Greetings from the Land of Grizzlies, Moose and Maple Syrup!
(Disclaimer: This post is from a personal perspective & experience, hence it can be biased. )
Yes, apparently I am slow at updating my blog as I... have.. been.. well.. uh.. busy? Okay, maybe I am lying to a certain extent as I am no longer working and have been bumming at home like a hermit.
A hermit with access to online PC games and the food network.
It has been almost 3 months since my relocation to Canada and am a little Australian homesick. I mean, I have spent almost a decade in Australia so it is a little weird being on the opposite end of the earth (I think I may have the flair for the extreme).
I suppose the hardest thing moving to an unfamiliar country, is adapting to the ever so slight differences which also seems to be the biggest:
- Coffee: Having an employment history as a barista allowed me to appreciate fine coffee or the usual cappuccino or flat white, commonly found in almost every single Australian cafe. Here, the usual cup of Joe, is percolated coffee with normal milk or cream added to an already diluted coffee. It wouldn't be so bad if I have found a cafe that at least made a decent cappuccino, but so far I haven't found a cafe yet (yes, there's probably a shitload of cafes I have yet to try in downtown Montreal, but being based an hour out of town, means that I am limited to cafes in my surrounding area. I have tried one cafe in Montreal but that failed to impress). Still searching for one that looks like this:
- Sales tax: Ah, yes... this reminds me of some restaurants in Malaysia, where taxes are added in addition to the advertised price. I am definitely not used to this. Australia: what you see is what you pay. I personally find this system quite confusing and stupid - it would make life soooo much easier if they just added the tax to the price and then label it, so you don't have to go digging through the bottom of your pockets or jeans for that additional missing sum because you forgot about it.
- Tipping: I tip when the service and food is uh-mazzzing.. but having to tip 10 - 15% unconditionally is a little weird for me. I get that wait staff in North America get paid way less than Australia but it shouldn't be expected, especially if you get mediocre service and food.
- Language barrier (Quebec-related): Oh dear lordy, this wouldn't be too much of an issue if I was based centrally in Montreal. Most of the outskirt suburbs is in French. The actual signs and menus aren't too bad as there are some words that seem oddly familiar in English or in Spanish and it makes a bit of sense when I try my best to put them together. Spoken French, on the other hand, throws me completely off. For now, I mostly smile and nod :) whilst my partner deals with the translation.
- Bacon: I finally see what the fuss is all about in North America!! Whilst in Australia, my partner has been complaining about bacon; he thinks the Australian bacon is like bacon-flavoured ham (he wasn't kidding. I mean, short-cut bacon with no lard? Just label it bacon-flavoured ham for the health-conscious gym junkies). So far, my favourite is the Maple syrup coated bacon. It's streaky, smokey, and just with the right hint of sweetness from the syrup. This probably explains my extreme weight gain.
- Asian food source: Really, really, really wish I was closer to Montreal now. So far, the only thing that is keeping me going at home is soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and Sriracha. That isn't too bad as I am able to cook some of my comfort food and other recipes easily. The hardest thing I'm missing badly is my ABC chilli sauce omfg wahhh!! *cries* Sriracha just doesn't taste the same :( Also, the pad thai in the few places I've been to, such as Thai Express and Chez Sak in Sorel-Tracy sucks. THIS IS NOT PAD THAI!
Oh, pad thai... how much I miss you :(
(Image taken from: http://gentolizo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/pad-thai-shrimp.jpeg)
This is it for now. Hopefully I'll be updating more frequently now that I am a hermit lol.