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Foreigner's Perspective on Canada and the US
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for writing, Van. In Montreal they say, Les grands asthmatiques vont en Alberta, people with bad asthma go to Alberta. Is that true? I would have thought with the oil industry and the construction boom there would be a lot of particulate matter in the air.

What I do know is that it is very expensive to live there. I can only work parttime.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9014
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can say that in the USA, people value their privacy. They like to mind their own business. Maybe that's why they get defensive.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
I can say that in the USA, people value their privacy. They like to mind their own business. Maybe that's why they get defensive.


Interesting. Individual rights, individualism. So recycling, which involves collective action, is viewed as interference in personal affairs.

Someone did a study about people in lifts/elevators. Americans, for example, get on, turn around immediately, everyone faces the door and has their back to the other people. In Italy, they form a circle, so they can talk to whoever is accompanying them for the ride.

My observation in Zagreb, man enters lift, doors close, he lights a cigarette, smokes furiously, doors open, he throws butt on the floor and stamps it out, exits lift.
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ls650



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 3484
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanica wrote:
Interesting. Individual rights, individualism. So recycling, which involves collective action, is viewed as interference in personal affairs.

A "I think recycling is good."
B "So do I."
A "I think you should recycle your trash."
B "Mind your own business, nosey! Who asked you?"
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in New York City gives you very little insight into American culture. In New York, inspectors go through your apartment building's trash and give tickets if they find recyclable materials in the regular bin. Then the apartment owner comes after the person s/he/it believes was the culprit.

In Montreal, people look around for people who didn't recycle to tsk, tsk them. The tsked people then blast their music in revenge. Everyone denies they even noticed the other person when the police arrive. The police hear the loud music but pretend they don't.

In America, people go on gasoline strikes to defend their rights to consume and pollute. Only a few months visit, I can't figure it out yet.

In a small village in Croatia, there is no garbage, everything gets used, even the breadcrumbs after dinner are conserved to throw to the chickens and anything else edible goes to the pigs. Plastic bottles are strung up in the fields on lines to shoo off the birds. My cousin was saying how everyone gets divorced in America. He would never get divorced...he COULD never get divorced. No one would let him. My other cousin IS divorced and NO ONE will shut up about it. Needless to say, I am considered a pariah.

I think I can't live anywhere.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

advice wrote:
America is diverse. After one year in Washington, DC I thought that I knew a lot about this country:)))


I liked Washington DC area very much. I also have a lot of NGO job opportunities there, and consequently people I can get along with! Downside for me was expense and very poor air quality.

I hoped to find a bit of the same in Raleigh, which is the next state after Virginia. I am still considering it because of proximity to DC.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9604
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh, Raleigh's a city. In the state of North Carolina, unless you mean some tiny town somewhere of the same name. And it's not close to DC. Are you sure you mean Raleigh? How do you define 'proximity?" For me, a 12-hour drive doesn't count as 'within the proximity.'

Finally, culturally Raleigh, NC, is not very much like DC. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, which IS in proximity to DC. I later lived in North Carolina. There are few similarities in the cultures....
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danielita



Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 281
Location: SLP

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Foreigner's Perspective on Canada and the US Reply with quote

Vanica wrote:

In Montreal, it seems it's just not done. I recently had car work, and a few hours later the belts broke and we almost had a serious accident. The garage owners were screaming at me when I asked for repair reimbursement (they are foreigners as well, Latino and Italiana), no qualms about being abusive. So I contacted the credit card company, consumer protection of Quebec, both basically told me to work it out on my own. But I have the proof, I have the receipts, everything they say is refutable. No, I have to come to an agreement with them on my own. Same thing a few years ago when I bought a used computer, which wouldn't start when I got it home.

In Raleigh, however, bought a new computer, it crashed when I got home, I go back to Best Buy, do I want money back, we'll work on it, it's up to you. Hi, thank you, yes sir, yes ma'am. You don't like the DVD player, we'll take it back and give you your money and give you another one for half price because ....


Where did you go to get your car fixed and buy your used computer? My guess is that it wasn't from a dealership or a big box chain. Corporate return policies and customer satisfaction will vary depending on where you make your purchase. If you bought the computer/DVD player from Best Buy in Montreal you would have likely encountered the same level of customer service. When you are comparing levels of customer service in Canada and the US it depends more on where you do your business and less on what city you are in...

