Fresh Eyes

“It’s the wrong pizza! I am so sorry!” I said to the pizza delivery girl.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I must have picked up the wrong order”, she said. “I will bring you the right one. Sorry!”

“Thank you! Sorry you have to take that back!” I said.

Being extremely polite, it seems, is one of the finer points of being Canadian, part of our everyday vernacular.

And I am proud of that, as we celebrate Canada Day this July 1st.

In an article written by Deepak Kashyap entitled, “15 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Moved To Canada”, they observe Canadians say “Sorry” just as often as we say “Please”, “Thank You”, “May I”, and “Excuse Me”.

And saying “Sorry” is not a matter of wanting people to like us, notes Deepak. And it’s not a signal or desire to be friendly. It is simply a social standard in Canada. It’s an indication that we see another person as our equal.

After living in England and the U.S., Deepak writes they thought they knew what to expect after moving to our great country as a permanent resident.

But they were wrong.

They never expected it would be so expensive in so many ways to live in Canada.

Being properly attired in all four seasons is a costly venture.

There are spring jackets and light pants; summer tank tops, shorts and sandals; autumn sweaters and woolly socks; and of course, winter coats, boots, long johns, hats, mitts, etc.

Something Canadians give no second thought to.

We simply look forward to those January sales when we can pick up that extra warm coat for a good price that will hopefully last us a couple of years.

After Deepak survived their first Canadian winter, during which the temperatures dipped to -40, (colder than the surface of Mars, they note), they understand why Canadians are so eager to don shorts and sandals long before the temperatures truly warrant it.

And it’s true.

The May long weekend is our unofficial start to summer, and no matter what the weather may be, we are champing at the proverbial bit to bare our legs and feet (even if we are wearing a sweater or even a coat).

Deepak writes it is a taxing time to move to our fair country. And that is something all Canadians can agree on. Once sales tax, provincial tax and/or harmonized tax are all added onto a purchase, it can be a shock to the wallet.

Dentist visits, prescriptions, banking fees, service charges, wi-fi, cell phones, and high interest rates along with the idea of building credit also came as a shock to Deepak. Again, all things we don’t give a second thought to, really. Establishing credit is something we Canadians take for granted, given our country is built on credit, and actually rely upon for bigger purchases such as a car or a house. However, Deepak notes correctly that our banking system makes it easy to spend beyond our means and fall into debt.

In India, Deepak notes it is more accepted to repair a broken toaster or worn shoe. But here in Canada, it is actually more cost effective to replace it, since the repair often costs just the same.

We Canadians are apparently a modest bunch. Deepak writes that in India, extravagant displays of wealth are admired, respected and accepted. But here in Canada, we often roll our eyes at those who brag about their trappings.

One point I am especially proud of is Deepak’s observation that we are not a class based society. We are all entitled to the same rights and freedoms and mutual respect, regardless of race, colour, culture, sexual orientation or faith. A freedom “To Be!” That should be our country’s motto.

I am now more grateful than ever for being a Canadian, for being a part of a country that has a reputation for being accepting and tolerant (although perhaps expensive) and wonderful in every way.

Oh, Canada!


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