I would describe myself as a computer user of moderate ability. I have a few blogs, an instagram account, and a facebook account or two. While I consider this a big deal, most of my students can rhyme off a hundred other apps or sites that are must haves. They use their computers and smart phones for far more than I do. What I wonder is, why didn’t they Google Toronto or Canada before they got here?
Before you start to worry, this isn’t a ranting video. To understand Today’s Perfect Moment, you need the above back-story to understand where I am coming from.
Rightly, or wrongly, I expect my students to have done some research on the city and the country before they get here. Before my vacations, I always check guidebooks and websites to find out information about my destination. I want the adventure of discovering new stuff, but I don’t want to discover that I cannot charge up my phone because the power is different. I usually research any bike shops or stamp dealers near my hotel. I could list all the things I do, but that isn’t the point.
So today, one of my Brazilian students reveals that she is a follower of Tibetan Buddhism. This came up while we were talking about places they have visited and things they have done in an activity to practice the difference between “Me too.” and “Me neither.” Her partner said that he had been to India, and she replied, “Me too.”
As I happened to be monitoring in her general area, I went over to listen in on the rest of the conversation.
When they were done, I asked her if she had been to the Tibetan area of Toronto. She was completely surprised. She had no idea that Toronto had a large Tibetan population and there was quite a community. I had been to a celebration of a child’s birth (I hesitate to use baptism or christening–because that is obviously not what I went to…) in the community about 16 or 17 years ago. I also toured the neighbourhood after my cherry blossom walk earlier this year. Perhaps that is why it was fresh in my mind.
I shouldn’t berate her harshly for not checking up on her interests before coming here. Her main goal was to improve her English skills, not continue her education and engagement with Tibetan Buddhism. However, it just seems odd to me that she didn’t do it. I guess we use the internet in different ways.
I spent a bit of time after class showing her Google Street view of Little Tibet in Toronto and Googling a few other things. She seemed quite happy and excited to learn these things and I felt good that I could share them. Toronto is a truly multicultural city and I appreciate it when my students see that as a plus.