This has been the best winter that I've experienced up here. One major snowstorm which we missed because we were in Cuba and then a couple of 4 inchers which didn't even trigger snow removal. I haven't seen a snow removal operation since this time last year when I was SOOOO over the copious snowfalls. February broke sun records and I bet this winter overall is going to be one of the mildest on records. It's weird, it's like all the nasty stuff went South this year which happens to be an El Nino year. We were really cold the last El Nino, but this year was very nice. We are in perfect maple syrup production temps right now. 40ish during the afternoon 20ish at night. I bet this is going to be a high production year up here.
OMG less than a week and we'll be in Spain. I picked up a couple hundred euros for pocket money and of course the next day the Canadian dollar surged. I swear you could make money off my timing for currency exchange. It never fails to rise significantly the day after I buy the foreign currency. I'll go the library later today and pick up a couple guides to the cities we'll be visiting. Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo and Segovia are the principal cities we'll be exploring. I saw an article about how 80% of young people disagree with the tradition of bullfighting and that it may be dying out. I was aghast the first time I saw one, but that feeling lessened upon further visits. The art and pageantry of it finally was appealing. I don't know if we'll go see one, but regardless of my attendance, the matadors are still heroes for many and the sport has at least two decade legs.
There's another little brouhaha up here over the niqab this time. That's the garment that covers the face completely of a Muslim woman with only a slit for the eyes to see through. Apparently a new immigrant attending the free French language classes immigrants receive caused problems in the class. She had real issues about the males in the class, didn't want them near her or looking at her and it finally came to a head and the college kicked her out of the class. Now she is going before the human rights commission with a complaint about it. If she had been in my class, I would have said pretty early on that the teacher runs the class and if you don't like how it's run, go find another. Which I think is finally how it went down. Anyway, I love stories like this because my job gets so easy. Instant long conversation topic. A lot of people are offput because she's not assimilating enough into our secular culture. At the same time, she has a right to freedom of religion like everyone in our society. Most feel she tested the limit of that right by asking others to accommodate her wishes in the class. Some feel very strongly about it, especially those who see religion as the true evil of this world. I love teasing the students too. "Why can't you all just learn English and give up the ghost of French culture and assimilate already? You're 7 million in a sea of 330 million English speakers?" Ahh, but there's one big difference, they say, an immigrant arrives from elsewhere while we have always been here. I wonder what the First Nation's people would say about that.