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Expat Power?
March 8, 2006 7:36 AM   Subscribe

It can be tough to be a Canadian expat in the US. All those silly little misconceptions about igloos, dogsleds and hockey to combat. Oh, and some stuff from American pundits that makes us feel bad. But don't feel too blue. The Canadian Embassy in Washington has you covered. Are you doing your expat duty?
posted by generichuman (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
My first thought was how much of a little whining baby this makes the embassy look like.

My second thought was to pity the people who invite connect2canada folks to dinner parties and get "corrected."
posted by generichuman at 7:39 AM on March 8, 2006


You left out curling. That, by far, perplexes us Americans the most!
posted by Mijo Bijo at 7:43 AM on March 8, 2006


The U.S. uses the word 'friend' in much the same way as a 3 sheets to the wind oaf uses the term 'buddy'.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:47 AM on March 8, 2006


the Canadian embassy in Washington is assembling an army of ex-pats as it battles the errors spouted by U.S television pundits and repeated at dinner parties.

I wonder if it'll go something like this.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:49 AM on March 8, 2006


I never thought of the Neighbors to the North (of the US) as particularly thin skinned, but if comments by Tucker Carlson and Neil Cavuto get them riled, then they deserved to be ridiculed. Who takes those twerps seriously?

As far as Canadian ex-pats go--how can we ever forgive them for sending us Paul Schaeffer and Jim Carrey?

Oh yeah. Natasha Henstridge.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:49 AM on March 8, 2006


I still tend to point American friends to the This American Life episode of "Who's Canadian" when they express curiosity about the expat experience.

Also: Hosting Canadian Thanksgiving in America > Contrived cultural outreach dinner parties.
posted by bl1nk at 7:52 AM on March 8, 2006


I think it's kind of cool that Canadians spend all their time hunting moose and racoons and eating doughnuts and still have time to brand their own version of the ipod.
posted by nixerman at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2006


fandango_matt , that was fun.
I never met a Canadian I didn't like.
posted by nickyskye at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2006


Bah to the rumors. There's a six foot wall of snow at the border. Canadians tunnel to work.
posted by Malor at 8:07 AM on March 8, 2006


I never thought of the Neighbors to the North (of the US) as particularly thin skinned,

Because we aren't.

but if comments by Tucker Carlson and Neil Cavuto get them riled, then they deserved to be ridiculed. Who takes those twerps seriously? - beelzbubba

Who said those are getting us riled? When Pat Buchannon called us "Soviet Canuckistan" we proudly adopted the term because it was funny. We got hats and shirts made. (That's still my favorite toque).
posted by raedyn at 8:11 AM on March 8, 2006


I'd like to thank Canada for Paul Shaeffer, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and William Shatner.
posted by faceonmars at 8:13 AM on March 8, 2006


I think it would be more difficult to be an American expat. in Canada.
posted by dobie at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2006


Speaking as an English ex-pat now living permanently in Canada, I'd just like to say that almost everything you have heard about Canada/Canadians is entirely true.

Canadians are pleasant and friendly.

The crime rate is ridiculously low (I live in downtown Toronto and don't worry if I forget to lock my house or car).

It is fucking cold in the winter but Canadians like it that way.

The beer is excellent.

Canadians do not find jokes about beavers particularly funny.

Canoeing is a mainstream family activity.

Hockey is a religion.

Ethnic tension is almost non-existent.

(however) The aboriginals are treated like shit.

Most Canadians could not give a flying fuck about marijuana or gay marriage so long as their local NHL franchise makes the playoffs.

Canadians privately make a LOT of jokes about Americans and consider themselves honorary Europeans.

Canadians watch American TV, apart from Corner Gas.
posted by unSane at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Who said those are getting us riled? When Pat Buchannon called us "Soviet Canuckistan" we proudly adopted the term because it was funny. We got hats and shirts made. (That's still my favorite toque).

