Despite the fact that there are around 300 million Americans in the world, in Montreal we are a bit of a rare breed. We're a lot like Anglo-Canadians, except there's even fewer of us and we're foreign. Being an American in Montreal is quite the experience, and if you're one of them we can pretty much guarantee that more than one of these ten things has happened to you.
1. The Metric System Is Confusing
Even though we learned this in high school science class, it has very little real-world significance for us. Knowing that the temperature is 15 degrees warmer than the freezing point of water is useless information when trying to pick out an outfit. Is is cold? Will I need a jacket? Is it going to snow? I have no idea.
2. The Exchange Rate Is Refreshingly Uneventful
Normally when going to a foreign country, us Americans do constant mental algebra trying to figure out how much things like a tank of gas or a nice dinner actually cost. But here, since the exchange rate is almost always close to being on-par, we can relax and pretend we aren't really that far from home.
Photo Cred - Michele Stocco
3. Our Accents Are Fascinating
Even though a typical American accent is hardly distinguishable from a typical Canadian accent, as soon as we admit that we're from down South, our way of speaking suddenly becomes a little exotic. Although, a few dead give-aways are our pronunciation of the letter "Z" as "zee" instead of "zed" and you will never hear an American say "eh" (except when imitating our Canadian friends).
4. The Cost of Living Is Amazing
Especially if you're from somewhere like NYC or LA, you'll be amazed at how well you can live on relatively little. After moving to Montreal, the idea of paying $700 or more in rent to live with 3 roommates and have an hour-long commute seems positively ridiculous.
5. The Food Will Blow Your Mind
The poutine, the bagels, the pastries, the cheeses, and the endless variety of delicious ethnic foods will make you wonder how you ever lived anywhere else.
6. You Get to Celebrate Thanksgiving Twice
On the subject of gluttony, our Canadian counter-parts also celebrate Thanksgiving. However, since it's on a different day, you get to celebrate twice. USA! USA!
7. The French Language is Your Best Frenemy
Since foreign language education is not a very big priority in the old US of A, this is one area where we Americans are likely to struggle. Although, if we are able to manage in French, Francophones always seem pleasantly surprised and are usually liberal with their praise. After all, our accents are kind of cute (see number 3).
Photo Cred - Murduck Rubbaduckie
8. Where You're From is Always A Story
If you're from a state that isn't New York, California or Texas, you'll most likely have to explain where it is, name the biggest cities, whether it leans Democrat or Republican, the approximate guns to people ratio, etc.
9. Voting is A Minor Nightmare
If you move here, you'll have to register for absentee ballots for both state and general elections which is a lot of very fun paperwork. Filing taxes is a whole other 10th circle of bureaucratic hell.
10. The Multi-Culturalism Makes You Feel At Home
Coming from the great American melting pot to the great Montreal melting pot will probably feel like a fairly easy transition. Since we value diversity and a wide range of traditions, the fact that we're a little different means that we fit right in.