.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Uh, Raleigh's a city. In the state of North Carolina, unless you mean some tiny town somewhere of the same name. And it's not close to DC. Are you sure you mean Raleigh? How do you define 'proximity?" For me, a 12-hour drive doesn't count as 'within the proximity.'

Finally, culturally Raleigh, NC, is not very much like DC. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, which IS in proximity to DC. I later lived in North Carolina. There are few similarities in the cultures....


I meant to write "Raleigh, IN the state right after Virginia." I lost the "in" somewhere.

It is not illogical to hope that North Carolina would have some similarity to Virginia, as New York/New Jersey/Connecticut/Massachusetts do.

I said I had hoped it would bear some similarity or have some continuity, but did not find that. You were born there, I had to go there personally to see it for myself.

The buzz is that Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is becoming very international with a lot of job opportunities and very low costs, and it is true is some respects. There are a lot of ESL jobs because they have opened up many new schools, and translation opportunities because of all the tech businesses. But Raleigh et al is not very big (though extremely spread out) and exists in a sea of ultra-conservatism (from what I could see in a few months). Many people said, Wait, it is changing. Now is the time to grab the opportunities. I don't know how I feel yet.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:38 am    Post subject: Re: Foreigner's Perspective on Canada and the US Reply with quote

[quote="danielita

Where did you go to get your car fixed and buy your used computer? My guess is that it wasn't from a dealership or a big box chain. Corporate return policies and customer satisfaction will vary depending on where you make your purchase. If you bought the computer/DVD player from Best Buy in Montreal you would have likely encountered the same level of customer service. When you are comparing levels of customer service in Canada and the US it depends more on where you do your business and less on what city you are in...

.[/quote]

Interesting. I notice there is a Best Buy in Laval now. I understand what you mean, it's not the same comparison.

The car, too. In the US, Midas, in Montreal, mom and pop. I actually recall the discussions we had about not going to a fancy place for the car repair or computer.

I think we (immigrants) believe we are going to get better service in the small place where we can establish a personal relationship. I am used to who-you-know. But I forgot that in Europe and other countries, that relationship goes back generations, whereas no one feels obligated to me here after only one year.

In Raleigh, of course I went to Best Buy and big box stores, that's ALL there is!

Thank you again for your very perceptive and explanatory response. I really appreciated it.
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ls650



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 3484
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Foreigner's Perspective on Canada and the US Reply with quote

Vanica wrote:
I think we (immigrants) believe we are going to get better service in the small place where we can establish a personal relationship.

I think that the "Corporate America" Big Box Stores tend to have applied the ideas of mass-production to the customer service process. Sadly, the individual Mom & Pop shops can't compete.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmn, maybe the only ones left who were not driven out of business are the crooked ones? But I also read on a French-language forum that the Quebecois are not known to be so nice. (It was a discussion of letting pedestrians the right of way or making them flee for their lives on the streets. The French were pleasantly surprised in Vancouver and not so in Montreal.) I thought Montreal was so friendly compared to New York City, but then I went to North Carolina. In Raleigh, a man and a woman in a pick-up truck pulled up to me and my daughter in the Best Buy parking lot (the lot is massive and serves many other stores). They said to my daughter, Here's your doll. She had dropped the doll earlier on Capitol Boulevard and they had picked the doll up in traffic and sought us out to return it.
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VanKen



Joined: 29 Oct 2003
Posts: 139
Location: Calgary, AB Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:02 am    Post subject: Alberta Reply with quote

Vanica wrote:
In Montreal they say, Les grands asthmatiques vont en Alberta, people with bad asthma go to Alberta. Is that true? I would have thought with the oil industry and the construction boom there would be a lot of particulate matter in the air.

What I do know is that it is very expensive to live there. I can only work parttime.

