Canada vs. Germany: Why I’m Looking Forward to Going Back to Canada

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canada vs germany - Canadian Rockies win!After living in Germany for just over a year, I’m headed back to Canada tomorrow for the first time since I left last July.  Of course I’m most excited to see family and friends, but as I started to think about it, there are a lot of other reasons that I’m really excited to be going back to Canada for five weeks:

1) Tim Horton’s Coffee – I LOVE Tim Horton’s Coffee, it’s probably what I miss most about being in Germany.  If you’re ever in Canada and have never tried Tim Horton’s Coffee, it’s a must stop.  You’ll find one on every few blocks or so and there will likely be a huge line.  When I lived in Canada, I would get up on a Saturday morning in -30C weather, start my car and drive to Tim Horton’s, and stand in line – just for the coffee, even though I had no other reason to leave my warm condo.  Warning – it is very addictive.  After being away from it for almost a year, I still think about it on a regular basis.

2) Shopping for Smaller Sizes – European sizing is much different than in Canada and everything is bigger.  Even my feet feel fat in Germany.  In Canada they’re a 9, in Germany a huge 40.  I will definitely be stocking up on the smaller sizes found in Canada.

3)  Not Having to Watch for Old People When J-Walking – J-walking (crossing the street where there is no cross walk) is also illegal in Canada, but other than the police, nobody cares if you do it.  This is unlike in Germany, where j-walking is also illegal and most people abide by the rules and do it at the crosswalk on the proper signal.  J.P. (my German fiance) taught me early on, if you’re going to do it, make sure there are no old people around, as if they see you j-walking, which is against the rules, they will likely reprimand you.  I find it humorous that a grown man is afraid of getting reprimanded by a complete stranger, but then again so am I.  It will be a relief to not worry about it when I’m in Canada.

enjoying the canadian rockies
I feel most at home in the Canadian Rockies.

4) Hiking Real Mountains – Yes, Germany has the Alps, but unfortunately they’re about a 3 hour drive from where I live and as much as I love hiking in the Black Forest, I miss hiking REAL mountains and it doesn’t get much better than the Canadian Rockies – assuming that I’m not so out of shape that I can actually climb them!

5) Seeing Wildlife When Hiking – In Canada when I go hiking, when you hear a twig snap, all my senses are on full alert.  While it was likely caused by a bird, it could also be a bear or a cougar.  When I first moved to Germany, all my senses went on full alert out of habit, when I heard a noise – until I remembered there are no bears or cougars in Germany.  I’m looking forward to knowing there is a chance I can see a bear or cougar again while in Canada – just hopefully not when I’m hiking.

6) Making Small Talk – The Germans are not much on small talk and when I’m buying groceries and the cashier doesn’t ask me how my day is, I actually don’t miss this.  But I’m concerned that I’m so out of practice that I’ve lost all my small talk skills, so going back to Canada will be an excellent chance to brush up on them again. Canadians can talk about the weather for hours (much to J.P’s chagrin).

7) Navigating Buildings – Germans number their floors differently than Canadians do.  What we call the third floor,  is the second floor in Germany, since the Germans start their numbering with the Ground Floor (called the first floor in Canada) and so on.  It’s especially confusing if an expat tells you their apartment is on the 5th floor since you need to clarify if it’s the REAL 5th floor (the North American 5th floor) or if it is the German 5th floor (which is the North American 4th floor).  See why I’m confused?

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Germany, but sometimes there’s also no place like home, even if it is only for five weeks.

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22 thoughts on “Canada vs. Germany: Why I’m Looking Forward to Going Back to Canada”

  1. Have a great time back in Canada, Laurel. Bet you can’t wait to see family and friends. You’d be confused in the UK, too. We have Ground floor, first floor and so on, too. Didn’t realise it was different in Canada. Safe journey.

  2. i’m ever so gald to see that there are not more serious reasons than the ones listed. I had to laugh at the old people telling you off when you j-walk. Have a great time back in Canada and don’t get eaten by the wild life when you finally hike in the Canadian woods again. (shudder, shudder, not so much at the wild life as at the hiking, but then, you know me…)

  3. Pingback: Canada vs. Germany: Why I’m Looking Forward to Going Back to Canada | The Informed Traveler
  4. canada misses you! We are all waiting with anticipation for you. And looking forward to enjoying some Canadian hiking with you.

  5. Welcome back for a visit to Canada. I can relate to your passion for the mountains. Many years ago I had great aspirations to travel the world but those dreams are long gone. I will not live long enough to complete even a small portion of my hiking plans within a hundred kilometres of my home. And then there are those classic hikes that must periodically be repeated. Have a wonderful vacation.

  6. I never developed the taste for Tim Hortons coffee, however I love Second Cup and Starbucks (even though they are more expensive). I only go to Timmies when I’m on a road trip!

    I find Canadians are great at small talk. French don’t master the art either… same as Germans apparently.

    I hope you have a great time in Canada and that you have a great wedding!

  7. So I have never heard of Tim Horton’s but now I have to go to Canada to try it! Have a great trip. I’m just sorry I won’t be able to meet you in Innsbruck.

    Enjoy your family and your wedding!

  8. Hate to be controversial but I have to disagree on #4 and 5.

    I would take the German Alps over the Rockies any day! Can’t call the Rockies REAL mountains – that’s an insult to the Alps! As for #5, sorry but that is a REALLY good thing that you don’t have to worry about bears or cougars. I like hiking but they scare the crap out of me. I much prefer to go hiking without a fear of being attacked!

  9. It ‘s funny how your perspective on Canada has been changed by being away – I bet you took all these things fgranted before you left.Are timothy Horton’s the one’s that do the donuts? If so, yum.

    And interesting that your feet shrink when you go home 😉

  10. Haha, some funny points here. You’re right, Europeans in general don’t really small talk with strangers. And we tend to be suspicious or annoyed if a poor American (or Canadian) tries it, say in a lift or while waiting in a queue. Oh, and in Italy, clothes sizes are even “bigger” – a size 38 dress here is a 42 in Italy…

  11. It’s always fun to go home, isn’t it? It’s funny that you’re looking forward smaller sizes 🙂 Is it just the number? Or are clothes actually smaller in Canada? I was smiling when I read your comment about wildlife… Marco and I just spent some time walking through Germany’s forests and around lakes (actually, “Talsperre”) and loved the nature… so many trees, berries, tons of little animals like frogs and birds, and quite a few ant hills. After living in Texas, it seemed very idyllic and I am actually pretty happy that there was no chance of encountering a bear 🙂

  12. Five weeks is a long time to be home again, hope you enjoyed it! And as to the coffee: We do have awesome coffee in Germany, you can find it on every street corner!
    The floors were equally confusing to me once I moved stateside, I sometimes think how ridiculous it is that the first one starts on the ground and so on, but o well, all these cultural differences…

  13. hi there, welcome back to Canada. Home is always the best, right? But in my opinion, I lived in Germany for about 10 years. It is really a good place to live. people is nice, street is net, the german garden is amazing, the architechture there is more europeanish, alles in ordnung!Ich lieb es.

    • @Wei I still live in Germany (almost 6 years), but always enjoy going back to Canada for a visit. I agree, it’s a great place to live. Glad to hear that you enjoy it as well.


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