Ha, ha! That is completely true. The more the wingnuts get annoyed, the funnier it is. 'Canuckistan' is indeed used as a term of approval here.
posted by unSane at 8:18 AM on March 8, 2006


Canadians watch American TV, apart from Corner Gas. - unSane

And Rick Mercer.
posted by raedyn at 8:40 AM on March 8, 2006


*Inhales while saying, "yeah" in agreement with the previous posts*
posted by Pollomacho at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2006


Canadians privately make a LOT of jokes about Americans and consider themselves honorary Europeans.

Spot on!
posted by furtive at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2006


It's hard out here for a 'nuck.





(With much love!)
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:54 AM on March 8, 2006


As a Canadian who's lived in d'Uhmerka for 20 years, my pet peeve has always been that 99% of merkans don't even know the capital of Canada.
posted by Timberman at 8:56 AM on March 8, 2006


Isn't Detroit the capital of Canada?

(Just kidding, I know what it really is. Saska-something, right?)
posted by aaronetc at 9:01 AM on March 8, 2006


I was recently in New York city. I was introduced to someone who asked me where I was from, and I said "Vancouver." She then asked me, "Is that near Montreal?"

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
posted by illiad at 9:02 AM on March 8, 2006


...but if comments by Tucker Carlson and Neil Cavuto get them riled...

If they're doing something to piss off dishonest, bullying pricks like Carlson and Cavuto, then there's something worth liking about them.
posted by Gamblor at 9:07 AM on March 8, 2006


Canadians privately make a LOT of jokes about Americans and consider themselves honorary Europeans.

Yeah to the first one, not so much the second, at least not 'round where I live- oh, you live in Toronto...
That explains it.

/Spits in unSane's general direction, as per Terms of Citizenship Article #63-3984, or the Everyone Who Doesn't Live in Toronto Must Hate Toronto Act.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:10 AM on March 8, 2006


If they're doing something to piss off dishonest, bullying pricks like Carlson...

I recall an interview Carlson did with ex-MP Caroline Parrish on CNN. Tucker was trying his damnedest to goad and bait her (quite rudely I should add) but she either refused to take the bait or she was too oblivious to notice it and just let it pass by.

I think that probably incensed Carlson more than Parrish vocally calling Bush a "moron" in earshot of the President.
posted by illiad at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2006


It is fucking cold in the winter but Canadians like it that way.

What choice do they have? I learned as a boy in Wisconsin, when it's winter eight months of the year, you either learn to enjoy cold-weather actities, or you go insane.

Canada is fucking cold, alright.
posted by Gamblor at 9:14 AM on March 8, 2006


Canada is fucking cold, alright.

Not for us Vancouverites. :)
posted by illiad at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2006


Not for us Vancouverites. :)

Yeah, count the string bikinis in that picture. "Vancouver: It's practically like being in Rio!" :)
posted by Gamblor at 9:22 AM on March 8, 2006


The scene: a golf course on an American air force base in Germany. Dramatis personae: me, my dad, and two youngish American airmen paired up with us by the starter. It's about the third or fourth hole. One of the airmen asks if my father and I will be playing in the upcoming father-son tournament.

ME: No, that tournament's only open to Americans.

AIRMAN: You're not American?

ME: No, I'm Canadian.

AIRMAN: Oh. [thoughtful pause] Your English is really good.

ME: Thanks. Been practising it my whole life.

Turns out the guy's sole experience with Canada was one weekend in Montreal.

As usual when stuff like this happens, it didn't make me hate Americans. It just made me think that sometimes American insularity is really, really funny.
posted by gompa at 9:25 AM on March 8, 2006


"Vancouver: It's practically like being in Rio!"

Touche! :)

The string bikinis do come out, although usually only in July and August. Or they come off entirely throughout the summer down at Wreck Beach.

