UBC Winter 2002 English 222 course description.
I thought this course would be in class essays, take home essays and multiple essays written for the final exam --  but it was the complete opposite. I haven't had to write one essay for this class. I'm relieved. I prefer this criteria much more where Erika tells you from the beginning "this is an unusual course of studies." .. unusual, but unique.
That's how I would explain it all. Unique. I have never enjoyed a class more than this one. Where a certain "criteria" is not set, marks are still given for interpretations because everyone has their own story. You can't tell someone that what Canada means to them is wrong. Everyone has their our memories and their own stories to tell.
I think that's what I liked so much. There are no wrong answers - only encouragement. 

I find it funny that this is the class where I have the least notes written from lectures.. but I could tell you pretty much everything I learnt from just listening. As Erika points out, this is an important part in certain methods of teaching. 

Perhaps the only negative part was that it was an early class. Clearly there are more positives than negatives. I over all enjoyed this class. The best one i've taken so far. 

In terms of advancing this course for future students, I would suggest explaining the final project a bit more clearer. I think that in the beginning of the course a lot of people (including myself) were really confused about what we were really suppost to be completely at the end of the term. Erika prefers to let it "organically grow" (which is what happened to me, and look at how far along myself and my group have come), but the not knowing bothered me a little bit. Perhaps because I get stressed easily and not knowing bothers me more than others.
The idea of blogging though is an excellent idea. I think that blogging expresses your thoughts and opinions much better than having to write a "formal" essay where you can't even say "I." Blogging is like the thoughts that come from your head... likee uhh you know what I mean right? You couldn't say that in an essay. Maybe you could, but I don't think you'd get a good mark. I just really liked the format of the course. It was very unexpected. I vowed I'd never take an English class again.. and look at me. I'm leaving it extremely impressed and thankful that I took it. Thanks Erika for all the hard work and time put into this course. I couldn't imagine reading.. what 5 or 6 novels at the same time.. let alone remembering the details from each. I've learnt a lot about Canadian Literature without having to be lectured 3 hours a week and writing essay after essay to test our knowledge.
I wouldn't change much about this course. Hopefulyl students in the future liked it as much as I did.
and... I could go on forever. I'll stop. Last blog entry Done.
My aunt from Ontario came to visit for four days this weekend. Kind of silly to visit for just four days, but at least she came. She is now going to write a book titled "Vancouver in 48 hours." We went everywhere you could go in Vancouver - or at least the places you want to make sure you show a tourists who's never been here before. We went to the Olympic cauldron, Gas Town, Stanley Park, Granville Island, UBC, Spanish Banks, The North Shore and maaany more places. The interesting one was Stanley Park though.

When I was young, I was told that the "lady" sitting in the water along the shore of the seawall is a mermaid. All my life i've grown up thinking that. Its easy to believe though. She is in the water.. with two legs that appears as if they're just one, or maybe a fin. Now that I look closer at it.. she clearly has flippers on her feet, a scuba mask on her head, and she is wearing a wet suit. This story that has shaped my belief on the "mermaid in Stanley Park" clearly is not reality, but it was my reality until the weekend. 

Shackie and Croze were told a story..
The two of them managed to get some superweed from a grow-op that was busted in one of the GG's apartment housing (of course not their doing, but an individual named Burt the Knob who was growing). Amanda promised Shackie and Croze something in return if they managed to get some of the superweed.

"Here is it," Shackie said. He brought out a piece of cloth with something wrapped up in it.
"What is it?" I said. I could hear my own voice: girly and squeaky.
"It's the surprise," said Amanda. "They got some of that superweed for us. The stuff Burt the Knob was growing."
"No way!" I said. "You bought it? From the CorpSeCrops?"
"Lifted it," said Shackie. "We snuck in the back of the Buenavista"

After smoking the superweed..

Amanda has her arm around me. "It's okay," she said. "You're fine." Shackie and Croze still there, and they were sounding pissed off. Or Croze was, more than Shackie, because Shackie was almost as whacked as I was.
"So, when'll you pay up?" said Croze.
"It didn't work," said Amanda. "So, never."
"That wasn't the trade," said Croze. "The trade was, we bring the stuff. We brought it. So, you owe us."
"The trade was, Ren gets happy," said Amanda. "She didn't. End of story."
"No way," said Croze. "You owe us. Pay up." 
"Make me," said Amanda. Her voice had that dangerous edge, the one she'd use on pleebrats when they got too close.
"Whatever," said Shackie. "Whenever." He didn't seemed too bothered.
"You owe us two fucks," said Croze. "One each. We ran a big risk, we could've got killed!"
"Piss off," said Amanda. And I guess they did, because the next time I looked for them they weren't there. 
I was feeling more normal by then. "Amanda," I said. "I can't believe you traded with them." I wanted to say, For me, but I was afraid i'd cry. (155-156) 

As simple of a trade, superweed for "two fucks," Shackie and Croze's "story" they were told ended up being altered by the end of the deal. Their reality of the trade changed when the story unravelled. 

When I was young.. I told stories. I altered them. I changed the setting, the time, the individuals involved.. and I left information out -- depending on who my audience was. Usually it was my mom. Oh did I ever tell stories. Stories that got me grounded: no phone, no friends, no nothing. Story telling has gotten me into a lot of trouble. It all depends who you are telling it to.

For Adam One, he changed a story too. Pilar, one of GG's Eves was diagnosed with cancer that was very advanced and passed away because of it. When Adam One held a meeting to inform everyone, he altered the story for the young Gardeners.

