Il était une fois… I gave a guest lecture for a French class at the University of Illinois about ostensibly Canadian comic book characters, like Capitaine Kebec and Mademoiselle. Montreal, that wonderful land of poutine and shwarma, also came up in my discussion, and a lovely time was had by all.
In preparation for our pending pirate and ninja wedding, I had purchased Chocolate Loonies / Huards en chocolat at the Dollarama and stuck them in our freezer for an extended period of time. (Sorry if you actually ate those.) Such gold-wrapped coin-shaped chocolates are popular in the United States as well, though in different denominations.
After my presentation and candy distribution efforts, I solicited questions from the audience. Folks seemed curious about the international student experience, interested in the cost of living in Montreal, and fascinated by the notions of poutine, shwarma, and Dollarama.
The last question that one of the students asked has stuck with me ever since. It serves as a pertinent reminder that any question – particularly those asked in earnest – can illuminate another perception on the world and possibly change your mind about what you may have previously thought was an obvious, common-sensical answer. After all, whose common sense are we talking about?
The student, munching thoughtfully on a chocolate loonie, asked “Are these a traditional candy given to Canadian youths on holidays?”
So, Canadian youths, you tell me.