I haven't met any asthmatics here. Yes, Calgary is expensive, perhaps more so than other Canadian cities when you consider the shortage of housing and transportation for the growing masses. Not much air pollution to speak of... Calgary has oil company offices and such, not many oil wells within the city limits.
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choctawmicmac



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 18
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: You don't really want the Native opinion, do you? Reply with quote

I am a Native of both countries. What the world calls "Red" Indian. I suppose you only want the perspective of people who *think* they are Native of North America...the descendants of immigrants themselves?!

If not, my perspective on what people are like on my continent is that the real divide is East vs West. Of the Rockies. People are nicer out West, with the exception of snooty, snippy, little Seattle. People mind their own business better out West. Back East everyone is too much into everyone else's business! That makes sense, in that you "have to know someone" to get a job or to get anything for that matter. You can not go anywhere or do anything without being asked, told, or it otherwise assumed, that you "must know so-and-so." I am about to the point where I am ready to scalp the next person who comes up to me as if they have ever seen me before in their lives and acts like I "must be" this or that or the other, or "must know" so-and-so or what not.

East of the Rockies people are horrible, nasty, obnoxious, busybodies. And the racism goes without saying. Time and time again, back here, I get told, not asked mind you, that I "must be" "from" somewhere else "originally." On the West Coast, not only did people not ask this every miserable day of my life, but if they did ask me they didn't treat me like I was lying about the answer!

West Coast: I did not so much get TOLD what I was or was not, I got ASKED, rarely, if they cared (people out west are not so much into everyone else's business! Back East it's as if they're all writing a book or something!); and BELIEVED about the answer. Or if they thought I was lying they wouldn't tell me to my face - I didn't get asked so much to see my Indian Status Card by ordinary passers-by on the street or neighbours or other people who basically have no need to see it! - and would just do things behind my back as covert sabotage. Back East: here, I get challenged to my face and outright called a liar.

That, my friends, is one Native North American's perspective on what the difference is between Canadians and Americans. Or rather, West Coast vs East Coast of both countries.

The real dividing line is the Rocky Mountains, in terms of how people act. Not the 49th parallel. That is an arbitrary distinction made by the white people, between the British Empire and the Americans back in the 19th century.

Out West is where everyone went to get *away* from all this having to know someone and everyone around you knowing everything about you, lifestyle.

More out West, you can get a job without having to "know someone." Or if you have to give references anyway, there is a bigger chance that they will not actually be checked up on if the job actually wants to hire you. Or if they don't answer or have moved since you last knew them, you can still get the job anyway...not so back East!

Now, again, maybe 110% of my perspective is from being Native. And a lot of what I have experienced is 110% because of racism on the part of where I have been.

I have been Back East FAR too long.....!

Oh, and Back East I tend to get treated like I'm lying about having any college degrees at all, again told that kind of thing to my face; lying about being qualified and competent in Math and Science even IF they believe that I went to San Francisco State let alone graduated, etc, etc. Again, this is by the general public, not the 'establishment'. But also, again, what the general public thinks of you determines what you can GET, i.e. everything is "references required." And they must be local, not abroad or faraway. So, what people around here think of me in general, has apparently affected whether or not I can get a job. Again, probably: racism to the umpteenth power. People see me and can't understand why I act, talk, dress, carry myself a certain way (like I have an EDUCATION) then I have to tell them, then they tell me I'm lying....the story of my life lately.

The complete version of this would probably be the size of "War and Peace."
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Choctawmicmac,
We just saw last week all the protests of First Nations, and I wonder what you thought of that.

I've heard the commentary about Native cards in Canada, one from people glad to get it for their children, other from people complaining about assistance to Natives for tuition -- "and they don't even use it." One person stating the latter was a pediatric nurse talking about the high rate of suicide amongst Native teens. I was so angry about her, not even knowing about Native situation in Canada, but I said, You expect people with a high rate of suicide as teenagers to go to university? To me, it sounds like giving free university tuition to people who obviously are in horrible collective pain is like a slap in the face, worse than no assistance at all. Let alone it shouldn't be assistance but reparation for genocide.

Do you think Vancouver is better than Montreal for life and jobs? Not having been, it seems Northern West Coast is more enlightened than Southern California. I am shocked at any internet forum from LA or San Diego at their racism against Mexicans, and the racist discussion is very open and tolerated by moderators in what would seem otherwise neutral forums.
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