I met Vera today from 12 to 1pm at the entrance of RockOff Hall and asked her whether it would be ok for her to go downtown, since I needed to do some things. She first asked me about my Canada road trip, since that is the reason why we couldn´t have this sixth meeting on time last weekend. I told her that I went there with three other Spaniards and one American guy. I lived one year in Germany with two of them, so it was a very nice experience being able to travel with them again.
However, we were expecting to see a lot of cultural differences between the U.S. and Canada, but that was not the case. We went to Toronto, which is supposed to be the most American and European city of the whole country. A pity because what we wanted to discover was the pure Canadian essence. However, as Vera has commented, globalization makes that a lot of cities just feel the same although they are located in different countries or even continents.
Still we could see the crossing guards, the old volunteers that stand in every crossing once the children finish school to ensure that they won´t be overrun by any car. However, we found it kind of funny, since the boys and girls we saw crossing the streets were old enough to go home alone and watch out for the cars. In Spain we don´t have something similar, so somebody usually goes to the school to pick up the children and, when they are 10-13 years old, they start going home alone (depending on the distance, the neighborhood and the safety of the crossings).
While talking about that in George St., we have seen a lot of high school students dressed up and with badges. She has told me that they are attending a Model United Nations at Rutgers, and that she also attended one when she was younger. I have also taken part in such a simulation: Model European Union at the Strasbourg Parliament. I played the role of a journalist, but others simulated being members of the Council, MPs, lobbyists and interpreters. We both agree that those kinds of simulations are really helpful for students to understand how real politics work like and learn the importance of a democracy based on mutual respect among different cultures.
Afterward, we have been to C-Town, now called Bravo, the only supermarket of the city, because I needed to buy some groceries. She also wanted to go there because she had never entered it, but heard about it. I told her that I feel like at home in New Brunswick, which I call New Mexico, because everybody speaks Spanish. In fact, all the workers in the supermarket are Spanish, so I only speak that language while doing the groceries.
Moreover, I have been able to buy there pupusas, a typical dish of El Salvador, and Peruvian arepas. They also sell all kinds of Mexican spices and Latin-American snacks, like mariquitas (fried bananas), which I have eaten in Cuba, Ecuador and a lot of countries in Central America. I have never been able to eat those products in Spain, because they are no to be found in normal supermarkets. I guess the reason for that is that New Brunswick has a large Mexican population.