Life really can be rotten. If you’re in South Africa, you’re still getting over Mr. Terreblanche’s murder and remembering the apartheid movement. If you’re in Thailand, you might be in the middle of quite a nasty coup. If you’re in Poland, your country is in an uproar over the president’s death–and if you’re the family of that president, you’re thinking firm thoughts about airplanes and travelling in general.

And if you’re at 16 Richmond Hill, life’s rotten aspects get personal. Today we’re packing up in preparation for Jenn’s flight home. I’m thinking a lot of firm thoughts about how much I’m going to miss her, and how I wish I were flying out of here on Monday with her.

It’s funny how those, uh, annoying wanna-be hymns get stuck in one’s mind, and then pop out at weird times.  Here’s my latest, straight from the pen of Mr. Paul Gerhardt: “‘Midst the darkness, storm and sorrow, one bright gleam I see.”

That bright gleam, however Canadian-centric it may be, also comes from the world news: the Canadian economy is rising, and the Euro is falling.

So… if I were back teaching Gr. 9 math again, and wanted to give them a real-life story problem (the ones in the textbook tended to be awful), as practical as practical can be, here’s what it would be:

International tuition in 2010 is $10,050 LESS–thank God for this–than the same international tuition was in 2009. Given the following: that the Euro amount of the tuition didn’t change, one euro = $1.60 in 2009, and one euro = $1.30 in 2010, what is the international tuition?

And so, little Zebedee figured out that this involved two whole lines of simple algebra, and got to go out for recess early.

(These figures are given in CAD, but since the CAD and USD have reached parity, I guess it doesn’t matter which dollar you prefer.  Either way, this means it’s a good time to be studying in Europe!  International student tuition, thanks to this same exchange rate, is less in Europe than in North America, provided you’re paying with dollars.)