I haven't had much time to blog lately because I was busy moving all my stuff to Canada. I'm finally here and starting to get settled a bit, so I thought I'd write about the culture shock, or lack thereof. Here are some differences and similarities between Canada and 'merka.
In Canada people aren't very outwardly patriotic. You don't see Canadian flags plastered all over everything in sight. In the US there's a flag everywhere you look.
Winner: Canada. I don't really need visual reminders of what country I'm in.
US: Dollar bills. Canada: Dollar coins.
Winner: US. You can't make origami out of coins.
Sizes of fountain drinks at fast food places are vastly different. I got a "medium" at Tim Horton's and it was smaller than a typical "small" in the US. My wife says she ordered a large drink at McDonalds in the US and had to send it back because it was too big.
Winner: Canada. Maybe this is one reason Canada has such a low level of obesity. Does anyone really need a liter of Pepsi with lunch?
In Canada there's French all over everything. In the US there's Spanish all over everything. I find they appear in almost equal amounts between the countries.
Winner: Draw. In BC you don't need to speak French, so I don't plan to learn it. Same with Spanish in the US.
Canada is metric. Temperatures are in Celcius and speed limits are in km/h. The US is Imperial.
Winner: Draw. Unit of measure for non-science purposes is a pretty arbitrary choice, so who cares?
I have a queen now.
Winner: Canada, because it's a still a novel concept to me. But most people in Canada don't really care about the queen, from what I can tell.
In Canada they put vinegar on french fries.
Winner: US. Seriously, come on now.
Everything is way more expensive in Canada and there's lots of sales tax. Example: gasoline is $1.10/liter (over $4/gallon). In Oregon it was always $2-something per gallon. On the other hand, everything is clean and there's cheap universal health care and the social programs seem to keep crime down.
Winner: Canada. What good is cheap gas if you're dead?
They spell things strangely up here. Favourite, colour, centre.
Winner: US, for our far more efficient use of vowels.
My bank card for my Canadian bank can't be used as a credit card. Haven't seen that in the US for a decade or two.
Winner: Draw. Almost everywhere in Canada takes debit cards anyways. Plus they have little portable debit machines so you can pay at your table in restaurants.
No one owns guns. I have yet to fear for my life since I've gotten here.
Winner: Canada. I imagine crime still sucks in the big cities, but here on the island it's nice.
Most people in Canada seem to keep up to date on US and world news. People in the US don't even remember that Canada exists most of the time.
Winner: Canada. Thanks for being educated.
The last letter of the alphabet is now "ZED" instead of "ZEE".
Winner: US. The alphabet song doesn't even rhyme if you say "zed" at the end.
Gay marriage is legal here. Relatedly, there isn't a church on every street corner and I have yet to meet many overly religious people. Censorship on TV and radio is way less. I actually saw a TV show with "atheists vs. religious people" testing their IQs via trivia questions. You would never see that in America.
Winner: Canada. The US can DIAF in this regard.
Drivers suck in Canada as much as or more than they suck in the US. Speeding and passing on the right without turn signals seems to be a national pastime.
TV is mostly the same (i.e. not worth watching). There are mostly the same channels as the US other than Canada-only ones like CBC.
Walmart and Starbucks are still everywhere. But so are Tim Horton's and Canadian Tire.
Honestly things aren't that different up here. Sometimes I forget I'm even in a new country, other than the streets being clean and everyone being polite all the time. It's been a good move.