13 Things Canada Does Better

13 Things Canada Does Better

We should learn from our northern neighbors, eh?

As a dual citizen of America and Canada, I can say with some confidence that Canada is not all that different from America (for the most part) -- it's basically just America, but north. However, in preparation for Canada Day (July 1), there are some things Canada does differently that I think America should adopt. Such as...

1. Poutine

Okay, America, we are slacking. I have searched high and low, and what I have determined is that we are just lacking in the poutine department. If you don't know what poutine is, it's fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Picture cheese fries on crack. It is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat in your life, and I think we need to jump on the bandwagon already.

2. Maple Syrup

This is not your Aunt Jemima's maple syrup. This is the good stuff. And Canada doesn't just do maple syrup better -- the array of maple syrup products on tap is nothing short of phenomenal. My personal favorite is the maple syrup lollipop.

3. Bagged Milk

I'll admit, I can't explain the appeal here. It's just really cool -- and probably a little more environmentally friendly than our cartons and jugs. And maybe it's just me, but I swear it tastes better.

4. Ice Hockey

I'm the first to admit that I know next to nothing about sports, but I know that hockey is very much associated with Canada, and there has to be good reason for that. Using a quick Google search, I confirmed this -- Canada is just better at hockey, guys. They win everything.

5. Money

Value of the dollar aside (sorry, Canada, the Canadian dollar is only worth about 75% of the American dollar right now) -- Canadian money is amazing. For one thing, it doesn't get as grungy and grimy as American money does, because it is made from a polymer rather than paper. Plus, different colors denote different bill values, so they're much easier to tell apart just at a glance.

6. Drinking Age

If you remember this episode of "That 70's Show," you'll know that the drinking age in Canada (depending on province) is either 18 or 19. The most common legal drinking age is 18, and Canada (unlike America) has stuck to this trend (for the most part). Just saying...

7. Metric System

This is less of a win on Canada's part and more of a loss on America's part, considering we are one of three countries that does not use the metric system. It just makes more sense, y'all. Let's join our neighbors to the north (and the south...and the east...and the west) in utilization of the metric system!

8. Tim Hortons

OK, I know there are some Timmy's locations in the US, but they are few and far between, especially in the south. Canada is a veritable gold mine of Tim Hortons -- just across the border in Windsor, there is essentially a Tim Hortons on every corner. This makes it 100 times harder when I get home and have to make it through the day without an Iced Capp...

9. Nature

This may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. Using the riverfront between Windsor and Detroit as an example -- the Windsor side is beautifully designed, with gardens and sculptures and fountains. The American side leaves a lot to be desired (read: it's mostly buildings, pollution, and trash). Not enough proof? Niagara Falls. Compare the American side to the Canadian side and you'll see what I mean.

10. Manners

I typically don't like to generalize like this, but I have to say that this stereotype largely holds true. Perhaps the best example of the polite Canadian is at the US-Canadian border. Getting through to Canada is usually just a brief conversation concerning intent (where are you going, why, for how long), while the American side often feels more like an interrogation (keep in mind: I have dual citizenship but carry an American passport, so I'm actually one of the ones who has it easy). I understand that our national security is important, but there is something to be said for how welcoming the Canadian border officers are.

11. Maternity Leave

Canadian mothers can take 17 to 52 weeks of maternity leave -- up to 15 of which can be paid -- or 35 weeks of parental leave with benefits, compared to the general 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the US. I think the numbers speak for themselves.

12. Ketchup Chips

These might sound disgusting, but they're actually amazing. It's a pretty hard job to find ketchup chips in the US -- they exist, but only as a novelty -- whereas in Canada, you can find them basically anywhere. Here's hoping that changes.

13. Life Expectancy

Back to concrete facts, friends! The average life expectancy in Canada is 81.24 years -- two and a half years longer than America's 78.74 years. Sure, it's just a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, but it's something!

Happy Canada Day to our friends to the north! Keep on being awesome.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.waskada.org/canada-day/

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.


Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

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