My aunt and uncle from Ireland are visiting Canada for a few weeks, and they are staying with my folks for a few days. They were in Vancouver and took a train through the Rockies and will be heading off to Toronto for a few days before they go back to Europe....a fine trip, if you ask me.
It's easy to think that the place you live is mundane and ordinary, until you get to see it through someone else's eyes. We took them to a pick-your-own apple orchard yesterday afternoon; totally a regular thing for us, but fascinating and exotic to them. You should have seen their eyes when they saw the pumpkin patch.
Over the years, we've had lots of visitors from overseas, and it always amazes me what they think is fabulous and we take for granted.
This particular aunt and uncle brought their three boys here many years ago, when they were 7, 9 and 11. We took them to see a baseball game, a Great Lake, a humungous playground and an honest-to-God, real, live Indian cheif. What did they talk about when they got home? The food court at the mall. They pronounced it "magical".
We've brought lots of people to Niagara Falls, which is pretty fabulous. They've always liked it, but were amazed at all the Tim Horton's along the highway on the way there. The fact that you could get a cup of coffee and a Boston Creme donut in Woodstock and it was exactly the same as the one you got in St. Catherine's was nothing short of miraculous.
I took some cousins to Montreal once, an 8 hour car trip. They couldn't get over that you got on the highway here, drove for 500 miles and got off in Montreal. One road, the whole way.
People from Europe find the amount of room here incredible. I had a party here in our backyard a few years ago, and some visitors from Germany could not believe how we had that whole yard for just our family. "You guys waste a LOT of space here", was how they put it. It is true, they use space a whole lot differently there than here.....except for some of the big cities, space is the one thing we have no shortage of in Canada. I have to remind myself that we are unusual in how big our houses are (basements!!) and how much land we have.
I heard a story many years ago, from when Poland was still under Communist rule. A collegue of my father's had his mother visiting from Warsaw one summer. They walked into a run-of-the-mill grocery store here and the poor woman burst into tears....she'd never seen so much food in one place in her life. We still have an abundance of food at incredibly cheap prices here, something we tend to forget.
I've seen other people from "away" be delighted by butter tarts (Americans), BBQ sauce (Germans), blueberries (Brits) and pumpkin pie and "the houses all look different" (Australians).
Imagine what I'd find exotic and noteworthy there....I'm sure they'd be amused.