Ever since I moved to Montreal I can’t help but notice the differences between this winter wonderland and my home country. I guess that happens to all international students when they move to or visit a foreign country. Nonetheless, even though I’ve been here since September, I can’t help but notice more and more disparities between Canada and Spain.
For example: everything is done earlier. I know I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous blogs, but I still don’t understand why Canadians have dinner at 6PM or lunch at noon. I’m a firm supported of eating lunch at 3PM, snack at 6PM and having dinner at 11PM. Also, learn to wake up at 10AM. Basically, become more of a night owl. Learn to stay up all night partying and drinking; this is done by drinking slower. In other words, drink a glass of wine and take several breaths before taking the next one. That way, you’ll get lightheaded at the end of the night rather than between 1 and 2AM, because that’s when the party should start, not finish.
Also, consider things more positively. Chill. Relax. Breathe. Siesta. You know what I mean. Life is stressful, yes, but take time to realize when you need time to yourself. Don’t worry, your economy won’t crumble to pieces if you allow yourself five minutes of silence everyday. The secret is in balancing your life so you’re something between a socialite and a hermit. Go party with your friends, but also read a good book. Again, create balance in your life. For example, I had to go on a ski trip as an MISN exec. I really didn’t want to go, as I was really tired (it was my birthday the day before, so I was up partying late). Nonetheless, I knew skiing would do me good, I knew that, like with most sports, it builds character. Therefore, I got my boots, skis and helmet and headed out into the cold. The best part was that I was skiing alone. It gave me the chance to do everything at my own pace, take my time, embrace my surroundings and be alone with my thoughts.
For those of you who have watched Dirty Dancing 2, ever since I moved here I feel like the main character, the blonde girl. Ironic really, knowing that she’s the American and her partner is closest to my culture. Another example: I met an Italian the other day and we started messing with each other and have a witty comment fight off. Both of us knew that it meant nothing other than just having fun and see who could make the other look bad. If this were to happen with any other guy (know from own experience) he might take it as I want something, I’m easy and with a little push he could start something romantic. It doesn’t work that way. I’m very sarcastic, cynical and witty. That’s me being myself and it upsets me when the guy acts interested because he has an ulterior motive. Even more so if he believes that I’m interested because of my attitude. I treat everybody the same way: I’m witty and snappy with every single person in this university, why would you think that you are any different from the rest? Or, that what I feel for you is more or less than your friend/neighbour/colleague? I, personally, compare how people treat me with how they treat others. Maybe I compare it too much, but that way I avoid getting my hopes up when I shouldn’t.
How can we relate to another culture in a way that will not make us lose our minds, or hope? Once again, try to create balance. Don’t lose your uniqueness, your culture, your background, but never hesitate to say yes to other ideas. Learn from another culture, follow it through, but without forgetting the morals and ethics that have been taught to you. If you don’t drink and you go to a beer pong competition, don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. Instead, dance like crazy and enjoy yourself, but don’t drink unless you want to. Don’t be afraid to say “no” or “yes”. Be consistent, trust your gut and don’t forget where you’re from, as that is the only thing that will stick with you forever.