Do you speak Nova Scotian?

Have a look at these expressions. If, like me, Nova Scotian is not your mother tongue, take notes.

 

 

“Traffic on the highway was crazy “

What you think: Traffic on the highway WAS crazy, cars were bumper to bumper and it took 45 minutes to drive 10km.

What Nova Scotians mean: “The 102 was really busy! I had to pass three cars on my way from Truro to the city [read Halifax, because it’s the only city in the province] and people were driving sooo fast [cruise control stuck on 119km/h]. There was so much traffic that a guy who was trying to merge had to completely stop on the ramp [more because he didn’t KNOW how to merge]. I wanted to get home so badly that I didn’t even take the time to stop at the Tim Horton’s at Exit 9.”

The 102, incredibly busy as usual

The 102, incredibly busy as usual

 

 “There are sales at the liquor store!”

What you think: What do they mean by “the liquor store”? Just go to the supermarket or the corner store! And you know you can get 26 beer for 12 euros ($18), right?

What Nova Scotians mean: “2-4 are $1 off!! Aaaand you also get 3 airmiles! So, not only do you get some of Sir Alexander Keith’s love for ONLY $41 but you also get a LOT closer to your next holiday destination. Sweet!”

Wine doesn't need to be on sale in France to be affordable

Wine doesn’t need to be on sale in France  to be affordable

 

 

“I’m going to Maine” 

What you think: They are going to visit a place that just looks like a giant forest. They are probably going to stay in a beautiful giant house on a beach and watch the sunset over the ocean,  at least that is what you have seen in movies. You are also a little worried for them: you suspect that the whole state is haunted and that everybody there is crazy because you read a lot of Stephen King novels.

What Nova Scotians mean: “I’m actually only going to Bangor for a couple days. I’m going to shop the whole time, with some friends who, like me, think Target USA is waaayy better than Target Canada. I know it’s August and I could go to a sunnier destination but I’ll get all my Christmas shopping done! I’ll have to pretend everything I have in my luggage is old and remove all the tags when I come back to Canada but  all the tags will already be removed when it’s time to wrap the presents! Plus, I wouldn’t mind getting some cheap booze, there haven’t been any sales at the liquor store for a while…    

 

 

“It’s such a nice day”

What you think: It’s sunny and at least 25 degrees and not a single cloud in the sky. It’s such a perfect summer day to put some shorts and sunglasses on, go for a swim and enjoy a drink or an ice cream on a patio!

What Nova Scotians mean: The sky is not that grey, it’s 10 degrees and it hasn’t rained for four hours. It’s such a perfect summer day to put some shorts and sunglasses on, go for a swim and enjoy a drink or an ice-cream on a patio!

 

 

“Tatamagouche”, “Antigonish”, “Shubenacadie” or “Mushaboom”

What you think:  You really, really have no idea what they are saying. This person must be drunk because they are seriously sluring some words.

What Nova Scotians mean: You’re refering to lovely places in your favorite province and you don’t know why this Come From Away is looking so confused. You even made an effort to say the entire name, usually you just say Tata, the Nish or Shubie.

 

 

Some of these (OK, all of these) are a little cliché and I’ve never completely misunderstood someone who used them. They are just part of the little cultural differences that make me love Nova Scotia even more.

Oh, and if you knew that there is no Tim Horton’s at Exit 9 between Halifax and Truro, you definitely are a true Nova Scotian.

 

If you speak Nova Scotian you might be able to help me with this: Who’s Buddy and why does everybody know him?

Ok, you speak Nova Scotian, but do you know Nova Scotia better than a Come From Away? Take this quiz and find out.

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Nova Scotia : One of my favorite places

Nova Scotia : One of my favorite places

89 thoughts on “Do you speak Nova Scotian?

  1. lol, ok that was funny!! No idea why you leave France to live in the Maritimes, but to each their own! 🙂

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    • Ha, thanks! As you probably can tell I love the Maritimes.

