Top 10 things…I miss about Canada.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile about things I am beginning to miss about Canada.  Now that we’re heading back, I’ve also been thinking about what I’ll also miss about the UAE.  So there will be a theme to my next few posts.

My ultimate items are friends and family so I’m not going to include them on any of these lists.  I just can’t rank how much I love those people!  So here we go.

#10 – Slurpees

Who doesn’t want a huge glass of flavoured slushy ice on a hot day?  Why hasn’t this become popular here??  I’ve definitely been craving slurpees since the day we left.  Watch out Mr. G’s and 7-11, we’re coming for you.

#9 – Grocery shopping

Ever wondered what it would be like to go into a grocery store and find them out of stock of milk.  Or cheese.  Or ranch dressing.  Or even that one kind of popular cereal you usually get.  That’s what it’s like to shop here.  It’s not even obscure speciality items, it’s hit and miss with the regular items you would expect to be in stock… always.  I am looking forward to going to the grocery store and knowing I can get what I went in looking for.  How easy was that to take for granted.

#8 – Polite drivers

Maybe I’ve been out of touch too long.  I know there are still lots of crazy impatient people on the road, even in Canada.  Generally though it has been my experience that when you put your blinker on in Canada to merge into a lane, folks either move over or slow to give you space.  They DON’T typically speed up and swerve around you.  Isn’t that a novel idea.

#7 – Falling snow

Not even at Ski Dubai can you experience falling snow.  As a sci-fy geek and long time trekkie, driving through falling snow at night is the best experience (as long as I’m not the one doing the driving).

#6 – Left-hand turns

I completely understand why this isn’t possible in most areas here in the UAE.  It’s the way people behave on the roads here.  I’m certain car accident deaths due to left handed turns must have been substantial to make them nearly non-existent here now.  Especially with all the issues we face with distracted drivers, I guarantee I feel more confident making a left turn in Canada than I do here.

#5 – Properly labeled and positioned road signs

Driving still feels like a fairly new thing for a lot of people here, including the local transit authority.  They seem to be getting better though, or we’ve just gotten used to the way they post signage here.  When we first moved here, I could not figure out where we were on a map to save my life.  Lack of street names in English or altogether is part of the problem.  The other issue with signage here is that sometimes there are just so many converging roadways in one spot that it’s difficult to get the signage placed in such a way that gives drivers enough time to determine which route will take them to their destination.  This is frustrating in a country that forces you to drive 10 km’s out of your way to turn around if you make a mistake like that.  So, good on you BC.  At least you got that one figured out.

#4 – Screwing in my own lightbulb

It’s been handy having someone on call, at any time, to take care of whatever needed taking care of in our villa.  I don’t mean like in Canada when you call the mechanic in a rental and they give you some lame time between 8am and 6pm 3 days from now.  I send an email, or give a call and they are there in an hour, fixing my table, hanging my pictures, changing my lightbulbs.  It’s amazing, I don’t know why I think I’m not going to miss this.  At the same time, I like to exercise my independence while I’m still capable of doing that.  I also think this mentality really feeds into the entitlement issues here.  There are a lot of people here who could not function without service like this.  They demand and expect this type of service.  These people would not survive for very long outside of this bubble of the UAE.

#3 – Paddling a canoe

I’m sure I could have got myself over to the boat club and gone for a paddle up the beach on whatever I wanted to pay for, but it’s not the same.  There’s a great atmosphere when you’re sitting on a lake, surrounded by woods, paddling a canoe.  It’s peaceful, serene.  Don’t think there are many places like that I could have found here.

#2 – Consignment Stores

Clothes are relatively cheap here, depending on what stores you’re shopping in.  I couldn’t ever get into the groove of shopping in many of the stores here.  The one consignment store I did manage to find was a factory filled with dumped goods. You really have to have  vision to see the potential of items in this place.  The clothing section, on an upper floor, was literally a pile of clothes that you climbed through.  Value Village I missed your multitude of selection in brands, styles, genders.  You are my one stop shop, where I don’t have to worry about how fast the kids will outgrow or ruin the clothes.  Where I don’t get those feelings of buyer’s remorse.  I can’t wait to replenshish my wardrobe.

#1 – Changing Seasons

Who knew living in a perpetual summer could be a bit of a downer.  I found myself getting a bit teary eyed and homesick several months ago when I came across some beautiful scenic fall landscape photographs.  Leaves fall all year round here, but the trees don’t change colours like they do back home.  The trees here stay green, and the old leaves just turn brown and fall off.  Raking leaves all year round really isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Bonus – Light switches

The light switch in our bedroom drives me nuts.  Maybe it’s just one of the many quirks of the poor layout of our villa, because it just doesn’t make sense.  We have to open our door completely and walk into the room before turning on the light.  Light switches for washrooms are typically located outside of the washroom here. So our toilet light switch is located on the wall, next to the door to our bedroom, right where I have instinctively, for 2 years, reached to turn on the light to our room.  For the most part.  Light switches at our house in BC are right where they should be.  Yay for good planning!

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