Canada, weeks 9 and 10


Hey all!  You may have noticed I didn’t post an update last week.  It was a slow excitement week and a fast grad school week, meaning there wasn’t all that much to report.  So I’m making one post about the past two weeks!

Here are the highlights:

  • York University:  My fellow RAs and I took a day trip up to York for research purposes, not last Thursday but the Thursday before.  The campus itself is a little dreary–OU people, imagine the basement of Dale Hall as an entire campus and you’ll basically be picturing York–but I got pictures of a couple cool spots.
  • Steel City Jazz Fest:  I got to go see Jazz Connection for free on Friday night, and it was AWESOME.  The first tune they played was “Count Bubba,” which I remember playing in my high school jazz band, so that was a trip and a half.
    The venue itself, The Pearl Company, was perfect.  It’s a multilevel theater space; we were on the second floor, which I guess is more for performances like this, readings, the like.  The seating was the biggest mishmash of chairs I’ve ever seen in my life, and the whole place just had such an endearingly rough-hewn vibe.  I really hope I get to attend more events there in the future.
  • HIVEX2016:  On Saturday, I woke up super early and got abnormally dolled up for Hamilton HIVE’s annual young professionals conference, HIVEX.  It was well worth the early alarm; I learned a layered method for pitching an idea, listened to a presentation on storytelling in branding, and got a lot of tips about media relations (how to do interviews, how to interact with reporters, etc.).  And that’s to say nothing of the lunch they provided.  I hadn’t had pulled pork since…….. well, I don’t know how long it had been precisely, but I hadn’t had it since I moved here.  My inner Southerner was very happy.
  • Jackson Square:  Lemme tell ya, being in a mall in an entirely different country is a surreal experience.  The ceilings were so much lower than those in Woodland Hills, back home, and I didn’t know any of the stores.  It felt more like an airport terminal than a mall to me.  With that said, though, this part (which is technically part of Hamilton City Centre, whatever) did remind me of Woodland Hills a little:
  • I keep forgetting to shout out James Street Bookseller, right near Cafe Augusta.  The place has a great atmosphere and a nice mix of really old and really new books.  Plus, Guillermo del Toro had been in there literally the day before I stopped by.  So there’s that.
  • I saw my first Mountie over the weekend!  Didn’t think to get a picture, unfortunately.

Along those lines, here’s another episode of Minor Differences!

  • I’m pretty sure what Americans call business (in the context of university courses and majors), Canadians call commerce.
  • Here, people call it a washroom rather than a bathroom.
  • Unions are gigantic in Canada, especially in Hamilton because it is/was a steel city.  Apparently TAs, RAs, and sessional (adjunct) faculty have their own union; that was actually one of the first things we learned about at our TA orientation, so I was all like
    I asked one of my professors about it, and he said Reagan basically gutted unionized labor in the States during his administration.
    At any rate, there’s been a lot of fuss over the past couple weeks regarding our own union’s negotiations and a strike vote.  It’ll be interesting to follow what happens with that.
  • Speaking of, what we call adjuncts in the US are sessionals in Canada.
  • Canadians aRE OBSESSED WITH THE ELECTION PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP.  (Side note, I’m wildly jealous of Canada’s month-long election cycle.  I’m so tired.  I’m just so tired.)
  • British spellings.  Still not used to those.
  • Toronto versus Hamilton, on the subject of saying thank you to bus drivers.  This debate legit almost tore our class apart last week–it was hysterical to watch.  The Torontonians among us were adamant about not saying thank you to bus drivers, and the Hamiltonians were horrified and insisted that of course you say thank you to bus drivers.  I was just sitting there like
  • Plum sauce is huge here; people eat it with chicken strips a lot.  I’m not entirely sure why it’s such a big thing, but I’ve been converted.
  • Apparently there are no go-buttons you can press at crosswalks?  I’ve been looking for those pretty much the whole time I’ve been here, and I haven’t found a single one.  Not that the ones in the US are actually super effective, but I’ve realized it’s nice to have that illusion of control.
  • Card readers.  I’m so used to having the cashier swipe my card for me, but in Canada a cashier will literally just hand me the swiper and I have to do everything myself.  Not a bad thing, necessarily, just something to get used to.

On the next episode of Minor Differences, in some future post:  education.

Now for another episode of Gorgeous Hamilton Churches!


This one is right across from Durand Coffee.

What I’m watching:  Dark Matter season 2.


I liked the first season a lot, but this season has been absolutely brilliant so far.  To say it leveled up feels like a giant understatement.  The writing is so tight, nobody’s been OOC so far, and they’ve doubled down on the moral complexity from season 1.  (I’m only on episode 5, so no spoilers!)

Coffee:  Mulberry Coffee House, on James Street.

Great atmosphere, fantastic chai, readily available outlets.  They don’t have wifi, which kind of limits the circumstances in which I can actually go here, but I honestly got so much done on my presentation for research methods in the three or so hours I was there.

Food:  Again, I didn’t really have time to go anywhere special this week, but I just want to give a shoutout to Williams again.  They have fairly cheap grilled cheeses, and I had one last week, and it was soul food.  I needed that grilled cheese.

Bonus, though:  it’s time for another episode of Grad School Kitchen!

I haven’t found Hot Pockets here (maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough, but whatever), but when I was at Shoppers a couple weeks ago, I did find “pizza pockets.”  They honestly taste like knockoff Hot Pockets with a weird-flavored crust, but I found out just the other night that if you spread goat cheese on top of ’em, they taste really good.



That’s it for this fortnight!  I’ll be back next week, hopefully, and I’ll tell you all about the presentation I’m giving tomorrow in my research methods class… 🙂


2 thoughts on “Canada, weeks 9 and 10

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