Who needs Rio?
posted by illiad at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2006


To be a North-American but not American. I don't know why any Canadian would mess that up by moving to the states. This sounds like a nice support group for them.
posted by jon_kill at 9:27 AM on March 8, 2006


Gamblor, I'm not sure if that was Ottawa or Winterpeg. Can you find out? My guess it was Winterpeg. Because you know, "it's 40 below @ Portage and Main"
I KNOW the Cdn prairies. A block heater just isn't good enough sometimes, so most people just remove the car's battery and bring it into the house. Problemo solved.
posted by GoodJob! at 9:28 AM on March 8, 2006


Because you know, "it's 40 below @ Portage and Main"

SUMMER DAYS ARE LONG!
WINTER DAYS ARE COLD!
PORTAGE AND MAIN FIFTEEN BELOW!
posted by jon_kill at 9:29 AM on March 8, 2006


Ok, illiad, I've been thinking of relocating to the Pacific Northwest, and the nude beaches sealed the deal for BC. Where can I apply for residency?

(I'm polite, don't litter, and like hockey. I think I would fit in well.)
posted by Gamblor at 9:32 AM on March 8, 2006


I don't know why any Canadian would mess that up by moving to the states.

Half my university graduating class moved to the US. My sister lives in the US. Why? I think it has something to do with their economy being 11 or 12 times the size of ours. Plus, if you're in a specialized field (I took Computer Engineering), the effective difference is more like 500 times bigger. I will spare myself the embarassment of finding actual data on the relative size of the US vs Canadian software industry.

No one wakes up and says "Fuck this Canadian shit, I need me some USA! USA! USA!". Most people just get tired of looking for a job, get a TN visa and move.
posted by GuyZero at 9:35 AM on March 8, 2006


Canadians are pleasant and friendly.

The crime rate is ridiculously low


As an American living in Canada, I'm always slightly perplexed by the Canadian Idolatry I find. It's a country - it has it's share of jerks, corruption, and crime. Sure, it's got a lot of good things going for it, but in my personal experience, in regards to the above statements, I haven't found it that different from any other country I've lived in. But I'm a little bitter because some drunk or inept thief wrapped the frame of my bike around a pole I had locked it to this morning.

That said, this is one of my favorite Daily Show Clips [WMV].
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:38 AM on March 8, 2006


GuyZero, where was your university? If it was in Ontario, I think your sample might be skewed.

Anyway, economy isn't a good reason. I'd rather live in a country than a loose grouping of cities and roads.
posted by jon_kill at 9:39 AM on March 8, 2006


t has it's share of jerks

Look out for Scott, he's a dick!
posted by jon_kill at 9:39 AM on March 8, 2006


"(That's still my favorite toque)"

So that's one stereotypical item actually based in fact.

*makes a check next to 'toque' in The Book*

Tell me, how do you feel about back bacon?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2006


I KNOW the Cdn prairies. A block heater just isn't good enough sometimes, so most people just remove the car's battery and bring it into the house. Problemo solved. - GoodJob!

Uhh... "most people"? Lived my whole life in the Canadian Prairies and I can think of this being done about twice, both times because it was already frozen.

Yeah it does get cold. I spent a week in January in Cuba this year and one of our bartenders was wearing a jacket when it got down to 15 C. I was in a bikini and laughed because at home it was -15C which is very WARM for January here. Two years ago on the January day when I moved into my house it was MINUS 54 with the windchill, and somewhere around -40 without the wind.

Did anyone mention how Canadians are proud of living though the cold? Bragging about how they went swimming in a outdoor hot tub when it was 40 below and all that.
posted by raedyn at 9:47 AM on March 8, 2006


It's not like we wear them all the time or anything, but what the hell else do you do when you've got to shovel the walk when it's forty below and windy? Exposed skin can freeze in a minute, so you don't leave anything exposed!
posted by raedyn at 9:48 AM on March 8, 2006


Errr... my most recent comment was answering mr_crash_davis' comment about toques.
posted by raedyn at 9:49 AM on March 8, 2006


I have yet to taste bacon I didn't like.
posted by raedyn at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2006


Did anyone mention how Canadians are proud of living though the cold? Bragging about how they went swimming in a outdoor hot tub when it was 40 below and all that.

