How Katya Is Becoming More North American Then She Will Admit

Although I consider myself cultured and well-traveled, having lived in far-flung places and experienced a tea ceremony with geishas in Asia and a Tchaikovsky ballet in Moscow, in my heart I'm still North American (at least I'm not American, chuckle chuckle).

This means I enjoy classic rock music, muscle cars, gridiron football and baseball, and barbecuing steaks. As a Canadian I'm also prone to enjoying shitty beer and freezing hockey.

As a Russian, Katya is much more culturally enlightened than I am. She loves classic literature and devours the Russian classics like Dostoevsky and Gogol (she can't stand Tolstoy), but also British classics such as Dickens. She listens to classical music and knows which composer wrote which piece (hint: Zeppelin didn't write any of them), and she always has her eyes open for well-dressed women and admires shoes and sensible yet feminine ensembles, which is a rarity in Guelph.

Russian architecture

With me being so Canadian and her being so Russian I was afraid that we would have a difficult time living together in Canada. It was easy for me to open my horizons in Russia and enjoy the cultural beauty that is their museums and galleries and ballets and literature, but I was afraid it would be difficult for Katya to "dumb" herself down to Canadian standards. I was mistaken.

Katya has surprisingly become more Canadian than she would like to admit. Here's how:

1) She Loves Tim Horton's

Tim Horton's, or Timmies, is the fast food of coffee. It is sugary brown crap water and their selection of pastries and donuts are churned out from an in-store assembly line. In short, Timmies is shit. Nevertheless every Canadian loves Timmies not only for their low prices but also their incredible convenience and market penetration.

I was surprised when Katya first had Tim Horton's and declared she loved it. Now, whenever we pass one (which is every 500 meters in Canada), she asks "Do you want to get Timmies?" How Canadian is that?!?

2) She Loves Baseball

I've been a baseball fan ever since the Jays took home the World Series in 1992. By the time they won it again in 1993 I was totally on the bandwagon, so much so that I blew out my shoulder celebrating their win that night!

They haven't done anything great since then, but I've always been a Jays fan (even when they had that crappy big "J" logo for a few years). This year the excitement over the Toronto Blue Jays mounted to fever pitch as they played some of the most entertaining baseball in the major leagues and made it to the American League Championship Series.

Katya started watching games with me in May, and by August she was hooked. She knows the names, like "Encarnacion...he's the guy with the invisible parrot" and David Price "His pitches go Whoo-whoo-whoo" and Kevin Pillar "Is he superman? I've never seen them in the same room together!"

When the Jays went down to the Kansas City Royals in game six of the championship series she was upset, the first time she's ever been upset about a sports game, according to her.

3) She Loves Camping

Katya had never been camping before until I took her in British Columbia. We went again last year in Ontario. She LOVES it! She loves roasted marshmallows and sleeping in a tent and walking around at night with a flashlight and cooking everything over an open fire.

4) She's Proud of Canadian Health Care

Katya would often criticize things in Canada and compare them to Russia, and proclaim how much better the Russian way of doing things are. Not anymore. Ever since the birth of Maxim and the amazing care she received, as well as the regular home visits by a community health nurse and our fantastic family doctor, all of which cost her ZERO dollars, all criticisms have dried up.

Katya even goes on now about how great Canada's health care system is. I used to do that but have toned myself down. I don't need to do anything now. Katya is the biggest champion of our health care system I've ever met!

5) She Likes Chinese Food Buffet

I'm not talking about real chinese food. I'm talking about American-style Chinese buffet, with the chicken balls, egg rolls and chicken-fried rice. They don't have that food in Russia (or anywhere else in the world). It is a uniquely North American food, and Katya loves it!

The Mandarin in Guelph: waaay overpriced, but delicious!

There are a bunch of other, small things that she can't deny:

  • She tends to get into the excitement of Canadian Football games, especially the last quarter when the losing team starts to get desperate (she likes the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to my dismay). 
  • She likes watching hockey to a certain extent: Vancouver Canucks games are her favourite, but she doesn't really care for the Toronto Maple Leafs (traitor!). 
  • She LOVES Halloween!

  • She like Steam Whistle beer and Hawaiian pizza, and 
  • she's always worrying about budgets, investments, savings, credit cards, etc, which people in Russia generally don't give a toot about (they have a saying: Rubles are for spending, dollars are for saving).
  • She loves the city of Toronto. She loves the buildings and the lights and the awesome variety of restaurants and the way people dress nice...I guess it reminds her of Moscow.

I guess, after nearly 4 years of living here, Canada has begun to wear off on her!


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