I'm really quite fond of Canada. I like the people, I like the scenery, I like the polite buses. I could live here easily - it reminds me of Seattle but with more Canadians...
Things I've learned about Canada
- The people are always very sorry. They will apologize for just about anything. Even if you step on their foot, they will immediately tell you they're sorry about that. Even their buses apologize - when a bus is out of service, a sign flashes "Out of Service. Sorry"
- Canadians are very obedient. They will never ever cross against the light. Ever. Even at 7am in the morning when there are no cars on the street. If they have the do not walk sign, you bet your Sorels they won't.
- Only Canadians can make red and black plaid look really, really awesome.
- Canadians are better at displaying their pride then we are. Every single person on the streets of Vancouver has at least SOMEthing that says "Canada" on it. If the Olympics were held in Chicago, I don't think you would see that. Americans are weird about displaying their pride - it's either an obnoxious full out pride (coughredneckcough) or it's a discrete, almost embarrassed pride. I was proud of my family that they seemed to find a perfect level of national pride when they were here - proudly wearing flags, but also embracing Canada and every other country they encountered... especially Ireland... or the Irish pubs anyway....
- The Canadian sense of humor is pretty awesome. Even Donald Sutherland is hilarious.
- It's really, really gorgeous here - and so much scenic variety. The ocean, the bay, the mountains, the green, it's beautiful.
- They've completely lived up to their billing of being the friendliest country. And it's not a fake, forced friendly - it's a genuine, want-to-help-you friendly. The volunteers all wear these bright blue jackets - and kind of look like overgrown Smurfs - but you know when you see a blue jacket, that you're probably going to see a smile.
One of the best things about walking home at night is listening to the crowds yelling "Go Canada!" and the random outbursts of "Oh Canada". And it doesn't JUST happen after games - it happens all the time, every night. I've been getting home at anytime from 10pm-2am and at every hour of the night, you hear the people whooping and hollering. It's constant.
I've taken to opening my window at night as I unwind just so I can listen to the people own below. It's fun. It's easy to get swept up into the Canadian pride.
One of the other things that's been happening is random street hockey games breaking out with the kids. You'll be walking down the street and all of a sudden there's all these kids with sticks and a ball playing in the middle of the street or on the sidewalk and everyone just stops to watch, cheering the kids on. It's awesome. Even the news is constantly reporting on it - the traffic helicopters will zoom in on games instead of traffic.
This place has definitely embraced the games whole-heartedly.