A Canadian Abroad - Pt 1 -

A Canadian Abroad – Pt 1

Kristina Loewen is a Canadian International living in Accrington. Some of you may have read her heartfelt email home after joining the Cummins Mellor Team. If not, you can catch up here.

This is Kristina’s first Blog post about being a Canadian abroad;

I can’t remember when I fell in love with England but this country captured my heart long ago and I’d wanted to visit ever since.  I would wander around when I was younger, practising my “English accent,” and meeting the Queen in 2005 when she visited to celebrate the Province of Alberta’s Centennial, was a special day.  As an aspiring writer, England’s rich history touched my imagination and in 2012 I made the decision to stop dreaming about a place I loved so much and ventured out on my own for the first time.  It was the biggest leap I’d ever taken and I did it knowing there would be more hurdles along the way but it would ultimately be an enriching experience.  Being here means I’m not only following my dream but living it – and that’s more rewarding than words can describe.

Where I’m From:

  • Edmonton, Alberta.  Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, a province in Western Canada.
  • By area, Edmonton is slightly larger than the country CyprusKristina In London
  • West Edmonton Mall was formerly the world’s biggest shopping centre, until 2004; it is still North America’s biggest shopping centre.  It features an indoor Water Park, amusement park, mini golf course, pirate ship, cinema, and over 800 shops and services
  • Edmonton hosts the largest Fringe theatre Festival in North America.  It is also Canada’s “Festival City,” hosting 30 festivals in a year
  • Our hockey team is called the Edmonton Oilers (where sports legend Wayne Gretzky played)
  • Edmonton is known as the City of Champions for its history of successful professional and ama­teur sports teams
  • During WWII the City Center airport hosted a wartime British Commonwealth Air Training Plan flying school and an air observer school
  • The lowest temperature recorded at Edmonton’s City Centre Airport was – 40.6 ◦ C in 1976
  • The highest temperature recorded in Edmonton was 38.3 ◦ C in August 1998
  •  On July 31, 1987 Edmonton was struck by a tornado which is considered one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history.  It cut a path of destruction 40 km (25 mi) long and up to 1 km (0.6 miles, or 3000 feet) wide in places, leaving 27 dead and over 300 injured.  July 31 is known as Black Friday to Edmontonians

Canada VS England

The weather: There’s a saying back home: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”  I’m used to seeing cold snaps spring up one day and basking in sunshine the next.  It’s odd to see an entire country like England covered with such similar weather.  I also come from ‘Sunny Alberta’ so sometimes, days of cloud cover can make one feel quite gloomy.  Do I mind the rain, though?  Not at all; it rained when my plane touched down and that was so stereotypically England that I was thrilled.  Do I welcome the snow?  Absolutely!  I haven’t picked up a shovel since last year!

Distances: Travelling four hours from Accrington to London on a train seems like a breeze.  Scotland’s only a few hours away, and Ireland is an hour long flight.  That’s a big difference considering it’s a twelve-hour drive from where I lived to my cousin’s houses near the coast of British Columbia.

Terminology: I have learned so many new words over here: “Jacob’s Join,” “Butty shop,” “Tea” (when referring to ‘supper’), to name a few.  I love how you “make a brew” when referring to making tea or coffee.  Such a vivid vocabulary over here – it’s great!

Pronunciation: I’m learning that sometimes vowels can be an issue in terms of pronunciation.  I’ve been asked to say “tomato” in a Canadian accent so that an English person can hear me pronounce it using a long ‘a.’  Subsequently, the English seem to pronounce Oregano, ’Ore-gone-o’ versus the ‘Oreg-ano’ I hear back home.   Also, we call a Zebra a ‘zee-bra’ even though we pronounce the letter Z, ‘zed.

Cobbled Streets: I don’t understand how women can walk in six-inch stilettos over here because I’m forever tripping up on cobbled streets; I’m far more familiar with smooth, paved sidewalks (which sometimes end up cracking and breaking up along with our roads due to ‘frost heaves’ in winter).

Sheep: I love seeing sheep everywhere!  I’ve only seen them in petting zoos or on farms back home; in Alberta, I’m used to seeing cows and horses instead.  I can’t wait until spring when the lambs arrive!

Water: In restaurants back home, if you’re served water, you usually get it in a pitcher or a glass; I’ve personally never been offered a bottled option, although apparently, some ‘elite’ restaurants do.  Also, I’ve noticed there are no water fountains in shopping malls or cinemas to drink from and that’s one thing I really miss.  I’ve spoken to other Canadians over here and they also miss having access to a public fountain.

Best Moments Thus Far

  • Visiting the “Peter Pan” statue in Kensington Gardens
  • Uncovering a grave from 1792 in Great Mitton
  • Crossing the English Channel on a ferry
  • Visiting Imperial War Museum North
  • Attending Remembrance Day Services in Manchester (with a Navy Commodore)!
  • Seeing the Charles Dickens collection in the John Rylands library
  • Spotting Sheep!

Did You Know?

Scotland can fit into the Province of Alberta 11 times.

The entire UK can fit into Canada 2.5 times


A Canadian Abroad Pt 2

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