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Culture Shock  


Spent Saturday morning touring the Lakeshore by bike. Best shopping in Oakville! I told Carlo what good it did me (going into Tocca Finita…the Posh Shoppe… mostly looking of course) as my exposure to some of the "types" I deal with during the school year had diminished over the summer and, really, it's always culture shock when I go back. One September I was so hyped up that I ran smack into a new glass door that had not been there prior to the holidays. I even assured my student who was with me when it happened that I was just fine thank you, although I did think my nose had been disfigured by the impact. It's about desperately saving face. 

I feel this tension begin to possess me as I get closer to starting lessons. It has everything to do with making sure I deal properly with this set of people: be smart, dress smart, talk fast, act breezy, be in the know and still retain the warm and wise ways that would be age appropriate for me. I’m telling you, Sarah, this has to be the greatest balancing act! 

Do you ever feel like you’re acting with your students? How often would you have to deal with the parents? When I saw these kids yesterday being catered to at Delice de France (normally just go to Cobbs) I thought get used to it: the indulgence, the spoiling, the pampering. In Whole Foods I had a woman blocking the entire grape bin with her latest model of stroller/sleigh while she indulgently picked away at choosing green grapes. I stood quietly for several minutes beginning to feel irritated and did she say Oh …sorry? No she did not. Of course, I did what I will have to be doing a lot and what I've become very good at… asserting myself. So, excuse me but I need to get at those red grapes. She moved to let me squeeze by and immediately lit nasally into her toddler about green grapes and how mommy was getting something or other for supper and did he like that? Deflecting of course. The stupidity.

Finally some directives! A meeting for us by mid- week. Private lessons won’t really start till the last week of September. That school is buzzing already. According to one mother (this is where you and I are opposites, as I talk constantly with parents) her daughter volunteered for House Head and is already attending seven am meetings. These girls learn at a very early age to sell themselves body and soul to the cause.

Your grade 11 boy (young man, really) sounds so genuine. Very sweet of him to carry that box of books for you. These are the things that help make your day! Your mission seems clear, Sarah, not just the English teaching but to prepare these individuals for life.  Challenging in every way.

My afternoon was lazy and I indulged. No leaf blowers. No building projects. No BBQ's (everyone takes off for cottage country on these still summer-like weekends) The air in my garden was so very still, the perfect setting for writing .

Will check the dates and times for the Rubens exhibit. Hoping it won't conflict with your Montreal trip. Love our cultural outings. Want to discuss the POV in Damon Galgud's The Lover and The Guardian (both from the Paris Review). Not straightforward.

Hope all the tests are corrected and that you're out there doing something fun! I have work too and am ploughing through the Grade 10 RCM repertoire.


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