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the opposite of clarity

So much of life is misunderstandings. In England, many of these misunderstandings are due to variances between Canadian and British usage of the English language. For example, in Canada we would likely say, "I will meet you at the hockey game after I pick up a double double at Timmy's, do you want Timbits? They only cost a loonie, or maybe a toonie. Don't forget your toque, it's cold out there, eh?" In England they might say, "Alright Gov, I will meet you at the football match, fancy a pint? Or maybe a cheeky fish and chips? The weather is bloody dreadful Mate!" And this is how we all speak in both countries, firmly planted in stereotypes...

A few years ago, I was telling my British friend that my husband often takes off his pants when he gets home from work. So before someone comes over, I always do a check to see that he has his pants on. With a look of utter shock on her face, she asked, "He walks around without his pants on? Even with that big window in your house?" It took us a moment to realize that pants in England mean something different than pants in Canada. She is still scared to come over.

In September, I had been corresponding with the Principal (Headteacher), from one of the prospective schools for my oldest son. In an email, the Headteacher wrote, "Would you be able to call in for a chat in the next few days?" He indicated that he was free on Friday at 1:00 pm. I wrote back that Friday at 1:00 pm worked for me, and that I looked forward to speaking with him then. Friday rolled around, and the Headteacher was quite confused when I called him on the phone, as he had expected me to come in person. Such a fun moment!

Then there is the issue with encountering words I have never heard of. I had to look up much of my son's school lunch menu online because I didn't know what a lot of the items were. Sometimes I look up something and just become more confused! I was asked to donate something to the school's Chocolate Tombola. In reading various explanations of a Tombola online out loud, Husband and I were in tears with laughter (we might also be deliriously exhausted at all times). A little excerpt from our online reading,

Well, usually Tombola's are 'wins' on 0 & 5 (if you keep it this way it will be much easier!!) So a ratio of 1 win to 4 losses. Use those cheap raffle tickets. Without cheating you can't be sure they will all win. If you aren't beyond a little manipulation towards the end of the day just pull a handful out, check them and only put the 0's and 5's back in


Put tickets with 5's and 0's on your prizes. then put corresponding 5's and 0's in bucket along with one set of the ones ending in 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9's. so your raffle ticket book should have the other ones ending in 12346789 still in it!!therefore ratio is 1 in 5 is a winner! If near the end you have lots of prizes and need to shift them either lower the price or slyly remove some of the non winner tickets to improve the odds!!! HOWEVER BEWARE!! Prizes often go walkabout either intentionally or unintentionally so Always have a couple of prizes unnumbered under the table just in case "Number 240" has vanished into thin air. Busiest stall at every event I've done!! 2 people manning it better than 1!!! Good luck!


I ended up having my son's Aide explain, only to find myself more confused. In the end a genius British friend simplified for me and saved the day. Basically it is a (needlessly- my opinion) overcomplicated raffle, but you can win chocolate, so that is worth everything.

Speaking of overcomplicated, we are waiting for OT (occupational therapy) for my oldest son. We put our name in with our family physician and were told to wait to be contacted. I received a letter in the mail that told me to call a number within a two week window, or we would forfeit our spot in the queue. I called straight away, and was met with a direct to voicemail situation. I left a voicemail. The next day they called me back to arrange a time for a phone call the following week... I cannot make this stuff up. The phone call the following week was to gather information and put me back in a queue for OT.

These are just a few examples of countless situations that just didn't feel clear. I understand that this is part of moving to a new country. It's like a club that you get to be in, no one has time to tell you all the rules (understandably), but you like the club, so you stay and figure things out at your own pace, making plenty of mistakes along the way. The vast majority of the time, I find these experiences absolutely hilarious, except when I don't. Luckily I am stubborn and I have trained my brain to be optimistic (my natural state is pessimist all the way but I find the negativity makes life too dark).

Sometimes you just want to go to your local Christmas Fayre and find Santa easily. There were signs indicating every station or activity excepting Santa Claus, who could only be located through following a series of hidden clues, or in our case, having the school administrator feel bad for us, resulting in a 7 year old child acting as our personal guide, leading us to Santa (who by then had a very large queue). It was worth the wait, Santa was very sweet to our boys and they all loved the personal attention that was shown in Santa's Grotto.

To my lovely British Friends, you are all very clever and impressive. The amount of effort put into everything is phenomenal. I feel that I will need more British training to raise to your level of excellence. I also feel that I need a nap (or 50) and a bowl of poutine and an extra extra large Caesar. Much love, not homesick, okay a little homesick, Me.

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