It wasn’t until I started traveling and building a comparative perspective that the definition of Canadian-ness became a bit clearer. It’s an ongoing question on my mind, but I’ve drawn a few conclusions so far.
1. Canadians are closed books… at first
When I first started meeting people overseas, I would tense at the questions that seemed bold and blunt. How old are you? Are you married? Why aren’t you married? Where is your family? Aren’t they worried about you? I felt that these curious strangers were insinuating something negative about me, that I was naive or irresponsible for being single, for traveling so far.
It turns out that once you leave Canada, conversations get frank. We would see these types of questions as invasive, but in other cultures, personal questions indicate a personal interest (seems obvious, in hindsight). Life gets a lot easier once you realize it’s just curiosity, not judgment.