So, living in Canada for the past 15+ years has had an effect on me. Canada is a bilingual country and all the labels on food and most of the road signs are in English and French. Even living in Ontario, which is very English, I have learned from buying groceries that “fromage” is cheese. When I moved here all the food labels in the US were in English so to see food labeled in two languages blew my little Okie mind. I can remember buying groceries and wondering why some foods were in French while others were in English. It never dawned on me to turn the item around… I just figured there was a law stating all chocolate pudding was to be in French but the vanilla could be in English… Who was I to come up here and change the laws? I was smart enough to look at the box and if it was brown, it was chocolate. If anything, I’m adaptable!
The same logic applied to everyday life. In a restaurant, even a fast food restaurant, napkins were called “serviettes”… Seriously? Okay, I’m adaptable. It wasn’t until I stood in my Mother’s kitchen, in front of God and everyone, and asked her if she was out of serviettes that I realized living I was turning into one of “them”. By the way, the woman looked at me like I had two heads and I was wondering what HER problem was! Pretty soon I was calling restrooms, “washrooms”, just like everyone up here. By the way, calling them “washrooms” makes no sense whatsoever because you don’t go to that room to wash … or maybe you do! Hmmm, okay, you sure don’t go in there to rest, either, but still. It was so foreign!
Another big difference was spelling. The whole “colors” versus “colOUrs” thing was new to me. I had to change my ways on that pretty quickly because we had grade school children that I needed to help with homework and spelling. We have one daughter that could barely spell her first name, which only had three letters, and she needed all the help I could give her. Coming from Oklahoma, I gladly added “ou” (Oklahoma University) to words. I think that habit will be the hardest for me to break once we move.
Some things I’ve picked up here I’ve done so without my knowledge. I guess it’s like moving to Florida and getting more sun than you’re used to. Pretty soon you’re tan and you wondered when that happened. I still have my thick Okie accent but occasionally the words “poutine” and “bloody” fall out of my mouth. I’m happy to say that I escaped not having to learn the metric system, that’s a big bonus! Our car has a button that we can press so I don’t have to pull out a calculator to see if I’m speeding. I don’t know a kilogram from a kilometre and I hope to keep it that way!
I’m looking forward to moving “back home” however I am really going to miss a lot of things here. I think I’m fortunate to have had the chance to look at things through different eyes. I can still fry chicken like my Mother taught me plus make a darn good tourtière. Yeah… I think I’m gonna be okay. 🙂