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Cultural Gulf

So, today is a Bank Holiday here, which means nothing to me whatsoever.

"Bank Holiday?" I said.

"Yes."

"So, it's like a long weekend?"

"Yes."

"So... what holiday is it?"

"It's a Bank Holiday."

See, to me, that's strange an unusual, because holidays should have names. Labour Day, Heritage Day, Family Day, whatever. Just something to indicate that it's more than an excuse for the banks to be closed.

This, of course, lead to BWINK (Boss Who Is Not Kenny) to being deathly afraid that we had a song about Family Day.

You see, Canadian Music is... um... fun! Yes, fun. So I've sung them "I am Cow" and "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" and "Jesus' Brother Bob" (that's a lot of Arrogant Worms songs) and made reference to the "Nunavit" song, and now they think Canada has strange little songs for everything.

And it's a weird feeling, having people I know who don't have the common experiences I do. I mean, I expected that in China, but I totally forgot that would happen here. When I want to crack "Got Angst?" jokes in the Teen section of my favorite bookstore, it doesn't strike that whole "Got Milk?" ad thing that it does at home. And that just makes me think of those series of commecials with the "M-m-m-m-moo cows... m-m-m-m-make milk..." ads from before that, and that's just another 'cultural' reference that people here don't have.

Of course, they keep hitting me out of nowhere with new and unusual slang terms. The latest is telling me that pounding (as in "Drunks were pounding on the door all night") means ... um... something sexual. And not something I'd want drunks doing to the glass doors of the hotel.

One group of friends has started making a game out of it, having conversations that they know I understand only have of. So I started refering to them as Toques, which backfired because one of them has a Canadian mother and said, "Doesn't that mean hats?" After that, I just gave up and enjoyed being mocked.

Last week I was asked to say "about". The person asking was disappointed to hear that I didn't say it "aboot". I think they do that further east in Canada, but I'm not sure. I've never heard anyone say that in real life.

And in the most surreal experience of the last week, I overheard a group of people from London having a lengthy discussion about the different types of accents and what they mean and if they like different accents and how strange it is that people are all accented differently even if they all come from the same family. I just kept my head down and added things. Because they were only talking about people in London, and not from anywhere else.

How... strange.

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Comments

You could always introduce them to me. I switch between about five different accents, depending on what mood I'm in.

...But then I'd probably be forced to put up with some variety of bullshit MPD jokes, and that would be no fun at all (for me at least).

Paaaaris! Tell us more about Paris?

And you owe me at least half an e-mail.

Flashback to Japan...an American co-worker had an American friend visiting. One night, as work ended, and I was being introduced to this American friend, this conversation ensued:

Co-worker>> Say "about."
Me>> "About."
Co-worker turns to her friend
Co-worker>> See? They do say it differently.

Weee I actually found your new site! It's true about the 'aboot' thing. According to a large amount of americans, we do say it with an accent. Persoanally i think us Canucks should gets get it over with and adopt our own cool, non american accent...I thing a priate one would be cool.
"Yar, get in the Pinto me mates, we're of to Timmies for some yeasty gold!"
Yup, totally.

I never knew that about "about". That's like us asking a New Zealander to say "fish and chips". It comes out "fush and chups". As a bonus get them to say "six"!

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