Mr. OPRFLife is a great husband and father but also a very good friend. He also happens to be from western Canada. When we were dating I jokingly asked him if he was concerned about being in an intercultural relationship. After serious consideration he replied that he wasn’t. Canadians and Americans aren’t that different was his reasoning. He was right for the most part with some exceptions. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Lesson #1 – Canadians are polite.
You’ve heard it a million times. Canadians are polite. It’s a cultural thing. I once joked with a friend of mine that Canadians apologize to their beer before drinking it. Let’s examine Mr. OPRFLife’s Canadian politeness in action.
There are times when he will start a sentence with the phrase “To be honest…” followed by something that he feels might offend but is necessary to say.
“To be honest I don’t think you should go 11 months without an oil change.”
“To be honest you should budget your time so we aren’t late in the morning.”
“To be honest when you get pulled over by the police you shouldn’t talk back.”
You get the point.
I like it when he starts a sentence with “To be honest…” because it lets me know that something he feels strongly about (pronounced a-bow-t in Canadian) is going to be shared.
There is one phrase in his polite Canadian repertoire, however, that fills me with dread. When he starts a sentence with “I’m sorry (pronounced sore-ie in Canadian)…” If he starts a sentence with those two words I need to duck and cover. He is not pleased with something. In this case “I’m sorry” indicates a higher level of displeasure with the circumstances at hand than indicated by “To be honest…”.
“I’m sorry but we can’t get through customs if my passport is in our checked luggage!”
“I’m sorry but that guy almost killed us. Pedestrians have the right of way!!!”
“I’m sorry but that guy’s a donkey.”
For the record if he calls someone a donkey (pronounced DAWN-key in Canadian) that is some serious trash talking. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it is A-maze-ing. I think it’s the combination of his personality (he does not speak ill of others) and his ever so charming Western Canadian accent.
Lesson #2 – Canadian’s are tough.
Did you know that Canadian’s are tough? Western Canadians especially. Their level of toughness is a major source of pride for them (see the War of 1812). In this case both physical and mental toughness are equally important. A person with a weak character is quite capable of being considered soft regardless of their physical prowess. If a Canadian refers to a person as “soft” it’s a huge insult. If you’re American and someone calls you soft people usually assume they are referring to your physique.
This concept of Canadian toughness is best illustrated by the following true story (edited to protect identities – it’s the polite thing to do).
A lifetime ago, Mr. OPRFLife was behind the bench at a sporting event. A hard, round rubber disk ricocheted with great force and speed around the perimeter of the arena, gained air and hit him in the head. The impact caused him to fall to the ground. Blood was shed. The injury may have required stitches. The coach (also from Western Canada) said, “Get up. Get up. You’re a Westerner.” Mr. OPRFLife stood up and finished the game. End of story. No trip to the ER. He’s Canadian after all.
Lesson #3 – There is no wind chill in Saskatchewan
Mr. OPRFLife has a dear childhood friend (Hi Farmer Jim!). One day I asked him what the wind chill was. He said, “There’s no such thing as a wind chill in Saskatchewan. If it’s windy you just stand behind the barn.” (See lesson #2)
For Americans that didn’t click the link above Saskatchewan is a provence in Canada. I say Americans because most of the world is more proficient at geography than us. I was required to spell Saskatchewan correctly before I was allowed to marry.
I have more lessons to share with you but…
To be honest, I’m still in my PJs and I need to brush my teeth.
Thanks for reading and have a Joyful Day!