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      • Hey buddy you are getting acclimatized. I am a Caper who lives in BC but Cape Breton will always be my home.

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      • lol that is funny and true. I am a Blue Noser as well from the Annapolis Valley, go visit there and you will hear another type of slang talk, different than the city. 🙂

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    • I see at least 2 corrections that need to be made :
      “I didn’t even take the time to stop at the Tim Horton’s at Exit 9.” No one, NO ONE, in N.S. uses actual exit numbers on the highway. Landmarks instead are used (& not always ones that still exist), “the Timmie’s where the race track used to be.”
      “your favorite province”. Favorite ? Favorite ?! tsk tsk. FavoUrite. Yep, favourite. The Queen’s English please 🙂

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  2. Awesome, because I do too!! Welcome 🙂

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  3. […] Source: Do you speak Nova Scotian? […]

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  4. gordgrant@eastlink.ca

    Dat’s US!!!!

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  5. I really take offense to this post. As a native to NS for my entire life, these supposed sayings are not true, with the exception of the actual place names. No wonder people have such a poor misconception about us.

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    • Don’t take the post too seriously Missy, it was just meant as a joke.

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      • It was all true. I now live in Rhode Island and when my husband came to NS he could not believe the lack of traffic on the major highways. The other thing that we really laughed at was the question about “who is Buddy?” – I call everyone buddy and he laughs at me every time I say it. Don’t be so critical – it was done in fun and it hit the mark.

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    • Umm…I’m native Nova Scotian and these are totally true…loosen up your knickers missy, they’re getting knotted!

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      • When I made my first exodus out west nobody could understand me. I speak very fast even for a bluenoser. We def have our own lingo down here & it is right some good. eh!

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    • Get over yourself… we do indeed sound like that to others… and he’s saying it out of love for our home, not to disparage it in anyway… Tell me he’s wrong about the weather, cause if you say he’s wrong on that than you’re just lying to be contrary.

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      • Lynn, I had no idea I spoke quickly until I left Nova Scotia! As laid back as we are, I had no idea, until others were constantly telling me to slow my speech down, that we Bluenosers spoke much faster than other people. 🙂

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    • IT MAKES US UNIQUE AND THAT IS A GOOD THING. i LIVE IN bc AND SO MANY PEOPLE HERE THINK tHE mARITIMES ARE A PLACE THEY WANT TO VISIT. THEY LOVE OUR ACCENT, OUR SAYINGS AND THAT SAYS IT ALL.

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    • lol Sorry Missy, but I was asked “Isn’t it a nice day out today?” three times today. It is cloudy with snow flurries and a temperature of -2. I was out shovelling snow. I had to agree because it was approaching freezing and at least it was not raining or a snowstorm. Now that I think of it though, it was kind of funny.

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  6. Valerie Fetinko

    I’m a born and bred Nova Scotian, I love my Province and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I did NOT take offence at this post. I thought it was cute and funny and I took it in the spirit it was intended. It’s a good thing to be able to laugh at ourselves and our cultural differnces a little. 🙂

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  7. I spent the whole time I was reading trying to figure out what tim horton’s was at exit 9.

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  8. Click your heels cause a true Maritimer always comes home. Oh if you didn’t you never belonged here , or you were on the run. I really hate to see people write in and be upset with little things like this , the political correct ( oxy moron ) just pisses me off I would love to go back in time and shoot the idiot that even thought of that. There is absolutely nothing correct about politics or politicians to begin with and its turned an easy going care free joking bunch of Maritimers in to tattletales whiners sissies and people sitting back waiting to be offended. I honestly wish I was born 30 years earlier and gone before this shit started. SUCK IT UP < HAVE FUN < ENJOY THE LITTLE TIME WE ALL HAVE < AND FOR FRIG SAKE LAUGH WHEN SOMEONE IS CARRYING ON WITH YOU.

