I really don't know why I bother to say I'm taking a break, when I write 5 days later anyways. I've gone longer than that without saying anything. Okay.. so no more "I'm on a break" messages. What I do have for you today is a list of cultural differences I've been noting. Random, as listed..
Coffee. It's much stronger here (note: I notice it in taste, not per caffeine as caffeine doesn't affect me). When you go out for a coffee you can expect it to be at least twice as strong as coffee from back home, if not more. So brace yourself. Oh, and smaller. Their coffees are in smaller doses (perhaps ammended per the stronger taste. I have no idea).
Lemonade. What they call lemonade and what we call lemonade are two totally different things. First of all, what *we* call lemonade actually has lemon (or some form of) in it. Here, lemonade can be any base syrup mixed with water (i.e grenadene and the like). I just can't get on board with this yet. Lemonade is LEMONade. Gah. *throws hands in air*
You can't order a drink with rye; they look at you funny. It's whiskey. Even scotch is known as and better translated as whiskey. When I say I'd like a whiskey and Coke, they'll bring me something like Jameson, or.. strong like Glenlivet. Not Canadian Club (it does exist in the stores!). Beer is also served in a glass (usually), and by half pints.
Some of you have seen this already when I mentioned it on Facebook; doctor's waiting rooms. I notice everyone says hello when entering the waiting room. To complete strangers. All the time. I haven't gotten my head around this yet. The North American mentality is go in, keep to yourself, don't talk to anyone and wait 30 minutes until you're called. Here, you walk in, say hello (even if they walk by they say hi), la-dee-da kill time somehow until you're called, about 10-15 min later, if that. They seem to have a sort of, "Well, we're all in this together," way about it. While pleasant, it's taking me some time to get used to.
You can buy anything online. Anything. And it ships in a day. Food? Sure. Kitchen appliances? No problem. Anything. I love the speed in which they deliver. Your item can often arrive the next day. Beat that, Canada.
Oh.. the supermarket. It's pretty much the same layout as you'd expect. When you go to cash out, it's a bit different. I think I've mentioned the cashiers are always sitting; a good way to save your back (I don't know why we don't do this). You also have to bag your own groceries, even at the nicer stores. Quickly, btw, so the guy behind you's stuff doesn't get mixed in with yours. No pressure. While you're bagging (or putting back in the cart and boxing later at your bike/car etc) at marathon speeds, also pay and punch in your debit code. Got 5 hands? Okay, I exagerate slightly, but it is a bag-your-own and do-it-quickly situation. Oh, I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but when paying and forgot something, or grabbed the wrong sale item, it's common to return back to the original spot - leaving 5 people behind you waiting, grab the correct item and hurry back. My North American head screaming, "What the hell are you doing?! Can't you see I'm in a hurry here!!" went off pretty fast, but I kept my mouth shut. Then I remembered where I was. If they're not worried about it, then I won't be either. I've got no place to go. So I sit back and wait. Look, I'm becoming a local already :P
Shoes. People don't take them off when visiting at someone else's house. This is not me and definitely not how I was raised. It irks me slightly, but I keep to myself about it. W is pretty good about it without me having to ask, but sometimes we'll come in with groceries and 20 min later he'll still have his shoes on. I'll say, "Shoes" and he goes takes them off. (What?? I just vaccuumed!) /OCD I remember when we went to visit family friends the first day I was here. I took my shoes off at the door and they looked at me funny, questioning what I was doing. It was the strangest thing.
Well, that's it for now. I'll keep trying to note more for you!