canada

Oct. 29th, 2013 11:59 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
So Mungo and I did go to Canada and also returned thence. We are both confident that Mungo could be happy and get a good education at either U of T or McGill. I liked Toronto much more than Montreal, but that may not be much of a compliment to Toronto: I'm not a city girl.

In Toronto, I got to spend time with [personal profile] bcholmes, [personal profile] the_siobhan, [livejournal.com profile] urban_homestead, and [personal profile] em_h. [livejournal.com profile] urban_homestead took me to the Royal Ontario Museum, which is a really good museum. I felt envy when the tour guide at U of T mentioned that U of T students can visit the ROM free on Tuesdays, but then I remembered that they're college students, they're never going to have the time to go.

B.C. said that, among Canadians, Torontonians are reputed to be cold and standoffish. They seemed polite and kind to me. When Mungo and I were on the bus-to-subway step of our journey from the airport to the hotel, I was saying to Mungo, well, here's the subway, but how do you make sure you get on the right train, one that's going in the right direction? An airport worker who had ridden the bus with us said, "There's only one direction from here." Which was a relief.

It is difficult to decide when to talk to strangers. On that subway ride a school group of nine or ten year olds got on. One of the girls grabbed the pole next to me. One of the boys started playing with her hand: he moved her thumb so that it was pointing upwards, instead of wrapped around the pole, and then pulled her hand off the pole. She shook his hand off and grabbed the pole again. He moved her thumb so that it was pointing upwards. She shook his hand off with a sound of annoyance. He started moving her thumb again. "Hey," I said kindly but firmly, "she doesn't want you to."

Generally, I'd agree that an adult who has no relationship to a particular child should probably leave them alone. I don't know that I was right to butt in in this case. But, I thought, if I were that boy's mother and the adult in charge didn't see what was going on, I would want me to say hey, I understand that exploring your power is an essential part of growing up, but that person is just as much a person as you are, so her desires are objectively just as important as yours are, and in this case her desires trump yours because that is her hand.

I guess that is why I am not a city girl: when you don't live in a city, you don't have dozens of interactions every single day with people who have no relationship with you, so you don't have to think about this sort of thing so much. It is tiring.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-30 06:49 am (UTC)
malnpudl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] malnpudl
Welcome home! Also: Happy birthday! :-)

Also and besides which: I'd like to think I would have done the same thing, re the boy who needed a reminder about boundaries.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-30 12:57 pm (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
I love and miss Canada.

Were you not told that Torontonians are stereotyped as the most Americanized of Canadians? Interesting to hear "cold and standoffish." I think Torontonians are mostly viewed as big-cityish. But compared with USians, I think nearly all Canadians are overtly welcoming.

OTOH, I have invariably found New Yorkers helpful and pleasant-- just less obviously so on the surface.

And oh, I say well done about the little boy. The public benefits of your act are great.

OTOOH, USians, including New Yorkers, are much likelier than are Canadians to tell you all about what they care about most, at very short notice. You can know an amiable Canadian for a decade and then learn in quiet, casual passing that he's a devotee of Noh or something.
Edited Date: 2013-10-30 12:58 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-31 01:47 am (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
I found Montreal less welcoming, though still pretty good, probably mostly because I tried to speak French. :D Francophone/anglophone is the Big Divide. Sadly, my French is academic French French, but trying's apparently worth something. My French is no good there.*

You built the Toronto communities, but also the world community.

And BTW-- happy birthday and many happy returns!


*In fact, it was a delightful surprise when I was back in the US and understood a European-French colleague. By gum, said I, I do know French after all, at least a bit!
Edited Date: 2013-10-31 02:38 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-30 01:43 pm (UTC)
delphi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] delphi
I found it strange to move west and get an outsider's view of what Toronto was supposed to be like - and I always wondered who these stereotypical Torontonians were supposed to be, given that half the residents were born outside of Canada, on top of those who hail from other parts of the country.

I'm glad the trip went well, and good on you for talking to that boy. I will lay down money that it meant something to someone in that group to see an adult supporting the idea of bodily autonomy.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-11-01 03:50 am (UTC)
delphi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] delphi
Some of the descriptions I've heard include: unfriendly, snobby, thinking Southern Ontario is the entirety of Canada, sissified (this, from when I was living in Alberta), dirty, and dangerous.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-30 02:10 pm (UTC)
laughingrat: A detail of leaping rats from an original movie poster for the first film of Nosferatu (Default)
From: [personal profile] laughingrat
It is tiring, but I think you did the right thing.

Happy birthday!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-30 08:21 pm (UTC)
jinian: (bold bananas)
From: [personal profile] jinian
You done good. And happy birthday.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-11-01 09:16 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: ACD Lucy stares hard at the closed front door, ready for anything (LUCY old and no longer)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
You spoke righteously, and I am glad you had the power to do so.

Happy birthday!

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