We can be kind of retarded that way.
posted by illiad at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2006


D'oh - I think I screwed up the Daily Show link. Try this one.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2006


Who said those are getting us riled? When Pat Buchannon called us "Soviet Canuckistan" we proudly adopted the term because it was funny. We got hats and shirts made. (That's still my favorite toque

Yes, a pretty good-humored people ... for me to poop on.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:53 AM on March 8, 2006


The crime rate is ridiculously low (I live in downtown Toronto and don't worry if I forget to lock my house or car).

My North York apartment was burgled two days ago. Lock your damn door, unSane.
posted by orange swan at 9:53 AM on March 8, 2006


Raedyn, try living in Cold Lake, Alberta for a few winters. You'll get used to bringing the car battery into the house as easily as shutting off the car's headlights.
BTW, I'm one of those Canadians who gets chilly if the temp drops below 70 f, so I just can't relate to your Cuba story. But man, then I moved to NY state. Wow-- I really escaped the cold, didn't I? I'm no fool.
posted by GoodJob! at 10:01 AM on March 8, 2006


Oh yeah?!? Well, try living in...
[Shitty climate one-upmanship: A Canadian tradition since 1867.]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:19 AM on March 8, 2006


Cold Lake, Alberta

Man, there's a place name I never thought I'd see on MeFi. I spent five long hard winters there. (You a fellow base brat, GoodJob!?)

My favourite memories of (CFB) Cold Lake are of playing shinny in balaclavas and two layers of longjohns with ski-glove inserts under the hockey gloves, and of listening to the radio each morning to hear how long it would take exposed flesh to freeze that day. Also of hitch-hiking into Grand Centre to play videogames. On the plus side, I'll probably never again see the Aurora Borealis light up so vividly in that "icy sky at night" Neil Young sang about - it was like an undulating holographic Monet.
posted by gompa at 10:19 AM on March 8, 2006


if comments by Tucker Carlson and Neil Cavuto get them riled, then they deserved to be ridiculed. Who takes those twerps seriously?

Apparently, half of America.
posted by chrominance at 10:20 AM on March 8, 2006


My North York apartment was burgled two days ago.

My toolshed was burgled three weeks ago (Vancouver).

And while, as a lifelong BC resident, I've never understood the whole "Canada is cold" thing, it's two weeks until spring and it's snowing pretty heavily outside my window.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:23 AM on March 8, 2006


(Also, for the record, we used to just plug in the block heaters in our corner of Cold Lake. And even my parents' second car - a creaking tinfoil fartbox of a Dodge Omni - started on most days.)
posted by gompa at 10:24 AM on March 8, 2006


Can. A. Da?
That’s....north, right?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 AM on March 8, 2006


Yes, gompa, I'm a fellow CFB brat, so I have to say I was held there against my will. :-)
posted by GoodJob! at 10:26 AM on March 8, 2006


Cold Lake, Alberta

Ha, posting this thread was worth it just for that. I lived there when I was kid - Esso Brat.

I remember going to and from the school bus with a flashlight because it was still dark, and it being so cold that the ice on the lake was "singing"

Not to mention, CF-18's screaming overhead as the pilot's way of saying "Honey, I'll be home in a bit," to the neighbourhood families.
posted by generichuman at 10:30 AM on March 8, 2006


CF-18's screaming overhead as the pilot's way of saying "Honey, I'll be home in a bit," to the neighbourhood families

Might've been my dad on a couple of occasions.

Ye gods, ColdLakeFilter - never thought I'd see such a thing.
posted by gompa at 10:33 AM on March 8, 2006


Cold Lake Public and Nelson Heights, represent?
posted by generichuman at 10:36 AM on March 8, 2006


It is fucking cold in the winter but Canadians like it that way.

