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2007-09-15 - 11:46 a.m.

...a lovely evening...

K and I went to a splendid dinner party at the house of my department chair last night. It was wonderful and warm and open. I had never met the chair's wife - a prof in another department. She was standing barefoot at the door and immediately embraced me and said, "I can't believe we haven't met - I feel like I already know you." Such statements can come out sounding, well, phony. This one was full of genuine affection.

K and I felt a little bit like we were entering a circle of old friends - and indeed the others had known each other for quite some time. But both of us felt as if we fit right in.

This past week has brought the first occasions where I've felt like a special guest as the pregnant lady. I've had 2-3 people tell me that pregnant women just make them feel happy. I never expected to see this effect on people. It's odd to me, because pregnant people have never really made me feel warm and happy - yet, I do genuinely get this sense of warmth and protectiveness from them, as if they really are in awe of me - or rather, my state. It's interesting.

Anyway, part of the nice thing for me was to get a sense of community from some fellow members of the academic community - most (all?) of the people were expat Americans (or half American/half Canadians) who had moved to Canada. Several of them asked me how I was adjusting to this place - it was great to listen to people who have experienced similar cultural adjustments. In this crowd it was okay not to SIMPLY LOVE Vancouver and everything about it.

We didn't go into a bitch session at all. In fact, everything was very positive. But I loved being able to talk about things without having the sense that I am supposed to love everything about Canada. A criticism wasn't threatening any place or anyone - this was a group that was strangely balanced - positives and negatives are expected to be part of the package. Perhaps the understanding of that was there because we were of a similar lifestyle and had all gone through a similar adjustment.

Interestingly, after my discussing public transportation here, someone else brought up the topic there, as well. (Harri3t, apparently Boston public transport tops everything for rudeness!). One couple lived in another, equally racy part of Vancouver - we got into an interesting discussion about drugs and sex workers - I've got a new awareness of this side of our culture, now that I see it regularly the way I do in Vancouver. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I was never exposed to this side of life in NYC. It was just lovely to be around people who discuss, who listen, and with whom you don't feel judged.

I've not even mentioned the chair's children. They are home-schooled for half a year when the family goes to live out on one of the gulf islands. We all have our preconceptions of the 'home-school' idea - this is an instance where it has worked brilliantly. Both children were wonderful - well socialized, easy to talk to, happy, fun, and extremely intelligent. The older daughter, Gabby, was just lovely - we sat near each other for most of the evening, and I found her a delight.

Anyway, halfway through the evening, I became very tired and so I found myself a cozy corner on the sofa and curled up under a pillow, with Gabby curled up under a blanket next to me. She was adorable.

We pulled ourselves away at about 10:30pm (great for me since I'd been awake since before 5:30am working on a lecture...). As we got into the car, K said to me, "That is the most comfortable I've felt with people since we arrived here."

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