I am a bloody foreigner living in england. as a result, whenever I meet someone new, one of the first things they notice is my accent and one of the first things they ask me is where I'm from. I learned very early on that nobody here knows where buffalo is. some people have heard of it, and one guy thought it might be in illinois or maybe idaho. new york, new york state, upstate new york and western new york, in the eyes of a brit, are all equivalent to new york city. so where am I from? well, the answer depends on how the question is phrased.
Q: where are you from?
A: the states. because I am. or, near niagara falls if the situation demands a more ambiguous answer. not my fault if everyone assumes that means canada.
Q: are you american or canadian?
Q: is your family american?
A: uhh... could you explain that question?
Q: where in canada are you from?
A: I'm, um, not exactly, well... niagara falls. ish. wait... how did you know I was canadian? it's generally the quasi-canadian accent that gives it away.
yes, I live in new york state and have only been to new york city once in my life. no, if you lived in buffalo, you wouldn't make the 15-hour roundtrip drive every weekend either. no, buffalonians and new yorkers don't have the same accent. yes, I know I don't have either. no, I won't take offense if you make fun of americans. yes, I will be deeply offended if you make fun of canada. no, I'm not serious.
I measure long distances in miles, medium distances in meters and short distances in feet and inches. I know cold temperatures in celsius and hot temperatures in fahrenheit. I spell behaviour with a 'u' and theater with an 'er'. I end my alphabet with a 'zee' unless I'm talking about z(ed)-scores. I weigh people in pounds and meat in grams. I was raised on robert munsch, mr. rogers and paddington bear. I could live comfortably on buttertarts and nanaimo bars, cheez-its and fluffernutter, or hobnobs and steak pie, for that matter. the only lyrics I know to the tune of 'god save the queen' begin 'my country 'tis of thee', but I can sing 'o canada' in two languages.
on tuesday I was in trafalgar square eating poutine in celebration of canada day. and today? well, I've changed my computer wallpaper to an american flag. I am in england, after all..
canada day london!
and the bishop kids looking particularly patriotic for geoff's naturalization in june 1990.