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  9. I’m a born and bred Bluenoser (there’s another one. someone from here knows what that is and what it means!)
    A few more terms for you.

    “Buddy” is not necessarily a friend, it’s just an anonymous man you’re talking about. I.e. buddy driving the bus. (not “buddy *who* drives the bus”, how you say it will reveal if you’re from here or not! 😉 )

    A Socialble is raising your pint in the pub (“Cheers!”)

    Something that’s really good is “Some good” or “Right some good” if it’s superb!

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  10. This actually made my day. If you ever spend time with the Cape Breton-ers, prepare to be confused. I’ve lived here all my life and they confuse me! There’s Scotian, and then there is an entirely separate brand of speech for that area. And I was just wondering what you thought of our Acadian French?

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  11. I’m from NS all my life. I didn’t take offense to this but most are not true. All NS ppl don’t say that stuff. The traffic one made no sense, the liquor store one I’ve never heard it. And we r not really cheap ppl. The vodka I buy is the more expensive one. But we do luv our air miles and points cards, then one about going to Maine also made no sense not said in Halifax maybe the deep country ppl. The weather one not really true. We consider 25 and clear skies a nice day, but because we have snow in winter I guess it makes us complain if it’s hot out or cold out. Lol. And last but not least we call antigonish= tignish
    Dave

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    • I’m glad you didn’t take offense Dave, as this post wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. These are not sayings per se, more observations on what people sometimes say to me. The liquor store one was more to make fun of the NSLC for advertising $1-off sales. If I have learned anything about Nova Scotians it’s that they’re very generous and not cheap at all, especially when it comes to alcohol, ha!

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    • Antigonish is called “THE NISH” not tignish .. Antigonish is home to STFX … Tignish is another place in nova scotia … and you say youve lived in nova scotia your whole life … maybe you should recheck the nova scotia map to make sure your in the right provience.

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    • Actually we do call it the “Nish”, we do go to Maine to do our Christmas shopping, we definitely do think that 10 degree weather is a beautiful day in January and would at least go down to the beach for a walk. Or an overcast cooler temp is deemed beautiful in summer as well. The liquor store one is something that is done in some circles, We are not cheap, stuff is just more expensive here.

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    • I don’t know why anybody would call Antigonish, Tignish, as Tignish is a completely different place.

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    • I’ve never heard antigonish called tignish…. My family is from there. We call it “the nish” or anti-go-nowhere. Just sayin’
      I also currently live in halifax… I’ve heard the liquor store sales lots. Yeah not everyone is cheap but lots are and lots love the sales (as do I). Some people just have more expensive tastes then others.
      I also know lots of city people and country people that love going to Maine to do their Christmas shopping.
      I as well am from Nova Scotia, born and raised. I’ve lived all over Nova Scotia, from Cape Breton, to Guysborough county, Truro, Amherst, Halifax and a few places inbetween. Most of the post was pretty bang on.

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    • I was born and raised in Antigonish. The people chiming in before me are right: Antigonowhere, the Nish. But if you’re talking pronunciation, the Nova Scotian way is “Anniguhnish”. I’ve heard it pronounced so many different ways over the years, with the stress placed in the strangest syllables. I love my town 🙂

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    • I’m from Antigonish and we DO NOT call it Tignish…..but there actually is a Tignish in PEI…..Some call it ‘The NIsh’ but I’ve never heard it called Tignish……..

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    • Oh it is indeed called the Nish by many!!!!! I’ve personally never heard it called tignish.

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    • Don’t believe you’re really from NS Dave. As a true Novascotian…..ya full of shat!

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  12. […] Now that you are done, check if you speak Nova Scotian here […]

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  13. I’m from Cape Breton NS and this is the funniest cutest thing I’ve read in a while ! So true 🙂 !! 🌅

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  14. Sunset over the ocean? in Maine? Is this a different Maine than the one on the East Coast?

