January 17, 2012

An odd dose of Canada

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I've lived in Montreal for awhile now and one of the biggest surprises for me has been learning how different Canada really is from the United States.  I'm sure it sounds totally naive to Canadians but most Americans really don't know anything about Canada - half of Vermont thinks this whole country speaks French (yes, it's true and I'm embarrassed to say it) and the rest of us just think it's an extension of the US but colder and with cops in cute red coats.

6 years later I can honestly say I know and love Canada/Quebec BUT...  there are also a few oddities about the land of the maple leaf.

I've kept a little list of these strange observations and thought I'd share some of my favorites to help enlighten my fellow Americans.  Special thanks to my Quebecois boyfriend who loves the list and often offers enthusiastic suggestions to keep it growing:

Adorable and weird things about Canadians/Quebecois

  1. Quebecois make an entire meal of corn - no that giant plate of boiled corn is not a side dish, that's your dinner
  2. Ketchup chips - they're everywhere, they're gross, but don't get between a Canadian and their love of ketchup
  3. If you enter a home in Quebec and (gasp!) FORGOT to bring your own hand knit slippers (or pantoufles in French) you WILL be offered guest slippers by everyone who sees you wearing only socks 
  4. Cinq à sept, otherwise known to the rest of us as happy hour - even the English people call it cinq à sept (5 to 7 in English)
  5. Becel margarine - no one here uses butter, everyone uses tubs of healthy margarine
  6. Rick Mercer, enough said (it's like the Canadian John Stewart)
  7. The government puts cute little notes in all citizens' mailboxes about how to avoid getting sick in the winter
  8. Instead of gallons they sell milk in plastic bags and you can buy a plastic pitcher to put the bag in.... because thats so much easier than a gallon jug....
  9. No one in Montreal likes big American hugs to say hello, only little bisous on the cheeks.  I've had people back away from me when you go all in for a hug.
  10. Their candy.  The chocolate tastes funny (it has a weird cardboard-like flavor that only a true Canadian could like), their smarties are like giant oddly flavored M&M's (I was so disappointed that it wasn't a giant American smartie!), and they make Aero bars - basically chocolate with air holes in it.

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