My husband is Canadian. He has lived in the U.S. since he was 23, when we got married. He was born in Scotland and grew up in Ontario, first near Toronto then outside Windsor as a teenager. His parents have lots of friends that are British immigrants to Canada so his upbringing was heavily influenced by that culture. We live near the Canadian border, so it’s not uncommon for Canadians to commute to the Detroit area for work.
Here are the things that still still surprise him:
- The attitudes towards healthcare. We both are allied health professionals ( he is a pharmacist) so he’s seen it up close from the inside. He can’t believe how people are so callous about the uninsured. From a epidemiological standpoint, he’s seen how counter productive it’s been to discharge people with infections . There is so much waste on marketing, logo rebranding, doing cosmetic nonessential upgrades. Most hospitals have non profit status. They use the budget ” surplus” to lure patients with good insurance. Hubs is pretty apolitical, but he will get fired up about this from time to time. Sometimes it disgusts him.
- Guns , obsession with guns with many Americans. We’ve seen an increase in gun obsession or ” intensity” among friends and extended family. His brother is an engineer who lives in Windsor and works over herea lot, and that is his biggest ” surprise.” Usually he thinks its silly but sometimes the conversations about guns gives him the creeps.
- He’s come to appreciate it, but hubs sees Americans as just more intense, opinionated, passionate , loud. He had to tell people that Canadians are not apathetic or weak, they just are more reserved . My particular Canadian hub does not identify much with the Québécois, who are more into protest and emoting.
- He is in awe (and it’s made me in awe) of the rich musical history of the U. S. He thinks the African American contribution to culture is one of our country’s greatest gems.
- The size of houses. At least in southern Ontario, you don’t see many 4 person families living in a 3000 square foot houses. Overall, I see Canadians as more aware of Energy consumption.
- The diversity in the U.S. culturally, climate, ideology. It’s tiring but it is fascinating.
- Given the fact that we live 30 minutes from the Canadian border, it’s astounding how few people in this area are uninformed or misinformed about Canada ( I was when I met him) I can see it if you live in the south , but to have as much contact we have with Canadians in the workplace, etc it shows a lack of curiosity.