About Me

United Kingdom
I am a Canadian living in the United Kingdom as a mathematics teacher and Ph.D. researcher. I also love cats; putting the two of these together makes The Canadian Clowder. I am also a church deacon in Central London and am involved with two expat Canadian social networking groups, along with a local Mensa social networking group in Cambridge.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Looking Forward

I can clearly remember the motto of my high school, painted on the walls of the gymnasium: Look forward with hope, look backward with pride. This was quite an important motto for me in particular as I was entering the high school in a French immersion program, which I had only chosen to join while Mom was speaking to me about it in the car en route to St. Stephen, N.B. and Calais, ME one day; I even remember passing by one of the Oak Bay, N.B. turnoff roads, heading towards the causeway as I made the agreement. Why I chose to agree to do the French Immersion course was beyond me; I had previously refused to take it, suggesting it was going to have no effect on my future, but I guess it's Canada and we are bilingual, so I think that's why I changed my mind in the car. 

It's too easy to get bogged down in our history. Of course, we study history in school. Religious institutions generally study the history of their faiths as a means of explaining their purposes in life. Politicians discuss history to their constituents to highlight past errors, especially, though, when mentioning the faults of rival members who were in power before them. Milestone events often reflect on history, using statistics to look at trends over time to see what, if anything has changed; these statistics are also used widely in financial analyses, banking, government reforms, social policies, etc. History is the emphasis for which we try to change the future.

However, reflecting on the Christian Easter story, it is not about a man fulfilling prophecies just to be executed by Roman crucifixion in order to show by resurrection that he rose again. As I learned in this morning's church service, by summarising it like this, we are simply reflecting on the past events and thus, are looking backwards... and using my school's motto, we are doing this with pride, which happens to be one of the seven deadly sins listed in the Bible. Instead, we should be looking forward; we are obviously aware of what happened, but we need to see where we are to go ahead in our lives and this does not come from looking in the past, but rather by planning in the present to aim for a better future. Going back to the Christian Easter story, after Jesus was resurrected, he actually remained on the Earth for several days before ascending into Heaven (i.e. the Ascension, a key element of the Easter story that is not mentioned with any significant relevance at Easter time). After he ascended and was never seen again, his disciples continued to look into the sky, expecting him to return to them almost immediately. They were told by angels to stop doing this and instead, to start doing what they were told to do by Jesus. By staring into the sky, do Christians wonder "When will Jesus come back to Earth?" or "When will I get to be with God with Jesus seated at His right hand?" If it's the former, then it's a reflection of the past event and again, it's the trap of looking backwards, but if it's the latter, then it's preparing the way, looking forward with hope, ignoring the past completely, aside from simply knowing the facts of what happened.

In my postgraduate research, I am often having to look at past statistics involving one group of students in comparison to more recent statistics involving another group of students to see if there is any progress in their results. Of course, there is a tragic flaw in that the students are different, but in terms of research, it is apparently acceptable these days to allow this sort of comparison to take place because time-scale analysis seems to be a happening thing. When I go back to my research, I will likely need to conduct new analyses in order to bring the thesis up-to-date, but again, the tragic flaw will be there and this will need to be discussed to some extent. However, I must remember to look forward with hope; focusing on how my research can help others should be the selling point and me getting my Ph.D. is the end goal I wish to achieve. Therefore, I should only state the facts of the past, not looking backwards with pride, but instead, looking forward with the goals in mind so that I will have the hope of achieving them eventually.

With my previous job situation, I am often having to look backwards at what happened, but by stating the facts of what happened and analysing the evidence I now have, I can look forward more easily, knowing how to move forward with the hope of achieving the outcome I am seeking. The facts of history can help in planning the future, but you need to be careful as you should not look at the implications behind the facts necessarily, but rather just the facts themselves. This is, of course, a tricky situation, but the facts are there to help me move forward, so this is where I have my hope for the future in this aspect.

Am I using my French language skills these days? Definitely not. Do I regret it? No. Why not? It's because I may still end up using this in the future and I need to remain in the hope that I may still get to use it in the future.

The Canadian Cat

Sunday, April 13, 2014

M' steaks

I am currently at a local coffeeshop in Cambridge, where I ordered a drink & some cake. I know the staff at this shop well, so when every aspect of my order was done incorrectly, from dropping the first slice of cake to not making decaf coffee to not using the right kind of milk, I could only laugh at them. Luckily, I am not like some customers, who would frown or get angry at this.

Earlier, I was at my church in London. Due to the London Marathon, a soccer FA Cup semi-final (or whatever it was), and the Olivier Awards in Covent Garden, the city was absolutely mad today. The train company I used reverted back to their incorrect ways by only having 8 coaches take me to/from Cambridge and London, instead of the 12 they used last Sunday; this caused many people, including the elderly and families, to remain standing throughout their journey. Also, there were not many people around for the Sunday church lunch and as I do not enjoy mushroom soup (or mushrooms for that matter), I went elsewhere for lunch... and then proceeded to go shopping, spending money I don't actually have on geek toys.

