Cicadas and Alarums.

The last of a short series of ponderings on the weirdness of immigration, you can find others at Looking BackImmigrationThe Eternal Language BarrierTradition TraditionAn Old Story and The Wizard of Oz.

It’s an unusually cool summer for Ontario. Normally August is notable for the sort of disgusting humidity that ensures you spend all outside time cocooned in a mobile warm bath of your own sweat. Everywhere is air conditioned though, which makes it easier to cope with than an unseasonable heat wave in the UK, where nothing is built for heat and relief is impossible to find. Indoor ‘climate control’ as we are supposed to call it these days, is one of the novelties I take most delight in when I am considering the luxurious essential non-essentials of transatlantic life. It is like the water softener and the reverse-osmosis filter, a guilty pleasure that the British me didn’t know you needed.… Read on...

The Wizard of Oz

One of several musings on transatlantic strangeness, you can find others at Looking BackImmigrationThe Eternal Language Barrier, Tradition TraditionAn Old Story and Cicadas and Alarums.

I’m making this beanbag. Why? Well we are in the process of rounding up furniture for Ben’s student house. This is a bit of a shock, since in my head I haven’t quite outgrown my own Young Ones phase yet, and I seem to have reverted to 70s thinking as a result. “You should have a beanbag chair! Students must have beanbags.”

Well, thanks to the wonder that is the internet it is possible to Google, download and print off a pattern for pretty much anything, so not long after the thought was formed the pattern existed and we were off looking for wacky fabric. Now, this is Mennonite Country. The best fabric warehouses are in the outlying villages, where every farming family boasts at least one old-time quilter, and this is how Ben and I ended up on a short road trip out of town.… Read on...

An old story

It has been brought to my attention that some readers are baffled by the pumpkin pie allusion. Anyone who has been reading the Unoff Mensa List for the last few years will have heard it at least once, and anyone even remotely connected with Theresa’s family will have heard it, oh, annually. But the nice thing about blogs is that they develop legs and move about the place under their own steam. If you’ve heard it, skip a week, I will be moving along shortly. If not, the moral of the tale of my first Canadian Thanksgiving is that you probably have to grow up with traditional holidays to really ‘get’ them.

(And, of course, if these musings appeal you can find more tales of transatlantic confusion and fun at Looking BackImmigrationThe Eternal Language BarrierTradition TraditionThe Wizard of Oz and Cicadas and Alarums.)

Thanksgiving isn’t an English custom you see.… Read on...

Tradition, tradition

One of several musings on transatlantic strangeness, you can find others at Looking BackImmigrationThe Eternal Language BarrierAn Old Story, The Wizard of Oz and Cicadas and Alarums.

I’ve been to a bridal shower. Well not exactly been to one, to be exact it came to me. My house was logistically the best venue for this eagerly anticipated pre-wedding event. I was intrigued to find out what would happen since we don’t have bridal showers, baby showers or any other sort of showers in the UK. Except for the merely utilitarian sort that make you wet.

I offered my little house and volunteered to make food, after ascertaining that the appropriate type of catering was something that I could handle. A rerun of the Great Pumpkin Pie Disaster of 2002 would not be wise on a nice young lady’s pre-special day special day. Apparently pretty canapés, finger food generally and edible feminine fripperies are the best thing, and I can do that, so I did.… Read on...

The Eternal Language Barrier

I’ve been chatting online with a pal in the hospitality business, comparing notes on the respective frustrations of running a B&B versus a motel. He is off to buy a new TV for one of the rooms today and I was reminded of the absurd TV buying disaster of yestercareer. So, with thanks to Barry for reminding me today, and Ian for putting me right at the time, I think it’s time to relive the great Canadian R debacle. This is what I wrote at the time…

(And if you have missed any of the other musings on culture shock and other oddities, you can find more at Immigration, Looking BackTradition TraditionAn Old Story, The Wizard of Oz and Cicadas and Alarums.)

It’s a useful thing, the Canadian R. There are times that I wish my English way of speaking – my inherent BBC accent – could learn to incorporate it.… Read on...

Immigration

For a few of us it is a lifestyle choice, for most of the world it’s a ‘issue’. The UK witters about it all the time, what with being full up, and it would appear that Canada is beginning to fret about immigration too. Only this week the Canadian government has slapped visa requirements on Mexicans and the Czech Roma, to try and stop unsuccessful refugee claims from tourists. There have been minor outcries. Apparently it costs insane amounts of money to look after people for the years it takes to process an unsuccessful claim, and Canada looks after people prettily, that’s why they come. It’s ok of course if you are a real refugee, but the chancers and tryers-on are a drain on resources.

The other category that we love to hate, of course, is your economic migrant. These cheeky people are the lowest of the low on both sides of the Pond.… Read on...

Looking Back

It occurs to me that there are several sorts of travelling. Immigration, for example, is a lot more than just moving to another place. The demolishing of normality makes for a bizarre internal journey. As I contemplate not writing about new places for a while, it might be amusing to look back at some of the odder aspects of settling in. We live here now, it wasn’t always thus. So, a few articles culled from work published by Emigrate magazine over the years. Just to get things going…

If these musings appeal you can find more tales of transatlantic confusion and fun at Immigration, The Eternal Language Barrier, Tradition Tradition, An Old Story, The Wizard of Oz and Cicadas and Alarums.

How complicated can it be? You pack up a few books and clothes, a box of toys and an antique grandmother clock. You pop a teenager under your arm, leave London, England behind and cross the Atlantic.… Read on...