What I like and dislike in Canada

Ok… we have been in Canada for 3 months and not a single post has gone out. It´s been harder than we anticipated to sit down and have time to write. This takes a while…

I’m working on a post about our arrival, first month, renting a house, etc, but that will have to wait.

Here is my list of things I like & don´t like in Canada so far, and what I miss from Brazil.

WHAT I LIKE
Linen Closet
If you’ve always had a handy linen closet in your home you don’t realize how wonderful it is to not have to find room in your room closets to store all the linens. This thing is genius.

Dishwasher
Seriously… yes, they exist in Brazil, and no, the average (and above average) person does not have one, and I don’t know a single person in Brazil who runs a dishwasher daily. The electricity bill will floor you. So this… this is wonderful. I have to hand wash a handful (haha) of dishes every day, and sometimes none. This has also moved me towards more baking and cooking, because clean up has always been what I dread.

2h for a load of laundry
In Brazil we dried the kid’s clothes in the dryer, but we were the absolute exception. Washing + drying took about 5h. That was not a typo. FIVE hours. Not to mention line drying clothes and having a surprise rain, or a very cold week, and then nothing dries properly and everything stinks of wet dog. I haven’t used an iron in 3 months, I can do 9 loads of laundry in a day and I’m loving it.

Chocolate milk
It’s just yummier.

Diaper size on the diaper
This is genius. No more mix up.

Heating/cooling system
No more wearing 2 pants, 3 sweaters and a blanket to work INSIDE the house. No more placing a fan directly on my legs and still sweating INSIDE the house. The year J was born it snowed… a very light dusting, but it had been decades, and it was cold, and it was a pain to take care of a newborn with such low temperatures. Choose your temperature. I’m all for it.

Returning Things
This is sweet. You can return ANYTHING… as long as you have a receipt. Seriously… Costco membership (didn’t actually do this), a used (once) knife that was horrible, a diaper bag that simply ripped open on the second outing, a mattress that was supposed to be firm but felt like a water bed. Aaaaaaaand you are refunded in the method you paid for (cash, debit or credit). I know, all you Canadians know this and think it’s normal, but in Brazil it’s like: Oh, we don’t accept returns. It was your choice. Deal. 

Parks
I love that every park I’ve been to here has a good playground area for kids, a nice spot (not always shade) to sit. Makes going out much easier.

Kid friendly restaurants
We haven’t been to many, but all restaurants we’ve been to have been very kid friendly. Kid menus that go beyond nuggets + fries, some sort of toy or crayon or craft, and usually a desert incentive.

Special parking spaces for expecting moms and families with small kids
This is wonderful. Period. I usually don’t use them, but sometimes they are a lifesaver.

Friendly people
We have met many people that have given us a smile, some time, a beginning of friendships. We are blessed and feel grateful for the love that pours in.

Old friends
Last, but most certainly not least, we have a few old friends that live reasonably close by. We have only seen each of them once, but it is a balm to our hearts to know that people we love so much are so close.

_KPP7477.jpg

WHAT I DON’T LIKE
Tim Horton’s
I have talked to enough Canadians by now to report that this does not disqualify me to be in Canada. Why I don’t like Tim Horton’s? Really? You’re going to ask that about food? I didn’t enjoy anything I ate/drank from there… it was all just bleh.

Sugar in everything
This drives me crazy… I know people use a lot of sugar in savory recipes, and it’s not just Canada and blablabla, but I don’t like it. Pizza dough that tastes sweet, canned corn that was not edible because it was too sweet, you get the picture. Ironically the sweets (ice cream, brownies…) are not overly sweet. Go figure.

Greasy meat
Everyone and their mother talks about how meat is better in Brazil, and about how people go to Brazil and go crazy in all you can eat steak houses. I’ve witnessed that many times (and binged more than my share here – feel free to drool). But I don´t really care for meat so I didn’t expect this to bother me. It does… the fat content in meat here is no joke.

No laughter
This may become a goal of mine: make people laugh out loud. Seriously.
I like to laugh. I laugh every day. Out loud. Sometimes inappropriately. But if it’s funny, you bet I’m going to laugh.
To my surprise here people say “That’s funny”, “That’s really funny”, and even “That’s hilarious” with a straight face, and at most a smile. Sadly I can already feel myself changing, but I’m trying not to.

Litter
There’s more than I expected. And every time I see a sign saying “The only cure for litter is you” it makes me a little sad.

Checks
This has made aaaaaaaall our Brazilian friends laugh (out loud) at our surprise with this. Checks. In Brazil I think I wrote maybe one check a year. If that. It’s been a complete mind shift to not simply do all our banking online (yes, we do 99% of our Canadian banking online), but checks still stump us.

WHAT I MISS
Laughter
I miss being in a group and hearing belly laughs, laughing till you cry, throw your head back and roar with laughter.

Leite moça
Specific brand of sweetened condensed milk. This is the real stuff. Nothing else comes close. You can drool here. 😀

Brazilian french bread
Dunno if it’s specific to Brazil but we’ve never found it here (or anywhere we’ve ever been, even in Paris) and Lucas asked me to include this. Bagels are great and all, but he misses his bread.

Friends in the evening
This has been really rough for me and J. Every day from when he was 6mo, we went outside to play with the neighbors. We lived in a closed neighborhood of 60 houses and he had friends his age next door, right in front of our house and a few houses down. Every day there were a bunch of kids playing outside, having fun, and when it was too cold we ended up in someone’s house, parents chatting and kids playing. We had the morning friends, who we met almost every day for a stroll and play in the playground, and evening friends, who we met everyday to play on the street. I always knew this was special. I miss it every.single.day.

Impromptu meetings with friends
This is a bit of a surprise for me because I didn’t realize we did this so much until it just stopped. Cold turkey. I didn’t realize how much we called and were called to just get together for no reason other than to spend time with each other, laugh, eat something yummy. I miss those friends, those friendships. I miss being that friend. I miss the conversations about nothing, the comfortable silences. So many days here we have looked at each other and simply wanted to have someone to call and say: Are you free anytime today? Let’s hang out!
As much as we are loving our time as a family, we like people… and it can get lonely.
I have heard many times snippets of conversation around me where people say something in the lines of “with so many cousins, plus school, my kids don’t really need any other social interaction…” Mine do. I do. We have no family, no cousins, no old friends here. I am touched beyond words by every person that has shared their time, their kids, has made room for a new friend. We know it’s almost a chore for you sometimes… the conversations don’t always flow, there are no inside jokes, everything is new information… but for us, especially for me (I work from home and don’t see a single person other than my family most days), for the kids (who only play with us and each other most days)… it’s baby steps to pushing away lonely moments, to building a life here. It’s what makes me believe that we can get through the days we are pulling our hair out just wanting to get together with someone. So thank you. We know you don’t need any new friends, your slots are full, you have enough on your plate. So thank you for making room.

There you go… Like, dislike, miss.

Moving is never easy. I moved interstate and now internationally and we always leave a piece of our heart behind, there is always a struggle, there is always loneliness.

But we are where we dreamed of being, and thank God for skype!!!

Thanks for reading!