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.
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.