I’m not sure why I let so many months fly by without posting an update but there is no time like to present, so here is a few random thoughts about life in Canada.
I’ve now been here for 3 and a half years. I think I’m at the stage where I am losing some of my Britishness but have not yet acquired a Canadian persona. So today I said ‘math’, ‘cell phone’ and ‘washroom’ without stumbling once…. (that’s maths, mobile and loo) so that is either progress or deterioration depending on your perspective. At least I still know when I’m using Canadian and not British words, the real change in me is in the words I use without realizing they are different to the ones I would have used four years ago… My good friend Nancy who is Canadian but lived in the UK for a goodly time said it is something like sharing a house or apartment (flat…) – when you finally part you are no longer sure who owns the microwave or the Duran Duran album – it’s the same with language.
There is some mangling of the language that I find hard to take – and I suspect I shall no matter how long we stay here. For example each morning on the radio I listen to the presenter on Metro Morning (think BBC local radio such as Radio WM that would like to be pretentious but can’t quite manage it) telling me that ‘if I take the TTC (public transport) then the blah blah road is blocked’. Every time I shout – so if I’m driving a truck (lorry), RV (massive motor home) or box van (transit van) or even if I’m roller skating it isn’t blocked…..? Or ‘this plane will be landing momentarily’ – well could it land long enough for me to get off please? I really don’t want to come across as pompous – but it seems having a ‘British’ accent means I do that anyway, so might as well be hanged for a sheep as hanged for a lamb…. that could happen here too because lamb is surprisingly expensive.
I know I’ve been here a long time because I’m still comparing prices to those that I’d expect to pay when I left Birmingham. Now that one of our two daughters has joined us from the UK she keeps telling me how out of date I am with prices and that virtually everything is more expensive in the UK than here. The big exceptions seem to be car insurance and cell phone charges. I think the phone charges is sheer extortion, based on no evidence at all. The car insurance is less of a mystery. Even though almost all cars are automatic, which as we all know means they are little harder to drive than a dodgem, and the roads are mostly dead straight and very broad, the standard of driving is appalling. Thought Canadians were polite and friendly did you? Well just try getting one of them to let you out on a highway – even when your lane is clearly about to end – they just stare straight ahead and keep on motoring preferably at exactly the same speed as you, even if you slow down. Does get quite fraught at times…