Document 874

Correspondence from Canada: Letter 26 - 09.01.82

Author(s): 852

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


The Maggie
9th Jan '82.

Dear Mum & Dad,

Some of this news I'll probably repeat on the phone tomorrow, but no matter: it's time I wrote again. I returned from Philly all right with just a few "almost" disasters. One minor one was getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to Philly airport, which gave me a chance to hear how genuine American CB-ers sound. Mrs. [CENSORED: surname] got a CB of her own for Christmas - her nickname (or "handle" as Michael would say) is "Girl Scout". Actually it seems a useful device for communicating information on the highways, altho' some use it to give vent to frustration:

- God damn, what's the hold-up here?
- Pinto, what's the hold-up? (Pinto is the name of a truck going in the opposite direction.)
- There's workers up ahead on the road. It's down to one lane.
- God damn! I knew it! Either workers or the cops...
- Isn't this where that truck skidded off the road yesterday?
- That was yesterday.
- Yup, it's still there. Went off the road and ended in the water.
- Sure is one hell of a way to park your car.
- God damn! Why didn't someone say something? If I'd knew this was gonna happen, I'd I've taken a detour.

Luckily we were in plenty of time and the hold-up for the crashed in truck didn't delay us. Flying into Boston wasn't much fun - it was very windy and turbulent. We were rattling about that plane like beans in a barrel for about 10-15 minutes before touchdown and my stomach just wanted it to stop. Flying Boston to Montreal was beautiful, though; it was a beautiful clear night and the cities sparkled below us. I've never seen anything like it. At Montreal I got into the greatest panic. I'd about 1½ hours to get thro' customs, clear my baggage, and go from Delta to E.P.A. airlines. Plenty of time, you would have thought. Unfortunately, because of icy ramps, my suitcase took about 1¼ hours to come thro', and Montreal was a BIG airport. You could fit about 7 or 10 Prestwicks into it! I was just on the point of leaving to get my flight without my bag, when it popped out from the conveyor belt. I dashed out and promptly got lost, ending up at the Eastern desk looking for Eastern Provincial! Well, I made it to the EPA desk, checked in my case, hurried to the ramp, gasped on board, and the flight was delayed 45 mins due to luggage delays! At that point I didn't care... We flew into Fredericton, again like a spitfire in a dogfight, owing to the wind. Luckily Mrs [CENSORED: surname] & her daughter the Overseas advisors who are always around when I need them, were meeting a Zimbabwean off the same flight, so I got a lift home. That was the end of a fabulous holiday.

I came back to subzero temperatures and 62 cm of snow - some of it is snowploughed higher than I am. So I've bought myself some huge ski-gloves to supplement my Spanish gloves, and I'll invest in longjohns next week. I spent most of Wednesday giving out reference forms, arranging transcripts, and filling out forms for the AUC, so now that's over with. I'd to write a page on "Why I Wish to Study at AUC" and did an excellent job on convincing myself that I don't want to take literature further than the M.A. The Dept. here isn't exactly inspiring, and I hear from a girl in Glasgow that, ironically, there my 1st Eng. lit. tutor, [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname], is suing Al's tutor, [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname], for defamation of character! Do I want to end up like them? No. I've got one of my essays back - American Lit. - and I got an A- so it isn't that I'm doing badly. But the literature side of things has lost its charm, at least for the moment. I'm reading a general book on the English language in the Middle Ages and hope to do a good linguistic study of Dunbar for my thesis. I'll be seeing my supervisor to start some real work on that soon.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the AUC - if that works out the training I'll receive will at least be vocational. Quite a few of the courses outlined sound really interesting. It's a slim possibility, however. If it doesn't work out, I'm not sure what I'll do. I may go to Cairo and look for work - Carole suggests I do that - but I'm naturally rather apprehensive. I'll talk it over with her, and with some of the Egyptians here, and maybe I'll write to the Egyptian embassy. I should know about the TEFL Fellowship by the end of April.

And I've started trying to get down to some Arabic, although pronouncing the sounds is about as far as I've got so far! I've sent away for some text books to go with the tapes they have here.

Oh it's a funny world! We had a violent earth tremor this morning - it woke me up, all the house was shaking. I remembered the one I slept through in Edinburgh. It's the queerest feeling. And as I walked home tonight, 20° below, wrapped in my ski jacket and gloves, boots, & "Scotland" hat, I thought: "If my Mammy could see me now!" However disenchanted I become with the subject, it's a great experience! And who knows, next Christmas maybe it'll be fried camel by the pyramids... Life is full of strange surprises: how did I ever get into all this?

Well that's about all. Glad you had an enjoyable Christmas, & that Mum's feeling better. Thanks for the letters and G.U. report. Michael sounds like he dresses & looks like a bouncer in a boutique. But as long as he's happy...

Stay healthy, give my best to all, & I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow.

[CENSORED: forename]

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Information about Document 874

Correspondence from Canada: Letter 26 - 09.01.82


Text audience

Adults (18+)
Audience size 3-5
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1982
Word count 1037

Text medium

Other airmail

Text publication details

Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Correspondence from Canada

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 852
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation University Lecturer
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bridge of Weir
Region of residence Renfrew
Residence CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Insurance Broker
Father's place of birth Auchinleck
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Dental Receptionist
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes In most everyday situations
Portuguese Yes No No Yes When trying to communicate with my in-laws
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes In domestic/activist circles; reading literature