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Interesting things about Canadian life for a Kiwi

1. Squirrels. (What, are you telling me you didn’t expect this to be number one? The grey ones are the best, so cute and fat with little white bellies. We call them Griggers cos they try to hang out with the black squirrels and be all gangsta but the black ones run away from them because they’re not cool enough).

2. Fall. The fact that they call it “Fall” is awesome enough. But when the maples change colour it’s just gorgeous.

3. Food. Perogies, vege pizza at the supermarket, juice in a can, soup in a box, cookies in a tube. These people thought of everything! Supermarkets are a mecca of delight for me. Not tempted to try snails in a can, however.

4. “Eh.” Kiwis say eh, but it’s more like “aye” with a drawn out A, and it’s usually added to a statement you expect someone else to agree with – “It’s cold aye.” The inflection goes down on the “aye.” Canadians often add it to a statement that was not a question, making it into a question. I heard one woman say to another: “I had the flu last week eh?” HOW is that a question? Why did your inflection go up on the “eh”?

I’ve been reading “How to be a Canadian” (Ian and Will Ferguson). There’s an entire chapter on “Eh.”

5. The Quebecois. The fight to be independent is fascinating.

6. Weed. According to some recent stats NZ is 3rd highest in cannibis consumption per capita in the world. I wonder did the surveyors come to Canada. People light up on the street here. Freakn awesome.

7. Flags. You think Kiwis are patriotic? Oh no. Come to Ottawa, where every second building sports the ole maple leaf. And then there’s the other thing that makes Canadians go epic nationalist –

8. – Hockey. And yeah, I’m learning to love it. It’s super fun to watch, because it’s so fast and the players are so skilled. And no, to my Canadian friends, I don’t have a team, and I refuse to choose one because whomever I choose, someone will kill me.

9. How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. Nuff said.

10. Driving on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road. Granted, I haven’t driven here yet, and probably won’t as I don’t want to be deported, but it’s weird enough sitting in the passenger seat. I keep stamping the floor where the brake should be. I go to the wrong side of the car to get in. And I look the wrong way when I’m crossing the road as a pedestrian. Sometimes when I’m a passenger and a car comes towards us on the left, the voice inside my head starts shrieking “What are they doing they’re on the wrong side of the road we’re gonna DIIIIIEEE!”

11. Canadian French. Kids, it’s not what we learned in 4th form Francais with Madame de Jeux. In fact, it’s pretty much unrecognisable – but it sure is lovely to listen to. Except when a Canadian French person is yelling at you in it, which happens to me fairly often as my boss is Quebecois. I don’t understand her even when she’s speaking English.

12. ….squirrels.

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About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at writehanded.org

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