Just returned from Calgary, Alberta
October 5th, 2012

Just returned from Calgary, Alberta. That’s the view of the city from Air Canada, high above the airport on the way out. I like the big prairie sky and the reassuring sight of the Rockies, but I was never so happy to leave a city behind me as I was in that moment. About six weeks of almost non-stop travel across the globe is brutal on the body and far too challenging for the mind, and so home has never seemed sweeter. Besides, I prefer the east with our persistent sea breezes and low tuition. Our Air Canada ticket agents are way more friendly, too.

I am grateful for all the travel opportunities, of course, and for all that I have learned … such as:

  • Academics in Brazil work in broom-closet-sized offices and their staff in almost half the size of those.
  • No one gets to anything on time in Brazil because it takes at least two hours in traffic to get from A to B, if you’re lucky. There’s a kind of zen approach to meetings, as a result.
  • It’s true, their coffee really is better.
  • Germans, like Brazilians, eat a lot of meat with everything. How do they manage to move at all?
  • It’s true, their beer really is better.
  • Brazilians are afraid of violence on the streets of big North American cities but Canada is still considered a safe country.
  • Brazilians seem to know where Newfoundland is.
  • Germans aren’t so sure.
  • Germany dubs a lot of popular US television.
  • The California public university system is in a lot of trouble.
  • It takes about two hours to get from A to B in California, too, but they are more uptight about missing meetings.
  • It’s true; their salads really are better.
  • Alberta is preoccupied with all things big and oily.
  • The West is so different it’s not even like the Canada we live in.
  • It’s true; their bison really is better.
  • Air Canada has more leg room than you think.
  • It’s true; their food really isn’t better.
  • Canadians have a lot to be thankful for.

Dr. Noreen Golfman is Professor of English and Dean of Graduate Studies. Her post secondary education included study at McGill, University of Alberta, and University of Western Ontario. She has been teaching and writing in the areas of Canadian literature and film studies for most of her career. She is the president of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences, founding director of the annual St. John's International Women's Film Festival, and director of the MUN Cinema Series. Dr. Golfman's blog 'Postcards From the Edge' will be updated every Thursday.

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