I also spoke to my church about the issue with my former school and how I have prepared a draft of the complaint letter I will be sending eventually to the schools inspectorate, addressing the mistakes the school has willingly made against me and others. We are looking at the other things we need to consider in order for me to move on with my life.

I've also purchased a set of songs by Gunnarolla; he sang about being in love with a beef steak.

At least it was sunny today!

The Canadian Cat

Sunday, April 06, 2014


My Ph.D. situation is getting sorted, although I am needing to complicate things further. As I have no employment and as I am being expected to work on the thesis again for one full year, having not looked at it for nearly 5 years, I will have to ask to seek free student accommodation on campus and also work part-time to some extent on campus to pay for bills, food, etc. The Canadian government is getting involved, having been requested to investigate their options and disclose whatever information they can to me so that I can pass it forward to the university and the Ombudsperson's office. However, as I have learned already from this situation, patience is key.

Patience is something I am learning again I need to have with regards to my current work situation. Now that the allegations made against me have been thrown out, I can address the issues that have taken place against me, especially how the situation was handled improperly (as they violated multiple policies). I have also been informed that I should contact the government inspectorate to file a formal complaint and as a recent inspection took place at this location, I can question the findings and it is possible that I may seek to have the inspection re-done; I have to determine what the best course of action will be, but that is a top contender at the moment, especially where I have significant, physical evidence now which I can use.

With my current work situation, I feel that those who accused me of such horrible actions should have learned by now (from getting to know me over the past year) that I can be very patient, yet also very determined when it comes to making sure that a proper resolution is met. With my Ph.D. situation, I was willing at several points to address the issue with the media; to be honest, I have considered doing the same already with this work situation. However, addressing the issue in this way, I feel, is destructive and I do not wish to go down this route unless it becomes one of the final options for me. In any case, though, the option is there and I have the legal freedom to use it if I choose to do so.

Nonetheless, I keep thinking back to the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who, who, even when the last resort seemed to be the only option left, would rather not go through with using it. However, I have received a lot of guidance with this work situation and virtually all of the help I received, including that from people in various prominent positions, suggests that I need to address this situation. Therefore, in this case, I cannot act as the Time Lord, but perhaps rather as a Companion receiving help from the Time Lord (or Time Lords in this case).

So now, I have to begin considering how to address this issue in order to fight back and seek justice for the accusations sent by the former employer (without conducting proper investigations themselves), the negative feedback willfully given by the former employer to prospective employers (without telling me at all that a referral was being prepared), the deliberate policy violations of the former employer (who claimed I violated policies), etc. There will be a lot to consider and as always, I will need the help of all those around me who have helped me so much already (and hopefully even more). I am grateful for the support I have and it is through this darkness that I can see the stars shining in my life.

The Canadian Cat

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Manning The Sails

This has been a very interesting week for me, as has been evidenced by the fact the accusations made against me earlier have finally been dropped. I am very thankful for this news, but this has nonetheless been a very hurtful time and I really want to find some way to formally address these issues, but there are, of course difficulties, including those I mentioned in a previous post, where I questioned my own motives for wanting to do something like this.

I feel like I am committing an Manning; I am wanting to leak information about a group that I know has done wrong and in this era of bureaucracy, where governments protect those in power, making the rich richer whilst making the poor poorer, I feel this is the only possible solution. However, this is still troubling for me as I feel it should not have to come to this; in Manning's case, the issues were directly against a government group, but in mine, they are not. I am not afraid to go after my accusers, though, so it's just a matter of convincing myself that this is possible, especially now with the information & knowledge I have.

One thing that is important in all of this is speaking out against injustice, something my current church has taught me well. In my situation, I followed the advice of my peers and it led me to this current predicament. I know now I should be more determined to follow my own judgement rather than simply go with the flow, and now that I am confident I can show the flow, it ought to finally be time for me to have my say, especially as the government has yet to even hear my side of the story.

The Canadian Cat

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pain of Change

First of all, I would like to apologize for not writing this post on Sunday, which I usually do. As you could have probably noticed from my previous posts, there has been a lot going on in my life as of late. However, the fact that I did not write a post on Sunday actually turned it be a very good thing because I received some rather good news just on Monday. It seems that the accusations that were made against me were dropped by a governing body, even though I had not had the opportunity to speak about the events myself to this body. Not only was I absolutely ecstatic to hear these new details, but the fact that I have not even told my side of the story made it all the more interesting for me because I believe that the accusers only said what they wanted to say, hiding the things that they do not want to be made known to this body. The question now is how do I go forward in this situation.

However, something unusual happened when I received this information. I was so happy to receive this information that the change in attitude from negative to positive actually caused me to have a headache. I could not understand how a sudden sense of what appeared to be euphoria and it up actually just being a headache. Also, as I am well accustomed to buy now, whenever something extremely exciting happens in my life, it is almost certainly followed by something that is really not that good at all and watching the news provided some opportunity for this to happen.

