Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Foodland Couple and their Baby

A few months ago, Hubby and I were at the local Foodland with Little One to pick up a few groceries. Little One was happily riding in the cart, looking at everyone and everything. While in the produce section, a woman I had never seen before just smiled and started talking to us. This isn't unusual, because everyone on the Island is pretty friendly. What was unusual about this incident was that the woman (like myself) was neither Caucasian nor Native.

Trust me. On the Island, you notice these things. It may sound silly and a bit trivial, but this is a pretty rare find here. Cultural diversity on the Island is not like it is in Toronto, Montreal, or New York. When I first moved up here, people spoke of this "Oriental" girl that moved to the country. Oh, right. I guess that would be me. New friends spoke very slowly and asked me if I understood English. I had to laugh, because I don't speak, read, write or understand Chinese (especially since my father's dialect is an uncommon/old one). I understand a bit of my mother's language, but can't speak it. I understand bits and pieces and will answer in English if someone asks me a question. Usually, I get things half correct. There was a time when I was in the Philippines for two weeks and my cousin and I were scouring all the stores for a fly swatter. The sales people had no idea what we were looking for. We tried gesturing what we were looking for by pretending to roll up a newspaper to "swat" a fly. They looked at us as though we were trained circus monkeys. The kicker was when we tried to explain in Tagalog what we wanted. Our words, instead of "It's something you use to kill a fly" ended up coming out as "The fly is dead! The fly is dead!" we buzzed around and pretended to be dying flies.

So, there! English is my langue maternelle and French is my second language.

I smiled back, and the lady started up a conversation with us. We were both so very excited to have found each other! We talked about Caribbean fare and all kinds of things we missed from the city. She made me laugh because she said, "I'm surprised I've never seen you here before. It's not common to find flavour on the Island".

Not that the Island is bland or anything. It's just refreshing to have some diversity. To me, differences and diversity enrich a population. We learn from each other. We teach each other new things. The world and its people have a lot to share. It sometimes amazes me when people tell me that they've never been out of the country, let alone the province!

I'm happy to have met this new friend. I'm looking forward to roti and curry nights together!


Dina said...

Your story reminds me of finding "whities" in Korea while i lived there. Anyone who wasn't Korean stood out in a crowd and would immediately attract one another like a magnet. I made some good friends by talking to them on the subway, in the bookstore and other such things- especially in the smaller cities!
Glad you have made a new friend!!
It's amazing how different things are for you there compared to the city! Hard to believe it's the same province we're in!

E said...

What a great little "moment" on Manitoulin you have written about here. The Island continues to (and always will) surprise me. Great post, C! Hilarious, and well written. xo

C said...

Tee hee! I remember that from when I lived and taught in Japan! "Gaijin" (foreigners) would automatically gravitate toward each other.

Yes, I'm glad to have made a new friend too. I thoroughly love my life on the island and have made a lot of great friends. Funny, many of the close friends I have here happen to be teachers too!!! They also happen to be from off-island. I've got a lot of friends who are from the island too. It's nice to have a mix of friends.

Ha! So true! It IS hard to believe we're in the same province! It's so different here than it is in Toronto! :)

C said...

Hi ya! Have you ever noticed this about the Island? It's so weird to see people of other cultures that I find myself always having to talk to them! I get so intrigued! I remember one summer, a bunch of us were hiking up the Cup and Saucer trails and there was a group of Japanese tourists. I automatically ran up to them and started talking to them in Japanese! HAHAHA! They probably thought I was was some weirdo! I find myself just craving the diversity sometimes though. I miss that.

Will we be seeing you at rehearsal tonight? Let me know if you're free tomorrow (if you want to get together for a bit). xx

merinz said...

I enjoyed your blog story. Even when I lived in Quesnel BC I found myself mixing socially with other NZers, and sometimes Australians. But I made some good Canadian friends too.

C said...

Funny how we seem to gravitate towards certain people! I've got some amazing friends on the Island, but I still get so excited whenever I meet someone from the city...and my part of the city too! :)

When I was teaching in Japan, I made a lot of great Japanese friends, but I did hang out with a lot of Canadian, American, NZ, UK, and Aussie friends!

BTW, I was watching a program on TV and it was based in NZ. Can I tell you how in love I am with the scenery and the NZ accent!?!?! *drool*

caninecologne said...

hi c - omg, when we visit you next month, we will TRIPLE the Filipino population on the island! ha ha.

are we going to get stared at? are we going to be seen as 'edgy' furriners? haha. kidding. Well, we're defintely going to add some FLAVA to the island! :)

word ver (this is wierd):


C said...

HAHAHAHA!!! You crack me up! Yeah, we'll triple the Filipino population! :) Nah, I don't think you'll be stared at :) The summers are busy with tourists from all over the world, so you'll be safe. It *will* be culture shock for you though. I remember being surprised that I was the only Asian person in our community :)

Can't wait! One month to go!!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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