10 things I’ve missed about Canada

by Michelle on August 22, 2014 · 16 comments

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After travelling or living abroad, sometimes the thing you crave most is actually visiting home. After living abroad in Germany for a year, it was definitely nice to come home to family, friends and everything that’s familiar…even if it’s just for two months.

Of course, I love travelling around Europe (the cobblestone streets! the castles! the vineyards!) but there’s just some things about Canada that are just irreplaceable.

Here is my top 10!

10. Tim Hortons

photo cred: timhortons.com

photo cred: timhortons.com

Like every Canadian, it feels like no day (or rather morning) is complete without a visit to Tim Hortons. My favourite is their steep tea, a drink that not even fancy Starbucks lattes can complete with. Back in uni in Canada, I would always get a large cup to help me get through my lectures and the habit has kind of stuck in my daily life. I also miss the brilliance of 24 hour Tim Hortons and being able to grab a doughnut at say 3am.

In Germany, simple, cheap coffee shops are pretty rare. Plus cafes in general close way too early. One time, I was craving something sweet at around 8pm, and me and the bf discovered that no cafe in Munich opened that late! (in the end, I got some cake at a bar and he had a beer so that solved that dilemma)

 

9. Poutine

 

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There is no substitute that tastes as good as authentic poutine from Canada. Period. Although the lack of poutine in Europe is great for my waistline, I always miss it dearly when I’m abroad!

 

8. Smoke free environments

 

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Surprisingly, people in Germany smoke A LOT. And while there’s laws implemented that bans smoking in restaurants and other indoor places, some bars still allow it, which I feel like ruins the place entirely (who wants to sit inside a dark hot room with so much smoke that it’s hard to breathe?). Also despite the laws, people can smoke freely (and do in large quantities!) at train stations, outdoor cafes, and even just standing in lines. I’m appalled when I see adults smoke in front of their babies.

Apparently German schools don’t push the whole “smoking is evil” thing as much as they do in North America. For example, none of them have even watched the lady with a hole in her throat from smoking video! It’s so wonderful being able walk around in Canada and not have smoke fumes be waved in my face…it really is a beautiful country!

 

7. Clothes I actually want to buy

 

photo cred: fashionbyeba.com

photo cred: fashionbyeba.com

I’m not a fan of German fashion at all (think sneakers, loose blue jeans, very plain shirts and scarves galore) so when I’m living in Germany, I have to order clothes from British sites like ASOS for all my fashion needs. My style is a mix between edgy, urban and part boho (think Kate Moss or Sienna Miller), so it’s great being able to find clothing like tight skinny jeans, tight dresses, shirts with a bit of cleavage or heels easily.

It seems like while German girls prefer the comfortable, underdressed look while trying hard to avoid looking “sexy,” whereas girls in Canada are the opposite and I love that – embrace that femininity!

 

6. Hip hop music

 

photo cred: popdust.com

photo cred: popdust.com

What can I say, I come from the city of Drake and I love hip hop music. Unfortunately German bars and clubs love their 90s music and electro, so our music preferences clash quite a bit.

 

5. Paying by card

 

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I love paying with either my debit or credit card back home since I hate having change with me. Unfortunately in Germany, most places don’t accept cards (of any sort), even at some McDonalds! It’s so nice being able to pay by card anywhere I want in Canada without having to ask in advance.

 

4. Free water in restaurants

 

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I usually drink water with my meals since I feel like alcohol with food makes me really thirsty, and juices and coke have too many calories. In Germany, they don’t give you free tap water like they do in Canada, so you normally have to pay around 2-4 euros for a drink. The water they serve in restaurants in Germany is usually the carbonated kind that appeals to Germans but somehow tastes disguising to every non-German I’ve met, so instead, I always end up drinking way too much diet coke when I’m in Germany (and that makes me burp a lot).

 

3. Great customer service

 

Help_Desk

Customer service in Germany isn’t horrible but it’s not the best either. Most people in customer service there do enough to fulfill their job requirements, but never go up and above like they would in Canada. I love how people here would go out of their way to help you with things, and are really genuine about it. There’s nothing like Canadian friendliness, is there?

 

2. Speaking English

 

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I have to admit, I’m terrible with learning languages and German isn’t exactly an easy language to learn. Luckily me and my German friends speak English together, and I also have a good amount of friends from English speaking countries there. Other than with them, I try to speak German whenever possible but speaking it always makes me feel a bit self-conscious.

Being back in Canada, the ability to speak English to everyone sometimes feels like the most amazing thing ever! Plus it’s also good for eavesdropping on people when you’re bored and sitting on a bus.

 


1. Family and friends

 

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Of course the thing I miss most is family and friends. I Skype with my parents once a week and talk to friends back home on Facebook all the time, but there’s nothing like seeing some familiar faces, especially the more you travel and the further you go.

And that’s my list! While it may seem like when I’m in Canada, I’m endlessly planning my next travel plans to somewhere far and distant, at the end of the day, I’m still a Canadian girl at heart. What things do you guys miss about home when you’re abroad?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Pauline August 22, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Welcome home! You mentioned the one and only thing I miss when I’m traveling – the free water at restaurants (or even from Starbucks). Man… I take that for granted when I’m here and I pay for it when I’m traveling! I seem to always forget they don’t do that abroad and often end up paying outrageous money for water.

