into the heartland!

January 26, 2007

here’s a last-minute surprise: i am taking via rail to kitchener instead of choosing greyhound.

first thing i have to say about kitchener-waterloo, based on the composition of the passengers of this train, is that i should probably not be so judgemental about the place. even if lofft (a friend and former landlord) says that it’s likely the ugliest place on earth, that’s not grounds enough to condemn it permanently. when you really think about it, there are three universities there (waterloo and wilfrid laurier, plus the university of guelph not too far away) and the research in motion workshops (they’re responsible for a lot of wireless technology out there, including blackberry, the popular pda). that means a lot of demand for educated folk. impressive, and unlikely for a town that sean has called “the whitest place [he’s] ever been.”

i mean, i should keep in mind that this is also not entirely due to my personal prejudices. kitchener, ontario – known as berlin, ontario (due to its large german population) until the onset of the first world war – is the hometown of my grandmother and her family; in fact, my aunt and uncle still live there. it’s very different from the big-city culture of toronto, from what i understand.

my grandmum told me a story once: near the end of high school, she was put into some type of women’s career preparation course. as part of the examination, she was sent with another girl from her class to a certain company who was apparently hiring (there was one position open). after both of them submitting to an interview, the other girl got the job. upon return to the school, bubbe’s teacher asked her how things went. after she explained what had happened, the teacher explained that the exercise had partly been a test. the other girl was much less qualified than my grandmum. the reason why she didn’t get the job was that she had been betrayed by her last name: goldstein.

the xenophobia still exists to a degree, according to sean. his university is colloquially known as the university of “waterwoo” – a pretty lame joke by my standards, racism notwithstanding – due to the (relatively) high proponent of asian students. of course, this “asian invasion” is pretty much non-existant. “there are so many asians in waterloo,” i’ll joke, “that they’re taking over! look! there’s one…and there’s another!”

admittedly this joke is probably only funny to someone from vancouver.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: