Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Signs One Has Been in Canada for Seven Years

Next month will mark seven years in Canada as defined by when we bought a house and started other forms of paperwork. And this morning, on the way to dropping my daughter off at school, we had a moment where she used meters, rather than feet, as part of a spider-story. I was struck by this, that she has gone native. Of course, the entire world uses metric, and I guess that the next generation of Americans will be more accustomed to it (as my generation was supposed to be), but it got me thinking about some signs that we have been in Canada for quite a while (longer than I have been anywhere else since before I left for college).
  • I no longer think in American $$ and then convert to CA$$, despite the fluctuations in exchange rates. When we arrived C$1 =US$.63, peaked at about parity and is now down back to C$1=US.8x.
  • Similarly, I don't have to convert celsius to farenheight to understand the weather report. But I still insist that the latter had Zero right--when it is below O F, it is just much more uncomfortable. My dogs have always been excellent thermometers--they have always behaved differently above and below O F.
  • I find myself having to figure out where to stick "u", depending on who I am writing for--rumor/rumour?, humor/humour, etc. Defense/Defence still drives me crazy, given the subjects of my research, including the Department of Defense and the Department of National Defence.
  • It took seven years for me to use a hockey term, rather than football, when I was engaged in a conflict: that I was going to "drop my gloves."
  • My daughter has almost said "eh" and make ordinary statements sound like questions (the eh is often implicit), but my lifetime of American training has thus far kept that from becoming a habit.
  • I have come to expect snow in April, although doing so cost me $5 this year in a bet with my daughter.
  • I am studying Canadian foreign/defense policy. Well, only its effort in Afghanistan and in a comparative context.
However, I think it is going to take more than another seven years to:
  • Give as much value and meaning to the UN as Canadians tend to do.
  • Refer to "university" rather than "college." As in, I went university, rather than I went to college.
  • Dropping "the" when talking about hospitals--as in, "they are in hospital."
  • Zed--nope, going to be Zee the rest of my life.
  • Be able to understand liters per 100 km as opposed to miles per gallon.
  • See a bag of milk and take it for granted.
  • Study Arctic Sovereignty.


Francois Caron said...

Salut Steve,

After 7 years, are you Canadian finally? It won't hurt your soul... :)

Anonymous said...

I steve I took your Honours class 6 years ago.

This was a great read, really enjoyed it.