How to be a Canadian or Romanian or English or Canadian or Romanian or …..

How to be a Canadian by Will Ferguson and Ian Ferguson

This book was a gift from my mom for my partner as a joke. Since I just finished “Morminte Stravezii” and I was not particularly feeling well connected to the palpable world, what better way to shake off the left over feeling of an alien world and endangered number of graves than with a lesson in how to be a Canadian. A little humor to pick me up.

Easy and amusing read. I think I laughed out loud once even though I was on the bus surrounded by strangers. At times I felt I witnessed banter that kept going and going but I learned some new things. For example that basketball was invented in Canada.

It was funny how the book talked about the tension with USA. The underlying reason for this is described to be the ignorance about Canada and general Canadian things. Now the authors put this in the context of two fellow Canadians having some American bashing conversation and they suggest that when the American ignorance has been fully showcased, to ask: “What is the capital of New Brunswick?”. I passed the citizenship test so I should know this… but here I am 4 years after becoming a citizen and I still don’t. A few lines below they give the capital of New Brunswick to be this name I have never heard of : Moncton. To make sure I avoid any future ignorance I keep repeating it to myself to make sure I remember it. I kept reading to soon find out that they were joking and the capital is of course, Fredericton (Thank you Sandy for pointing that out). Probably this is when I laughed out loud alone on the bus.
Another amusing part was pointing out that Canadians love to say what they are not rather what they are… and it is a clear thing when pointing out that Canadians are not Americans and making sure people know that.

I have been living in Manchester for two years now and since I have a mix of accents people don’t really know where to place me. Quite a few people pointed out that they detect an American accent at which I respond like a true immigrant Canadian by giving a disappointed shake of the head and saying: “No Canadian”. Writing about this I realized that when I moved to Canada from Romania I used to get that I was Russian and not Romanian, now in Manchester I get American and not Canadian. And to top it off, now that I am in Manchester people from back home keep asking me how is life in London.
So maybe if I were to adjust the title of this post to summarize my almostness it would sound like this: how to be almost American, almost Russian, almost Londoner, almost American…
(Note: True that Canada is in America geographically but currently in common conversation when one says American most of the times it implies USA)

It made me laugh when at some point, the goals or dreams of Canadians is to open a bed and breakfast.
I felt I finally belonged to the general dream since I may have dreamed once or twice to have a BB. I even call our flat a BB every time people come and stay with us.

Canadian modern literature: I end with this part since it ties in pretty well with the next post.
New literature is said (in the book) to be dominated by quite short sentences, and often sprinkled with brand names to attract and keep the attention of the young crowd.

So relatively relaxing and entertaining book, eh?

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