Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I am Camerican.

In a few months, I will have lived in Canada for 10 years. 10 YEARS. When I stop and think about this, I am shocked. I came here, only planning to stay for 1 year, and suddenly 10 years have passed by.

After 10 years of living in the Great White North, I think I can officially be considered a true Camerican. What is a Camerican, you ask?

Camerican – (Kah-mare-ick-en). Noun. A Camerican is a person that has duel citizenship in both America and Canada and has spent large amounts of time in both countries. This person can also be referred to as a ‘duly’.

I am very proud to be a ‘Camerican’. There aren’t many of us out there. We bridge the divide between Canadians and Americans. We are the ambassadors that help Americans and Canadians to respect and learn about each other’s country. I help Canadians understand that America doesn’t want to conquer and take over their country and I am living proof to Americans that people do live and survive in northern Canada, don’t live in igloos, have normal jobs and homes and we travel via car, not dogsleds.

An issue that most Camericans deal with is that they are always told they have an accent. In Canada, I am ‘SO American’ in the way I speak. When I go home to America, I am told, ‘You have such a Canadian accent!’ I just can’t win.

Having gleaned so much information about Canada in the past 10 years, I think it only prudent for me to share some tips for Americans that want to visit Canada.

Pronunciation Guide for All Americans Traveling up North

  • Asphalt – (Ash-fault) Apparently Canadians don’t want to appear to be swearing…even if it’s how the word is spelled…
  • Project – (Pah-roe-ject) Something to get done
  • Vase – (vah- zuh) At least you get to feel sophisticated while talking about your home d├ęcor items.
  • Pasta – (passed-uh) It is most important to say it correctly while ordering in a loud restaurant so as not to confuse your waiter.
  • Mario – (Mare-ee-oh) Just go with it.
  • Decal – (deck-uhl) rhymes with freckle…
  • Z – (zed) This is how Canadians pronounce the letter ‘Z’. If you have to spell something, make sure to do so correctly.
    “How do you spell your last name Mrs. Maritzo?
  • Measure – (meh-zure) To be honest, this may be a Donloree issue, not an American/Canadian issue. I pronounce this ‘may-zure’…but then so does my family, so I have lumped it in here for your reference. If you do pronounce it the way I do, woe to you! You will be severely mocked while in Canada!!
  • Garage – (Gah-rah-juh) A place to park your car.

Words to use, so they don’t know you are American

  • States – You ARE NOT from America, you are from the ‘States’.
  • Eh – Put this at the end of some phrases here and there. It can be used to ask a question, agree with someone or just fill in dead conversation space.
  • Hey – To be used synonymously with ‘eh’.
  • Bum – This refers to your posterior, not a homeless person.
  • Chesterfield – A couch. Use this word sparingly, and only around people that are older than 70. Though, when used in the correct context, people will be amazed at your knowledge of the Canadian language.
  • Toque – Beanie or stocking hat

You are now fully prepared to travel up to the Great White North…and when it drops to -40 Celsius, don’t forget to wear a toque, hey?!