Nova Scotia, Eh?

After 6.5 hours of flying, Athena and I arrived at the Halifax International Airport and I still halifax_airportthink it took us longer to pick up the rent-a-car than the entire flight time combined. It’s all well worth it though. My senses were delighted as we arrived “home”. (At least my Canadian home; Charlotte is definitely my real home where Darren and I are continuing our beautiful life together.) The smells, the sounds, the sights, the tastes… all uniquely Nova Scotian. 

If I lick my lips, I think I can actually taste the salty ocean air and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I stepped outside of the airport and a took a deep breath. Even when I lived in California on the Pacific Ocean, it didn’t quite have the same effect on me. I thought about Ingonish Beach in Cape Breton when I was leaving the airport parking lot. At Ingonish Beach, Cape Bretonfirst, I just thought it was simply because I was in Nova Scotia but then I realized that it was the air that transported me back to my childhood. Oh Atlantic Ocean, you bring about sweet memories. John F. Kennedy said, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” The only thing he left out for me was, “We are tied to the [Atlantic] ocean.” Everything else was correct.

It wasn’t just the air that was an obvious sign that I was home. While waiting in line at customs, I chatted with a friendly lady that cooed over Athena. I didn’t need to ask her where she was from because she ended at least 5 sentences with “Eh” and even more obvious was that it wasn’t even a question but her voice raised slightly at the end of each sentence like she was saying, “Eh?” I had been completely oblivious to this unique Canadian trait until that moment. Then, I listened to others around me and I could easily pick out the Canadians. By the time my sister arrived, I had to consciously think about something else so I was focusing on the accent. The funny thing is, I think I might do it do, eh?

As for the sights, seeing kilometers again instead of miles or liters instead of gallons put Gas Nova Scotiamy mind a little at rest. I’m still getting use to the “American way” and constantly converting can be taxing. When the guy at the car rental said that gas was $1.42, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Instead of hearing $3.75 a gallon and trying to convert that to liters so I knew if it was a good price or not, I just knew I was getting ripped off and gas was ridiculous. But… put a Nova Scotian doner in front of me or a Cape Breton pizza, and I don’t care if gas is $3.75 a liter. I’d still drive an hour out of my way for The Wheel any day.

Cape Breton FiddlersTomorrow, I’ll be driving to Cape Breton for my first Celtic Colours, notice the spelling of Colours; also Canadian, eh?, event. The Cape Breton Fiddlers and a Thanksgiving Dinner will continue to heighten my Canadian senses, providing reminders of my culture around every corner.

So… follow me back home this week because I’m proud to say I’m a Nova Scotian, but I’m even more proud to say I’m a Cape Bretoner!

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62 thoughts on “Nova Scotia, Eh?

  1. How does Microsoft make you spell colours? In India, Microsoft India insists on using US spelling, while we don’t as a rule. What do American companies do in Canada?

  2. Nothing quite like coming back to the ol’ stomping grounds, huh? I still get that feeling whenever I visit Ottawa. Good to know fellow Canucks are out there too on this thing some like to call “the internets” ;)

  3. I wanted to take issue with the “eh?” thing in the title being a CBE (Canadian By Extension) from my family which I married into. Because it is such a cliche, but I see from your story that cliches sometimes are just plain true! :)

  4. It’s true about all those quirky little things that identify your home town. Until you go away, you don’t really recognise them (that’s with an s, so take that MS spell checker!), but then you look forward to them when you return.

  5. Hello Alba Nuadh,

    Brittany, another Celtic country from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, is sending you its greetings of the day ;-)

  6. I miss Halifax. I have always enjoyed the waterfront and the history.

    I’ve noticed that another good way to distinguish some Canadians from Americans is to listen to how they pronounce the word “out”. Canadians pronounce it with a slightly different intonation which can be heard if you’re really listening for it.

  7. What a lovely post. I think the other special thing about going back home – is the feeling, it’s not just the smells and tastes but the way it makes you feel that is so special eh?
    Lynn :D

  8. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed reading this first post on your return trip to Nova Scotia. Now I want to go there more then ever. We have a son and his family in Saskatchewan so we always head out there. But someday, I want to go east. Yes, it’s on my bucket list! ;-)

  9. What i like about this post, is the significance of sensory stimulation .The smells, the taste of salt water in the air. We all take those little things for granted and this is a nice reminder to cherish those “daily” things

  10. I totally get where you’re coming from: I was born on the Mediterranean, but grew up on the Atlantic cost of northwest Spain. The drama there is just out of this world (great for surfers and sailors alike).

  11. I was at a work abroad expo yesterday and the Novia Scotia stall was the one I had any luck at – here`s hoping… It sounds lovely.

  12. Thank you for stopping by … i cannot begin to express how great it was to see the spelling of the word “colours” in your blog among others. I grew up spelling colours 2ways … one for school the other when i could … writing allows such freedom !

  13. Just last night my husband asked,”What is it that Americans accuse Canadians of saying, ‘Eh?”.I said, “Not accuse, they say it!” When an old family friend calls from Ottawa, I hear it after almost every sentence..and I can’t wait until she calls, which is very infrequently.

  14. I knew I was home from Spain the second I got off the plane at JFK and the guy at customs took my passport and smiled and said “Welcome home.” New York City seems to have a million different accents depending on the neighborhood/borough. Long Islanders also have a very strong accent (if you’ve ever watched the show Long Island Medium, the lady in the show has the typical Long Island accent). I like to say I don’t have a regional accent (and most people agree that I have the standard American accent you hear news anchors use on television).

    As for British spelling, don’t get me started on that one! :) When I was teaching English in Spain, I had to deal with the British spelling and British words. The students were always asking me if they could take out their rubber which in this case meant an eraser and not a condom.

  15. We just came home from a cruise to Nova Scotia and what a lovely sound to be greeted by the sound of bagpipes and the trip just got better from there! I keep telling everyone I left my heart in Nova Scotia. Beautiful doesn’t even come close to describing it. Already planning a return trip to explore more and visit PEI. I may never return to the states!! ;) I must add too, We were told that no matter who makes what anywhere in the world, Nova Scotia does it better and bigger!! I believe it too!! LOL

  16. I have to say I’m torn about (not aboot) the eh? Thing. I am Canadian and yes I say it but not as frequently as non-Canadians might think. Surprisingly I can go weeks without saying it.
    Having said that Happy Thanksgiving and welcome home!
    It’s a glorious fall in Nova Scotia this year and since I’ve never been to Celtic Colours I am looking forward to seeing it through your posts.

  17. This is awesome! I have visited Canada once, but of course it was Toronto and the Niagara Falls so its not like I got to experience a more “authentic” side of Canada. Nova Scotia is one of the places I plan on visiting in the future, so it is nice to see someone who is visiting a place that is unique and not an overly popular (or “over-done”) destination :)

  18. I love that pic with all the violins! And come on, you never noticed the Canadian “eh?” I guess it’s more obvious to an American. But there’s a lot of poking fun at that little trait on American TV.

  19. I can relate. I’m back in NY, my home, for good, now. But I lived In California for 15 years and everytime I came back to NY all I heard was the famous accent. And when I’d go backto California I was very cognizant of my own accent, sharpened by my time home in The Big Apple

  20. I loved visiting Nova Scotia. I don’t really believe in reincarnation but I felt so sure that I had been there before, especially around Halifax waterfront and Lunenberg. Really wierd feeling.

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