This weekend James and I Ubered to the Canadian War Museum, being too cowardly to walk through the -23 degree weather which I’m told is ‘normal’ for this time of year. The exhibition covered everything from the first recorded death by armed violence in Canadian history several hundred years ago, to the country’s most recent involvement in conflicts.
I was reminded once again how similar Australia and Canada are, comparing our history of the Frontier Wars to those of the First People’s. I really value how visiting museums in foreign countries can help build your world view, and this is why I have been especially anxious to immerse myself in Canadian history and culture as much as possible during my stay here.
However, I will admit that learning to say ‘Washroom’ instead of ‘Toilet’ and ‘Ketchup’ instead of ‘Tomato Sauce’ has been a challenge.
Back in the office I was given the task of adding some new books we had received to our proud bookcase. I may have spent a little longer than I needed to sort through them all, getting far too distracted flipping through their pages and noting down intriguing essays and novels I would have to come back and finish.
I happened to read the first page of an essay written over 300 years ago and was confronted by how perfectly I felt it described the current state of political affairs in America. No doubt, it went on my list.
I have also become extremely jealous of how passionate the Universities I have visited here are about embracing ideas. Just yesterday I attended a talk at the University of Ottawa regarding proposed changes to plain packaging laws for cigarettes, as well as a debate on ‘How Canada should respond to ISIS’ that we were hosting later that evening, which was packed to its 100-student capacity.
The enthusiasm of students to learn about controversial ideas and tackle big issues has been really inspiring, and I hope I can encourage more engaging debates and discussions to be held at my own University when I return to Australia.