In Canada for 12 Days, and Lots of Change Lies Ahead

January 18, 2017

The last twelve days have flown by me. I still feel like it was only a day or two ago Chloe and I crossed the border into Canada. I had hoped to post something here within the last twelve days, but prepping for course work, meeting with the class and a lot of folks at Brock, and well still dealing with transitions in this move to Canada have eaten a lot of time up.

While it is a bit easier to search for dog friendly apartments in Canada, searching for a place to live for the next eight months has taken a tremendous amount of time. I have seen a couple of places already, and am scheduled to view more today. But beginning to organize how I am going to spend my time up here can be a little tiring—but I am still terribly excited, I just want to get settled in a place to begin work in earnest.

Arriving at Brock University

Within a couple days of arriving in St. Catharines, I met with the Chair of Canadian Studies, Gregory Betts—who has been a most gracious host. We took a tour of campus, outlining where the good coffee places are at Brock, had lunch and met many of the folks at Brock. We had a very engaging conversation about several topics about Canada and the US. I met briefly with the Aboriginal Students Services and Sandra Wong, and look forward to visiting more with the Indigenous students at Brock.

I was a little tired by the end of the day. Of course, all of this would not have happened without all the great people and efforts of Fulbright Canada.

My first class was engaging and fun. I had planned only on a portion of the three-hour class, but we met until almost 7:30 that night. I must remember to build in the break this week, as three-hours is a long time without a break. But I am excited be teaching this class; and it is allowing me to tweak the course in some unique ways for future variations of this course on my research-the study of Indigenous cosmological narratives. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s class.

Visiting Six Nations ONT One of the aims of my research while on Fulbright is to work with Rick Hill and many of the Chloe catching Zs en route to Canada.

Haudenosaunee communities, academic institutions, and people in Canada. I am of course continuing to work on Creation, but what is different this time than my dissertation research is I am engaging with people not books.  I am looking forward to a lot of these conversations.

I have traveled out to Six Nations twice already. I met some folks at Six Nations Polytechnic, and am already delivering a discussion today at Lunch and Learn in Brantford. I connected with Rick, Chandra, Sue, and so many friends already that it feels good to be here!

I have read some material already that reflects ongoing conversations and thinking about Creation—and can’t wait to get become part of those discussions. While I am excited, I also wonder how fast eight months is going to pass, if twelve days feels like the blink of an eye?

Chloe Adapting to Change

Chloe has been a trooper so far. This post contains images of Chloe on our arrival to Canada twelve short days ago. She was a tired out little beagle. We’ve had some rough moments the last couple of days, poor girl. The stress of all the changes over the last three weeks have caused some minor health issues, but she is rebounding, and liking our new routines and walks.  Though as beagles can be, she surely gets stubborn at times.

Observations about News Coverage: Canada vs. the US

One of the areas I have been most fascinated by is news coverage. While certainly President-Elect has been causing controversies right and left, and so are his cabinet nominees to be sure, I am amazed at the differences in demeanor and contemplation of the incoming administration in the US.

I knew it would be a great exploration in Trump’s transition and implementation of what amounts to Conservative Republican ideals and visions for the US. I am curious and fearful of what the future holds given the demeanor of the last twelve days.

Chloe exhausted at hotel in Canada now.

While at the hotel, I have find myself constantly switching back and forth between CBC, CTV, and CNN.  The contrasts are profound to me between the Canadian news stations and CNN. CNN, despite proclamations of level-headed reporting sounds rather shrill and alarmist in their reporting. CNN constantly flashes “Breaking News” on just about every subject, their screen is so busy, that it became overwhelming at times.  Given that this has become the new normal for news, Fox News, MSNBC, and many American stations are all very similar in presentation and tone, but divided along apparent political allegiances.

CBC and CTV are much more subdued in comparison. The stories are not all breaking news. The delve deeper into subject matters and engage them on a seemingly more intellectual level.  The conversations are just that, conversations—not barking heads competing for the best zinger or one-liner in the small segment before the endless commercials interrupt the news stories and dialogues.

For the moment, I prefer CBC and CTV a bit more than even CNN.  Though in truth the only reason I am still watching is the television in the hotel room. I did not bring a television, nor do I plan to buy one while here—I have too much reading and writing to do while on Fulbright and sabbatical leave from SUNY Oswego.

Newspapers: Saturday versus Sundays

Another intriguing area for me beyond the televised news coverage is reading the papers.  Many people simply read the news online today, but I still like the morning paper over coffee. I do read online news sources that cover the spectrum from “liberal to conservative” but I like the feel of the paper and coffee, always have.  One of the stark differences I became aware of is a difference between Canada and the US over the weekend papers.

I have long enjoyed my Sunday papers in the US. When I lived in Rochester, Buffalo, and now Syracuse, I read the local Sunday paper leisurely throughout the day.  Once I started grad school at UB, I folded the Sunday NY Times into the mix too.  The dog(s) and I had a hearty, not too healthy breakfast, a pot of coffee was brewed, and several hours of the Sunday papers was enjoyed. I did other non-taxing things like laundry and have sports on in the background—but for me the Sunday paper has become a ritualized event in my life.

In Canada, this past Saturday, I learned that it is the Saturday paper that is thicker paper of the week. I relaxed on Saturday and read the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star. I dabbled with the Toronto Sun a couple of times too. I have yet to look for the NY Times, but found it interesting that in one of the Saturday papers, a section was the NY Times international—it was like a little touch of my Sunday rituals, but on Saturday.

I will admit, I miss the view of Lake Ontario from my office, and being right on the lake in Oswego. And of course, I miss my family, friends, and colleagues in Oz. But I am truly grateful and excited about the conversations to be had while in Canada as well.

What conversations are you looking forward too?

Kevin J. White
Toronto, CA