Another one bites the dust!

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.

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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.

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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…

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I spotted the ladder and started to climb my way up. That little breeze was a real charm.

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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!


To see the remaining items of my Canadian to-do list click here 

This was a true Nova Scotian experience, click here to see if you really speak Nova Scotian

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

Lost in Transportation

This doesn’t have much to do with becoming Canadian but more with becoming a Haligonian. Since I’ve moved to Halifax I’ve been using public transportation more often. I could say I do it because it’s good for the environment, or because I like the exercise, but then I’d have to quickly get an extinguisher for my pants. I use public transportation because it’s very expensive to own a car and when you live in a city like Halifax it’s easy to get around by bus. Of course, some winter mornings I wish I could jump in a car waiting for me at my door and drive to work with my bum slowly roasting on the heated seat. But then I would be missing a lot of fun things. Well, I would miss things anyway…

First of all, I would miss my morning walk on the icy sidewalks. When else do I get to walk like a penguin or use my shoes for skates to get to the bus terminal? The kids who go to the school that is on my way there would probably miss making fun of me.

Another advantage of taking the bus is that it’s a very good way to get to know the city, at least for me. I have a bad sense of direction. No, really, a VERY bad sense of direction. So the bus is a good way for me to go from one point to another without getting lost in the middle. Even if, hypothetically of course, someone with a bad sense of direction could get on the right bus but heading in the wrong direction. I’m just saying it might happen… That’s why I like taking the ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth: it’s impossible, even for me, to get lost. Also, it’s only a ten minute-ride and I get to say that I have to take a boat across the Atlantic to go home.

But really, what I enjoy the most about public transportation is the public part. People watching is one of my favourite things to do. Even if you’ve only taken the bus once in your life, you know that you get to see a lot of different people on the bus: daily commuters in suits, students, families, sad people, funny people, people who avoid eye contact at all cost, crazy people, and a Frenchman who keeps looking around and who still sometimes can’t believe he lives in Canada.


When you use public transportation you don’t have to worry about the scary Canadian roads, read what I have to say about them here 

In January, I made a video of Halifax. It’s called “2.2 seconds a day” and most of it was shot on buses and ferries. Watch it here.


Ce qui suit n’a pas vraiment rapport avec le fait de devenir canadien mais plutôt avec celui de devenir haligonien (habitant d’Halifax). Depuis que j’ai déménagé à Halifax, j’utilise les transports en commun plus souvent. Je pourrais prétendre que je le fais parce que c’est bon pour l’environnement, ou encore parce que j’aime marcher, mais alors il faudrait que j’apprenne à vivre avec un nez d’un mètre de long. J’emprunte les transports en commun parce qu’avoir une voiture coûte beaucoup d’argent et que dans une ville comme Halifax c’est facile de se rendre n’importe où en bus. Bien sûr, certains matins d’hiver j’aimerais pouvoir sauter dans une voiture qui m’attendrait devant ma porte et conduire au travail pendant que mes fesses seraient en train de rôtir sur le siège chauffant. Mais je perdrais l’opportunité de faire plein de choses amusantes. Enfin… plein de choses.

D’abord, je ne ferais plus ma petite marche du matin sur les trottoirs couverts de glace. Je ne pourrais plus marcher comme un pingouin ou utiliser mes chaussures en guise de patins à glace pour éviter de me casser quelque chose en me rendant au terminal de bus. Les enfants de l’école qui est sur mon chemin seraient probablement tristes de ne plus pouvoir se moquer de moi.

Un autre avantage de prendre le bus, c’est que c’est un bon moyen de découvrir une ville, au moins pour moi. J’ai un mauvais sens de l’orientation. Non, vraiment, un TRÈS mauvais sens de l’orientation. Alors pour moi le bus est une bonne façon de me rendre d’un point à un autre sans me perdre en route. Même si, hypothétiquement bien sûr, quelqu’un qui n’a pas un bon sens de l’orientation pourrait prendre le bon bus mais dans le mauvais sens. Je dis juste que ça serait tout à fait possible… C’est pour ça que j’aime prendre le ferry entre Halifax et Dartmouth : c’est impossible, même pour moi, de se perdre. En plus, ça ne prend que dix minutes et je peux dire que je traverse l’Atlantique en bateau pour rentrer chez moi.

Mais vraiment, ce que je préfère dans les transports en commun, c’est le « en commun ». Observer les gens est une de mes activités préférées. Même si vous n’avez pris le bus qu’une seule fois dans votre vie, vous savez qu’on voit toutes sortes de gens dans le bus : des gens en costume qui vont au travail, des étudiants, des familles, des gens tristes, des gens drôles, des gens qui évitent les regards à tous prix, des fous et un français qui passe son temps à regarder autour de lui et qui a toujours parfois du mal à croire qu’il habite au Canada.


Quand tu utilises les transports en commun tu n’as pas besoin de t’en faire au sujet des terrifiantes routes canadiennes. Lis ce que j’ai à dire à leur sujet ici.

En janvier j’ai fait une vidéo d’Halifax. Elle s’appelle “2,2 secondes par jour” et la plupart a été filmée dans les transports en commun. Regarde-la ici.

Yes, I live in Dartmouth…

Six months ago, I moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (for economic reasons obviously, because, like everyone else, if I had more money I would be living in Halifax). And now, every time someone asks me where I live they cringe when I say “Dartmouth”. So I always add “In a very new and cool building, 3 blocks away from Alderney Landing” which is a way to say I don’t live in a neighbourhood where people get shot. At least not in the past 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halifax. I am just tired of people looking down on me because they are “true Haligonians” as if they were living in Beverly Hills and I was living in some gang-infested neibourghood in L.A.

Sure a 71 year old man got arrested a few months ago for “indecent act” – read “masturbating in public” – in a parking lot close to my place and someone was robbed at gunpoint. That doesn’t mean Dartmouth is more dangerous than Halifax. People get stabbed outside bars there every month. But my goal here is not to compare Halifax and its evil twin Dartmouth, it’s just to show people that this long reputation of “the dark side” is not legitimate anymore. A lot has changed in the past few years and people need to realize that. It’s kind of like how people who never visited Europe still think there is no running water there, because that is what their father who fought in the war told them. People, Dartmouth is just another part of Halifax, cross the bridge and join THE DARK SIDE.