I promised a post about 'Canadianisms' and other assorted things that surprised and confused me, so here it is. And from the moment I first landed in North America there has been much to surprise and confuse me...
|Restaurant in Calgary|
Let's start with one of the things that is always on my mind: toilets. Or as they say in North America: bathrooms, washrooms or restrooms. People please: if there's no bath, it's not a bathroom, a washroom just sounds as if you wash and a restroom is just ridiculous: if I were to spend an hour lying on the floor resting, security would be gotten and I would end up at the nearest police station! So, toilet it is. And the first thing I noticed as European is that the toilet bowls are full of water. There's enough water in the toilet bowl for a family of ducks to swim around in and there still being enough room for a crocodile! And I had heard about North America being on the prudish side (compared to Europeans), but even I don't want to bare all when I'm using the toilet. You could drive a truck through the gaps between the doors and a toddler wouldn't need to crouch to get underneath the door either!
Once I had arrived in Edmonton and had rented a car, it was difficult to remember which car was mine. Especially if it was parked in a parking lot with a lot of other silver grey Chevrolet Impalas. All facing forwards. Because for some obscure reason (don't ask me please), Alberta numberplates are only found on the back of the car! What's the deal with that? Fortunately I never parked it in a parking lot with a lot of other silver grey Chevrolet Impalas all facing forwards. And I had written down the numberplate. Somewhere!
Now, if I had rented that car in the Netherlands it would have been considered to be a big car. There was enough room for 5 and you could sleep in that boot (albeit a bit curled up). Over in Canada, that car was deemed to be small. Well, perhaps not small, but definitely not big!
|3 Ave S meant Third Avenue South of the River Bow|
In Europe we're used to streetnames that do make some sense, with the emphasis on some. If you're in Market Street, you are usually somewhere in the center of a town or village, if it's got a funny name of a composer or a colour or a tree or anything like that, it's usually out in the newer suburbs. But in Canada it's completely different, since it's all in a grid. Quite easy though, just count and you will be fine. And I even grasped the house numbering in Edmonton. 10325 88th Avenue (East-West) means it's close to 103rd Street (North-South). Which took me no time at all to figure out (perhaps I should add, I had read about this some time ago)!
|West Edmonton Mall|
Then of course there are the really shiny apples, the tax not included in the sales price, Hallowe'en (although it was probably a good thing the Christmas stuff wasn't out yet: I would have needed another suitcase), the fixed showerheads and the motorways that aren't really motorways (stopping on the hard shoulder, are you kidding me?) plus a gazillion things I won't find out until I've actually moved there!
Overall though, I quite liked Canada and wouldn't mind moving there...