Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pic# 43. Drive-thru at its best

When my mom came to visit a few years ago I had to run to the post office to mail some letters. She laughed when I went to a drive-thru mailbox. There are so many things... little things... that are different between Canada and the USA. Many are part of everyday life for me now. (Been in the USA for 10 years.)
I took this pic today... pic #43 and thought I'd resurrect an old note I had posted on Facebook with some edits.

September 2007

Coming to the US has revealed many cultural differences. You wouldn’t think so since the countries are so close but here are some things that I’ve experienced.

Most Americans do not remove their shoes in their house. (And yes they leave them on in the winter too! I leave my shoes on in other people’s homes now (or I bring rubber soled slippers) cause I have stepped in too many puddles over the years.) I have tried for years to loosen up when people leave their shoes on in the house but it gives me the heebie jeebies. I just can’t let it go and do ask guests to remove their shoes.

Lack of friendly retail staff. Mind you I live in the “cold shoulder” that is Northeastern USA, but I think it’s so rude when cashiers have that cold blank stare as they ring up my order or mumble hello under their breath.

People act like others are invisible. Mr. Stranger next to you goes about his business like you don’t even exist. Ie. People who open doors and just walk thru without paying you any attention. Or when I hold the door and they go thru saying nothing. Or in the busy aisles at grocery stores. Some people block the way with their cart (in which case I, the foreigner say “Excuse me please”, or people move their cart out of the way without a smile and I say “Thank you… Small aisles huh?”.

I miss the $2 bill/coin.

No mini-sips or bagged milk in the USA.

Americans have no idea who Mr. Dress-up is! It’s a part of every Canadians’ childhood!

No Joe Louis or Passion Flakies down here. Among many other yummy snacks, like flavored chips (ketchup, all dressed, roast chicken) and chocolate bars (Crunchie, Caramilk, Mr.Big, Coffee Crisp, Skor, Aero, Cherry Blossoms...)

Gravy on fries completely foreign here, nevermind poutine. And hot turkey, or hot roast beef sandwiches aren’t common either.

Vocabulary! I’ve been stopped many times while talking because I’ve used a word no one’s heard of. Here are some off the top of my head:
Duo Tang… Report cover
Pylons… Road cones
Kraft Dinner… Macaroni & Cheese
Transport Truck… 18 wheeler
Boardroom… conference room
Washroom... bathroom
Chocolate bars... candy bars
Plum sauce... duck sauce
Soother... binky
Sucker... lollipop

And there is language used here that I hadn’t heard before:
Grinder is a sub sandwich.
Pocketbook is a purse.
Pizza is aka pie.

Feel free to add your own observances in my comments!


Jessica @ This Blessed Life said...

Haha this was funny to read!

Anonymous said...

Wow drive through mail box eh! And the differences are 2 funny! How long did it take you to get used to being there???


Bethany said...

actually a lot of people here call trucks "tractor trailers" - I grew up calling them semis (with the long e sound of course). another thing is icing sugar is called confectioners sugar and soda crackers are saltines. I've been around people from all over the world since 91 and heard many slang terms... but new england def has its own language!

Anonymous said...

Where in Canada did you grow up?
There are regional language and cultural differences within Canada.

Eaves troughs=gutters
recroom=rumpus room
shut the lights off=turn the lights off
and then fundamental pronunciation differences of the same word:
forest with "or" sound=forest with "ir" sound
been with "ee"sound=been with "in"sound
and the list goes on

And then the culture shock of moving and adjusting to the US, we moved from the Toronto area, west and then south...yikes.

15 years living in the US and now I am more homesick than ever, despite loving life here, as we negotiate "college" for our junior (grade 11) and I long for what is(was) familiar.

And the shoes...eastern family leave them on, western family take them off....I thought it had to do with the climate, my eastern family think it uncivilized to not be wearing shoes in the home....who knows. And does it matter?

Ok, that's my take on the differences.

Sonja said...

Very interesting! I'm from Ontario. We live 10 minutes from Michigan and we notice a big difference when we're over there. They have accents and very different products on their store shelves. But they have I go over often!