I thought it would be fun to write down the top twenty things I would miss about Canada, and then after about two weeks of living in Kuwait, I would compare it to what I ACTUALLY miss about Canada. I was fairly accurate with my list when I lived in Scotland, let’s see if I’m close this time!
*The list is in order from the most missed (#1) to the least missed, which are in no particular order.
1. My family. Obviously. I’d be a schmuck if I didn’t write that. Anyway, it’s true. I will miss the comfort of the people who I see all the time, who know me, love me, and care about me. I include my dogs and my friends in this category.
2. Freedom. Daily freedoms to do what I take for granted every day: wearing what I want, saying what I want, watching what I want, listening to what I want, and doing whatever I want. I can do these freely in Canada without the fear of reprisal or punishment.
3. My culture: I will miss knowing where I get certain items, Canadian interactions, and culture cliches like iced caps. Immersing yourself in a new culture is typically most difficult because it’s like learning anything new–it’s hard to understand, it doesn’t always make sense, and it’s frustrating.
4. Driving. When I’m in Canada and I have a car, I have the luxury of being annoyed when I have to drive somewhere to pick up a last minute item. This species of snobbery is quickly identified when you have to walk everywhere, or risk your life in a questionable taxicab. Not to say I don’t love walking. It has many benefits, and I learned to enjoy it living abroad. Still, there is something to be said about having the freedom to go wherever you want.
5. The weather. Most Canadians leave to get better weather, but I can bet that a week into the Kuwaiti summer (which is rumored to peak somewhere in the high 50s or low 60s by the by), I will be missing the coolness in the air that is the end of a Canadian summer. In fact, I guarantee it.
6. Autumn. Once I left high school, I dove into university, where I still am, so in a sense, I never really left school. For the past 6 years, the red and yellows of the leaves have signified a feeling of going back to learn. I associate falling leaves and cooling weather with English class and buying textbooks and learning. Even as the teacher, autumn has always held a special place in my heart. I will still be going back to school in September, but the leaves and the weather will sadly be behind me,
7. Halloween. I think we get the option of dressing up at the school I’m teaching at, and I know that the ex-pats do something for this yummy North American holiday, but it won’t be the same. Remember how much fun it was dressing up….and then putting your coat on OVER your costume to hold off the -30 weather? Yeah, I’ll miss that shit. And all the Halloween movies, too. And dressing up my dogs and making them miserable.
8. Trees. Canadian ones. North American ones. I’ll miss looking out the window and seeing them as I hang out.
9. Food.The good stuff. The kind that you know what it tastes like, you know what temperature to bake something at without worrying if the STIFLING humidity will play a role in how it rises….that kind of thing. Kraft Dinner, when I choose to indulge. Vegetarian options.
10. A cold pillow.
11. Hockey season. I have an online GameCenterLive package that lasts until October. I’ll deal.
12. Christmas stuff. Because I will be back before Christmas, I technically won’t miss this tradition completely, but I will miss the bulk of it: I will be forced to rush my Christmas shopping in the few days before the 25th, and the cookies and other goodies will have been made without me. I will miss the decorating, too. Enough. My eyes are watering.
13. Plugging stuff in. If this sounds remotely silly to you, you have never lived anywhere where you have one adapter for several devices that need voltage adaptors.
14. Going to see a movie. A simple task, and again, something I probably take for granted in Canada. Going to a movie for me is all at once therapeutic, and somewhat divine. Almost like going to church for some people. Cathartic. I mentioned the chaos that is supposed to be a Kuwait movie theatre earlier on. Please read for more insight.
15. Kissing my dogs a million times a day.
16. Convenience. In my experience, Canada runs like a well-oiled machine. Things get done, for the most part. Stores stock supplies, channels run what they advertise they say they will, cars stop at lights, and people are generally in the mindset of wanting to work together to make progress. I have heard horror stories of what lineups look like in the Middle East. I have heard there are no seat belts in taxis. I hear they exist, to a degree, on what some might know as ‘island time’ (despite not being on an island). This scares me. A lot.
17. Almond and soy milk. Does it exist in Kuwait? I’ll keep you in the loop on that one.
18. Snuggling with my dogs and my gerbil.
19. Get togethers.
20. Other Canadians.