Not everywhere. I was in Vancouver last January and I found the temperature very mild & pleasant, reaching 50 most days. Unfortunately it rained most of the time.

I'm from Florida, yet I could see myself living in Vancouver. After one visit it's now one of my favorite places. It reminds me a lot of Seattle or San Francisco.
posted by mike3k at 10:43 AM on March 8, 2006


All about Canada.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2006


Wreck Beach. Try the electric jello, if so inclined.
posted by GoodJob! at 11:50 AM on March 8, 2006


When I lived in France we'd identify other candians by humming the Hockey Night in Canada theme and seeing who turned their heads and started humming with us.... Ahh, memories...
posted by blue_beetle at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2006


Every year, about the end of February, I think, "this is insane, people were never meant to live in places this cold, I have to move to BC this year", and so on. And then, as soon as it starts to get warm and everything melts, I forget about it all until next February.

And I live in Southern Ontario.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:20 PM on March 8, 2006


posted by beelzbubba As far as Canadian ex-pats go--how can we ever forgive them for sending us Paul Schaeffer and Jim Carrey?

At least solid-one-love isn't over here, using up the US supply of cheeseburgers.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:21 PM on March 8, 2006


gompa writes "And even my parents' second car - a creaking tinfoil fartbox of a Dodge Omni - started on most days."

Of course it did, it was a dodge. Dodge: Rusted but reliable to 50[1] below.

beelzbubba writes "but if comments by Tucker Carlson and Neil Cavuto get them riled, then they deserved to be ridiculed. Who takes those twerps seriously?"

Nobody, we think it's hilarious when they call us obviously uniformed names.

Alvy Ampersand writes "Everyone Who Doesn't Live in Toronto Must Hate Toronto Act."

That's an Act?! I thought it was just common sense.

[1] Which 50? First one, then the other.
posted by Mitheral at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2006


"I got nothing against the Canadian people but in the last few years you've swung dramatically to the left, and we in America have some questions about that." - Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Canada, May 2004.

I mean how can you not laugh at this ignorant fool?
posted by Mitheral at 12:34 PM on March 8, 2006


GoodJob!

Speaking as a Winnipeger, I have never seen a battery brought indoors. Cold Lake I could see, but not down here.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:00 PM on March 8, 2006


I feel obliged to defend toronto, my home for the last 16 years (born and raised in Niagara Falls, ON [the side with the pretty parks and the view]):

In my 16 years here (and frequent visits before that) I've only witnessed one act of violence (a Goth guy got sick of a homeless man pestering him for change and gave the guy a shove, breaking the open beer bottle he was holding in his coat pocket), and we recently had our car stereo stolen from our locked car in our driveway (I live in East York).
That's it.
But even with our rising crime and murder rate here, our annual totals look like just a bad weekend in DC, don't they?
posted by I, Credulous at 2:01 PM on March 8, 2006


As a Canadian who's lived in d'Uhmerka for 20 years, my pet peeve has always been that 99% of merkans don't even know the capital of Canada.
I was actually there in January : >

What we're going to be needing pretty soon is an underground railroad to get us up there--can you guys get on that, please?
posted by amberglow at 2:06 PM on March 8, 2006


you'll just have to head a little west...
http://www.dea.gov/pubs/pressrel/pr072105.html
posted by imaswinger at 2:20 PM on March 8, 2006


WinnipegDragon writes "I have never seen a battery brought indoors"

I brought one in doors, but just so no one would steal it. The hood on the 4X4 I'm not driving right now doesn't lock and is parked in the alley on the other side of my fence. I thought it was a bit to tempting of a target.
posted by Mitheral at 2:30 PM on March 8, 2006


There's Cold Lake, and then there's Yellowknife.

After -60, -40 feels like a Spring day -- according to friends who lived there.

