Friday, 10 April 2015

Differences Between Canada & The UK

The bad:
I had always been told that bread is sweeter in North America and I thought that people were exaggerating...but it is. It is quite a strange taste and it took me a while to get used to it. The plus side is that it seems to last longer than bread in the UK.
I am still trying to find a peanut butter that I like and I have been here two months. I can't find the right balance of sweet and salty. It's either too sickly sweet or too bland. I used to buy Whole Earth peanut butter in the UK and I wish it was available here.
In Aberdeen Dan and I used to go to Light of Bengal quite very often for an Indian. It honestly is the best we have had. We knew we would struggle to find one the same in Calgary but we thought we would give it a try. We did and I think it was the worst thing we had tried at a the UK, a Tesco's Indian ready meal would be better than what we had. We are going to venture into trying Thai curries since we can't find Indian that we like.

The good:
There's such a huge selection of cuisines here compared to in Aberdeen and it is amazing. Our first few weeks here we basically lived on Greek and Lebanese. We've also had Japanese, Thai, Italian, BBQ, French, Vietnamese and Mexican. One of my favourite places to eat is Mucho Burrito. Essentially is it 'fast food' but you see them making everything there so it is fresh and so yummy.
Diners are a big thing in Canada. It's so nice to have somewhere special to go for breakfast. My favourite diner is OEB. Their menu is amazing and the food is so worth the 40 minute wait outside.
Fruit here is much cheaper than back in the UK. You get a lot for your money. The fruit over here also seems to last longer which is good.

Before I came to Canada everyone warned me how cold it was going to be. The difference between here and Aberdeen is amazing. Aberdeen is a cold, damp, cloudy and windy city. While Calgary is dry and mostly sunny. Calgary has on average 333 days of sunshine in a year which is such a change from Aberdeen. The sunshine makes me so happy. Even when it is snowing, if it is sunny, it is bearable. It has only rained properly once or twice since I have arrived. Another advantage to Calgary is the chinooks (hot winds that come from the mountains). There has only been one day since I have arrived where I felt so cold it actually hurt. In winter chinooks happen every few weeks. It'll go from -15 degrees to +20 degrees in a few hours. I remember when Dan first told me this, I thought he was making it up just so that I would come over in winter but it's true ;)

Sales tax
In the UK, taxes are automatically included in prices. So what you see is what you get. In Canada it's a bit different as sales tax isn't included. When you go to buy make-up, it'll say the price on the tag ($5) but then when you go to up to the cash desk and they scan it the tax is added on. In Calgary they add 5% on to the price. This took me a while to get used to. The first time it happened I thought I got over-charged, haha.

I don't drive over here but even I notice the difference from the UK. Aside from the obvious, that they drive on the right, the whole road infrastructure is different. In Calgary you can turn right on a red light as long as no pedestrians are on the road. There's barely any roundabouts here...I actually can't remember if I have seen any. The thing I hated most about Aberdeen was the roundabout on Anderson Drive. They have highways everywhere and traffic flows so quickly and smoothly. Also parking spaces are HUGE compared to UK spaces.

I had no idea what "a block" was when I arrived here. Dan explained it to me and I didn't understand. In the UK "blocks" don't exist. After sitting looking at Google Maps and seeing the grids I finally understood.
In Canada if it's a "street" it goes north/south and if it is an "avenue" it goes east/west and that's it. In the UK it can be confusing as there could be "... gardens ... square ... crescent ... place etc."  The only time you might get these names in Canada is in smaller suburb areas, aside from that it doesn't happen.

Size and selection
Everything here is bigger and there's more of it. The first time we went to Superstore I was so excited by the amount of different shower gels. There's so many different scents. They also come in huge bottles, it's actually hard to find a small sized shower gel. Bottles of juice and water are big here too. There seems to be more of everything here and I love it.

It's been fun discovering new shops. There's Bath & Body-works, Sephora and Victoria's Secret that everyone always raves about. But some of my favourites are Aerie, Chapters/Indigo, Pottery Barn and Shoppers Drug Mart (like Boots). Winners and Homesense are great for bargains. They're Canada's version of TK Maxx.  Stores such Topshop, H&M and Zara are available here which is good. The one store I do miss is River Island - their jeans are my favourite.


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