10 Moments that Remind Me I’m Back in Canada

It’s a weird thing to experience culture shock when returning to your native country, but after a year in France, it’s taken me by surprise how accustomed I had gotten to the French way of doing things. This past week has been filled with little moments of readjustment and adaptation, and while I certainly haven’t experienced a moving to Uganda level of culture shock, I’ve still had to get reacquainted with my own country in many ways.

  1. It’s amazing how distracting it is to actually be able to understand what everyone around you is saying. While it’s been a nice relief from the stress of conversing in another language, it’s also been amazingly difficult to concentrate on anything now that it’s so easy to eavesdrop on everyone’s conversations.
  2. Cars actually stop for me now when I’m waiting at crosswalks. Sometimes I don’t even have to be at a crosswalk, just in the near vicinity of an intersection, and they will stop to let me cross. What is this madness?!
  3. Random strangers keep asking me how I’m doing. “How are you?”, “How are you doing?”, and “How’s your day going?” come at me fast and furious from every cashier, bank teller, and gas attendant I come across. It only took me six tries to settle back into the automatic, “I’m good” response.
  4. People speak at such a higher decibel here than in France. Seriously, I’m standing right in front of you. Please stop shouting at me.
  5. In Canada, the first floor of a building is the same thing as the ground floor. On more than one occasion, I’ve overshot while en route to the ground floor and wound up in the basement. This was funny the first time around. Not so funny the third and fourth time.
  6. People here buy their bread at the supermarket. Blasphemy!
  7. Drivers in Vancouver are renowned for their spectacular lack of driving skills, but what they lack in automotive agility, they certainly make up for in patience. After a year in Paris, it is absolutely amazing to me that people will actually sit and wait for other cars to get out of their way instead of reaching for the horn every four seconds.
  8. Handheld shower heads are now a thing of the past, and I can’t say I’m upset about this.
  9. Unless you purposely lock your front door, it will magically stay unlocked, even if it closes behind you. Never again will I have to worry about locking myself out of my apartment. Until I move back to Paris that is.
  10. Finally, I had forgotten how wonderful the smell of salt water can be and how beautiful the mountains look in the morning. Paris is beautiful, but it doesn’t have an ocean or mountains.




  1. Annelie

    Hahaha! I can imagine the weirdness of having to readjust to your own country and customs/character traits/traffic manners! Oh, you got to be missing them baguettes! But it must also be nice to be back in beautiful Vancouver, eh? Miss you! Come back to this continent asap, please! X

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