Happy day-after-Canada-Day-almost-Fourth-of-July day!
I have spent almost half my life in Canada. At the age of 18, I crossed the border to attend University, was swept off my feet by a nice man from Saskatchewan, married him, bought my first down-filled coat, and started a happy life in the subarctic.
All I remember learning about Canada during my years of matriculation was that it was cold, maple leaves and eskimos are in abundance, and the Queen is part of their governing system. A huge shout out to Mrs. Picha for the map with the eskimo and maple leaf and Mr. Otis for the 27 minute overview in sophomore world history.
Don’t forget about hockey, eh?
Please note: I had no freaking clue what ‘Saskatchewan‘ was due to the American education system’s complete ambivalence towards their friendly northern neighbor.
So many people told me they were from ‘Saskatchewan‘ and I just kept thinking the same thing over and over.
Wow. That city called Saskatchewan must be HUGE. It is totally the New York of Canada. I can’t wait to go!
It turns out Saskatchewan is a whole province filled with small pockets of nice people who leave their doors unlocked, drive very fast on gravel roads, and love their football team with their whole hearts.
They wear watermelons on their heads and even make their pets participate on game day.
Need I say more?
After so many years of living in the Great White North, I have become well versed in most things Canadian and can officially be considered a true Camerican.
What is a Camerican?
Camerican – (Kah-mare-ick-en). Noun. A Camerican is a person that has duel citizenship in both America and Canada and has spent large amounts of time in both countries. This person can also be referred to as a ‘duly’.
I am proud to be a ‘Camerican’.
There aren’t many of us out there. We bridge the divide between Canadians and Americans. We are the ambassadors that help Americans and Canadians to respect and learn about each other’s country. I help Canadians understand that America doesn’t want to conquer and take over their country and I am living proof to Americans that people do live and survive in Canada, don’t live in igloos, have normal jobs and homes, and travel via car, not dogsled.
An issue that most Camericans deal with is that they are always told they have an accent.
In Canada, I am ‘SO American!’ in the way I speak. When I go home to America, I am told, ‘You have such a Canadian accent!’
- I just can’t win.
Having gleaned so much information about Canada over the years, I think it only prudent for me to share some tips for Americans who want to visit Canada.
Pronunciation Guide for All Americans Traveling up North.
- Asphalt – (Ash-fault) Apparently Canadians don’t want to appear to be swearing…even if it’s how the word is spelled…
- Project – (Pah-roe-ject) Something to get done
- Vase – (vah- zuh) At least you get to feel sophisticated while talking about your home décor items.
- Pasta – (passed-uh) It is most important to say it correctly while ordering in a loud restaurant so as not to confuse your waiter.
- Mario – (Mare-ee-oh) Just go with it.
- Decal – (deck-uhl) rhymes with freckle…
- Z – (zed) This is how Canadians pronounce the letter ‘Z’. If you have to spell something, make sure to do so correctly.
“How do you spell your last name Mrs. Maritzo?
- Measure – (meh-zure) To be honest, this may be a Donloree issue, not an American/Canadian issue. I pronounce this ‘may-zure‘, so I have lumped it in here for your reference. If you pronounce it like me, woe to you! You will be severely mocked while in Canada.
- Garage – (Gah-rah-juh) A place to park your car.
Words to use, so they don’t know you are American.
- States – You ARE NOT from America, you are from the ‘States’.
- Eh – Put this at the end of some phrases here and there. It can be used to ask a question, agree with someone or just fill in dead conversation space.
- Hey – To be used synonymously with ‘eh’.
- Bum – This refers to your posterior, not a homeless person.
- Arse – A more crass word for ‘bum’.
- Chesterfield – A couch. Use this word sparingly, and only around people that are older than 70. Though, when used in the correct context, people will be amazed at your knowledge of the Canadian language.
- Toque – Beanie or stocking hat
You are now fully prepared to travel up to the Great White North.
When it drops to -40 Celsius, don’t forget to wear a toque, hey?!