Lauren Gale grew up spending half of her life in Canada and the rest in the United States. While many people might say the two countries have few differences in comparison, she would beg to differ.
Lauren has experienced firsthand the two different cultural environments within her cross-cultural experience. She came to the U.S., as mentioned in part two of this series, because of her father’s military assignment. Lauren didn’t know at the time that she was in for a major culture shock.
Along with the more serious differences and eye-opening experiences as mentioned in part one and part two of this series also comes some of the small celebratory differences between the two cultures regarding holidays and environmental dynamics.
In spending a lot of her young childhood in Nova Scotia, Canada, where most of her family is from, Lauren expressed that there is more of a small-town feel. Her U.S. experience is very city-like. Lauren experienced a very family-oriented culture growing up.
When I first got here it was really crazy to see how everyone is sort of in their own little world. While in Canada, where I’m from, it’s more community-based. Everywhere you go someone is always trying to help you with something.
Lauren also says that in the United States, things are more driven towards politics rather than in Canada where things are more about celebrating events and bringing people together. This might be due to the fact that the Canadian drinking age is lower than the U.S.A.’s 21 requirement. Lauren says:
Back home beer and hockey is actually a huge part of our culture. My family would live for the time that we can all get a bunch of beers and go watch a hockey game together. Hockey is our country’s sport like football is America’s.
Even when analyzing typical foods that are consumed at these events there are differences. In the U.S., football concession food would be hotdogs and pizza while in Canada it’s poutine. While going to school in Canada, Lauren has the option of poutine served in the cafeteria every day like pizza.
Although there are many differences that Lauren has experienced between both countries, there are some similarities regarding holiday celebrations. On July 1, they celebrate Canada Day.
Canada Day is the equivalent to the U.S. Fourth of July. In Canada, there is also a celebration the day after Christmas which is referred to as Boxing Day. On Boxing Day everything goes on sale which is very nice because things are more expensive in Canada. This is due to taxes contributing to free healthcare.
Another similar celebration would be Thanksgiving. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Lauren says:
In Canada, Thanksgiving originated from the prince of Wales. He made a recovery from an illness and Canadians were thankful because we were under British rule.
With all the cross-cultural experiences that Lauren has experienced throughout her life, it has become clear to her who she is. There will not be a continuation of confinement under one country or by what society. Lauren Gale is a Canadian who spent half of her life in America and speaks French. She has no shame for who she is and will continue to advocate for her country for the rest of her time being in her second home — the United States.
Lauren will continue to have sole Canadian citizenship but will always consider the U.S.A. a significant part of her. She says:
America and Canada are two different countries with many differences. I am the product of both environments together. I hold my cross-cultural experience dear to my heart and I will continue to be unapologetically me.