Friday, July 30, 2010

A Strange Land

People often ask me what its like living in Canada and how it compares to the US.  This isn't as weird as you may think considering I'm an American currently living in Edmonton, AB.
Walking in Edmonton River Valley, note the skyscrapers downtown in the background

For the most part I usually don't notice I'm in a different country . . . which makes the times when I do notice all the weirder.
I wont embarrass myself by saying how long it took me to realize that the post box was red in Canada . . .

Canadians are not very different in speech or culture from Americans, this is reinforced by the fact that they watch all our TV(Okay they have some original programing as well, but not that many people watch it.  And all the really funny/talented Canadians move to Hollywood). 

There are too many to list, but needless to say some are passing.

So, on a whole the differences aren't that great, but I'm from Wisconsin so some American's already consider me Canadian.  There are the the spelling issues (Centre just looks stupid, I don't care what you say). The like to have a special name for some stuff (like calling stocking hats toques).  Some of them do have interesting accents (Everyone should go drinking with a Newfie once . . . they sing sea shantys, not like one or two people - the whole bar).  They also have very pretty money (though it has the Queen on it).

Food is super super expensive.  In particular cheese its like $8-$12 for a normal size piece of bad cheddar (its like Kraft or some such processed stuff!). Good look finding cheese fresh from the cheese factor or cheese curds for that matter (this is a problem with the whole world in my opinion, with the exception of Wisconsin). Resturants are also really expensive . . . plus there is NO MEXICAN FOOD.  Its very sad.  They have taco bell, but it has . . . french fries not nachos!

Fun American Stereotypes of Canadians that AREN'T True:
1. They aren't all nice.  I repeat they aren't all nice (the meanest girl I've known was Canadian).
2. They don't all wear flannel/jean/carhartt everything (that doesn't mean you wont see anyone wearing any of theses things and if your from the midwest point that finger back at yourself)
3. They aren't all highly political social activists (there are rednecks I've seen them)
4. They don't know what summer is (I'm in Edmonton and it gets hot here very very hot . . . its dry though so that's alright in the summer . . . in the winter I get nose bleeds . . .)
5. There are not maple trees/beavers/lumberjacks covering the entire country (Sure theirs no way to be absolutely sure since no ones actually been to all of it, they don't have the population for that).

Fun American Stereotypes of Canadians that ARE True:

1. They really do say "eh" all the time (I've had it written in emails to me . . . yeah they are that committed)
2. They put Canadian flags/maple leaves on everything (they can't use apostrophes in business signs (because there isn't an apostrophe in french) and so they replace it with a maple leaf!)
3. They love Hockey and by extension Tim Horton (I'm firmly on this bandwagon)
4. They don't really understand population density and what that means (Its true they cannot fathom the amount of settlements, villages, towns, and cities that exist across the US. Plus, its cute when they think a neighborhood is bad)
5. They travel a lot (I've not meet a Canadian in any line of work that hasn't gone somewhere)

Fun Canadian Stereotypes about Americas/ Canadian Stereotypes of American stereotypes of Canadians:

1. Canadians think American think they live in igloos and survive on polar bears because no American have ever seen snow/ice/cold (I hate to disappoint you but Edmonton get way less snow then Green Bay and is equally cold.  However, Green Bay is a wet cold and Edmonton is a dry cold . . . if you've ever been in the cold you realize that you want a dry cold, unless you like feeling like your joints are going to explode and then waiting an hour for them to thaw out when you get inside. Edmonton does have maybe 1 month more of winter depending on the year.  If your curious summer is also worse in Green Bay as we have quadruple the amount of humidity.  My family's new motto when the weather is bad "screw this I'm moving to Canada)
2. We don't understand Celsius and the metric system (We understand it we just don't like it as it makes everything seem cold (-10C is 14F), plus you don't use it uniformly and switch between the types)
3. That we done know any Canadian geography, history, or politics (okay I don't know everything, but I do know how many provinces there are and who the prime minister is and yes I know you don't have a president) 
4. Canadians think Americans pretend to be Canadian when they travel (I don't, I don't know anyone who does . . . I get told I'm British a lot but I think that has more to do with my complexion)
5. That Americans are loud and obnoxious (We aren't any more loud or obnoxious than Canadians, but people dislike us more so they over look it in the Canadians.  I usually have to work to get a word in with my Canadian friends)

Some of my favorite things about Canada:

1. The french and english anthems have different lyrics!
2. They don't all realize they are still technique ruled by the queen (I didn't truly realize my aversion to royalty until I had to spend money with a Queen on it regularly).
3. They go to this thing called the commonwealth games (we aren't invited . . . it probably has something to due with the whole rebellion thing).
4. I love the maple leaves/flags all over everything.
5. Mounties!

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