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Monday, 26 September 2011

Confessions of a Canadian studying in the US

The transition to the US must be the easiest, after all, Canada is America's little sister right? So what's been different in this place? Well for one, people are amused by my fascination with how 12-16oz coffee cups are considered "small", how the tax at the end of the bill never really surpasses $2.00 and why I am bitching about paying for medical insurance when "back home, this is free."

The US is ghetto - this is something I knew before, however, now that I am actually living in the ghetto, I can tell you, Canada really has no ghettos. The "ghettoest" place in Canada is sometimes considered a middle-class neighbourhood here. There is no balance between the rich and the poor here, it feels like Central and South America. Take a turn on the wrong block and grab your vest. Take another turn and make sure you don't get hit by one of those giant yuppie strollers.

Other observations? Here are a few from my short time here:
  • The word "caramel" is said strangely here. It's like "curmel", or maybe because I studied in French me pronouncing it "ca-ra-mel" is bizarre.
  • Pronouncing letters like "T" is forbidden and straight up weird. Baltimore becomes "Ballymore"
  • Flyer is written "flier"
  • Just like the Arab countries, spelling here is inconsistent, example: "Centre Street" and once or twice I saw "theatre" as opposed to "theater".
  • If you thought Service Canada was a mess, wait until you go to the social security office.
  • Accents are difficult to decode, example: "d'you stull wan' a sureal?" (do you still want the cereal).
  • I am collecting too many discount cards - it's like every chain has one. And the savings are legit. I saved a lot of money at Safeway and bought more than six things at a big chain pharmacy (Rite Aid) that added up to $25 (unlike Shoppers, where, if you buy two items, you've spent $23, no matter what you bought).
  • The term "going up to the cottage" or even just the word "cottage" is not used here. I was asked what I meant by several people.
  • I have to attend the orientation sessions with international students, yet every international student is curious to know why I sound like an American but am considered an international student.
  • You know that ring engineers wear on their pinky once they graduate in Canada? They should start implementing that here, there's been some very questionable engineers dealing with massive demolition projects (i.e can't answer basic questions or begin to comprehend the meaning of decontaminating soil).
  • Appetizers are totally meals here.
  • Everyday I feel like I'm living a Spike Lee movie. Or just an American movie.
  • Here, people aren't passive aggressive. Except maybe some. Students, mostly.
  • Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Prime...I can't keep up with all these things that aren't available, or have limited availability, in Canada!
  • The word "curated" is too loosely used here. It bothers me. Maybe it's just an art school thing.

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