Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thinking of "home", thoughts of Canada and reading Upstate

Yet another snatched opportunity to blog. We are slowly coming to the end of our training and I honestly cannot wait to get back home to London- the concept of London as home is one I still struggle with...but as the youth here so eloquently put it- whatever!

Canada is a funny mix, a halfway blend between the US and the UK- it's evident in the language and the architecture and the food- fish and chips, that quintessential English dish can be found on just about any menu here, but then so can barbecued ribs and burgers and other solid American fare. Some parts of Toronto with their towering skyscrapers and perfectly laid grid street systems draw manhattan to mind and yet others with their red brick Victorian neighbourhoods leave you wondering whether you are in an English village. The Canadians are friendly- much friendlier than the reserved English, but not the over the top sickly sweet friendliness of their cousins to the South..... I could go on and on. Another thing I don't understand is why Canada is seemingly unknown/uncovered in the international media. I mean before arriving here three weeks ago, I did not know who the Canadian prime minister was... and I don't regard myself as poorly informed. But maybe I am!

One similarity between the Canada and the US is in the toilets- I've never understood why American (and now Canadian) toilet bowls have water levels coming up almost halfway to the top, as opposed to the UK and Nigeria, where the water is way down in the bottom of the pan. Is it part of the abundance of North America- they can afford to fill up their pans just that bit more?

I have just finished Kalisha Buckannon's excellent novel -Upstate- which tracks through a series of letters, the love story between two African-American teenagers in Harlem. I was sceptical at first, wary of what I felt would be sickly sweet sentimentalism, but it was a tightly written powerful insight into the lives of young urban African Americans in contemporary America. It had echoes of Random Family, Nicole LeBlanc's deep and moving account of the ten years she spent following the lives of a number of Latina women in New York.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yup canada definitely is a funny mix, but i think america has more of an influence on canadian culture. Some people dont even know where canada is that is how undiscovered canada is lol. oh and by the way love ur blog!!!