Saturday, August 29, 2015

8 Reasons I know I'm Canadian When I'm Travelling

Canadians, like it or not, are a particular bunch, complete with their own culture, ideas, and superstitions. Honestly, It never occurred to me until I started travelling that "being Canadian" was actually a thing, but, of course, it is. People I would meet in hostels would have knowledge of all these stereotypes of "the Canadian," which was essentially an image of a polite, maple syrup loving, nature experienced lumberjack. It all got me thinking, and I started to find myself doing something abroad and stopping to note, "my goodness am I ever Canadian right now!"

If you're wondering how I know, wonder no further. Here are 8 reasons I'm sure I'm a Canadian when I'm on the road.

Busan, Korea - 2012

1) The first word I learn in another language is typically "sorry." 


I wish I was kidding. I suppose the thought process is, if I can't say hello in that language, at least I can adequately apologize for that. It was humourous though in Asia, when I kept apologizing for bumping into people in crowded situations, and people would look back as if they were utterly confused as to why I was apologizing. I suppose it's better safe than...sorry?

I'll just stick with promiňte, thanks.

2) I still, for some reason, expect people to follow traffic rules. 


In Canada, you can be relatively sure that if you cross the street and a car is coming, they may have some sympathy and slow down. Elsewhere? Don't count on it. In some cases, (I'm thinking Turkey and Italy namely) they may actually speed up. It's something engrained in me from my Canadian childhood - I'm still positive pedestrians have agency. However, there is hope, another year in Istanbul and I'll likely just forget traffic rules ever existed at all. 
Bangkok, Thailand - 2012

3) I sweat more than others...


It's cold in Canada, alright? 

Sweating away in Granada, Nicaragua - 2014

4) Hours in transit just don't faze me. 


When you're used to the length of a Canadian road trip, it turns out you're well prepared for pretty much any other kind. In my teenage years, a spontaneous trip to visit a friend in "nearby" Montreal might cost me 6 hours on the road, and it wasn't something I thought twice about. The sheer enormity of Canada, and navigating it in my past, has made me patient on planes, trains, boats and whatever else you can throw at me in the present. 

Zagreb, Croatia - 2010

5) Large animals in other countries, don't seem all that large to me.



Enough said.

6) I'm a beer snob. 


Even beautiful scenery doesn't allow me to turn off my Canadian beer snobbery. It's not something I have to confront much in regions such as Central Europe, but in most of the rest of the world I'm complaining. I find myself saying things like: 

"I know it's hot here, and this is refreshing, but where's the flavour?"
"You'd think they could have added some hops to this." 
"I guess they were going for a 50/50 beer and water mixture on this one." 
"Do you think, by any chance, they sell craft beer?" 

Now, I know I'm a beer snob because I occasionally make these comments on remote islands where I should just be happy that they even have beer. I can't help it folks, it's in my blood. 

Gili Trawangan, Indonesia - 2012

7) When I talk about "the cottage," people have no idea what I'm talking about. 


"Wait, so you have a house...and then...um...another house in the woods?" 


The new cottage - 2015

8) I get giddy when I see bacon on a menu. 


This is no exaggeration. Around bacon something just happens to me, and I've seen this phenomenon with other Canadians as well. Canadians and bacon go together like Hansel and Gretel, perhaps even better. Naturally, it's hard to come by in Turkey, but if I can find it anywhere my eyes light up like a kid on Christmas, and then I think, "damn, I'm really a Canadian, aren't I?" 


You know it's not such a bad list really and, frankly, I'm happy to feel Canadian when I'm not on home soil. It goes to show, we bring a little bit of home with us, wherever we are. 

Are you Canadian? Feel free to add to the list in the comments below. Perhaps there's a part two worth thinking about.