Canadian Life Tim Horton's Coffee Cups, Ottawa
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One of the first things I noticed in Canada is that North Amer­i­cans seem to be much more sen­si­tive to smell than Euro­peans. For instance, many work­places have adopted a “scent-free pol­icy” for envi­ron­men­tal sen­si­tiv­ity and health reasons—apparently, peo­ple reported scents were caus­ing issues such as headaches, dizzi­ness or skin irritation.

Canadian Life Mark Going to School, Ottawa, November 2014
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So why are the Con­ser­v­a­tives stalling the imple­men­ta­tion of a proper day­care sys­tem? Because it’s eas­ier to play the guilt card: it’s not right when “par­ents are forced to have other peo­ple raise their chil­dren”. Some­one, please, explain the Con­ser­v­a­tives that day­care ser­vices are not a fuck­ing alien abduction.

Canadian Life Goofing on IKEA beds, Ottawa, November 2014
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With Mark at school, I should be able to resume a nor­mal 9–5 rou­tine. Except I don’t have one.

Canadian Life Ottawa, October 2014
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If Chi­nese are overly polite, North Amer­i­cans tend to be overly cheer­ful and eas­ily excited. I grew up as a cyn­i­cal French, so it felt very strange at first to be swad­dled by so much eager­ness and earnest niceness.

Just Blogging Mark, Ottawa, October 2014
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I’ve known my in-laws for 12 years now. It’s not a secret that I don’t like fruits. It’s not a big deal, really. And yet, every few weeks or so, depend­ing how often I see them, they offer me fruits.

Raising a Canadian-Chinese-French Baby Ogdensburg, NY State, October 2014
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At home, we have two ways of deal­ing with sick­ness. Feng is ultra-careful and takes drugs when­ever some­thing hurts or some­thing doesn’t feel right. If he could quar­an­tine him­self from the world, he would. On the other side, I pre­tend it doesn’t exist. No, I’m not cough­ing. No, I don’t have a fever. No, I’m not passed out in bed.

Canadian Life Trick-Or-Treating
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Being a North Amer­i­can par­ent comes with a few require­ments, like the abil­ity to make PB&J sand­wiches (yet com­ply with “peanut free” areas when nec­es­sary) or the skills to plan ahead for major hol­i­days. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know Hal­loween was com­ing up—for the past few weeks, I’ve been walk­ing past plas­tic limbs in back­yards and skele­tons hung in trees. Yes, peo­ple take Hal­loween seri­ously here.

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