Monday, October 14, 2019

Canadian Thanksgiving 2019: Much To Be Thankful For

This is my 18th Canadian Thanksgiving, and, yes, I have much to be thankful for.
The Rideau Canal is often on the route
I take to get some biking exercise

Most obviously, the Canadian government has been most generous to me over the years.  The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada has made my increasingly ambitious research agendas possible.  Much of the travel to do research (the big exception is Japan 2016-2017) since 2002 has been funded SSHRC grants except for some that have been funded by my endowed chair, which, of course, is another thing for which I am most grateful.

This year, SSHRC funded a different kind of ambition--to connect Canadians who care/do defence and security together and with the outside world.  Of course, if I were not in Canada, I would not have developed a strong interest in creating the Canadian Defence and Security Network with a team of smart, generous, and fun people.  And the CDSN is the second thing for which I am very grateful this year.  Not only we did we get funded in 2019 (woot!), but we got started.  I am very thankful I could immediately hire a great team at Carleton to support the enterprise (Jeff and Melissa) as well as the assistance and support of plenty of folks at Carleton from NPSIA's staff to our Director to the Dean's staff to our Dean (Andre Plourde not only gave us financial support but was a great mock interviewer for the final stage of the grant application) to our VP for Research.

It has been a very busy and challenging six months or so since we learned we received the funding, but also a fun, enlightening, and thrilling half-year.  I am grateful to Stéfanie von Hlatky for sacrificing a heap of her time to be my co-host for the #BattleRhythm podcast and to Melissa Jennings for learning on the fly to be an excellent producer.  It has been a delight to hangout on skype with Stef on a regular basis as we banter about defence and security stuff.  The rest of the CDSN is progressing nicely with our first workshops and with our partners' conferences going quite well.

NPSIA and Carleton, beyond the CDSN stuff, remain my favorite place I have worked.  I spent the first part of my career thinking about the next place.  For 7.5 years, that thought has not entered my mind, and I don't expect that to change.  My colleagues are terrific, I have received incredible support and frequent recognition from the administration, and my expense reports get reimbursed very quickly with minimum fuss (a real secret of academic happiness).  I am teaching undergrads for the first time in eight years, and I am loving it.  I am very thankful to David Hornsby for team-teaching that class and joining me on that adventure.  He does a better job than I do of asking deeper questions to a room of ninety or so students, and the students' responses have been terrific, so I am thankful for this opportunity.

I am still loving Ottawa, although this summer's construction season was a bit more challenging and a bit more Montreal-like.  One of the joys of CDSN-ing is meeting more and more folks around this town, in and outside of government, including on the way to a military exercise two hours away.  Our neighborhood is getting older--the herds of small kids have somehow been replaced by teenagers, but it still feels very neighborhoody.  I didn't play much ultimate this summer thanks to an injury, but I am planning on playing in two winter leagues.  I still don't know as many folks in this ultimate community as I did in Montreal, but I am very grateful for the joy and good spirit I continue to find on the ultimate field.  That and people willing to chase my throws and make up for my lousy defense.

In short, Canada has been very good to me and mine, and I will forever be thankful.  The winters are long, but the people are kind and funny, which makes it all worth it.

And, yes, I can't help but think of this video on this Canadian Thanksgiving Day.

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