I don't miss the cold, but I still find Hong Kong summers too damned hot.
posted by bwg at 3:39 PM on March 8, 2006


99% of merkans don't even know the capital of Canada

Sheesh. Everybody knows it's Canada City.
posted by dhartung at 3:58 PM on March 8, 2006


Canadians privately make a LOT of jokes about Americans and consider themselves honorary Europeans.

I am Canadian but I have lived abroad also. One Canadian trait I noticed was that British Imperial History is held in high regard by Canadians. Maybe because our country largely received its identity in those days - the Boer War, WWI, 1812, are all big in terms of Canadian identity (even when people can't actually tell you about those events) and at least in the West - Queen Victoria is considered our "founder" (Regina, Victoria, Alberta, Prince Albert - all names related to Queen Victoria).

I've noticed Brits could care less and South Africans seem to find it kind of archaic. Not sure about the rest of the Anglosphere.
posted by Deep Dish at 4:12 PM on March 8, 2006


What about the stupid misconceptions that Americans have about other Americans? You know how hard it is to be a Texan anywhere outside of Texas? Hell, it's hard for me to be a well-educated, liberal in my own state.

There are many Americans who genuinely believe that Texans are all riding horses down here, across a vast desert. I grew up in swamplands, for chrissakes.

Also, to all the Canadians who get all pissy because Americans don't know your frickin' geography or national history, we have 50 states (!) to worry about on top of European history. I mean, I had to take Texas history every other year until I was in 7th grade. It's just too much...you have to prioritize a little, you know?
posted by lunalaguna at 4:36 PM on March 8, 2006


for real, luna? We never had any New York history at all--no one gave a shit. Do other states do that? It's such a waste.
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on March 8, 2006


"Vancouver: It's practically like being in Rio!"
Touche! :)
The string bikinis do come out, although usually only in July and August. Or they come off entirely throughout the summer down at Wreck Beach.
Who needs Rio?
posted by illiad at 9:26 AM
--------------------------------------
Every summer in late July early August I head up to Vancouver for about a week (I need the civilization) Most of that time is spent out at Wreck Beach (so very, very civilized). The first time I went there I was about to leave because I was thirsty and hadn't brought anything to drink. Then I looked down the beach to see. . . a beautiful and deeply tanned auburn-haired cutey swaying towards me carrying a tray full of mai-tais wearing nothing but a change purse. I'm afraid I ended up with the most complete sunburn of my entire life that day. Bathing in Aloe Vera gel for two weeks afterward was worth it. Now I am sure to bring my sunscreen. As far as running into fellow 'muricans when I'm up there? I smile at them, glance down at my watch quickly and make some excuse for being late then head off to hang with my Vancouver homeys. And hell yes I'm thinking of expatriating, wouldn't you?
posted by mk1gti at 8:26 PM on March 8, 2006


I talk to people all over both countries, and I love Canadians. Taken as a group, they're smart and polite, often funny, and fiercely independent.
Funniest Canadian story: From up around Yellowknife, a young lady told me how they receive their supplies. "The pilot radios in when he's about 10 minutes out, we all put on our coats and run out to the parking lot, he opens the door at 50 feet and they kick the boxes out the door, and we run out to get the perishables before they freeze."
Funniest American story: I had to conference in some lady from down south to call Canada, after she spent some time worrying on my phone that "I sure hope I can find someone who speaks English up there." Repeated assurances that calling Alberta was not going to be a problem did not cut it, so I offered to go along for the call, "to translate." (My French consists of, "Bonjour, do you speak English?" So far, that's always been all I needed.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:51 AM on March 9, 2006


Another thing to brag about. Go Team Canada!
posted by raedyn at 11:55 AM on March 9, 2006


It's not cold in the Okanagan, either. And while the higher hills around here have a thin skiff of snow from an inappropriate bit of weather this week, there's not a speck of snow down in the valley, and I've got all sorts of green things poking through the soil.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2006


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