Thursday, January 27, 2011

Being taken care of in Canada

First, a funny story.  When crossing the border, I submitted my paperwork to the clerk, who was surprised at the slowness of the computer system.  He disappeared into the back for about 20 minutes, then emerged and told me that the entire immigration system for all of Canada at every border crossing was down, and I could either wait or go on without a work permit.  The work permit being essential, I sat in my car and read a book until an hour later, when the system got back online.  I like to say that it was my work permit that crashed it, though I really am not quite sure of that.  However, I now have leave to work in Canada!

I may have.... underestimated my job here a slight bit.  I always knew that the University of Toronto was a good school, but I figured that since there were less universities in Canada, that wasn't such a big deal.  Based on everyone's reactions when they have asked me what I was doing here in Canada the past 2 days, though, I decided to go take another look at rankings....

What I was finally able to deduce was that the U of T is basically Canada's Harvard, given a run for its money only by McGill, which is pretty far away in Montreal... so essentially, I'm at the best school in Ontario, if not all of Canada.  This is quite an honor and very, very humbling.  My treatment so far has been nothing short of astounding.  The property managers for my building have bent over backwards to help me out, and I bet my degree and employment have had a good bit to do with that.  This place, while not a bad place at all, doesn't give me the impression of being highly inhabited by university-affiliated folk.  Everyone I talk to at all the stores and banks around here has been very welcoming and frankly a bit surprised that I am living where I am.  I like it because it is on the subway.  That's a great touch!

One LOVELY amenity that I had no idea about until I realized that there are no vents in the units is that the heat comes through the floors.  For someone sleeping on the floor in the midst of a Canadian winter, this is very, very welcome.  It's almost too warm for me since I've been living in the State College icebox apartment; I've had to open the windows and even the balcony door periodically!

Now for the obligatory pictures of the new place:

The bedroom with my tangle of blankets and pillows on the floor.

The living room, which now boasts 2 large bookcases.

The kitchen.  Cooked my first meal here last night!


  1. Yay for the apartment! Oh Toronto is such a lovely city. Mark my words, it's cleaner and less populated than NY. And I love NYC. Just last year I went to the TIFF. AWESOME. Highly recommend it. And yes, U of T is very, very prestigious. Other good ones, besides McGill are MacMaster and Guelph, and a bit behind, UWO. Congrats and welcome to the Big White North :-)

  2. I had read that you were at the TIFF. That's so funny b/c I was there right after it ended to meet with the people in this lab. I feel so spoiled to have the privilege of being able to work and study at all these prestigious schools....