Missing you….

Things I miss since moving to Canada….

Not getting taxed for everything bar breathing, Squash, Grumpy people, Sarcasm, High Street fashion outlets, cheap mobile phones, free banking, DairyMilk that tastes like Dairy Milk, LBC, BBC, NHS – free prescriptions and healthcare (and I thought those were waiting lists; hahaha), Nice cars – they’re all American or Japanese over here, the smell of Fairy washing powder, Miles and Celsius (instead of Km and Fahrenheit), roundabouts (more fun than intersections!) 4 wheel drive supermarket trolleys and supermarkets in general – there’s MUCH more choice in British ones, AND you can shop at them all online and have it delivered, the edgy British music scene, Wagamama‘s, European cafes, decent public transport (the kind that gets you to where you need to go – not a loop round the houses!), small roads, Frank Coopers Marmalade, restaurants that serve something other than variations on fast food, self-raising flour (I get through tonnes of baking powder now), sausages, regional accents (I’d even welcome Brummie with open ears now!), the tub of Garlic & Herb sauce that came free with a Dominos pizza, we have Dominos here, but not Garlic & Herb, and they charge for the sauce…

Things I would miss if I left…..

Plenty of snow-ploughs and salt in the winter, the laid back attitude, splashparks (they’re everywhere), better quality food, wide open space, the great outdoors, the people who like to stop and chat, cream in my coffee, finding out where people are from (so many have come here from somewhere else), the big trucks, open-plan banks (but why do they chain the pens to the counters?), proper fruit juice – none of your concentrate crap, having air con at home, electric garage doors, window screens (stop the mozzies getting in at night – genius!!!) ravines, coyotes howling, wall-to-wall sunshine and blue skies, the lake ABSOLUTELY the lake, intense sunshine, butter tarts, Chapmans ice-cream, Cape Cod style houses, raccoons dawn patrol, sitting on the porch watching the world go by, the enthusiasm for being outside and being active, hot-tubs, the way clothing is referred to as “Apparel”

Have you swapped one country for another? What do you miss? What is impossible to live without?

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. Now that I’ve lived in Belgium, I would absolutely miss the efficient public transport, the chocolates, the beer, the cosmopolitan life and the Eurostar which is certainly the most civilised way to get to London.
    From Malta, I miss some of the food, family and friends, the sea and the laid-back attitude to almost anything.

  2. Did you mention Marmite? And what about ‘good’ pub food? Living in Sydney, I also miss the Underground which, with hindsight and many apologies for all my previous moans when I lived in London, is SUPERIOR to anything here in Australia. The thing I miss the most?… Good ole English sarcasm and wit. You can’t beat it and it can’t be replicated.

    Interesting that I think your ‘things I’d miss from Canada’ list is longer than your ‘things I miss from England’ list 🙂

    1. Aaahhh-haaa! You’re a Marmite lover! I almost feel there’s some kind of special handshake we should be doing. Good pub food? I’d be happy just to find a decent pub! None of them have that pub feel. I have learned that a few things back home that we used to moan about are superior (NHS, BBC, public transport, to name a few).
      I hear you on the sarcasm thing, I had issues with that irrepressible Canadian positivity when we first arrived. They can find something good to say about everything! (If you’d seen my basement you’d understand my awe) That’s when I realised how the British came by their Aussie epithet of “Whingeing Poms”. It’s a national pastime with us, moaning about stuff. We don’t mean to be negative – it just breaks the ice. I did find myself swearing more than usual when I first came here as an antidote to the niceness :-/
      As for your Raj Persaud-like observation about the list lengths, what can I say, I’m learning every day in Canada, so it’s only going to grow!

  3. What are splash parks? And no sarcasm? I’m the queen of sarcasm, I may have to rethink the possible Canada move 😉

    1. Hi Lucie, thanks for the comment. See here for a definition of splashparks/pads
      With sarcasm, some people may “get it” others won’t, people on the whole are very positive in their speech and dark sarcasm is unusual. But that shouldn’t stop you coming…hell, we can educate everyone in the dark arts together! Seriously though, if you’re British you’ll be expected to be a bit eccentric anyhow and it seems a shame to disappoint…. 😉

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