One would assume that there would be a negligible difference between life in Canada and the US. Sure, there are the key issues such as health care and availability of poutine, but other than that I had always imagined that it would be a rather seamless transition. After all, Canadian and American culture are perhaps the most similar between any two countries in the world – we are neighbors with interlinked histories. This thinking helped calm my nerves when it came time to move south of the border for a new job. I’ve never been a big fan of change but it is not something that one can avoid forever, and this was a career opportunity of a lifetime that was well worth stepping outside of my comfort zone for. I told myself that things would more or less be the same, just in a new setting.
During the many back and forth trips to prepare for my upcoming move, it really did seem to be that way. I didn’t feel like a foreigner in a strange land – at least, not anymore than you would expect from someone in a new city. Things were undeniably different, but they felt familiar enough that there was no need for panic. It was a situation I felt I could adapt to easily enough given some time. Between work and other daily routines, I would assimilate before I even knew it.
Fast forward a few months later, and I might as well be living on a different planet. There are many things you miss when you only explore the surface of a city. I was merely a tourist viewing the tip of the iceberg on my short trips to the area. It wasn’t until I finally moved here that I got to see below the surface. As you delve deeper in, that’s when you begin to find the true heart of a city’s unique culture and character. The more I got to know about Wilmington, Delaware, the more I could appreciate my new life here. Do I feel comfortable enough to call it home yet? Not quite, but slowly getting there.
At a glance, most cities in Canada and the US appear to be almost indistinguishable. Then again, this is the observation of someone who has spent a majority of their life living in and around Calgary, Alberta. I haven’t had the chance to experience life in many different places, but I’ve done my fair share of traveling. This move has made me question what else I may have missed about other cities I have visited in the past. I used to believe that a city was just a city, and any minor differences would come down to its landmarks and local economy. Now I see, it is the diversity of people that brings life and personality to a city, and that is only something that will reveal itself upon close scrutiny.