Monday, May 10, 2010

Oot and Aboot, Eh

Happy Canada Day to the people who sell me inexpensive sexual enhancement drugs online

I'm in Vancouver, Canada to spend some time with my family and bask in the aftermath of the last Olympic games. I try to visit Vancouver once every few years to soak in the scenery of British Columbia (I say this with no irony whatsoever, it is truly beautiful up here), eat lots of really good food, and hang out with my cousins and favorite uncle.

Now, it's obvious that Canada is a different country, but for some reason, it's easy to forget. My mom was under the impression that you don't need a passport to get there and we had to rush my sister's passport to her in San Francisco so that she can cross the border to meet me in Vancouver. When I let her know we were doing this she replied, "At SFO if you're flying to Canada you go to the domestic terminal. Canada is America's hat!"

What's truly odd about it is that immigration in Canada is pretty tough on Americans crossing the border. The last time I went to Vancouver, I was joking around that I shouldn't even need my passport to go, and one of my friends warned me, "Oh no, be careful. They are really thorough. I went there for work just for a day a month ago and they grilled me to find out if I was doing a job that could be accomplished by a Canadian."

I laughed it off, but of course, when I got into Canada, the immigration officer asked me more questions than I have ever been asked entering another country, not even in the years I lived in Tokyo. He had me tell him the address I was staying at, who I was staying with, the names and ages of my cousins, the last time I had been in the country, when I planned on returning to the US, etc, etc. It was baffling.

Of course when I told my friends I would be out of town for a week to go to Canada, it ignited a firestorm of laughter. My friend T happens to be a proud Canadian from Toronto and second to his unnatural love of cats, our favorite thing to make fun of him about is his Canadian citizenship.

My GRE essay was about how Canadians have an inferiority complex to Americans, their tendency to be the red-headed stepchild of North America. I used the South Park Movie Bigger Longer, and Uncut as an example to back up my argument. I remember writing the essay (in my defense, I was really tired, in pain because I had just broken my foot, and slightly zoned out on painkillers) and thinking to myself that I hoped the person who graded my essay wasn't Canadian because then there would be no way I was getting into graduate school.

Well, I turned out getting a perfect score on the essay and when I told T about it, he said, "Oh great, not only did you write a racist essay, but the person who graded your essay was also racist. You must be proud."

I am, actually, and my only regret is that I wasn't able to receive a copy of my essay so that I could show people all the valid points I made about Canada's inferiority complex.

The fact is it's just so easy to make fun of Canadians! They are like Americans, but nicer, more laid back, with funny inflections and access to universal healthcare. Their national sports are lacrosse and hockey. Curling is a really big deal. Bryan Adams. The fact that T once told me that Celine Dion is a national treasure. They put cheese curd and gravy on fries and call it poutine. Vomit.

And strangest of all, they drink their milk out of bags. The first time I heard this, I had a hard time grasping it, but yes, instead of buying milk in cartons, they buy them in giant gallon bags and then place them in plastic pitchers for storage. Apparently this is more environmentally friendly than cartons, but also tends to spoil faster (unsurprisingly).

It's these little differences that set us apart from our neighbors to the north. And also what makes them so lovable.

When I was watching the Olympics with my father, he pointed out that Alexandre Bilodeau "looked so Canadian." And when I asked him what exactly a Canadian looks like, he responded, "You know. He's really handsome but not at all in an arrogant way. If an American guy was that good-looking, he'd be all full of himself about it. But instead, he's just humble and nice."

So, apparently, that is the Canadian look: good-looking but unassuming about it. At least, according to my father. I am only mildly concerned that he will leave my mother for a Canadian man.

For now, I am just going to avoid the poutine and the milk bags, and enjoy my time in the Great White North until I have to return to the land where the handsome guys are full of themselves and douchebags. Which, honestly, though it was definitely not my father's intention, is a pretty decent description of New York.

But, oh well, as they would say in French-speaking Canada(which is a distinction from French-speaking France), "C'est la vie."


Allison said...

They really are nice people. And your friend was right - some of those customs agents take it super seriously. Lauren almost got us taken for extra questioning last time at the border. For being a typical sarcastic American.

Ch said...

This makes me want to meet a really hot, really nice and humble Canadian guy. But being an American girl...there is something about a really hot guy who kind of looks like he's a jerk...

Anonymous said...

The Experiences I've had crossing the border from Canada into the USA have been something best described as," The best deterrent & valid reason as to why I do not choose to revisit the,"Land of The Free anymore"! If one was really want to compare countries there really isn't anything that is truly a whole lot better nor to be envied for ,well...maybe there is a few exceptions , Canada kicks ass when it comes to NHL Hockey !! Canadians are extremely friendly & not overly patriotic ,which would really drive me nuts, because as far as I'm concerned,be it the Canadian or American Governments or most other Countries in general the main reason for any countries short falls in the Governments BS.
Not The Citizens !Indeed I love Canada but she is far from perfect.I also love the USA, but the hell that I've been put through and subjected to, over and over each time I visit has put myself & other friends off of visiting for quite sometime.Cold Nose warm heart from a Canadian eh !!♥ ƸӜƷ ♥
PS, As far as I'm concerned Canada & The USA should have open boarder crossing for both Canadian & USA Citizens :)