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  15. I taughter funny there bye

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  16. Haven’t lived in Nova Scotia for 51 years so, Tim Horton’s wasn’t there yet, didn’t know the weather was bad ’til I moved away, less than 1% of the people went to Maine to shop and I was too poor to know any of them, only knew people who bought liquor from bootleggers, didn’t drive so traffic meant nothing except watching the boys circling the town on Friday nights, and no one used nicknames for “Tatamagouche”, “Antigonish”, “Shubenacadie” or “Mushaboom” (the last I didn’t even know existed. So, sadly no, I guess I don’t speak Nova Scotian .. :/

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  17. Beverly Peterson

    Really enjoyed this, i get teased a lot by ”my sayings” , out in the dooryard, that we call a sofa , a chesterfield, the way we say garage, made my day.

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  18. 25c and sunny is a nice day here also. 10c in the winter would be nice in the winter but not in the summer…. the rest was good lol

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  19. […] This was a true Nova Scotian experience, click here to see if you really speak Nova Scotian […]

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  20. dats right funny by’s, shared it with my buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A new Tim’s at exit 9? I thought it must be an election year.

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  22. Love it. Sorry Missy, he’s right right on this one. I was born and bred in Five Islands and I know this fer sure. I know we have “some good food”, and if I’m not in the house, I’ll be out in the door yard. Oh yeah, when I plow my snow, I always leave a colman. 🙂

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  23. and here i thought i was the only one who sets their cruise at 119 km on the 102 lol

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  24. Halifax is not the only city, don’t forget about Sydney 🙂

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  25. I’m a true Nova Scotian living in France (Martinique) for some 21 years. I like all of these observations except the ones I don’t understand. I have no idea what’s at exit 9, but if there’s a Robbins, there wouldn’t be a Timmy’s too. The 102 is not my usual route so I only know 1-6 but I know all the exits on the 101. I’m glad somebody mentioned the “other” city, Sydney. Dartmouth used to be a city too but now it’s just a part of Her Royal Majesty or whatever HRM means. Keep observing, buddy, you’ll make ‘er.

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  26. Porters lake is exit nine,

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  27. Sorry I lied, that’s exit 19 on the 101.

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  28. I’m from Tatamagouche, and yes we do use Tata occasionally. I went to school in Antigonish and it’s usually refered to as Anti-go-nowhere. I drive by Shubenacadie and call it Shubie regularly. I have been to Mushaboom, although not recently. I’m sure it hasn’t changed.

    Exit 9 on the 102 is Milford.
    I missed going to Bangor last year!

    This post is spot on.

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  29. I’m not from there and never been there but I enjoyed the post because I like a post when someone is proud of what makes them unique. I have a friend from NS who tried to get me to pronounce Antigonish. We are also familiar with Liquor store and brewer’s retails here and having booze everywhere is not common. It is expensive here too. Also, some of us use “buddy” in the anonymous way as well

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  30. what a shit article. why waste time even writing it.

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  31. Born and raised in NS. Had a good laugh as this so true. I moved to Calgary and ppl are always asking me to say car and bar and garage all of the time.Bluenosers are definately unique.

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    • Dear J when I was in Ontario , they always teased me as well and LOVED WHEN I SAID I WAS ” OUT & ABOUT” SAID I SOUND LIKE I AM SAYINT ” OOT & ABOOT”

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    • I live in BC now and people always know I’m a bluenoser when I say “car” and “bar”. How should I be saying it? And yes, Antigonish is Antigonowhere. And, 10° is a LARGE day and a reason to wear shorts!

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  32. iT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO LEARN TO SAY BOTTLE INSTEAD OF BOOLE( CAN’T SPELL IT BUT PRONOUNCED BOTTLE WITHOUT THE TT’S).

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  33. Thus far I’ve lived in all of the Atlantic provinces, and this sounds about right on the money.

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and the “laffs” it gave me! It’s a very nice change!

