Ex Pat Obsessions

After I had lived in Canada for around twelve years, I realised I had developed a few new obsessions, which could only be attributed to my status as an ex-pat.

1.Cleaning. I don’t think anyone who had ever been to my house in Canada would agree, as it did not in any way reflect the standards of most Canadian households. But in England, my house was a mess, all the time, and that’s the way I liked it. In Canada, my house was tidy and (somewhat) clean – and now, suddenly,that’sthe way I like it. I am not sure if I am happy or not with this state of affairs.

2.The price of real estate. This could be explained by the fact that I am a Realtor. In my previous life in England, I wasn’t a Realtor, and so property prices were not high on my list of things to concern myself with. Now, it’s my job to be concerned with them. Unfortunately, this means I am also concerned with the house I sold to move to Canada 12 years ago, which has risen in value by around 800%.

3.The sea. I come from Brighton – the definition of the seaside town. When in Canada, I miss the smell of the salty sea air, the incessant screech of seagulls, the bustle of the crowds of people who flock there. To make myself feel less homesick, I spend ridiculous amounts of time in White Rock, the nearest beach, and the nearest place I can find to Brighton. It’s nothing like Brighton of course. But it does have a sea right beside it, and I find myself staring at it – a lot.

4.Rugby. I married a rugby player, and I knew what I was getting into. Rugby is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. If you marry into it, you marry IT. But when we lived in England, I don’t recall rugby taking up so much of my time. In Canada, I am defined by being a rugby wife (more accurately described as a rugby widow) and now a rugby mum. I have tried to live up to the rugby wife thing, by being supportive at games, events and fundraisers; I have been drunk and maybe a little wild when necessary; and I have found things to occupy my time when the husband is involved in countless rugby “events”, including but not limited to: any game of rugby being played within a 50 km radius of our house; any game of rugby on TV, ever, for whatever reason; or any rugby “meeting” that may or may not have something to do with him, or someone he may or may not know.

As a rugby mum, I have stood on the sidelines watching countless games, through which I have fretted and cringed as piles of young bodies fall on top of my precious little (6 feet tall, 200 pound, 18-year-old) boy. All of which means that through default, I now am obsessed with the game of rugby. I still can’t tell you the rules though.

6.England. I am certain that I was not obsessed with England when I lived there. I don’t think I even really cared one way or the other that I was English. I quite fancied being Irish actually. Now I find myself obsessed with the country I ditched 13 years ago: its TV, music, people, and food. I defend it, praise it, and talk it up at every opportunity. I have become way more English than I ever used to be (though I draw the line at the quintessential British tradition of discussing the weather).

6.People who say “just kidding”. This essentially North American habit annoys me. If what you have just said was funny, there is really no need to say “just kidding” afterwards, unless you are talking to a complete dimwit. If you are talking to me, I would prefer you didn’t assume I was a complete dimwit. If what you have said was not funny, then saying “just kidding” will not suddenly make it so.

I think this outburst shows that I am either a) getting old and grumpy or b) generally less tolerant since I moved to Canada. This is one of those things that has inexplicably started to bug me to a point way beyond reason. What next? Will I start shouting and waving my fist at drivers as they attempt to cluelessly navigate a roundabout? Oh, hang on, I do that almost every day.

7.The weather. Haha, just kidding.

By Juliet Sullivan