LETTERS FROM STEVO: Oh Canada!...A Salute to America's Hat!
I once heard someone refer to Canada as "America's Hat". I find that description fitting. So, if Canada is America's hat, then what does that make Texas? California? Just think about it...imagining that the east coast is facing forward. How's that for a geography lesson! I'm thinking about the Great White North because I just spent this past week in Ottawa for work. I had never ventured into Canada before, so I didn't know quite what to expect. I found their native dialect to be eerily similar to English, with an occasional "eh?" at the end of some of the more jovial expressions. They understand the stereotype and they honestly don't think they say it that much. I had to inform them that compared to the distant land that I'm from, NOBODY uses that expression, so from my perspective it is used quite frequently.
I learned how to barter with these people in their native currency. I figured out that if you pay for something in American coinage, they will give change in their worthless Canadian currency. What is the name of their currency anyway??? I'm officially naming it the "canuck". So, the exchange rate would be the canuck vs. the dollar. Works for me! And, in case you may be wondering, it was freakin' freezin' up there! Ottawa is just north of New York state and the Great Lakes. I hadn't experienced lake effect wind chill since my days in Ohio! They use this strange temperature measuring system called celsius. I think they use celsius because it makes it seem colder. 0 degrees celsius is freezing...that seems colder compared to 32 degrees fahrenheit! They take pride in their colder weather! From a culinary perspective, Canada, like Colorado, isn't really known for anything...there isn't a specialty food. They do have a chain of joints called, "Tim Hortons" that has some great chili. My coworkers made fun of me because I would constantly refer to it as "Tim Hoskins".
From a historical/cultural perspective, I found it to be a mix of European and American culture. They can't seem to decide which way they want to go, so their stuck in the middle. Depending on who you ask, some people prefer the European vibe, while others prefer the American vibe...just personal preference. While we Americans violently overthrew the yoke of our oppressors from that quaint little isle across the pond, Canada got down on their knees and asked politely to be somewhat independent of the throne...and this was quite sometime after we had already taken care of business! Different strokes for different folks, eh? A fellow American traveller informed me to pay attention to the news and current events in Canada. He told me that when I come back, they'll be talking about the exact same things...I'll have to watch for that, as I'm going to be venturing up there every so often.
In summary, my trip was surprisingly pleasant, the people were nice, the food was descent, and there were some fun observations to made, eh? They really need to get the queen off their coinage though...weak!