7 Things The 7-Year-Old Me Had To Learn When I Moved To Canada From England As A Kid

Number one: hold on to the accent for as long as you can!

7 Things The 7-Year-Old Me Had To Learn When I Moved To Canada From England As A Kid
Staff Writer

When my parents told me that we were moving to Canada, I didn't know what to expect. We had family there, and I'd been once before, but the prospect of completely uprooting was pretty daunting.

Over the past 15 years, I've learned a ton about living in Canada and what it means to be Canadian, and it's really opened my eyes to how little I knew when I moved to this country. With that, here are some of the biggest lessons I had to learn quickly after I immigrated!

Just how cold it really gets

My family and I had visited Canada once before, but when I immigrated for good, I pulled into Victoria, B.C., on a freezing January day and it was snowing pretty hard.

I would come to learn that that wasn't exactly a regular occurrence on the West Coast, but it did teach me my first Canadian lesson — invest in a good winter coat!

Just how different the English language can be

Famed writer George Bernard Shaw is widely quoted as having said that the U.S. and England are two countries separated by a common language. I definitely wasn't reading Shaw at 7 years old, but I definitely could have told him the same applies to Canada, too!

Canada has so many quirky words that vary from province to province, and I had a pretty embarrassing moment in class when I asked for a "rubber" instead of an "eraser."

Even though I get the lingo now, I still have a hard time pronouncing the words themselves!

Just how weird Canadian roads are

Plenty of Canadians have very strong opinions on where the bad drivers are in this country, but when you're young and moving to Canada for the first time it's hard not to feel like everyone is doing things wrong.

The traffic lights are in the wrong place, nobody knows how to use a roundabout and, of course, people are driving on the wrong side of the road. I had to learn which way to look when crossing the road very quickly, and even now I have a habit of being extra cautious when crossing!

Just how much I'd miss English chocolate

Sure, Canada has access to Canadian chocolate. But as someone who grew up steps away from the Cadbury Factory in Birmingham, England, the difference from there to here was astounding. I still miss all of it — Flakes, Yorkies, Buttons, etc. — and even the same kinds of chocolate tasted better in England (looking at you, Dairy Milk).

Coffee Crisp? No thanks.

Just how little you need French

Before I moved to Canada, I thought I'd need to learn French or else I wouldn't be able to do anything or go anywhere. Getting thrown into French class in Grade 3 didn't help much, but I learned through experience that no one on the West Coast will ever really ask you anything in French.

I ditched French class ASAP and so far — minus getting a few side-eyes in Montreal — it's not been too bad!

Just how much people love English accents

I'd love to say that I was an incredibly popular kid in elementary school because of my charm and social skills, but mostly, other kids just wanted me to say different words to hear my accent.

The lesson there? Don't lose the accent (and subsequently all your friends) by fourth grade!

Just how long I'd stick around

I was happy to move to Canada, but I was 100% positive that I'd move back to England as soon as I turned 18. But when I finished high school and did spend time back in Birmingham again, I realized just how Canadian I'd become.

Now, after enough time spent in both places, I know I'm not going anywhere for a while (even if it does mean shipping over English chocolate when I can).

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Cormac O'Brien
Staff Writer