Moving to a new country is exciting, scary and challenging. You will likely ride an emotional rollercoaster as you adapt to your new environment—and yes, you will deal with many small cultural differences that may not seem obvious at first.
But little by little, you will adapt. And one day, you will look back and realize how “Canadian” you have become compared to your friends or family members visiting, or compared to most newcomers.
Meanwhile, here are ten signs that you are still new to Canada!
It’s 10°C and you are still wearing a scarf and a winter jacket—you even have a pair of gloves stuffed in your pocket. Strangely enough, most people around you are wearing shorts, skirts and t-shirts—these weird folks are “true” Canadians celebrating the beginning of spring. Don’t worry, give it a few years and you will find yourself rummaging through your “summer clothes” box at the bottom of the closet as soon as the thermometer hits 0°C.
Barely awake, you ask for an extra-large coffee at Tim Hortons and wince when half a liter of hot sugary water is brought to the counter. Remember: in Canada, everything is bigger than in most countries (unless you are travelling to the United States!). A “small” or “medium” size is usually big enough!
You attempt to walk from one end of a street to the other end. The bad news is, streets here can be several kilometers long. Yonge Street, in Toronto, is one of the longest streets in the world at 1,896 km. Ahem… enjoy your walk!
You find endless conversations about the weather awkward and boring—can’t they talk about anything else? No you did not witness the North American Ice Storm of 1998. Yes, it is quite chilly today with a windchill of -40°C. No, you didn’t check the Weather Network and you don’t give a damn about the 14-day trend. Gosh, what’s with these Canadians?
You think Canadian Tire only sells… well, tires. And you quite don’t get what the big deal is with the stack of Canadian Tire money on your co-worker’s desk.
You can’t help wondering whether Don Cherry is colour-blind or if his stylist truly hates him. And why he is always pissed off, screaming at the players? Isn’t hockey supposed to be just a game, for Christ’s sake?
You know that it can’t be the sea but you can’t help marveling at how huge and endless rivers and lakes seem to be.
Of course you know Canadian bands and singers! Like… Céline Dion. And this band that always plays on radio—ah, Nickelback! And there is this kid as well, the one who looked like an idiot wearing overalls when meeting Stephen Harper. The who? The Tragically Hip? Billy Talent? Crash Test Dummies? The Watchmen? Nope, never heard of them.
You don’t speak a word of French. Like, not a single word. Hint: start reading the back of any product package and you will pick it up in no time! Mais oui! Free French lessons with each box of cereal—a Canada-only special offer! (Warning: not applicable for products sold in Chinatown, the translation will likely be hilariously atrocious).
You wonder why people apologize when you accidentally bump into them, offend them, ask them to repeat something, etc. Welcome to Canadian, where apologizing for no reason is a national pastime. Sorry, eh!