Wildflowers don’t care where they grow – Dolly Parton.
It’s really easy to develop a negative attitude when you move to a new city. Especially when you’re in stage 2 of the expatriate stages, otherwise known as “I hate this fucking place.”
1. Canadians are nice.
Admittedly, this irritates me sometimes. Like when someone apologizes four times for offending me (he didn’t). Or when people are being really passive-agressive. But I like the Quebecers because they rarely lose patience when I’m struggling to say, ‘I want some coffee,’ or to remember the French word for cauliflower. They are forever patient and I’ve never felt so safe. It’s eerily quiet – I live downtown and have never even heard a police siren.
2. Winter doesn’t faze this place
I detest winter. I hate that the sidewalks are coated in an inch of ice. Spending thirty minutes a day just prepping my car for a 10-minute ride makes me silently plead for Seattle’s drizzly days.
This winter has been far too long. It’s the second of April and it snowed yesterday. I know I can’t hope for better weather but this place makes Chicago’s winters look pleasant.
I like that people are still outside and active on frigid days. There’s a lot of free or low-cost activities to do here: snow showing, snow mobiling, ice skating, cross country skiing. And even on cold days, you’ll see lots of pedestrians.
3. The work-to-live attitude
The Quebecois are known for a work-to-live attitude. Shops close much earlier here and they don’t really have those mega block stores everywhere. Sometimes I miss the hustle of big American cities, the ambition, the thrill. But sometimes I don’t. There’s not much pressure here to talk about work or to identify yourself by what you do. It’s more about enjoying life. I like that because before I felt so stressed – not to get fired, to be better than the next person, to make more money.
Your attitude is the most important accessory as an expat. Leaving your friends and family and trying to adapt to a new place is not easy.