How is your winter going?

I made this chart to help you figure out how you are dealing with winter:

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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!

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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

The first rule of Canada : Talk about the weather.

When writing about slowly becoming Canadian it’s really hard not to write about the weather. Trust me! I tried.

Canadians are really good at “small talk“. French people aren’t. The French equivalent for “small talk” is “parler de la pluie et du beau temps“. If you slept through your grade 9 French class, that means “talking about rain and nice weather”. That’s literally what small talk is in Canada. When I first got here I didn’t quite understand how important the weather was. And not just so you know how to dress in the morning, or when you are planning an outdoor activity – read : trying to get outside from time to time. If you want to be able to interact with people you have to be able to talk about the weather. Whether you are at the cash register in a store, starting a business meeting, getting together with someone you know, or meeting someone for the first time, a safe way, the best way really, to start a conversation in Canada is to talk about the weather. You don’t have to complain about it, even if that usually gets you more points, you just need to make a comment about it.
I used to complain a lot about the weather. When you come from a place where the temperature doesn’t go below -10°, it’s kind of scary when you wake up and the thermometer indicates -20°. Or -30°. But then, you get used to it. It’s not just me, everybody does. Last week, it was -15°, just a little cloudy and above all it wasn’t raining or snowing. I caught myself telling my coworker “What a nice day!” I guess I am just Slowly Becoming Canadian.

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La première règle du Canada : Parler de la météo

Quand tu écris à propos de doucement devenir canadien c’est difficile de ne pas écrire au sujet de la météo. Croyez-moi, j’ai essayé.

Les Canadiens sont très forts en « small talk ». Les français, pas vraiment. En français on dit « parler de la pluie et du beau temps ». Et ça, c’est littéralement ce que « small talk » veut dire au Canada. Quand je suis arrivé ici, je n’ai pas tout de suite compris l’importance de la météo. Et pas seulement pour savoir comment m’habiller le matin ou pour prévoir une activité à l’extérieur – comprendre : essayer de sortir de chez moi de temps en temps. Si vous voulez pouvoir interagir avec les gens, vous devez savoir parler du temps qu’il fait. Et ici, c’est tout un art. Que vous soyez à la caisse dans un magasin, que vous commenciez une réunion de travail, que vous rencontriez quelqu’un pour la première fois ou un ami, un bon moyen, le meilleur moyen en fait, de commencer une conversation au Canada est de parler de la météo. Vous n’avez pas besoin de vous en plaindre, même si en général ça vous rapportera plus de points, il suffit de faire un commentaire.

Avant, je me plaignais souvent du temps. Quand tu viens d’une région ou la température descend rarement (comparé à ici) en dessous de -10°, ça fait un peu peur de se lever et devoir le thermomètre indiquer -20°. Ou -30°. Mais on finit par s’y habituer. Ce n’est pas juste moi, tout le monde s’habitue. La semaine dernière, il faisait -15°, juste un peu nuageux et surtout, il ne pleuvait pas et ne neigeait pas. Je me surpris en train de dire à mon collègue « Quelle belle journée! » Apparemment je deviens doucement canadien.