The decision to move to Canada was a spontaneous one. Just graduated from uni, no job in sight, head over heels in love with that guy from my last vacation – everything was possible and there was nothing to lose. So, I packed up my things and made my way to a new home. There were few concerns on my mind, since I had lived in the States before and had patches from over 30 countries on my backpack – trophies of a typical millennial life. Canada would be a piece of cake, I was sure of that. Of course, things turned out differently.
That is what ‘Canada for Beginners’ is all about. Just like the Schneider-Öztürk-family in the popular German TV show ‘Turkish for Beginners’** I had to learn that it’s not easy to be part of an intercultural family or relationship. Although the main characters in that show – Lena and Cem, Doris and Metin – have always lived alongside both cultures in the German-Turkish melting-pot of Berlin, moving in together presented them with an entirely different set of challenges.
The bargaining of mutual norms and values is a basic quest in every relationship, whether with lovers, friends, or family. Is it acceptable to hold different opinions on some matters? Where can we find compromises? What are deal-breakers? Can I convince you after all?
Thus, culture becomes a crucial factor for the successful relationship of an international couple, because it is fundamental to many of these debates. Therefore, the experience of the other culture is so much more intense than when traveling or on an exchange program. Suddenly, you have to deal with it in a most fundamental way and ask yourself: Can I live with that?
When I moved to Canada I became part of a Canadian family and Canadian culture became a part of me. And exactly what that means, I chronicle in this blog.
*”Eh (/ˈeɪ/ or /ˈɛ/) is a spoken interjection in English that is similar in meaning to “Excuse me?,” “Please repeat that”, or “huh?”. It is also commonly used as an alternative to the question tag right?, i.e., method for inciting a reply, as in “It’s nice here, eh?” (instead of “It’s nice here, right?”) In North America, it is most commonly associated with Canada and Canadian English[.]” (wikipedia)
**’Turkish for Beginners’ is a popular German TV-series about the adventures of a German-Turkish patchwork-family living in Berlin.