Poland, my country of birth, is not such a multicultural country as Canada is. When I came here, I got a chance to broaden my knowledge about different cultures, traditions and rituals. I would probably never have had the opportunity if I had not left my country.
I remember the very beginning after I arrived in Canada and a particular story that has shown me one aspect of differences existing between these two nations.
It is commonly known in Poland that when a woman is dressed nicely she always gets a lot of compliments and attention from men, known and strangers. Appearance is very important and many people try hard to stay up-to-date. This is an extremely popular attitude, especially among teens. When a girl looks pretty, men whistle and send her smiles when she passes by. This is a kind of reward for her efforts.
One sunny day I decided to go to the mall. I tried hard to make myself look glamorous, for that is what I always did before going out. I spent a few hours shopping in various boutiques, but to my surprise nobody was paying much attention to me. Not a single compliment! Everyone seemed so busy with their affairs. Wondering what I did wrong, I went back home, disappointed and a bit frustrated.
“What’s wrong? Didn’t you enjoy your shopping spree?” my husband asked.
I told him about everything, expressing my concerns. He just started to laugh.
“But this is how it is here, honey. You have nothing to be worried about. You look very pretty!”
After some time, I got used to Canadian customs and to the fact that people act a bit differently here. In Canada, people care less about appearance, or at least they are not expressing it as loud as they do in Poland.
To be honest, I missed it a lot at the beginning, but now I do not care and I am happy about it. Finally, I can wear whatever I want to and go shopping without make-up, not worrying about what others will think. Very convenient!