Sometimes I forget that I am living in a different country. Sometimes I think that I am still in England, especially when the weather is currently warmer than England right now. Yes, England currently has snow and Canada is mild, as in the temperature is currently above minus and it has not properly snowed since I returned two weeks ago.
Sometimes I have forgotten that Canada is different from England, and not just in terms of weather. Canadians may speak ‘English’, but it is a different type of ‘English’. It may have taken me five months, but ‘washroom’ has nearly replaced the concept of ‘I am just going to the loo’; I mean washroom does sound better. One thing I have not embraced is time. As in it is ‘quarter too the hour’, and not 45 minutes past the hour. There’s no ‘ten too’ here. Maybe I have not hanged around with enough Canadians yet for that to be a thing. There is a different culture here, whether that is the language or lectures. I am still not a fan of the lectures. I mean three-hour lectures, where the ‘prof’ who is not an actual ‘professor’ in the British term, recounts the reading and has no form of visuals to help the visual learners out. I mean something must be working, as I passed all my fall classes.
Embracing Canada is not just about the slight differences in language or how lectures are laid out, it is about living in Canada. I have never felt more Canadian than going to a hockey game, or for us Brits ‘ice hockey’, just do not say that in Canada or they will hate you. It is about getting involved in Canadian activities. Hockey is something that every Canadian seems to love, and seeing a small town play, was properly just as good in terms of atmosphere as seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Where I am currently living in Canada is NOT a tourist place. The only British people here, are the ones that are on their exchange year abroad. It is your typical North American town that you see in films. Although the population is apparently 80,000 people it has the small town vibes. Plenty of independently owned cafes, restaurants and bars and independent shops, which is unique in comparison to your average British town, no matter how small or large. It is nice. It is nice going to ‘The Social’, which is a bar with live music, dart boards, pool tables and good Nachos, but slightly expensive drinks. I mean $10 for a double, I’m good thanks. (I say that, but I still buy it). It is the country music that sometimes is played, or the eighties, nighties and early noughties music that is played after midnight and everyone is singing and dancing along. You forget that you are foreign, that you are not from Canada or Ontario, even if you are just with fellow British people and the occasional time when you actually hang out with Canadians as well. It is about going to a Canadian house party that gets shut down at half 12, because of the bylaw stating that there cannot be excessive loud music after midnight; but you were only there for twenty minutes and most of that time was spent queuing for the toilet and then going to the toilet.
It is about the Canadians getting so excited because you are British and asking ‘Why here, why Peterborough’ and your answer being every time ‘I wanted to go to Western, but my Uni chooses Trent’. Okay, Trent isn’t that bad, it is just kinda in the middle of nowhere, with the Greyhound and the Go-transit being your only way out.
I still get homesick over simple things such as food, or a thicker duvet which I could just go down to Wal-mart to get. I like being in Canada and experiencing Canada, not from the perspective as a tourist who has decided to take a city break to Toronto.
Five months have already passed, and I only have another five months left. I know the time is going to fly by, and soon enough I will be in fourth year handing in my dissertation. I am ready to embrace Canada even more.
Love Alicia x