Observing small differences between Canada and Ireland


I’m feeling philosophical after my visit to our local pub last night. So, here are a few points of difference between Ireland and Canada, one year in as an expat on the Emerald Isle.

I still can’t bring myself to adopt the phrase, “thanks a million” or “thanks a mill”. Especially when everyone here says it so deadpan, without a smile. I prefer to hold on strong to my overly polite Canadian with a grin, “thanks so much”.

Opening doors and getting said thanks. In Canada, you often get “sorry” and “thank you” as a knee jerk reaction. It’s part of our DNA, we just can’t help it. Only when you venture to the big city do you experience doors in your face and thankless gestures, or at least you did five years ago from my memory! I’m not saying we’re perfect as a nation but my eager to please Canadian heart breaks a little every time someone doesn’t acknowledge a kind stranger, especially in the countryside or my small town in Ireland.

Conspiracy theory: perhaps someone filled them in on the fact I don’t use “thanks a million”.

And a final word on snow. I’m used to lots of it in winter. The kind that sticks around. Cakes onto your tires, ruins your new leather boots, soaks through your pant legs where your previously dry socks were keeping you nice and toasty. Over here in Ireland, I didn’t experience any snow last year. That all changed this year, as the big, fluffy flakes started sweeping in to replace our winter rain. It was mayhem! Kids screamed, then gleefully played in the snow. Adults opened their umbrellas, running into the shops. Drove at a snails pace in their cars and complained about the bad roads.

I went outside for a walk.

Call me childish or Canadian, but when all was said and done, it melted within a few hours. Luckily I was able to document the odd sight (to me) of snow on green grass, before it disappeared.

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