The US of A

So I have moved to the US of A. Overall, it has been a really positive move. The people here are really nice, and they regularly invite us over for BBQs and pool parties. The weather is really good 99% of the time. The television programming is superior to the television of any other English-speaking country. So yeah, it’s worked out.

Not to say that there haven’t been a few adjustments…

1. I can’t honk at other drivers… even if they don’t go on the green light because they are busy texting, or they are driving 55mph in the fast lane, or they are turning the wrong way down a one-way street. My husband says just breathe deeply and count to ten, because other drivers might be “packing heat”.

2. I am warm most of the time. When I lived in England I regularly wondered whether I would ever be warm again. There seemed to be draughts (drafts) in every room of every building in the entire country (and no, I am not exaggerating). I now wear shorts and t-shirts everyday, and I have not had to launder socks in six months.

3. I have to prepare myself for earthquakes. This is new to me as I’ve always lived inland in areas with little risk of seismic activity. I spent the better part of this morning adding items like emergency mylar blankets, water treatment tabs, a battery-operated radio and emergency food rations (freeze-dried spaghetti with meat sauce – there was no vegetarian option) to my Amazon shopping cart, which was unsettling… because the soonest it can get here is Friday.

4. I have to spell things differently. I have to spell things their way, and not “our” way (and the rest of the world’s way). It has been way hard to drop the “u” in words like color, humor, and neighbor.

5. I have to pronounce things differently. I now have to call Jay Zed Jay Zee or people don’t understand which American rapper, producer and entrepreneur I’m referring to.

6. I have to get used to the fact that the speed limit is posted in miles, and that everything else is measured using customary units (inch, foot, yard, pound, and my personal favorite: the fathom – which is just two yards) because the US of A has not joined the rest of the world in adopting the metric system.

7. I can go to Target™ whenever I want to. When I lived in Canada and in England (never at the same time) Target™ was Mecca (not the city in Saudi Arabia and the birthplace of Muhammad – but a giant store with everything that people get all excited about). But now, because I can go to Target™ whenever I want to… it has lost its luster. It’s kind of like when you chase after the cutest guy in high school for four years and then you make out with him one hazy summer afternoon and you realize he’s not that great of a kisser, plus you have no future together. But you can still go there for the essentials.

8. I have to celebrate July 4th (tomorrow) because of Independence Day. I guess the American public was very taken by the action-adventure movie about an alien invasion of earth starring Will Smith, which opened on July 4, 1996. Each year family and friends get together to celebrate the anniversary of the movie with picnics, parades, and fireworks displays. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the movie (I prefer Men in Black) but we have been invited to a BBQ, so we’ll play along.

I don’t want you to think that I am assimilating into the American culture.

I am a proud Canadian that loves honking, being cold, being still, spelling things “our” way, listening to Jay Zed, measuring distances in centimetres, and getting excited about Target™. I will always do these things (when in Canada) and I will always miss doing these things (when in the US of A).


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