Paralipomena - Part 14

posted by usha on 2005/09/26 18:35

[ Paralipomena ]

Currently, I am so far away from Central Europe as possible: for the short period of 2 weeks I am back in Canada, also at the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the U of A again.

Thus, Central European affairs are, of course, accompanying me here, too. It comes almost naturally that most of my friends here are far from being Canadian. They are Polish, Slovenian, Montenegrin, German, Austrian, Ukrainian. Still, there is a difference. We are closer to the US and farther away from the EU; we are negotiating different partial identities, and if asked, most would proudly state: "I am Canadian". A tendency that I already share. Thus, when asked about my background, as it happens all the time, I gave up on answering "German" or "Austrian", but say "I'm from Edmonton" instead. Each answer is as good as the other.

What you do in Edmonton for a relaxing weekend is to ride your car for 4 hours to the Rockies. Jasper is the place to be, to go hiking, rafting, horseback riding, skiing, etc. So, that's what I did this weekend. There, Indian aboriginal identities are traded: The shops are full of Indian art from whole Canada, and at the central place at the Jasper station a huge totem pole stands. Sometimes, you see an impressing middle-aged Indian man in clothes that claim to be traditional wandering along, chatting with people. However, its not everything a fake, as you can see here.

In the end, I was much more interested in watching Elks in their rutting season (and to avoid any closer contact with them) than to study my Serbian textbook or to think about anything Central European. You cannot be as self-centred in negotiating your identity/-ies as an Elk in heat.


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