Growing up in Canada is the same as growing up in any Western country, with one small exception: We've got serious bragging rights. Canada shares the longest border in the world with the United Sates, we've got Poutine, and really great winters (LOL). Being a Canadian can often feel like it’s mostly about asserting what we are not, especially when we compare ourselves to our big sister to the south. But as you can expect, there are certain things only people who grew up in Canada understand.
I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, directly above North Dakota, which is still fairly close to the United States border. Because of that, my life was a mix of both American and Canadian culture. Often we'd see American commercials planning on TV, and I'll never forget the horror of realizing the sugary cereals I saw during commercial breaks from my favorite shows weren't available in our local grocery story. (It's a tough reality my kids will soon learn themselves.) Even if the constant tease of American commercials was an on-going struggle in my youth, I wouldn't trade life in Canada for anything.
Here are 11 things only someone who's grown up in the greatest country in the world will understand:
Learning The ABC Song Our Own Way
Fun fact: not everyone in the world pronounces the last letter of the alphabet “zee.” In fact, the entire British Commonwealth (of which we are a part) pronounces it “zed.” This is only a problem when most of the educational toys sold in your country come from, well, America, I guess? My daughter switches the way she pronounces her Z in the alphabet song pretty much every other week. (And it's adorable.)
We Love Canadian Sports
This probably isn’t just a Canadian thing. But I don’t care. Sports (especially hockey) are incredibly important to a Canadian's way of life. We live for it all, especially the Olympics.
We Love The Blue Smarties
This one is small, but every Canadian kid who goes trick or treating gets at least a half dozen packages of Smarties. And for whatever reason, that blue Smartie, so rare, so flashy, is always coveted when it’s found.
We're All About The Extra U
Anywhere that you see the letters "o" and "r" together in a word, go ahead an add a "u" in between 'em. Well, except for words like professor, and victor, and, well, for (but not the word "four" because it's already there). Ugh. I give up.
We Literally Won't Ever Give Up On The Jays
I am old enough to remember those two glorious years when the Blue Jays took home the Pennant, but there are full-grown Canadian adults out there now who do not remember the glory. (Like my kids.) We will continue to dream.
I'll Never Stop Loving American Cereals
We saw tons of commercials on TV for American sugar-filled cereals, and oh, how I badly I wanted to try each one. But the commercials proved to be the ultimate teaser, because Cookie Crisps, sadly, never became a Canadian thing.
Sorry, what were you saying? I couldn't hear you over the sound of my own happiness. Other countries can lie to themselves all they want, but no one does Poutine as well Canada. Trust me.
Needing To Wait For American Toys To Be Available In Canada
I can’t even remember the toys that got released in the States first, but I do remember the devastation of seeing a commercial on TV and having to wait six more months until it was actually available in Canadian stores.
Skating Lessons Are Way More Important Than Swimming Ones
Growing up in Winnipeg, I got swimming lessons for years. Every winter though, as soon as I could walk, my parents would take me to this park that had a big pond and creek running through it, where they'd teach me to skate.
For a country that spends most of its year covered in snow and ice, I'm thinking putting my kids on the ice will be money well spent. We'll tackle the floaties once it's actually summer.
Winter Is Always Coming
You guys. Jon Snow was not kidding. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, winter is always coming in Canada. (And you've been warned: it is never this cute.)