Sunday, January 03, 2010

Oh the Places You'll Go...

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is more similar or different than we think.

I left my home of 18 years to move to another country. Although I have always thought there was little difference between the US and Canada, having spent three months in the US, and now three weeks back in Canada, I'm noticing the little differences.

Words.

After three months of being mocked for calling the evening meal "supper," I have now been trained to call it "dinner," which gets me somewhat odd looks from my friends here, because dinner is generally a fancier/bigger meal which can occur at midday or the end of the day. So nobody orders pizza for dinner.

Soda. Pop. Soda Pop. Coke. I've always called it pop. But it seems that with my smorgasbord of friends from across the US, there is no consensus on which is correct.

Eh? After going three months with people generally pointing out at least on occasion that I have used this quintessentially Canadian word, I have been noticing that Canadians really do say it a lot.

Washroom, Restroom, Bathroom. A washroom does not have a toilet. A restroom does not have a bathtub or shower. A bathroom has all three. Thus, in a restaurant, you are most likely to be looking for a restroom. But when I tell my sisters I am looking for a restroom, they tell me to stop being so American.

Values.

It seems that different parts of the world value recycling to different degrees. For example, I have not been able to find a bin for recyclables in my apartment complex, nor do the boy scouts come around regularly to collect my cans. In Edmonton, we have blue bags for recycling, which are collected the same way as garbage. Even further, there are people that sort out the trash after it has been collected and THEN some of it gets used to produce energy. But all of this is paltry compared to what I experienced in Germany. In Germany, they separate packaging from compost and who knows what else, but the ultimate result is that very little ends up in the trash. There are bins for all of this in convenient locations, at least as far as I could tell from my sister's neighbourhood.

I think Canadian stores often offer credit cards (either for in store purchases or a Visa/Mastercard with the store's logo). I know American stores do, and my American friends seem much more willing to sign up for these aforementioned credit cards. I get offered them on a basis that is much more frequent than I ever did in Canada, but have no Social Security Number to actually take advantage of their offers.

3 comments:

private student loans said...

The right way to ask for a coke is to say "Soda". I am American who has lived in Canada for a while now back in Seattle and I must say Canadians are expanding the term pop in the Northwest. A lot of people here say it too. Have dealt with the dinner thing a lot too haha! Love Canada. All over words. thanks for the post.

JulyDream said...

In India, you're looking for the toilet. Restroom can be a very foreign word. ;)

I am His beloved said...

Enjoyed your post! Try going to a coffee shop and asking for a "double double" or asking for vinegar for your fries..people will look at you like you have horns on your head! Hope you had a great Christmas!