Archive for the ‘ Canadianism vs. Californianism ’ Category

Severe Weather Alert! A Canadianism vs. Californianism post

I’m always reminded that my SoCal born and raised roommate and I had completely different upbringings every time we have a conversation about our childhood.

Take the most recent conversation for example.  She was sharing a story of a time she got caught trying to sneak off-campus during her junior year in high school with a few friends to grab some food.

Me:  Wait a second, what do you mean you were running away from the security guard?  Can’t you just go grab lunch and come back?

Roommate:  You can’t go off campus unless you have written parental permission or have like a school activity to go to.

Me:  Seriously? That was the best thing about high school… the fact that we could leave and go as we want for lunch and also during the day minus the risk of getting a phone call for missing class…. did you guys have like security scanners and locker searches as well?  You’re from Chino right?  The same town that Ryan in the OC is from?

Roommate:  Hills.  Chino Hills.  It’s different.

weather alertOr another example was in December when San Francisco was dipping in the low 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) and the Bay Area news was warning residents of severe weather alerts.   As we were getting ready for work one morning and I was heading out the door, my roommate looks at me in a panic.

Roommate:  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT… I don’t know what to wear.

Me:  I see a pile of wearable clothes on the floor

Roommate:  I don’t know what to wear in this weather.  I’ve never experienced this level of cold unless I was on a mountain. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR OR DO.  *looks around like she wants to curl up in the fetal position*

Me:  Reeeeeeeeeeeallllly???  Is this really a moment to panic?  *my thoughts:  Seriously?  Seriously!  10 year old me staying out in 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) for recess is shaking her head at you.*

But by far my favourite conversation about our childhood was when the concept of indoor shoes was brought up.

Me:  My first time ever getting in trouble in school was in gr. 7 when I lied to the teacher about not wearing my indoor shoes outdoors but I did wear my indoor shoes outdoors because my outdoor shoes were so hard to put on and he was checking my soles…

Roommate interrupts:  Backup.  What are indoor shoes?

Me:  Indoor shoes… when late fall hits you have to bring an extra pair of shoes to school to wear indoors.  So you walk to school in your outdoor shoes, then you take then off and store your outdoor shoes in your cubby, and then wear your indoor shoes around so you don’t track snow and mud into the school but my outdoor shoes were so hard to take off and he was…


Me:  … I don’t know why you’re laughing.  But anyhow, so I wore my indoor shoes outdoors and obvi they’re dirty now and he’s checking my soles because obvi I lied… Stop laughing… indoor shoes aren’t that funny…  Really?  Is it really that funny of a concept?  You’re still laughing.

I think the best way to illustrate the difference in our childhood is through this wonderfully drawn image I conjured up on paint.

roommate vs. my childhood

My childhood on the left vs. roommate’s childhood… yes I ripped off a “polar bear in Canada” t-shirt but that’s how my childhood felt

Any other East Coasters get in trouble with wearing indoor shoes outside?


Lost in Translation

Sometimes… when I want to show people how cultured and sophisticated I am, I like to throw in one or two words of French in my conversation like this:

Hey… do you know if Mark and Jess are still together?

Hmmm peut-etre. Pourquoi???

Meh, I just heard some stuff.

In most circumstances I’ve been in, the individual I’m having a conversation with me understands what I am saying because they are:

a) Canadians from Ontario and have suffered through the same poor Ontarian educated French classes that I also endured or;

b) fellow exchange students studying in Belgium with me.

But recently I find my conversations these days going something like this:

Wait, did the lady say we only pay 20% and insurance covers rest?

Je ne sais pas.  Je suis confused. Je miss l’healthcare libre.


I’m then reminded that there’s a language barrier between Americans and me.  The language confusion goes both ways when one day I asked my roommate over GTalk:

Are you going to the gym after work?

No. Por que?

Huh?  Does she not know how to spell?

I turned around to point it out to her only to be met with her response “It’s Spanish”, followed by a We’re in California so duh it’s Spanish look.

So my fellow Canadian friends and readers, be prepared that when I return to Toronto, I will be dropping Spanish words here and there to look sophisticated, well traveled, and worldly.

