The Little Things
Last night, Ingrid had soccer (go, Koalas!) at “the rez.” Newbie that I am, I was terribly confused the first few times I heard speak of “the rez” in Hamilton because, well, that is a rather disrespectful, throwaway term for “American Indian Reservation.” Turns out, here it refers to a lovely flat green space on the escarpment in my neighborhood and is short for “the reservoir.” Which I assume is underneath the green space. Then again, what I don’t know about life in Hamilton, Ontario is pretty legion still and I could well be terribly wrong.
Greta and I walked her up the hill. Although it threatened rain, it was a glorious evening and the light had that quality that just screamed “summer break,” and it felt good to be outside, watching the kids spazz out in the grass. Greta, not on a team, (no I in team, baby, no me either!) ran up the hill on the other side of “the rez” to romp and play and gossip with her friends. She promised to walk her sister home, so I walked home alone to have an uninterrupted adult conversation with my spouse (I know, shocking!).
While I mused on my confusion about “the rez” and Dale and I discussed work, I mentioned a committee at work, whose activities I am anticipating with some personal interest. As I began to say, “the committee will be . . ” we both said “STRUCK” and laughed. One doesn’t “strike” a committee in the US, one forms one. The committee is not struck to do something, it is charged to do so. (Naughty beast that I am, I picture ineffective committees getting bonked on the head with something.) Striking a committee didn’t confuse me, since context makes abundantly clear what is meant. I am equally sure that a Canadian wouldn’t blink at hearing “form a committee and charge them to . . .” Little things.
In my job, the different definitions of “college” in the US and Canada trip me up all the time. While “college” in the US is a generic term used to refer to any sort of post-secondary education; here in The Great White North it really shouldn’t be used when discussing a university, or, if I really understand what is going on, any BA-granting institution. Since we both work at universities, it is pretty important to keep that distinction clear.
Greta will be in middle school next year. I imagine that will be a whole new arena for me to exhibit my cultural ignorance in. I hear, however, that they DO have a cafeteria and I won’t have to pack her lunch every day. Little things.