Caag yaaa daawaamee

“Caag yaaa daawaamee,” was my muffled answer as the dental hygienist poked around in my mouth. “I mean, check your department to see if they have funding,” I said after he removed the scaler. “They might have some kind of assistantship.”

Graduate school advice isn’t what I usually talk about with dental hygienists, but Phu was different. Born in Vietnam, he’d moved to Canada with his parents when he was young. He’d never quite gotten the hang of winter, though, and now he was thinking of escaping to Australia and going for a master’s in oral health focusing on gerontology. He was concerned about the high cost of foreign student tuition, though. So I told him how University of Toronto’s guaranteed funding not only paid my tuition but also some modest living expenses, and that he should check the schools he was applying to for any kind of funding program or scholarship. The professional programs at U of T don’t have funding (the university probably figured that MBAs will be more than able to pay back their student loans), but other programs at universities might have research and teaching assistantships. Also, Canada put in an off-campus work program this year; maybe Australia has one, too.

So my dentist checkup took a little longer than usual because we were chatting about grad school, Sydney, weather, and other topics while he poked around my teeth, but it felt much better than an anonymous scrape-and-go. There was a bit of a delay while we waited for the dentist to come look at my wisdom teeth, so we chatted some more. First time I’d ever had green tea at a dentist’s office. =) (As it turns out, my two bottom wisdom teeth are growing sideways, and I’ll need to have them removed sometime.)

If you happen to be in the Toronto area and you want to give Phu more advice or encouragement, you can drop by the Manulife Centre on Bay and Bloor. Second floor, near the movie theatres.

The other folks at the office are also friendly, and the place has personality: lots of pictures of a white poodle who must be the dentist’s favorite pet. If you mention the pictures, the dentist will also happily show you an oil portrait of the dog. (An oil portrait! I don’t have one.) Nice place, and very accommodating of panicky people who are worried that they might have a cavity (me last week–as it turns out, one of my wisdom teeth was just breaking through the gum in a funny manner). Recommend.