jeudi 30 mars 2006

Little observances

I've been living in Montréal for over two months now and I have to chuckle over how many times a day I get hit with the fact that I'm so Albertan. Here's a few:
- I still get surprised with the PST and how I have to pay twice as much tax. It's really embarrassing when I'm paying at the till and I have no clue what the clerk is saying in French so I try to estimate the total cost, only to find out that I'm short.
- Whenever I jaywalk, I feel so deviant and worried that I'll get caught. Of course, no one cares because it's the norm but I keep thinking about how I'm a rebel now! If my mom saw me though...
- I have to clarify when I tell people I'm from the West, because their first thought is automatically the West Island and not the Prairies. Once in a while I say the "rest of Canada" but it sounds like one big mass where I could be from anywhere (BC to Ontario, maybe the Maritimes?). Yes, I suppose I could just say Alberta but then it's too easy!
- Seeing some of the more provocative ads around town will continue to shock me (although less than at the beginning); I don't want to get desensitized to that but it's pretty common here. My initial reaction is usually, "They can get away with putting that up?! Not in Alberta!"
- Graffiti, cigarettes, homeless people at metro stations - all of these in much greater numbers which makes me think of Calgary as a bit more suburban sometimes. One source of amusement has been to see how many types of graffiti I can spot on the buses/bridges/etc.
- Whenever I hear that students are protesting their tuition fees again, I just laugh. I'm definitely entitled to after learning that the total cost of one semester of graduate studies at a university here is less than the cost of one undergraduate course for me. Québec has the cheapest tuition in the country!
- The petiteness of Montrealers, wow. I'm about average height so it gives me great joy when there are times that I'm taller than others, including guys (yes!). I'm also average weight-ish so I feel even bigger compared to the really skinny people that are everywhere here.
- Purchasing a DVD here that was rated G under Québec's rating system, only to find that it was rated 14A elsewhere in Canada and upon opening the case, seeing the R-rating from the States - a case of R to G! I'm not surprised about Canada making the American R a Canadian 14A (that's typical of almost all movies now), but I would have assumed that the Canadian 14A would be a Québec 13+.

There's more but these are enough to tide me over with each day :) Some days, I wonder if I'm wearing a sign that says "spot the non-Quebecer!" but I probably think about this more than I should. I do have to say that I am enjoying this city immensely and that despite these little things, I hope I've been learning to adapt. I've had so much fun seeing the differences here and loving the quirks and nuances that stick out (others are more subtle and I still have no clue what they are). Also, this list isn't meant to be a values judgment at all - only a reflection of things I've noticed.

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