It was my first year of University when it hit me, I’m not quite like the others. Ok, I’m being a touch dramatic here but let me explain.
I came to Canada as wee young lass and grew up in a VERY European household in a VERY European suburb. Cue the sheltered bubble. As a child though, you grow up to simply expect these things and accept them as the norm. But then everything turns around when the bubble bursts.
Moving away to University opened my eyes to many of such daily life nuances. I quickly learned that I didn’t REALLY know how to speak English (nobody in school had ever bothered to teach me about fitted vs. flat sheets) and that perhaps my parent’s way of life wasn’t the same as everyone else’s (hold on, you don’t think the government is corrupt and trying to steal from everyone???!!). The realizations just kept coming, till this day actually.
One day at the office while “brainstorming” our graphic designer, Patrick and I went on and on about what it’s like to have European parents. Although we come from different nationalities the similarities were a little creepy. Just take this in:
Around the house:
- The Pope (or past Popes) live somewhere in your living room.
- There is alcohol everywhere and obviously, none of it is for consumption.
- You have an unfortunate inability to name common household items in English (wtf is a spatula?)
- Beds always have a down filled comforter. There is no other way to sleep.
- There are religious symbols everywhere. No doorway is complete without a cross hanging over it.
- You didn’t eat enough food. Ever.
- You are expected to refuse food once, then eat enough servings for 7.
- The host always just “whipped it up” aka has been slaving in the kitchen since 6am.
- Chicken soup heals everything.
- If it comes out of a can or bag it will give you cancer and/or other diseases ultimately leading to death.
- Wine, wine and more wine in everything, on everything, with everything. BUT DON”T YOU DARE GET DRUNK.
- If attending dinner at someone’s house you ALWAYS bring wine, desert and/or a gift.
- A feast of 6 people means enough food for 26.
- You are almost 30, go join a convent.
- You can only date once you are done school and working as a lawyer or doctor.
- Sex isn’t a thing. People don’t do it. You never got the talk.
- Your professional options include law, medicine or science.
- A successful life means working for a big company with a great benefits plan.
- You can only move out once you’re married, especially if you are female.
- Save money, buy a house. Life is complete.
- Your parents refuse to speak English, they’ve been in Canada for over 20 years.
- You are responsible for translating mail, legal documents and filling out all forms.
- You were never as good a kid as your best friend.
- Your parents will always have “a guy” for that.
- Never pay anyone to do anything you can do yourself, ever.
- Everyone is ripping you off, everything is a conspiracy, trust nobody.
- You always take your shoes off at the front door.
- “Your feet are cold, you’re going to get sick. Put on slippers.”
- Anything your mother reads in a publication written in your mother tongue is fact. Always.
- Street names are always enunciated as if written in your mother tongue.
- Everything about “this” world is bad. Everything back in your homeland “then” was better.
- You took folk dancing classes.
- You’re surprised when elders can speak fluent English.
Any of this sound familiar??!! Share your additions in the comments!