My Anti-Climatic Experience With In-N-Out

For the past two months since I’ve lived with my housemate, she’s been raving on and on and on and on about In-N-Out Burger.

In-N-Out Burger is a fast food chain that is popular in Southern California and is what Tim Horton’s is to Canadians, In-N-Out is to SoCals.  Here are some reactions you’ll get if you mention In-N-Out to Californians,

Get it animal style.  It’s the best burger EVER!!!!

It’s like fast food but like really really high quality fast food.  Oh you’ll love it.

So, finally one night we headed over to In-N-Out because she was craving it and I was desperate to try something Californian and prove to myself (and everyone else) that I’m totally a local.  And here is how my meal went, graph-wise:

Note my level of excitement on trying something truly Californian.

My mood after I just ordered my meal and waiting in anticipation.

My meal... om nom nom

After the first bite...Ohhhh...Hmmm...

Marci is waiting for me to gush about the food but then notices my reaction.

It’s, you know, a really Californian thing, people get off the plane and the first thing they have is an In-N-Out Burger

Oh, how I can hear the defensiveness in her voice.

It’s not bad, it’s just…

People love it so much, there’s an iPhone app for it.

There’s an iPhone app for it?  Do you have an iPhone app for it?

She pauses

Yes but it’s because it’s so popular in SoCal that you need it for roadtrips

I smile at her in what I hope was my best encouraging, not judging you smile.

I get it, it’s like Tim Horton’s for us.

Ya but like the food is actually good.

Woah… back up Californian.  I just stared at her with my best evil eye which wasn’t really scary because when a Canadian gives you the evil, we just look like a puppy that’s going to lick you to death.

My housemate musters…

Well, the timbits are okay.

Everyone is entitled to their food opinions and no one is right or wrong when it comes to their food choices but in this case, Marci’s wrong.  In-N-Out wasn’t life changing and Tim Horton’s will forever be the first thing I eat when I get off a plane in Toronto. #sniff

After reading my previous post, Marci would like me to point out that she pronounces it “fuh” and that I clearly did not listen carefully when she was saying a word that was new to my vocabulary.  She does not want people to think she pronounces it “fa”.

The Californian wins this round.  That is all.

Canadianism vs. Californianism

Image taken from

Image taken from

My coworker Katie came over to have dinner with Marci and I one night and Marci goes:

Do you guys like Fa? (she pronounced fa as in Deck the Halls… fa la la la la)

Katie and I shook our heads

Nope.  Don’t know what that is.

It’s Vietnamese dish with noodles.

All together now, Katie and I go

Ohhhhh…. Pho.  You mean Pho.  (pronounced like foe)

Marci stares at us like we’re insane

What?  No, it’s pronounced Fa.

We pronounce it foe in Canada.

But restaurants do a play on words with it.  Like Phenomenal Fa or Fa 69.

I don’t have any Vietnamese friends to confirm the pronunciation but I think I’m pho-ing (California pronunciation)  confused.

Canadianism vs. Californianism

My Californian housemate, Marci, and I have the funniest conversations.  You wouldn’t think there would be a lot of cultural differences considering we’re neighbouring countries but sometimes the least expected differences create the most confusion.

My conversation with Marci has inspired a new blog category titled Canadianism vs. Californianism.

On watching How I Met Your Mother when Barney finds out he’s part Canadian, Marci goes:

Now that I work with so many Canadians, I understand a lot of what Robin says on the show.

What do you mean Marci?

Well, like I know that a Canuck is a hockey team.

Robin had just used the word in a sentence with absolutely no relation or reference to hockey or the hockey team.

Um… ya. But I think in this context, she’s not talking about hockey.  Canucks is another word for Canadians.

What?  What do you mean?  You call yourself CANUCKS?

Ya, it’s like a slang term.


Insert Marci’s confused face here.

Side Note:

I let Marci read this post before it went live.

Her reaction:

What!  So you call a hockey team slang-Canadian? Pauses Please don’t write that in your blog

Insert Leona’s stunned face.