wish I could join in.
At the meeting about 1500 students get to listen to the heads of the faculties and other organizations. We are also entertained by a student acapella group "wibj", and some alumni such as a trombonist "Ray Westray", and a musical singer/actor. What other college has this type of alumni? It was great!
The room is crowded and every seat is taken, however I feel very much alone. No one talks to me or even makes eye contact. I don't see anyone my age except for a few parents. Yes they were parents.
WE break up into smaller groups of students to ask questions. Not very informative. Still no one acknowledges my presence.
Lunch is supposed to be in the quad after the meeting. I wait, but no lunch appears as frosh keep on partying and gearing up for the afternoon's activities.
I decide to go home and not attend tomorrows orientation. I really don't need to know what clubs to join.

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Visual Arts Orientation 
Get there early and glad because the room was changed. As I am waiting I am getting some looks from students and parents like "Why are you here, parents aren't allowed"
Ok I am going to get that a lot so I better used to it. Roland and I had a similar experience when we went to York to check out the program last November. Twice we were directed to where the parents were supposed to be and not the students info sessions.
I am definitely the oldest in the room. No one sits next to me, but I'm in the second row.
We got to meet the profs of most of the required courses, the chair of the department, the admin staff. It was very informative with many tips from each of them. My painting course professor seems a little intimidating. She will challenge me I"m sure.
Joy the administrative assistant has already dubbed me , in jest, as troublemaker #2. I just asked a few questions.
Pizza was served.
Bus ride home. Not too bad so far. Getting some reading time. I pick up the bus in downtown Oshawa with a few stops in between and get directly to York in 1 hr. and 5-10 min.

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Mature Students Orientation 
My first orientation. I'd like to say a wine and cheese, but it was a coffee, lemonade and cheese affair. We had a campus tour. Our group was accompanied by a photographer from the Globe and Mail. So he took pictures throughout our tour and took a lot of pictures of your truly. He wanted to focus on me looking at the map to find my way around. Contrary to the article, I do not get Lost! Internal GPS apparently. I gave an interview to the reporter after our time in the lecture hall. Below is the link to the article.
In the lecture hall after the tour we were introduced to ACMAPS. The organization at York that helps us mature student to navigate our way to a degree. It will be very helpful.
When a straw poll was taken about how long people were out of school, I was one of the very few that still had their hand up after 25 years of being out of school. It has been 32 years since high school.
I felt somewhat reassured after the orientation that "Yes, I can do this"
The article came out and of course it is not correct in its representation. I do not have "grey" hair. Photoshop! The comments to the article are interesting, Everything from encouragement to why am I taking resources and space from the young people.
Hey I earned my way just as everyone else!
Anyway, here is the link to the article.

Globe and Mail article

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University at 49 
Why would I go to university at my age?

The answer is that I always wanted to get a degree and it was now or never. A crossroads. At the "appropriate" time after high school, I had to support myself and I moved to B.C. which didn't accept Ontario's grade 12 since it had grade 13. If I had the opportunity at that point, I probably would have got a degree in the business field such as a accounting. Then life happened: I worked myself up in the banking industry, got married, had 3 kids, worked part-time and became a financial/estate planner, started to paint again, certified myself as a an interior decorator, went on sabbatical with my husband and travelled.
As we were traveling and living abroad (see pictures below) I decided that it was now my time to do this. My hubby has a PHd, my oldest child a BSc,BEd and working on a masters, my second child a BA, MKin., and my youngest is in 4th year EngChem/Music. It was high time I kept up with the family.
I believe that we have always set a good example to our children regarding education with life long learning opportunities. This is not a competition. but following through on what we think is important.
Education is not to get a job, but the opportunity to learn and "how" to continue to learn.
I want to expand my knowledge of the art world and challenge myself as an artist. I wasn't getting that from the odd workshops I could attend. They were inspirational, encouraging, and I did learn a lot, but it was not enough for me.
So I am taking the opportunity! I am going to York University to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Visual Arts Studio.
Thanks Rol, Rebekah, Rachel, Jon, Greg, Beth and many friends and family for your support and encouragement.
Enjoy the journey with me!

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Out to Africa Event Pictures 
The pictures in the attached web album were taken at the Out to Africa event which was held last night (Oct. 29, 2009) at Hope Fellowship Church in Courtice. It was a great night, an art sale and auction, and lots of music. The event was a fundraiser for Rachel as she pursues her dream to go and volunteer for the next 6 months in Jos, Nigeria. The evening was opened with a few numbers by Rachel, her brother Jonathan and his girl friend, Beth. After the art auction, we were entertained by the wonderful sounds of Isobelle Gunn (Isobelle Gunn website). It was wonderful to meet up again with Lara, who while in high school used to babysit Rachel.

The following is part of a message posted from Rachel on our chuch website (Hope Fellowship Church).

Rachel's Story
I have always had a place in my heart for Africa, for inexpressible reasons. It may be because the need is so great there, but I feel that doesn’t sufficiently sum up my longing to go there and serve. I began searching out opportunities in April and came across a volunteer position in a local hospital in Jos, Nigeria through Christian Reformed World Missions. I completed the application process and everything seemed quite hopeful that the plan would work out. However, I was informed in July that this opportunity was no longer an option and that another one had come about in South America. So with mixed feelings, I decided to trust that God would figure out the details and really, serving is serving no matter where you are. We started to make plans for this other opportunity and I was getting quite excited about it when I received an e-mail letting me know that the Nigeria opportunity was still possible! The team over in Nigeria had already begun to make plans for when I would arrive and what my role would be in the hospital ministry. Needless to say, I have completely given the control over to God as I have recognized His will in this. This has been a somewhat difficult (yet exhilarating!) task for me as I am someone who has had their life quite planned out up until this year.
So, I am going to Nigeria! Although most of the details are still being figured out, I will be working in Evangel Hospital and the Open Doors school in Jos, Nigeria. The hospital was founded by the Sudan Interior Mission and is affiliated with the Evangelical Churches of West Africa. They have 150 beds available and provide medical care in many areas including surgery, obstetrics, opthamology, HIV/AIDS clinic and physiotherapy. Officially I will be volunteering in the physiotherapy department however this is quite a broad role as the departments are quite interchangeable depending on the availability of staff and the medical attention required. The physiotherapy department is also quite connected to school called Open Doors. This school provides education for children with special needs, including physical disabilities. The physiotherapist treats a number of the children at the school and I will be working with them to provide this care. I am quite excited for this opportunity as it is a hands-on (literally) way of serving the people of Jos and in a field that I am very passionate about. I am also excited that the hospital is a Christian hospital at its roots and it is quite commonplace to see doctors and staff praying over their patients. This gives me an opportunity to interact with the people I come in contact with, not only physically but spiritually.
I hope to be leaving on this journey at the beginning of November and I will be gone for at little under six months. But of course, when taking on this type of challenge, there is always a monetary cost involved. The estimated cost for travelling to and living in Nigeria (including medical vaccinations, insurance, food, and board) for six months is approximately $8500. I realize this is a large sum of money so I am completely trusting in God’s faithfulness to provide the means. I also hope to make a connection between our church community and the community in Jos. I know that we already have a couple associations with this city already as various individuals from Hope Fellowship have served in the past or are serving there right now. Wouldn’t it be amazing to connect our church to the hospital and a church in Jos? And make it a long-term partnership that continues even after I am gone! I believe that we can learn from the people of Africa as much as they can learn from us, so this is a great place to start in building up the worldwide church.
Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to my hopes for the next phase of my life. I greatly appreciate your willingness to help!

Okay, on to the pictures.....

Out to Africa pics

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