Sunday, May 06, 2007

Culture Shock

I left Montreal yesterday at 4:30 yesterday, and arrived in Washington D.C. around 5 today. Granted, we stopped for the night, but man is Canada up North!

Here are a few initial moments of culture shock I've encountered during that period of time:

At the border. I'm driving. The border police man asks us for our passports. We hand them over. He sneeringly tells us that he won't accept passports with covers on them. We remove the covers, and hand him the passports again. Then:
HIM: What's your citizenship, ma'am?
ME (not really thinking, unfortunately): French and American...
HIM (angrily): What is your country of citizenship, ma'am?
ME: Oh! Uh-- I mean, the United States of America. Of course. Haha.

I've never felt less American in my life.

More culture-shock moments to come when my brain is less addled with sleepiness!


Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

I would have considered saying "I do not know officer. What does my cover less passport say?"

Then I would have been clubbed, and my car torn apart looking for drugs.

Sometimes I have to wonder about people. If you hand someone a US passport then it should be understood that you are probably American.

Welcome home. For better or worse.

11:59 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I visit Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, several times a year for shopping purposes - it's only a 4-hr drive from our house. The customs folks are fairly friendly on both sides but sometimes I wonder about the U.S. side.

(Actual conversation on re-entering the U.S.)

CUSTOMS: "Where do you live?"
ME: "Wisconsin"
CUSTOMS: "Oh, you're a cheesehead?"
ME: "Yep."
CUSTOMS: "What was the purpose of your trip to Canada?"
ME: "Shopping."
CUSTOMS: "Are you a Packers fan?"
ME: Not really.
CUSTOMS: "Good answer. You may proceed."

7:10 a.m.  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks Lazy! It feels very, very strange. Many more culture shock posts to come!
Steve, I know exactly what you mean! I think the customs people have to entertain themselves... one way or another.

9:24 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha...Steve's conversation was great. When I was going through the US border with my finger wrapped in bandages, the border dude's first question was:
What did you do to your finger?
He then forgot to ask me where I'm going and what my citizenship was. I was just waved through.

9:48 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, that's no way to greet returning citizens, or visitors!
I hope the culture shocks won't be too numerous :). At least we have a democratic majority now!

9:02 p.m.  

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