I still get the same questions: (1) “So, which part of Scotland are you from?” or (2) “Is it nice in Australia?” and (3) “Looking forward to St. Paddy’s Day?”
(1) Not. (2) Yes. (3) Of course — we’re all Oirish that day!
Then I cry inside, rush home and put on the BBC News and start pronouncing “how now brown cow” over and over until my accent returns.
Being a Brit in Toronto is a mixed bag of emotions. It’s a fantastic city, full of ethnicity, things to do, a big lake and easy to get around. I’ve embraced the life it’s afforded me and feel very grateful.
But … there’s still that part of me that really misses the gentle clink of a pint glass in an English country pub on a Sunday, the dire warning of “Mind the gap!” and — of course — how the whole of the country unites as one during World Cups/Euro, the Eurovision Song Contest and a murder on EastEnders.
I read this article — Being “just English” left me confused in multicultural Toronto — with great interest.
The writer, Daniel Rouse, mentions: “Admittedly, being surrounded by wonderfully diverse people all the time can make one feel a little, well, ordinary or inadequate. In Shrewsbury, with parents hailing from Manchester and Sheffield, I felt a delusional exoticness as a kid: I had a slight accent and regularly spent time up north.
“In Toronto, surrounded by people with parents from different continents whose households speak at least two languages, I’m a mere unilingual, applying thick layers of factor 60 under whatever shade I can find.”
I feel proud to be British living and contributing to society in Toronto. I don’t try to hide it in any way, but also don’t play on it. (This website, you point out? Yes — aimed at Brits in Toronto, but a resource of information. Not to set us apart.)
The mix of people and cultures in this city is what makes it such an interesting place to live. Everyone has a part to play, wherever you may be from.