It’s an event run by the Greater Toronto Area Airport (GTAA) Community Engagement department; and the idea is, you meet a bunch of newly arrived soon-to-be-Canadians and, in the words of the GTAA, “your responsibilities include facilitating conversations with New Canadians, asking people at your table questions, and sharing your own Canadian stories to help make lasting memories for all those involved on this special day.”
I would sincerely love to attend but can’t. Meeting new Canadians is always a bit of an adventure.
Because next Friday, December 9th, I will be--for what might be the eighth or seventh year in a row—talking to the grade-seven and eight students at Mary Shadd Public School in Scarborough, where my nephew Paul Fairman teaches.
I tell them about how much fun it is to read and write for a living. Paul thinks it helps them enjoy learning a bit more.
Every year I look forward to my Mary Shadd day with such enthusiasm that it surprises even me. I think it's because I learn so much from them. (We'll get to that.. hang on.)
Interesting coincidence that this year, my Mary Shadd day is the same as the Pearson Airport “New Canadian” thingie, because almost all of Paul’s students are from “New Canadian” households.
Many are Tamil, so their names are longer than the kids are tall and some surnames miraculously contain more vowels than there actually are in the alphabet.
I’m very impressed by Paul’s ability to remember all the euphonious handles but he does with ease. When he’s calling out the students’ names, I am reminded of when I was the Editor of Harrowsmith Country Life and I would listen quizzically to the gardening editors discuss their favorite flowers, and I would ask myself, “How did I ever get to be editor of Harrowsmith Country Life?”
|BIGGEST MAN ON CAMPUS: My six-six nephew|
Paul towers over his students, who are head-n-shoulders above me.