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Michelle Michelle August 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Yea and the worst part about ordering water in Germany is that unless you specify “still water” they give you the sparkling kind which I absoluately hate! Free water is a definite plus here πŸ™‚

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Rika | Cubicle Throwdown August 22, 2014 at 10:46 pm

You are sooooooo lucky that I’m going home to Canada for 5 weeks tomorrow… otherwise I would be crying over poutine! πŸ™‚

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Michelle Michelle August 29, 2014 at 12:00 am

Aww glad you get to go home too for a bit. There’s nothing better than poutine and Timmy’s when I’m back here πŸ˜›

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Mike August 23, 2014 at 3:59 am

Hi ya Michelle! I had mentioned my Germany bucket list dream to you a very long time both on your blog and in email πŸ™‚ I’m going to be racking your brain for advice and input when the time draws closer, our friend! Another fantastic post and I just learned a ton more. I.e. – no credit cards, paying for water (I too most often will drink only water in restaurants – or Sprite), avoiding the smoky places if possible, etc. I still want to make a poutine recipe here at home! I love, love the picture of you and your parents, our friend! Put a huge smile on my face πŸ™‚

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Michelle Michelle August 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

Yes that’s exciting! How close is “close”? πŸ˜› Thanks! Haha yes I’m just full of tips so once you start planning your trip I can definitely help out!

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Catherine August 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Interesting insight into Germany – had no idea it was unusual to pay by card there or that you couldn’t get free tap water. I hate carbonated water too, don’t understand why anyone would like it!

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Michelle Michelle August 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

Yes it’s gross! I’ve yet to meet a non-German who likes it though πŸ˜›

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Elli August 23, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Hey! It’s funny, I just found your blog and we’re in the same (opposite) situation πŸ˜€ I’m from Germany and I was in Canada the past months.
I’m really surprised about the things you mentioned about Germany, since I haven’t experienced many of these. I read that you were in Munich so maybe there’s a difference between northern and southern Germany. I live in the north and there are very few people who smoke here and even amongst the teenagers smoking is not cool anymore and the numbers are decreasing. Also restaurants have to give you tap water for free. It’s in the law since it’s a basic need. You just have to specifically ask for tap water πŸ˜€
And there also aren’t many places here that don’t accept cards, except for the extremely small shops, since they have to pay fees to the credit card companys.
You are right about the clothes and the customer service though. I work in the customer service and I always try to bring a little american/candian kindness in there, but most people don’t appreciate it.
And I also miss the poutine πŸ˜€ My boyfriend hated it though o.O
About the carbonated water: it was so hard for me to live without it in Canada for so long πŸ˜€ The only ones I found there were way too carbonated but i hate still water. It tastes like blood to me ^^

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Michelle Michelle August 29, 2014 at 12:09 am

That’s so cool! πŸ™‚ How did you like Canada?! Yes, I find all the states in Germany so different from each other! (Last year, I lived in Beden-WΓΌrttemberg). Good to know that things are different in the north. All those things sound wonderful πŸ˜€ I’ve always liked Northern Germany best (shhh don’t tell those Bavarians haha)…after I graduate I’m thinking of moving to DΓΌsseldorf with the boyfriend for a bit!

You hate still water?! :O I’ve never heard anyone say that before! Haha. Maybe your boyfriend hasn’t tried a very authentic poutine…no one can hate that stuff. It’s sooooo good!! πŸ˜€

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Agness August 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

If I were you, I would also miss Poutine and free water in restaurant! I am living in Amsterdam now and water is so expensive :(.

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Michelle Michelle August 29, 2014 at 12:12 am

Yes I saw on your blog that you’re in Amsterdam! That’s so cool! I’ve been there many times and love it there! Plus, being in Germany, I’m like your next door neighbour! πŸ™‚

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Suzanne Fluhr August 29, 2014 at 1:22 am

I’ll be in Munich (Bavaria), Germany in about 10 days. I also hate still water—perhaps because i was raised in Philadelphia in the United States. I was 12 before I realized that water wasn’t supposed to have a smell and a taste. I’ll be in Munich because my husband is attending a meeting of the European Respiratory Society. All those lung doctors aren’t going to be happy with all the smoking you’ve observed and had to breathe. I’m a woman of a certain age, so baggy jeans and sneakers will be fine for me. We call them “Mom jeans” in the U.S. BTW, Burger King just bought Tim Hortons. How sad is that? Notwithstanding my surname, my German is non-existent (pretty much), so I’m going to have to hope I find some kind customer service people. The absence of hip hop I will see as a plus. As for poutine—-a taste I haven’t acquired.
PS: Here’s my take on Canada (or Ontario, anyway). (Feel free to delete the link. I don’t know what your comment-link policy is). http://www.boomeresque.com/canadians/

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Craig September 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I’m really surprised about the free water thing. I know other countries in Europe have laws about free water, just seems silly they can’t just run the tap and pour you a glass. Still must be great to be abroad, enjoy your time traveling πŸ™‚

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Meiji September 15, 2014 at 5:07 am

Number 2 got me! lol xD I’m so used to many of those things as well, specially free water and smoke free environments. I haven’t tried the Poutine, but looks good! I wonder what I’ll miss the most from my country once my trip starts..

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