I moved here from France 5 years ago. I made up these questions using only facts I’ve learned during that time. Do you know Nova Scotia like I do?
Click on the picture to take the quizz.
My first winter here, I quickly learned about one of the greatest Canadian traditions. No, I am not talking about giving a child their first pair of skates or closing the cottage for the winter. I am talking about “going down South”, which means escaping winter for a week or two by jumping on a plane to places like Cuba, the Dominican Republic or Jamaica. Now, if you’re retired or have a little bit of money, it could also mean heading to Florida for a while (but for no more than 182 days because you don’t want to lose your universal healthcare). Anyway, in an attempt to enjoy a true Canadian experience I went to Cuba for a week 4 years ago. If you’re soon going on a truly deserved vacation under the sun, here are a few tips (this is based on a one-time experience, so it’s probably not super accurate).
1- Remember the name of the place you’re going to. Not just the place, the name of your resort too. Sure, this could be useful when you get lost on one of the fun and exciting excursions you can’t wait to tell your friends about, but that’s not the main reason. When you tell people you went down South, their first question is “Where did you go?”, and by that they mean “where in Cuba/Dominican Republic/Jamaica and which resort?” because chances are they know it. If you don’t remember, just make up a Spanish name like “Princessa de la Playa”. Don’t worry, it’ll always sound fancy and believable enough.
2- There is only one Spanish sentence you need to memorize: “Una cerveza/piña colada/margarita por favor.” Most people who work at resorts speak English so you won’t really need it, but it will make you feel good for trying and your drink will taste even better. After a few drinks you’ll be convinced you’re bilingual anyway. Of course this doesn’t apply if you’re going to Jamaica. If you start speaking Spanish there, people might assume you smoked a little too much of the local green specialty.
3- Pick a resort that is known to be liked by Quebecquers because, let’s face it, they know how to take it to the next level. First of all, speedoes and thongs (for women AND men) seem to be popular which always makes hanging out at the pool entertaining. And if they all party like the ones who were at my resort, you’re up for a few late nights that involve a lot of drinking and swearing.
4- Do not post too many pictures of your trip on Facebook or Instagram. Remember that some of your friends are still in Canada where it is most likely freezing. They will “like” your pictures but secretly be jealous and even hate you. Remember when Bob came back to work and couldn’t stop talking about how he just drank all day, laid on the beach and did nothing? Did you enjoy that? Exactly.
There, these are my tips for you to have a successful trip “down South.” Don’t forget to enjoy every minute of it, because chances are, when you land back in Canada your memories will be the only thing that can keep you warm.
To celebrate its first anniversary, Slowly Becoming Canadian gets a Facebook page.
Like it, share it, and spread the Canadianness!
Today is the first day of the new year. It’s also the day I got to cross another item off of my Canadian to-do list. Today is the day I jumped into ice-cold water.
It started with me realizing that I had told a lot of people about it and that I couldn’t chicken out.
Then came the moment when I actually had to take my clothes off and stand on the wharf, waiting for the countdown and my friend Allison to get ready.
That was followed by the actual jump. A 12-foot fall during which all I could think was “Why am I doing this, it’s going to be so painful” (and “please, don’t let my bathing suit fall off”).
When I hit the water, my first thought was that it wasn’t so bad. Then I started going back up to the surface and the cold hit me. My skin started to burn and that’s when my head hit something: a sheet of ice, no big deal…
I spotted the ladder and started to climb my way up. That little breeze was a real charm.
I was a lot of fun though. A perfect way to start the new year surrounded by a lot of cheerful Canadians.
What I thought would be a one-time thing might become a tradition.
Happy New Year!