    You should take a trip to Newfoundland once you’ve conquered NS. There’s a real challenge 🙂

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  34. I’ve lived in Nova Scotia all my life and I love the way we talk. The thing that bothers me is how the younger generation are changing the language. I used to have a noon hour break but now it’s NEWN. I hope somebody changes it back SEWN or I’m goin’ to go LEWNY.

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  35. Wow – I found the attempt at humor was there but all jokes just came of a cultural stereotypes and I came off feeling a good bit insulted. As someone who’s lived the first 18 years in the middle of the country in Nova Scotia, and the last 12 years traveling all over our country I found most of this post could be referring mistakenly to Newfoundland (Grey skies, 10 degrees, only 1 city, come from aways, etc.). You do know it’s regularly 35-40 degrees in the summer time here right? Ah well, maybe the longer the more you’ll learn. Peace….

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    • Danny, it’s the truth not a cultural or stereotypical observation.

      When I visit Ontario ( I know the evil Upper Canada), I am always told I use “buddy” a lot. The highways are not jammed here (drive on the 401 someday). The sayings are funny little quirks that are endearing. My husband is a Caper and I love his sayings! “It’s a large day buddy!” My fav is “gradge” instead of “garage”

      What offends me? When people disregard me cause I’m “from away” and an “upper Canadian”. It is always said in anegative tone like I’m the lowest piece of dirt – that’s offensive buddy.

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      • Kat, I couldn’t agree more! Esp the 401. Not to mention all the 400 series of the highways there! I was born and raised here until a tween moved to Ontario until my adulthood and returned back to NS , so I completely understand.

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  36. That’s funny, my first thought, was “There’s no Tim Horton’s at Exit 9!”. haha

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  37. That is so true and funny! I use the term buddy all the time! I even spent many yrs in Ontario and while there I too used the term “buddy” in reference to ppl! And my friends there would laugh and get me to say things only / mainly used in NS! Thanks for the funny reading!!!

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  38. Saying Buddy is like an Australian calling all guys Bruce or women Sheilas …I wasn’t born here but me Mother was…so have always considered myself a Maritimer…I love our uniqueness..we are known for it…I enjoyed reading the article and the comments were just as fun to read 🙂

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  39. tignish is PEI Tidnish is Nova Soctia

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  40. love the whole bit , I’m from Nova Scotia born and will die here ,best place in the whole world to live.

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  41. If you want to laugh ask some stranger to say shubenacadie
    Try it out

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  42. Oh my dear friend I am so homesick in Southern California..you made my day my dear! About 35 years ago I flew home from BC to PEI for a visit to my grandmother. A mother with two youngsters in tow and I was looking for the luggage carts . Charlottetown Airport was small then and is small now. I saw an employee walking through the arrival terminal and said” Could you direct me to the luggage carts please?” His reply: “Where are you from Buddy?… I will never forget it.. it was such a welcome home! In any case..Buddy can be a woman as well !.. Nova Scotia is where I was born and have lived most of my life. I have lived and worked all over the world..but my heart is tethered to Nova Scotia..my true home.

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  43. Nova Scotia has a TIDnish not Tignish. Born and raised Nova Scotia. Parrsboro. I thought the sayings were cute. Now that I live in PEI people hear always ask are you from NFLD. LOL guess I never noticed the accent as much as everyone else does. Oh well. I thinik its funny either way. Every province has their own little spin on things. And I for one am always talking about “Buddy” although people here in the Island have no idea what im talking bout. lol

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  44. Loved it! Made me homesick (and I’m actually from Tidnish too!).

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  45. LOL this was so true. My Xmas shopping is almost complete for next year. I don’t go to the states though. I do take exit 9 when I travel home to the valley from nb.so when you mentioned the tummies I had a puzzled look. And my spouse thinks our towns have funny names that sound like we’re drunk. Thanks for the morning chuckle lol

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    Like

  47. I laughed and laughed. 😀

    Great post!

    Like

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