We’re not so different after all

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Those who aren’t from Canada may not know that beneath the surface of the polite Canadian image simmers a hotbed of rivalry between French and English speaking citizens. The flames flare and recede in cycles of political turmoil and subsequent recesses.

I find a new acupuncturist who happens to be a Canadian of French descent, originally from a small town in Quebec. He grew up speaking French, but learned English and has a most charming accent. I’m a Canadian of Belgian and Ukrainian descent who grew up in a small town in Western Canada. I grew up speaking English and have no idea if my French accent is charming or not.

We discuss many things during an acupuncture session, including our childhoods. This is where the similarities come in. We share a love of the Eaton’s catalogue; both having spent hours poring over the pages filled with shiny pictures of our hearts’ desires—toys, toys, books, and more toys. We also remember the early days of hockey. The Montreal Canadiens being our favorite team.  We, out west, didn’t like the Toronto Maple Leafs any more than Quebecois did.

“Did you read Le Chandail de Hockey?” I ask.

“Bien sûr,” he says.

“I felt so sorry for the boy when the catalogue sent him the wrong hockey jersey,” I say.

“Imagine the shame,” he says, “playing with your friends who all have Canadiens jerseys,” he replies with a sympathetic shake of his head.

I shudder at the thought and ask, “Did you get substitutes too, when you ordered things?”

“Mais oui,” he says. “The hockey sweater my mother ordered for me was too small. She gave it to my little brother.”

“Me too.” I sigh. “I’ll never forget getting the little blue purse when what I really wanted was the red one.”

We sigh again and then chuckle and move on to other topics. The memory of the blue purse still rankles, but Michel and I have found several common grounds and our friendship continues to grow.

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16 comments on “We’re not so different after all

  1. It’s always a wonderful experience meeting people from other tribes or cultures. I’ve always wondered what culture or people are predominant in Canada. Now I know.

  2. I think the Eaton’s cataloque is one of the things that ties us all together as Canadians (of a certain era.) I find it amazing to find things we have in common. I remember discussing my large German Canadian family get togethers with my Indo Canadian receptionist and she kept saying, that is just like in our family. You are so right – “we are not so different after all”

  3. Evidement :) Must visit Canada then as I like learning both languages and as it’s beautiful obviously. And close to Alaska (in love with Martha Martin story – I wrote a litte tribute to it in English ;) Honestly, I ame across your blog while looking for blogger vs wordpress features. My sister told me she had been trying to establish her blog with wordpress and had no visits, changed to blogger and got 45 quickly. I find it difficult to comment on blogger blogs as my profile gets no personalization but the common wordpress icon beside my comment. Did you manage to handle that and could help me out? Greetings from Poland :)

  4. Just before stopping at your blog I was looking at a page of African cichlids – fish marked by an extraordinary array of colors and designs. I have never stood on the dry side of an aquarium and heard people disparage their differences. They are awed by them. At life’s core all signs are pointing to the fact that there is only one sort of stuff that constitutes us so any perceived differences among humans could be likewise something to awe us. Why human beings are inclined instead to judge is the curiosity that plagues us.

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