Correspondence from Canada: Letter 20 - 29.11.81
Copyright holder(s): Name withheld
Dear Mum & Dad,
Thanks for both your letters. I was disturbed to hear about your "bug", Mum - do try to take it easier in the weeks to come. I hope you're feeling a lot better now.
I can re-assure you that I'm far from unhappy or miserable here. I'm enjoying it more as time passes. When I say I can't work up much enthusiasm for my work, I mean simply that - the courses are interesting enough but the standards here are really low, I think, and I don't feel driven to achieve anything. Talking to people in and out of the department, there is much the same feeling in several faculties. Mark, for example, says he hardly worked for his mid-term forestry exams and he was still getting very high grades, 100% for one of them. Now I possibly could get too lax and fail one of my term courses, but I doubt it. The only problem could be Canadian Lit. where the prof. is more interested in the stockmarket than in teaching class. But there's enough going on outside classes to keep me interested. The UNB string quartet came down and played in the lounge of the Maggie on Wednesday, which was really nice, very civilised (did you know, by the way, that Oscar Wilde once came to Fredericton and caused quite a stir?). The Maggie is an excellent residence, and I have no complaints there. I think I would have been a lot less happy if there hadn't been people around.
I went, at Daizul's, the Guyanese Marxist's invitation, to a showing of 2 old "World In Action" films on how the Guyanese elections were proved to be fraudulent in 1968 and 1973. I can now understand better why he gets so passionate - his country is in a real mess, his friends and relatives at home live under constant threat of persecution, and it's countries like ours, and especially the U.S., that pump money into the dictatorship to keep the left-wing opposition suppressed.
On Friday night a guy called Dave invited some folk round to his flat to see his slides on Nigeria. He taught Chemistry there for 2 years in the Canadian version of Voluntary Services Overseas. They were really interesting - it opens up your eyes to how people really live in other countries. Dave hopes to go on a research project to Uganda, of all places, next year.
I don't know if you've heard of all these supposed Libyan assassins who are entering the U.S. through Canada to murder the U.S. top brass? Well, wait for it - there are about 14 at UNB, who have just arrived to learn English. They don't actually seem to be the James Bond types - they're a noisy bunch of young students who shout across the ref. to each other in Arabic. Speaking of which, I've borrowed a couple of large text books from a prof. of anthropology, and I hope to start trying to learn a little Arabic next term and over the summer. I don't expect to become fluent but if I can grasp some of the basic principles it will be good. There's an Egyptian student, Adel, up the hill, who says he will help me.
I've decided to apply formally to the American Uni. in Cairo (AUC) to do a degree course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). I received another letter from them saying that there are a few fellowships available for this course. They also mentioned that awards for non-degree study are available through ITT and Rotary, to I've written to both organisations in the U.S. I'm afraid these fellowships may only be open to U.S. citizens, but I may as well give it a shot.
I still miss Carole a lot. I saved up enough quarters (25 cents) to phone her for a second time last week. She's getting on fine now, and enjoying the courses, which seem to be much better than the ones in Glasgow. She seems fairly confident that I'll get something in Egypt, but I'm more sceptical. She will be home at [CENSORED: address], if you want to send her a Christmas card.
Don't worry about the Christmas presents - I wanted to send you something, and it's gone. The postage here isn't too bad, though it's about doubling after Christmas because of last summer's strike. I sent it air mail so it should arrive before Christmas.
Money will be welcomed for Christmas, but don't go daft. My rise came through and I received $230-00 this month, in hand, and I'll get my December pay cheque on Dec. 14th. So, although I'm not saving much before Christmas, I'm far from broke. I even have grandiose ideas occasionally about flying to Germany in Feb., when I have a short holiday, but at $780-00 return Fredericton to Stuttgart, that's too ambitious. Carole suggested on the phone that we should meet in Iceland! I'm not sure if she was serious or not.
Uncle Billy wrote, and also sent me a big Scottish Field calendar, which was good of him. I must thank him when I send out the Christmas cards (soon).
It's been snowing again and I wore my boots yesterday. They are warm. I bought some film and flashes for my camera to record some of the Christmas festivities. So I can assure you I'm still smiling! I repeat, take it easy and do try to relax this festive season. Give my best to all,
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Correspondence from Canada: Letter 20 - 29.11.81. 2020. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved August 2020, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=868.
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