There have been some funny (and not so funny) differences I’ve noticed between Ottawa and Los Angeles.
This of course, does not speak for everyone in the city of Ottawa, but from what I’ve experienced so far:
1. The weather people love to blame Texas.
Just like in the States they blame that ‘Canadian Arctic Air’ whenever it drops below 65, whenever a big storm comes into Ottawa “that moisture from Texas is causing our ice storm”. We all gotta have a scape goat, right?
2. There isn’t a lot of culture diversity.
That’s my nice way of saying there are no black people. I think I’ve met 3 black people since I arrived into the city of Ottawa. Coming from Los Angeles, where I would sometimes be in the minority group in certain situations, being white here is definitely the majority. It’s creepy. I’m not used to it.
3. People don’t tip. Or Canadians are just overly gracious. I can’t figure out which yet.
Every time I give a tip–and it’s been nothing extravagant (I’m on a tight budget)–the person receiving the tip has been overly ‘thank you thank you thank you’. Um, I kinda feel bad if this is your best tip of the day. But I get the impression it is.
4. Everyone knows the healthcare system is better here.
Every time I try to blow off steam about what I’ve been through in the U.S., and how expensive it is there, I get semi-interested stares and polite nods. Even when I say, ‘my insurance premium alone is $1500/a month, and that doesn’t include co-pays and deductibles’, is just met with a further disinterested ‘why would you be stupid enough to live there when you can get it for free here?’ Just do what other Canadians do, and go south for six months, then come back,
which gets to my last observation (so far),
5. The weather is the communal price paid by all Canadians. And anyone who can get out in the winter, gets out in the winter.
“So–what exactly, are you doing in Ottawa in December, eh?”
This is my trip so far 🙂
It’s an adjustment, for sure…just like I remember feeling culture shock when I moved to Virginia (from Toronto) back in 1986, I’m actually going through a reverse culture shock again…that feeling of not belonging, of not fitting in…
I’m so homesick right now, I miss Los Angeles so much it hurts. I keep reminding myself of the amount of money I’ll help save, but it’s really hard. I miss Los Angeles a lot.