Even though moving from New Zealand to Canada is a 14 hour flight away, to a country that is a day behind in time, where they drive on the opposite side of the road, I wouldn’t really say it was a massive transition. There are of course the obvious things I had to get used to – not having my family a quick car ride away, making all new friends, living in -5 to -15 degree weather (and those torturous -20 degree days!). However from what I have seen of Canada so far, it is just like a huge New Zealand. Similar scenery, friendly people everywhere and you get used to the accent pretty quickly! There are some smaller things though that after 6 months here I just cannot get used to.
1/ Stick Deodorant.
In New Zealand, I don’t think it is even possible to buy stick deodorant. So when I walked into the pharmacy (sorry, “drugstore”), to buy a new deodorant I was so confused with all these weird little sticks lining the shelves! I even had to ask my Canadian flatmate how it worked. I am slowly getting used to it but it’s just not the same as spray on. I managed to find a spray deodorant here with a lot of searching however it is a weird brand and smells like talcum powder….
2/ Large gaps in bathroom stalls in bars and clubs.
I’m not sure if this is just Whistler, but EVERY bar/pub/club here has really large gaps in the bathroom stalls so you can see people doing their business! I was told it is so you can’t sneakily do lines of cocaine in the bathrooms which would make sense, but that probably doesn’t stop people taking drugs and I would really like to just pee in private!
3/ The shocking selection of fake tanners.
For a country that doesn’t get a huge amount of sun, you would think that they would have a much better selection of fake tan. However in both Whistler and Vancouver, I can only ever find about 3 different brands and none of them I really like. I miss my Le Tan and my Model Co.! Luckily I have had the excuse of being pasty all winter due to the fact I have been wearing a ton of layers, however summer is on its way and I’m not too keen on risking skin cancer!
Ok, so this is a whole North America thing, not just a Canada thing. While I can understand maybe wanting to tip your waiter if they have done a great job, but if you have a rubbish server who acts like they would rather be anywhere but there serving you why should we be tipping you?!? In saying this, I have had some excellent servers and I have no issues whatsoever tipping them.
5/ Slooooow internet.
This may just be a Whistler thing. But if you guys back home in New Zealand think that internet is bad, try living here. I was trying to stream “Ja’mie, Private School Girl” (my new obsession) the other night and for a 25 minute show it took over an hour to stream. Sometimes it is so slow my Instagram can’t even load new pictures. The broadband here is actually as slow, maybe slower, than dial-up. No joke.
6/ Expensive phone plans.
I am paying $55 a month for pretty much the exact same plan I was paying $19 a month for back home. Also, you have to pay to RECEIVE phone calls on your cellphone. Weird, right?
7/ Gross KFC fries.
This is probably a good thing so I am never tempted by them! But Kiwis – you have no idea just how good we have it when it comes to KFC fries. They are just nowhere near the same here. Please also notice I said fries, not chips – that one has taken a long time to get used to!
8/ Compulsory coat check in clubs.
Once again this may just be Whistler, but when you have to pay $5 + to get into a club to then be told you have to coat check your coat for an additional $3.00 this is NOT cool. Especially when it is so cold you have no choice but to wear a jacket into the village! Most of the coat check girls are SO rude as well, there are only a few bars around town that actually have nice coat check girls.
9/ The bread.
Bread in Canada is sweet. I know how weird that sounds. But there is no other way to describe the taste. I have tried about 6 different brands and still have not found bread I really like. I miss my Molenburg and my Vogals!
10/ MUCH channel’s REALLY lame humor.
MUCH is a TV channel over here that is kind of similar to MTV- a music channel which plays some music but mostly just lame shows. They have one show on it which is actually music related where the MUCH hosts play music videos and try SO hard to make jokes about it. There is no way I can emphasis just how really ridiculously lame it is. If I listen to it for any longer than 5 minutes I am cringing so bad I just cannot handle it. Ain’t got nothing on New Zealand’s dry, witty humor whatsoever.
There are so many amazing things about Canada that definitely weigh these out though, don’t get me wrong! It just goes to show even moving from one first world country to another first world country still has it’s slight culture shock! But as they say, first world problems, right?!