Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Celebrating the little things

On this day between the Canada Day long weekend and Independence Day, I thought that I would make a list of little things that I like about each country. A touch of frivolity instead of big, heavy politics.

Junk food. I find that packaged chips, cookies, and sodas taste better in Canada. Trillian and I wondered if this was just a figment of our imagination, but when we had a chance to compare ingredients lists, we discovered that there's a reason. Such foods in Canada tend to have a shorter list of ingredients, fewer chemicals, more real foods. The sodas up here have sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Chips Ahoy taste less of preservatives. Not necessarily good for my waistline, but something I definitely appreciate.

Selection of frozen foods. Particularly, vegetarian foods from Morningstar, which are not available in Canada. Trillian's not at all fond of vegetarian cuisine, but even she adores their version of corn dogs. We used to have several of these sorts of products in our freezer at all times, even once I gave up my vegetarianism during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When we move back, you can bet I'll be grabbing some veggie bacon, sausage, and those corn dogs.

Chocolate. OK, officially a junk food, but it really does deserve its own category. Trillian and I fell in love with Aero bars when we discovered them at a British import shop. And we still love that you can get them pretty much anywhere (like, say, the candy aisle at Costco). Back in the US, I ordered a case for Trillian's birthday one year--from a Canadian company. I suspect we'll be doing that again.

Online shopping. But it will be fairly easy for us to order our chocolate in the US, because online shopping is a lot easier in the US. I got used to taking advantage of free shipping offers and comparison shopping between multiple sites. There are fewer choices up here and ordering from the US is bound to add beaucoup bucks to the base price--if the site can even handle a Canadian address. I don't even expect to do it all that often (patronizing local stores, etc), but I like knowing its a possibility.

Loonies and Toonies. I have to admit, I found it difficult at first to have no paper money smaller than a five and had to constantly remind myself not to just dump my "change" into the tip jar. And even though it can still be difficult to figure out what to do with a fistful of change when I'm without pockets (and I rarely carry a purse), I've come to be very fond of them. I still get a thrill out of discovering I have enough for a coffee or a snack even when I have no paper money. And it makes dealing with vending machines easier since I so often have trouble with machines not wanting to take my bills. And I prefer the pocketful of change to a wallet that's packed with singles.

Netflix. We were early members of Netflix and loved having the service. They have an amazing range of movies and had a warehouse close to us, so turn around was quite fast. At one point, they talked about expanding into Canada, and it was not until right before we moved here that those plans changed. None of the Canadian services matched what we were used to. So we've been using the library here, which has allowed us to see a number of movies on our list, but the availability is not quite the same.

I could come up with more, but in the spirit of that last one, I'm headed for TV time.


crazymumma said...

Frivolity is a good thing. it balances us moody chicks out a bit.

enjoy your tv time!

bubandpie said...

Loonies and toonies both came out during my lifetime (in fact, I recall the debate over terminology when the toonie came out - I favoured "doubloon" myself), so I went through the same process of adjustment you describe here.

Netflix is one of those mysteries to me. So you order titles online and they deliver them in the mail? And how do you get them back? I so rarely use the mail anymore it seems like just as much hassle to go to the post office as to the video store. Or do they have curbside pickup?

kgirl said...

The U.S. kicks our ass when it comes to buffets (I have espoused the gluttonous love-fest that is Golden Corral many times), and American choice of breakfast cereals makes my bowl and tummy happy, plus I love NPR, but Canada totally takes chocolate, fiction writers and hockey.

Lisa b said...

I think you have described the only upside of loonies and toonies. After years I still get that high when I realise I can pay with change. It makes whatever I am paying for seem like its free!
Online shopping here is pathetic. Nothing beats US consumerism. However chocolate is a cateogory all its own. That says a lot. At the root of my desire to live in London (UK) is unfettered access to dairy milk.

Her Bad Mother said...

Most of us have had to go through the loonie/toonie adjustment. Some of have never adjusted. I still lose or give away way too much money in change.

Urban Mummy said...

Although I don't use it, I believe zip.ca is similar to netflix?

I love the coins. And the fact that our money is different colours. Nothing i hate more then having a big pile of US money and finding it's all $1s, and I really don't have much. (Oh, and I too favoured doubloon!!)