Share Your World: August 13

Cee’s provided yet another another fun and interesting challenge for me with this week’s Share Your World challenge.  Here are my answers:

A class you wish you would have taken?

I don’t really have any. If there’s a class I wish I’d taken, I find a way to take it. That said, in a bigger picture, I think it would’ve been interesting to go to school for urban planning or library studies. These are paths I could see myself having chosen in an alternative reality. That said, neither of those would have provided the flexibility or ability to travel as much as my current situation does so I don’t think I would go back and change anything.

Are you scared of heights?

Not at all. I’m a little scared of falling so I won’t take unnecessary risks. Still, I love views from hikes like the ones I took with Daegan when we lived in Albuquerque. There never was a worry of falling but we certainly were high up.


Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?

I’m good at following directions and making recipes come out the way they’re supposed to. I’m working on getting better at actually understanding flavour so I can create without a recipe. To this end I’ve picked up a copy of The Flavour Thesaurus which does a great job of explaining what flavours go well together. To me that’s a necessary chef skill.

That said, I’d never want to be an actual chef. There’s too much pressure for speed and quality – no room for mistakes. If I make a dinner for friends and it’s not perfect or it takes a little longer than expected then it’s no big deal. If I were doing it for a restaurant it would be a crisis. I don’t need that kind of stress.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Last week was a great week for me in the neighbourhood. A week ago I took a number of newcomers to Canada to the library where they learned about all the great resources and then got library cards. I talked about that here.

The next night we went to our Friday Night Market. There is usually music, clothing and food sellers, and kids activities. There’s almost always good food to be found there also. That night was no exception. One stall was selling roasted corn with chilli and lime and also pani puri and chaat papri.  A woman in front of me ordered chaat papri and said to make sure it wasn’t spicy because “as you know, Canadians can’t handle spicy food.” I knew I would have to insist on the food being spicy if I wanted it that way.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a rule in the neighbourhood: If I hear Hindi / Urdu spoken by someone I’m about to interact with at a store, I committed to speaking it as well.  And so I said “Mujhe ek chaat papri chahiye – aur bahut mirch is men daliye.” – I would like a chaat papri and please put lots of pepper in it.

There are a few different common reactions to my talking to people in Hindi or Urdu:

  1. Surprise – and response in English.
  2. Surprise – and response in Hindi.
  3. Not even noticing and responding in English. I think sometimes that perhaps it was a case of cognitive dissonance: Words came out of this guy who looks like he must speak English so the words I heard must’ve been English. I know when I have watched Hindi clips that switch back and forth between English and Hindi I sometimes forget which words were said in Hindi versus English.
  4. Complete lack of surprise and response in Hindi.

This last one is what I had at the market. The woman at the stall didn’t miss a beat and we did 90% of the transaction without using a word of English. I had to ask for her to repeat a few things. And then at the end when I paid, she had to teach me that I was to hand her the money (and accept the change) with my right hand. I didn’t realize how ingrained it was but I keep my wallet in my right pocket, hold it in my right hand and use my left hand all the time. As a challenge I’ve tried to be more conscious of handing things over with my right hand.

The food was delicious but we were still hungry so we picked up a delicious chicken biryani and had that as well. After that we were really full which was a shame because I remembered there was fresh naan from our public tandoor on offer. It might be the only public tandoor in all of North America at this point. The bread is fantastic. You can see it and a bit of our market in the video below.

After that, it was time for Sage to tell stories to the kids at the market. A call was put out and before long, twenty or so kids were assembled around Sage as she told. Most of her stories are interactive, incorporating everything from call and response to improvised stories completed with suggestions from the audience. It was fun to watch kids and even parents get drawn in as they walked by. It is particularly lovely to watch the little ones come up to her afterward to thank her and say they enjoyed her stories.


It makes me happy to be a part of such a vibrant, interesting and wonderful community as this.


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