I am from the US, so when I met my wife from Canada, it was quite a shock to me. To this day, I don’t really understand the differences between culture shock and American culture shock.
For me, Canada was a country of amazing diversity, with people from all over the world, a place where one can go anywhere in a matter of minutes without having to spend a lot of money, time, or effort. But there is no question that there are astounding differences here in how we live our lives.
One of the first things that I felt as I arrived in Canada was that I was completely unknown to the native Canadians. I was a Yorker by birth, and I had been living in Canada since I was three years old. Here I was, in this new country, all by myself, and Everyone knew me, but no one seemed to know quite where I was from.
I quickly learned that being a tourist in Canada is a special way to live your life. You have to realize that you are a guest in this country, and unless you’re completely familiar with the customs and culture of your host country, you can be viewed as a foreigner, and your behavior can be interpreted as being disrespectful.
I thought that Canadians were Canadians, and I liked most of what I saw. But as the years went by, and as I went from province to province, I became more and more aware that my “Canadianness” was rubbing off on me.
In the end, I believe that my appreciation for the uniqueness of Canada got me a lot more out of the country than I out of my home.
One of the things that I have always loved about Canada is that there are so many different ways to make a living in Canada. If you want to live in Canada, you can work in the private sector, in the forest if you don’t want to work in the forest, you can always stay in Canada (as I did, to great success) try to make a new country in itself, or you can work in Canada but do it differently.
One of the things I have noticed is that Canada is a country full of contrasts.
One of the most consistent things that I’ve noticed about Canada is that we seem to work best when we have a smaller population and that we do not always work as hard.
Working in the forest in Quebec, I found that when there was a big lumberjack show going on, almost everyone in the surrounding area worked in summer. Many of the guys would work all day and then go home and work in their wives’ businesses. Other workplaces were more like service professions, and it was hard to find work as a lumberjack unless you were going out to buy lumber.
In the end, though there is more work in Canada than I’ve ever known, there is also a great deal of freedom.
Freedom from the government, freedom from US regulation, and freedom from fear of the economy. There is always somewhere you can go that even if you don’t have cash, you can’t be robbed. If your boss doesn’t like you, there will be another one somewhere else when you are in trouble.
By the way, one of the best parts of retiring to Canada is the right to express any risqué ideas you may have about the country’s politics and women’s issues, as they are not nearly as extreme as the nuns’ robes.
That’s especially true if you are a right-wing conservative. My father-in-law’s right-wing views are as follows:
The state is organic and good but not beautiful. Birth control is federal, and there’s no demand for incentives. Family size is preferred unless you are aversion in Montreal, Quebec. Immigration and complaints are easy to file away, while an apple stroll and cultural tour draw crowds of mostly retirees.
Business is mostly seasonal unless you are looking for the Honeymoonation. If you are a businessman or woman, you will find that Canada’s statistics bear little resemblance to those of the United States when it comes to business. The Canadian economy grows in dead uptown, but tread carefully; if you run into trouble, hard-to-find help is just a computer click away.
The last thing I want to do is preach, but please be aware that in a country of diverse cultures and women’s rights, simply having a beard is a very given. Women are still by far the most ress I have seen, and it seems to be passed down from generation to generation. What happened to those beautiful women in the buff? They are all over the place. Even little children are wearing Sleeveless tops with Zorbingbumps.