Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sometimes I'm still pretty Canadian

Source: Daria Pesenti Flamingo Photography 
John and I left Canada 4 years ago today. We had barely googled Switzerland before we ended up in the Zurich airport with all our worldly possessions. Standing on a train platform we felt distinctly other and we felt "other" for quite some time. Eventually we got use to being in Switzerland. Trains that are 2 minutes late now really piss us off. Loud talkers on public transportation make me want to hit things (I'm looking at YOU American tourists.) The idea of shopping on a Sunday weirds us out and when we do go home to Canada we have to remember to tip when you're out to eat and that there is such things as "open container laws" so we can't just drink a beer on the bus on the way home.

Despite all of our hard work to try and at least fit in with the Swiss some what (we fail at this on a regular basis I promise) there are still some moments when we are so painfully Canadian and I'm not talking about just saying "I'm sorry" for apologizing. I'm talking about having different culture touchstones than our friends. I'm talking about having to deal with things that just don't exist where we grew up (TV and radio licencing fees?!?!) I'm talking about the things that are so ingrained in us that we just assume it's part of our genetic make up.

We've just accepted the fact that no matter how hard we try to fit in, there are some ways in which we will ALWAYS be Canadian.

Doctors bills still confuse me. 

Thanks to Tommy Douglas I was in my late 20's when I saw my very first doctors bill. It was for John's medical for insurance at work. It was billed by the 5 minute. Although John contested at least one of the 5 minute blocks because he and the doctor talked about hockey. Now, I should mention John and I have excellent health coverage through work. So we do get reimbursed for our doctors bills but as a Canadian who grew up with National Health Care the entire notion of a doctors bill is mind boggling to me still. 

My deep love of orange cheddar cheese

I know I know I know I live in the land of AMAZING cheese. Honestly these cheese that is available to us is mind boggling. We generally like to take visitors to the grocery store and take them to the cheese department (not to be confused with your generic dairy products department like we have in Canada) and just lose them for a while. We are not knocking any of the cheese here but there are days when you want your grilled cheese sandwich to glow orange in the middle. Is that too much to ask?

Mid June = put away the winter jackets

We put away our winter clothing in June. Yes June. Why? Because we're from Manitoba damn it and it's been known to snow on the May long weekend...or later so you don't want to take any chances. 

My need to remind people of Canadian achievements and the fact that we can be badass too

At least once a week I feel the need to remind people of some random Canadian achievement or some random act of badassness. Recently it was reminding my very British boss that her beloved Winnie the Pooh was a bear named after my home city. A few months ago when someone suggested Canadian politics was just so polite I mentioned Trudeau's epic statement of "Just watch me".  

Overt patriotism one day a year

This is actually something Switzerland and Canada have in common. One day a year we all let loose and remind everyone we're super duper proud of our Nationality. In Canada it's July 1st. Here's it's August 1st. There's day drinking, barbecues and fireworks. And then the next day, it's like it never happened and we all go back to being quiet about our nation of origin.

Oat, a-boat, sohrry

It slips out when you least expect it much to the delight of my coworkers.


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