Correspondence from Canada: Letter 04 - 04.09.81
Copyright holder(s): Name withheld
Dear Maw, Paw, & Al,
Well, I've been here over a week now and I'm just about becoming accustomed to being a stranger in a strange land. I can't say its been very easy, but I've got down to some work and the days have been passing quicker. (It'll break me gently into Cairo next year!) Seriously, I don't know if you approve of that idea yet. I hope you don't mind. The way I feel now I'd certainly come back to the U.K. to settle. Who knows, if I can't get a place in Egypt, I'll probably be back next September! How do we explain that to all the relatives?
I've been told that the first month is the worst for missing home, and then Christmas. I've written to the [CENSORED: surname] about spending Christmas with them, but if I go I'll have to apply for an American visa. I can do that thro' the International Office, I think. Certainly they've got Egyptian ones - I asked.
I've met a few of the English staff now. They mostly seem very friendly, especially Dr. [CENSORED: surname] who hails from Greenock and is a graduate of St Andrews. He told me if I ever feel like running down University Ave. and taking a jump into the St. John river, call on him first. He'll talk me out of it.
The weather so far has been fine, but foggy in the morning and getting gradually cooler. Absolutely no rain yet though. I'm told we get plenty of sunshine here - even when it's 30° below and the snow's 2 feet deep!
I'm making a few friends, mostly other international students, who are the only people here yet, really. Edward "Tomo" [CENSORED: surname] who shared my room in the Neil house for a night or so before I moved to the "Maggie" is a nice chap from Preston - a P.E. fanatic intent on getting in the UNB soccer team. Soccer - British-style - is getting increasingly popular here. He might be playing on Sunday against a U.S. team so I may go and watch. Then there's Alex [CENSORED: surname], a friendly Australian whom we call "Bruce" behind his back, who is studying history, and who quote "likes running thro' bush country" unquote. There's a lot of health freaks here. And there's Richard [CENSORED: surname] from Sussex, who's slightly older, a qualified teacher who practised for 2 years before coming here. He's a bit homesick too and wondering if he hasn't make a big mistake.
Although I miss home, and I'm missing Carole, I don't think I've made a mistake. I'm sure this year is going to be a good experience. And I'm intent on doing the Masters in one year, whatever happens next. I think I can manage it, or I wouldn't try.
I've had 3 letters from Carole so far. They take about a week to get here, and mine must take about a week to get back. That means she should hear of my altered plans for next year on Monday 7th. Honestly, it's like talking to someone on Jupiter.
The TV here is fairly awful - lots of American garbage dominates the network. I've just watched my first "Fantasy Island". Dire is the appropriate description.
I'm going to send you some info on Fredericton and on getting Canadian visas if you're thinking of coming here. I haven't seen all Fredericton yet but, apart from a few places, I still don't think there's much to it unless you've got a car, or want to travel a bit by bus. Still, it's probably prettier than Majorca!
I opened up a savings account with the Bank of Montreal today and transferred $200 of my checking account to it. I'll add some money to this account each month, if I can, and I'll hope that I can save enough for the Philadelphia trip at Christmas (if I go) and also to come home next year. If I don't go daft I should be able to.
I got a bit of a shock in the bookshop to see one of my prescribed texts - a complete Shakespeare - costs $90.00! That's about £40! I don't know if I can get round buying it - I'll certainly try.
The library is not bad. It doesn't have the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue which is very disappointing, but it does have basic texts and criticisms. I should manage something I'm sure. One thing the library does have is a computer cataloguing system which means if I want to look for a book published after 1977 I've got to go talk to the machine. It's called PHOENIX and it's very polite and says "HAVE A NICE DAY". PHOENIX and I had an hour-long argument yesterday and I think it won. Today, however, I kept the questions simple and it gave me some answers, so I think we'll get along.
Anyway, I'm settling in fine now. My present room-mate hasn't arrived yet so I've got the room to myself this week.
I hope you're all well and that the house is looking good. No, don't change your mind, Mum, the windows do look fine. Regards to all, write soon,
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Correspondence from Canada: Letter 04 - 04.09.81. 2021. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved January 2021, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=852.
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