Adam One knew who his audience was and told the story different from the truth. It didn't get him into trouble. I wish I had his luck when I was young.
Today in class, Erika said "Canada has changed significantly." For me, a 90's baby.. it's pretty much been the same concept of multiculturalism in my life time. I grew up with multiple types of backgrounds present in class rooms, and i've always been taught to respect everyone for who they are, not their ethnicty. For Erika, there was a transition into the acceptance of Canada's policy on multiculturalism, but i've never had that transition -- it's always been something i grew up with. It's always been a story i've been told.
I have a horrible memory.. if I don't write down my thoughts right away they're gone.
The opposite or "reverse" of how GG's likes it -- they don't write or keep any written forms of communication.

"We wrote on slates, and they had to be wiped off at the end of each day because the Gardeners said you couldn't leave words lying around where our enemies might find them. Anyways, paper was sinful because it was made from the flesh of trees.
We spend a lot of time memorizing things and chanting them out loud (60)."

Got a little bit side tracked of the mention of forgetting things.. and it's brought me to another example of GG's belief in nature and preserving it. 

Ren is flashing back to the days with GG's when she recalls eating dry soybits and a vegetable patty for dinner while Zeb was singing in the shower..

"But if I mentioned anything about our old life, [Lucerne] would say all that was in the past. 
She had lots of reasons for running off with Zeb to join the Gardeners. She'd say their way was best for humankind, and for all the other creatures on Earth as well, and she'd acted out of love, not only for Zeb but for me, because she wanted the world to be healed so life wouldn't die out completely, and didn't it make me happy to know that (65)?" 

Nature is GG's playground. The things they do and believe in is best for humankind and all other creatures because of the choices they make. The best way to explain is examples like these..

"The Gardeners were strict about not killing Life [...] They had the idea that turning into compost would be just fine (59)."

"The cubicle curtains were woven of plastic-bag strips and duct tape, and they weren't in any way soundproof (63)."

"We ate our meals in the main room, on a table made out of a door. All of our pots and pans were salvaged - gleaned, as the Gardeners said - except for some of the thicker plates and mugs. Those had been made by the Gardeners back in their Ceramics period, before they decided that kilns used up too much energy (63)."

"Zeb would be in the shower: No daily showers was one of the many Gardener rules Zeb ignored. Our shower water came down a garden hose out a rain barrel and was gravity-fed, so no energy was used (64)."

"Nothing should be carelessly thrown away, not even wine from sinful places. There was no such thing as garbage, trash or dirt, only matter that hadn't been put to a proper use (69)." 

As I'm collecting data for our presentation, I kept putting nature/environment for GG's beliefs.. but now I'm thinking of it as nature, but in terms of environment. GG's protect, reuse, recycle etc to protect the environment and animals within it. The quotes above have helped me begin to collect my ideas for the presentation. The reuse of items, restriction of showers (energy), and protecting life shows their main belief of nature. 
"Nature is our playground (64)."
By next wednesday my groups will have brainstormed lots of ideas for the main religious group in The Year of the Flood -- God's Gardener's (GG's). 
I am going to be looking at the nature and environmental side related to GG's beliefs, Vera is looking into the scientific view, and Kristina is covering religion. 
We've discussed whether or not we're going to include lots of references/allusions, but I think we've decided that we'll focus on one main "idea" for each topic of religion, nature, and science. 
As Toby was working one of her shifts at SecretBurger, Adam One and the Gardener's came into the restaurant to get Toby out of there. With their success, they bring her back to the Gardener's rooftop..

The Garden wasn't at all what Toby has expected from hearsay. It wasn't baked mudflats strewn with rotting vegetable waste -- quite the reverse. She gazed around it in wonder: it was so beautiful, with plants and flowers of many kinds she'd never seen before. There were vivd butterflies; from nearby came the vibration of bees. Each petal and leaf was fully alive, shining with awareness of her. Even the air of the Garden was different.

She found herself crying with relief and gratitude. It was as if a large, benevolent hand had reached down and picked her up, and was holding her safe. Later, she frequently heard Adam One speak of "being flooded with the Light of God's Creation," and without knowing it yet that was how she felt.

"I'm so glad you have made this decision, my dear," said Adam One. 
But Toby didn't thinks she'd made any decision at all. Something else had made it for her. Despite everything that had happened afterwards, this was a moment she never forgot (41). 

Later that evening, Toby honor was celebrated with jars of preserved elderberries and pots of honey.

This was Toby's first impression of the Garden. Different from what she thought. Different in terms of how they view and treat the environment and nature. 

First, GG's are "strict vegetarians (45)," who use composts and wear "sack like garments (46)." 
"meat of any kind was obscene as far as the Gardeners were concerned (62)."

 Another example of the GG's love for the environment. 

**And a quick side note -- the quote "The Garden wasn't at all what Toby has expected from hearsay. It wasn't baked mudflats strewn with rotting vegetable waste -- quite the reverse" reminds me of First Nations and how they do things in e s r e v e r. 
My Hero
I am not in literature in relationship to the novel The Year of The Flood. God's Gardener's are entirely recycled. I can barely relate to this. 

As bad as it sounds, I hate reusing "things." Sure, my mom makes me recycle cardboard and cans for the better of the environment, but when it comes to reusing items or objects, which the Gardener's do, I  am "out" of this literature story. 

My room is spotless. NO "knick nats", clutter, unwanted objects etc etc. It sounds plain, but that's how I like it. Sure I have pictures/frams, from Ikea of course, but I hate keeping things around just because you don't want to throw it away.

My mom doesn't like when I clean the house because I throw away all the UNwanted items that people keep just to keep them. 

I'm not "in" literature in terms of the Gardener's main beliefs on recycling. I also can't relate on the topic of religion. It's an absent aspect of my life. Going through the book more i'll be able to show how i'm "in" literature and which aspects relate to me.