Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July to the US!

From what I've learned so far, this is marvelously magnanimous of me. Most Canadians don't seem to like the people that inhabit the US, or the Country itself. Rooted like most hatreds, I'm guessing, in jealously. The "US" is filled (so they seem to think here) with a bunch of selfish, gas-guzzling, fat, land-hogging, arrogant older brothers and sisters who disdain them.

But I am not through with my inculcation, so I am still distrusted and not considered a member of the tribes here just yet. Apparently, my probationary period involves some torture: a family reunion that promises to be hot and painful, a survival test of the humidity, a driving test (though I can't see this being too hard since apparently NO ONE here knows yet how to drive. Example: On the freeways they have large signs that say things like "Use caution and check your blindspot before changing lanes" and "Stay alert, stay alive." As if people on the road have never driven before. What? I must check lanes AND stay alert? WTF? Whoever heard of that?)

So I am once again in a liminal space. Not yet a member here, but cut off from my comfort zone. And oh how I miss it at times.

In my cultural education, I am learning:

-how to snip the corner of my milk bags, not too small, not too large--like finding the balance between a scream and a whisper...
-how to resist the temptation to chat on my phone while driving...
-how to make my vowels a bit more taut--they waste no excess in overpronouncing their vowels here. As if every jump between consonants needs to be as tight as Nik Wallenda's rope over Niagara Falls: Say that instead of thaaat, say long instead of loooong...
-how to enunciate my t's; this particular consonant gets barely any attention in the states, yet here, it is much loved and even often used in place of d's, as in good, which sounds like goot. Also in words like that, yet, a bit (common), and cute. It's so cute...
-how to lift my inflection at the end of every sentence, as if I'm always asking a question: As in, "We are looking for a home to buy?; We have two boys?; We just moved here from Denver?..." statements I've made of late ad nauseum...
-that recycling is complex: there are THREE bins we have in the kitchen that we use to sort all of our waste. Organics (anything that you might be tempted to throw down your garbage disposal), Plastics, and Paper. Oh, and you only get one black trash bag per household per week. You have more? You must purchase extra garbage tags at the city building.

Perhaps soon we'll have a ceremony where I will be let in the fold, as for now, I am existing in this trial period, waiting patiently for the unknown day when I will belong here. I suspect it may take a while.

We celebrated Canada Day on July 1 at this location above (My favorite place on earth, the reason I agreed to move to Canada, and where you'll find me every summer from here on out). This holiday is strangely familiar to your 4th: Lots of flags, general merriment, fireworks, hamburgers, bad jokes, and beer. But this country is only 145 years old. And my family watched the fireworks in the cradle of a boat in the middle of the lake. We were rocked by the waters while we peered up into the Canadian night sky, listening for echoes, watching for our favorite patterns of explosions.

For a permanent home? We discovered a lovely little peninsula called Port Dalhousie (pronounced da-lose-ie) in St. Catharines. We have a tradition that we never turn down an invitation for coffee or a drink if we have nothing better to do and the people seem mildly interesting... After our first Church experiment, we were invited for coffee to an old Dutch couple's home. Turns out they were trying to sell their home which happens to be on this lovely little peninsula... Yes, we'll be moving in early August.

1 comment:

  1. Kim,

    Really! What? Tell me more about this house. I can't believe it!