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. Faye Murrin is Dean pro tempore of the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Biology. She completed her B.Sc. (Hons.) at Memorial University, her M.Sc. at Acadia University, and her Ph.D. at Queen's University. Her research interests have always been focused on fungi, in particular the cell biology of insect pathogenic fungi and, more recently, the ecology of mycorrhizal mushrooms in the boreal forest. Dr. Murrin has served in a number of positions on the Council of the Mycological Society of America and was awarded the title of MSA Fellow for her contributions. She was awarded the Women in Science and Engineering Lifetime Membership Award as founding co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Summer Program. Dr. Murrin participates in public lectures and workshops, and is a Director on the board of Newfoundland Foray, Inc.

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