On being Canadian

Almost nine years have passed since I came here with just two suitcases containing all my earthly possessions.

Then I quickly bought myself a copy of How to Be a Canadian (Even if You Already Are One)  Excellent book.  I highly recommend it.  I even talked about in one of my earlier posts.   It has taught me a lot about being Canadian, eh?

I have learned how to quickly say “I’m sorry” even if it is not my fault. I have learned to take my shoes off at the door (my American swingdancers friends don’t get this). I have learned to dress in layers. I have learned to love the seasons -as I knew I would, summer BBQs and hockey. I have learn that most Canadians have a big porcupine index… Sorry, what’s that? oh, you don’t know what the porcupine index is? let me tell you:

You know porcupines, right? funny chubby rodents with quills or spines which they use for protection.  To keep predators away.  You wouldn’t want to hug a porcupine but most important of all, the porcupine doesn’t want you to hug him.  So a professor of mine used to joke in class about how people have different porcupine indexes.  Some people have a high index so if you get too close, they become uncomfortable and they bristle.  Some people have a low index and are more comfortable with letting other people get close to them.  As in hugging and stuff.

And yes, I know that here they call it personal space.  I think porcupine index is funnier.

So, where was I? ah yes, Canadians and their high porcupine indexes.  Except for Swing Dancers.  Swing Dancers belong to a completely different species.  They do like to hug and stuff.  I guess that’s why I feel so comfortable among Swing Dancers!

Every now and then I forget and I hug a person I just met.  In the millisecond before my arms touch them, I can feel them bristling and I go “ah, crap” but the momentum carries me and there’s nothing I can do but try the Man Hug

But I digress. I moved here on September 3, 2001. I’ve had good times, bad times, hysterical times.  I’ve met a lot of wonderful people.  Since, I’ve learned how to shovel snow, how to get a fire going on a fireplace, how to keep warm.  I’ve learn to ski and to skate.  I’ve learned to love Hockey, maple syrup, shepherd’s pie and meatloaf. I’ve also learned that in order to survive an Ottawa summer one needs A/C.  There’s no other way around.  Holy heat, Batman, does it ever get hot in here.  I’ve also learned that if you’re renting, hydro better be included in the rent cause otherwise your paycheck is gonna go straight to the pay the hydro bill in the winter.

I’ve also learned that Canadians are very polite people but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like you.  Some of them are just being that, polite.  I’ve learned that most Canadians are obsessed with being politically correct (subject for another post).  I’ve learned good English and bad English -It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing  ;)

Furthermore, I’ve been the proud owner of a Citizenship Card since December 2006.

I’ve learned so many things in these almost 9 years I’ve been in Canada.

But what the most important thing I have learned is that if there is a place on earth where I can be happy it is right here, in the Great White North!

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