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Starting urban planning career in Guyana
I grew up on an island on the rocky Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, populated by a whopping seventeen people (give or take). I grew up with parents who lived by their art spending most of my time in the woods or on the rocks. Our house has been called a hobbit hole. It looks like a pile of sticks that blew in from the ocean and collected around my parents' eccentric personalities. They built it themselves, using whatever they could find, and raised five children there with a whole bucket of love. My most precious memory is of watching dad paint.
Other than that, I adore folk and rock an' roll, have an undergrad in poli sci and a Master's in urban planning, play guitar badly and sing terribly, and love learning languages. I have traveled through the Australian desert where I lived and worked with an isolated aboriginal community, and I have hitchhiked Canada, Western Europe and South America. My favourite kind of plan is one that was decided two seconds ago, and yet, in the big picture, I am very goal-oriented and I'm currently starting my career.
I work as an urban planner, and I would love to meet anyone who wants to talk about cities: what's beautiful, what's not, and what's a crime against humanity or proof jesus died in vain. Also, I'm looking forward to acquiring my next language, so here's to everyone who loves learning language!
Phrases like, "live it up, be positive, meet people and love everyone," "carpe diem," "be the change you want in the world," or anything with the word "energy" in them are probably too simple to be true. I am a very positive person, but holy crap the world is complicated. I'm not sure what defines worth or what the good life is, but I am really trying to figure it out - slowly - and I don't like to mask complex struggle with simple statements. Probably the closest thing I have to a quick, pithy philosophy is that I want to be respected and loved by the people I respect and love, an idea I pulled out of Adam Smith. Whatever else happens, that feeling seems to give my world structure.
Reading, smoking shisha, origins of language, learning language, urban planning, Canadian politics, writing, story telling, and playing with children (or people who still know how to think like kids).
Music, Movies, and Books
Movies: Everlasting Sunshine on the Spotless Mind, Elles Étaient Cinq, Princess Mononoke.
Music: Bower Birds, Iron and Wine, Sun Kil Moon, The Be Good Tanyas, Tricot Machine, Camille, Sigur Ros, Antony and the Johnsons, Built to Spill, Band of Horses
Books: The Life and Death of Great American cities (Jane Jacobs), Moonwalking with Einstein (Joshua Foer), Happiness (Darrin M. McMahon), The Life of Pi (Yann Martel), The Trial of Colonel Sweeto (Nicholas Gurewitch), Divisadero and Anil's Ghost (Michael Ondaatje), Cyder House Rules and The World According to Garp (John Irving), Papillon (Henri Charrière), A Strange Multiplicity (Tully), Dislocating Cultures (Narayan), The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Adam Smith), A Song of Ice and Fire (Martin), anything by David Sedaris
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Rode bare back on one of eight horses I found walking in the Australian desert while the sun was setting. I had absolutely no prior experience and overcame a fear of horses in the process. It was amazing, that moving mass of body underneath me.
Seems pretty unlikely, but let me just say that by “rode,” I mean “sat on her back while she fed,” although she did trot a bit. Also, this story was something I used to tell girls until I realized that anyone who knows anything about horses knows how stupid that was! That fear of horses was probably there for a reason! But, as it went, after forty five minutes I got down and was fine.
Countries I’ve Visited
Argentina, Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Taiwan, United States
Countries I’ve Lived In
Australia, Canada, Guyana