Back to school via the shops

Student Union building at UVic
Welcome back to school

In my experience Canadians have a seasonal approach to life. This time of year is the back to school season. It is a wistful time of year to my mind. The summer is officially over. The kids are back to school. The weather is good, better than a lot of the official summer, but it begins to suggest winter. So we are looking back on the pleasures of the summer and looking forward to the winter too.

Back to school season, at least that driven by marketing men, is about shopping. For elementary school children there are lists of stationery supplies. A common sight in Staples is bewildered and overwhelmed parents checking off items on their list, while their children demand whatever they think they want.

Clothes also need to be bought. If you, like me, come from the UK then you are probably more used to school uniforms. Here the public schools do not have uniforms. Our kids loved the fact that they could wear what they wanted. They were very worried, however, that they’d look cool when the went to school for the first time in Canada. Dress codes are pretty relaxed and we didn’t see too much snobbery over designer labels and the like.

Oh, and I was talking about our daughters above. Our son didn’t care. Neither did any of the boys who became his friends.

Our kids are now at University, so back to school is a bit different. It includes the search for somewhere to live, and in one case, for furniture for the unfurnished place he rented with his five friends.

Two of our kids are at UVic – in Victoria. There at least, things are set up pretty well. So they found rentals quickly. Their parents were more stressed about it than they were!

There are no lists of stationery supplies, but lists of books instead. The campus bookshop is more crowded than the ferries – with new students and their parents. Both our kids were more interested in reconnecting with friends than getting their books.

Our house seems empty now. And that’s another reason for being wistful.


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