Am I Really a Foreigner in Canada?
By: Suzanne Bandick

I’m not really a foreigner - or am I? I mean, I was born in Canada, and lived there for thirty nine years (oops, mistakenly revealed my age with that point)! But after five years of living in Mexico – I sometimes feel a lot like a foreigner when I return to Canada. Allow me to ramble ………

What feels different? It is hard to put my finger on it. Maybe I just feel different. It is no longer my home for one thing – that fact alone feels odd. I always enjoy myself, but I know I am coming back home to Mexico – and I do look forward to returning to this paradise. My kids and husband feel the same way. My son who is now 13 years old actually claims to be Mexican.

Oh, I know - it could be the fact that every year I drink the water and get a mild stomach upset. This year I drank a glass of Richmond tap water and was really sick all day. From now on it is only bottled water in Canada for this girl. I missed an entire day of shopping!

What could also add to my feeling is that every year when our family returns to Canada for holidays in the summer – we play tourist. We visit all the touristy spots – filled with other tourists who are having fun but probably feel like they don’t belong either. They say; like energy picks up like energy. Again I feel like a tourist in the country I was born in!

We found things seemed to be expensive in Canada. How do they get by? Do people make that much money?  It has to all be relative. Please explain how a movie is $11 – when we pay the equivalent of $4.50 in Mexico! The exception to Canadian high prices is electronics, which are very cheap compared to Mexico. Oh, and potatoes, potatoes are cheap in Canada!

I do love the way they drive in Canada! So organized – following all the lines on the road, and the rule that slower traffic belongs on the right, and pass only on the left. It is truly amazing! It is an absolute pleasure for me to drive there. I enjoy it, but it still feels really foreign. I am just not used to it anymore.

Sometimes, I simply just don’t relate to what people are talking about. They need to prepare for snow coming? What is that?  They look at flyers and shop sales? I figure I’m just lucky to find any product I am looking for after only 4 stores!

Plus, they don’t wash their produce with a disinfectant! I feel you need disinfectant no matter where you live. I can’t get used to that. I think next year I’ll bring my own. Also, another factor must be that we don’t have our own beds. We always stay with family, or friends, or in hotels. Of course I feel like a foreigner without my own bed! I can’t bring that next year though as customs would really question me.

On the plus side, I usually understand every word said unless it’s in Chinese or another Asian dialect (Vancouver is one of our stops). Then I feel like a foreigner again.

So, is Canada different or am I? I guess it is me that is different. How odd the feeling is; to be a foreigner in your own country.

Now, wait until I move to Greece! That will be an adventure! I think I’ll forever end up a foreigner in a foreign land. Either that or everywhere will become home! That would feel good. I’ll work on that!