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A Canadian, three Americans and a Russian walk into a bar…

OK, there is no punch line, that just describes my latest pub visit. I am surprised that my last post about drinking with Americans was one of my most popular posts of all time–well ever since July. (In case you’re wondering, I am able to see how many people viewed my posts–but I don’t know who is viewing them). I thought I’d write a continuation post about drinking with Americans.

Maybe my last post was popular because Canadians are often interested in knowing what Americans think about them (even though, from my experience with meeting Americans in South Korea, Americans don’t wonder what Canadians think about them). Canadians know (or think they know) a lot about Americans. It’s the result of a combination of things: we watch American TV stations, we listen to American music, follow their politics and pop culture, we eat the same food, shop at the same stores and we frequently visit the States (everyone I know in Canada has been to the US at least once, however, I have met several people in Indiana who have never been to Canada…but they hear that it’s beautiful and want to go one day).

Canadians sometimes find it frustrating when Americans seem to know so little about their neighbours to the north (if it weren’t at least partially true, Rick Mercer wouldn’t have done a show about it). How can we know so much about Americans and they know so little about us in comparison? Maybe one reason is because Americans think that Canadians aren’t really all that different (with the exception of Canadians ending all of their sentences with “eh,” pronouncing “about” with an accent, drinking Molson Canadian and living in a country that is cold half the year–if you aren’t sure of my tone, I’m being a little sassy).

This got me thinking about drinking at the pub in Canada. It didn’t seem unusual to go out for drinks with people from other countries (like Russia), but now that I’m thinking about it, I feel that going out for drinks with Americans was unusual. It’s odd because I’ve met people from several different countries, but the Americans seem underrepresented in Canada. I’ve met more people from Mexico than people from the US (although, I think that I have met more Americans in South Korea than I have in Canada). That’s not to say that there aren’t any Americans in Canada, but with the proximity to the US, you would think that there would be more.

Perhaps, my last post was popular because Canadians typically don’t find themselves hanging out with Americans. Maybe it’s just me (is it?). Where were (or are) all the Americans in Vancouver? Just passing through town? I know some people who are US Citizens living in Canada: I’ve worked with people who were originally from the US; I have friends who have a parent or two who are American; I have friends who were born in the States, but live in Canada; I had some teachers who were American; I even have family members who have American citizenship. In almost all of these cases, I hardly thought about them as being American, or from another country, or being different for that matter. Maybe we just don’t notice the Americans who are living in Canada. Maybe they are so similar to us that they are right under our noses. In many ways, Americans really aren’t all that different from Canadians. There are some differences, but they really aren’t extreme.

Back to the pub…. we didn’t really talk about the differences between Canada and the US. We talked about other things like laughing about B.B.’s story about the fun beans, talking about local politics, pop culture, volleyball, we had Seinfeld-type conversations, and we just laughed about stuff. Actually, it wasn’t too different from hanging out at the pub in Canada.