It seems that whenever change occurs, it is not a one direction all change; change occurs in all dimensions and it's almost as if it is trying to re-create a balance in our lives. This concept of change is not absolutist and I wonder how much of this change is affected beyond our own personal abilities; how much of this change occurs based on natural causes or supernatural causes? Knowing that we have the power to change each others lives gives us a huge amount of responsibility and unfortunately, some people see this as a means of having power. However, even for those people who see this as a means of having power, they do not have full control over what happens in our lives as there are so many other factors in this world to consider, especially nature, random circumstance, the weather, etc. those who believe they can act in a position of power will be brought to justice at some point in their lives as this balance is there to help shape all of our lives on this planet together in someway, even if this balance does not work out properly for every single individual at the right time or when it is needed.

We need to stay strong in the hope and belief that there will be on good balance in our lives and that this balance does not solely come from ourselves, but rather from everyone as a community, and through all other circumstances in our lives that are beyond our control.

The Canadian Cat

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Cat

The past few weeks have been very troubling for me as I have been presented with a less certain future unexpectedly and multiple times over. I am no longer as involved in the church as I used to be and that is all a result of my current situation. The month of February, although it is the month of my birth, always tends to present me with great difficulties and I do not know why this is the case. Margaret Atwood's poem, February, depicts a cat causing trouble, even sitting on the face of the narrator; as much as I like cats, I am sick and tired of seeing so many "bum holes".

However, there is a lot of hope for me as we enter Spring. Although my present situation is very troubling, I know I did not do anything wrong and I now have some idea on how to address the situation in the hope that this can be clearly understood. Also, my Ph.D. degree is in the progress of being sorted out and I may be restarting this later in the year. There is also the great likelihood that in returning home, possibly even just for the summer, that I will have a means of employment and this is very comforting news indeed.

Although the present is a cat sitting on my face, the future does appear to be the cat as a loving, caring creature who is by my side, befriending me. Hopefully that is what I will see as we enter Spring.

The Canadian Cat

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Reliving the cycle

Unfortunately, I am no longer in a position of work. This week has been quite shocking, quite unsettling, and quite worrying for me. I was not expecting any of this to happen and I received very little warning about it; in fact, you could probably say that I received no warning at all. I also learned that I am not the only one who has had to go through this kind of problem this week and on top of that, many other people have suffered in other ways, whether it be loss of family members, horrible weather situations, or continued violence around the world.

I feel as if I am returning to this cycle where everything is to go horribly wrong for several months before something miraculously good happens again. The last time this happened to me, I had to wait four months before I received a new job offer. I surely hope that this time around, a new job offer will come very quickly, much, much sooner than four months. As for everyone else who is also suffering, I hope that they can get through their situations as quickly as possible as well so that we can all move forward together to bring about happy or lives for everyone.

As for those who caused the suffering, of course, I am not happy with them. I'm not happy about those who caused me grief by letting me go from my job, and certainly, I am not happy about the Seffren other people have caused to everyone around me. People who causes suffering do not always realize the significance of their actions; quite often, one's own actions cause a ripple effect, which cause numerous people to suffer because of the suffering of one person. People care for each other and by seeing one person suffer, everyone suffers. Those who cause suffering off to be held accountable for their actions and I do hope that this will eventually happen to all those who caused suffering to all of us this week. Of course, I am not saying that they should have to suffer in like measure, but I am saying that they need to realize the error of their ways and hopefully, find ways of correcting those errors so that everyone can be happy again.

We all need to move on and improve our lives from these horrible situations that have come in our midst this week, and I sincerely hope that things will improve for all of us sooner rather than later.

The Canadian Cat

The Parallelism Predicament

As you may have noticed, I have not written a post in a couple of weeks. The last few weeks of my life have been very stressful and I am at a loss of words when it comes to what has happened in my life. I cannot believe that some people I thought I knew well turned out to say such nasty things about me. Thankfully, I do have a tonne of support from a lot of people around me and I am blessed that all of these people are helping me as much as possible to get through this situation and to fight back in order to protect my name and reputation. I really hope that justice will prevail and that my accusers will be held to account for their actions.

However, should I wish for my accusers to be held to account? When Jesus was being persecuted and eventually executed by means of crucifixion, he did not seek for justice to prevail in order that is accusers may be held to account; instead, he pleaded to God, saying "forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing". A part of being human is knowing that everyone else around you is human. We all know that we each make mistakes. When others make mistakes, we want to correct them as quickly as possible, but this brings us a problem in that others may not see their actions as being mistakes. Holding people to account seems to be something that I have learned from Canadian politics as of late, especially where our current prime minister was elected on the basis of wanting to hold his opponents to account for the things he is now apparently doing in office. Holding people to account is basically saying that I want other people to suffer so that I can gain and I cannot help but think that Jesus would not want me to feel like this when it comes to my personal situation.

Obviously, I cannot go into the details of what the situation is, who it involves, and any circumstances around the situation. However, what I can say is that the support of my friends and family has been rather encouraging and knowing that I did not do the things that I have been accused of doing, I have great faith in the hope that this situation will be settled in due course. However, just like my university degree, I might have to wait quite some time before this is settled.

The Canadian Cat