Tag Archives: Canada

Laughter: the language we all speak


Laughter… (Photo credit: leodelrosa…)

When you meet someone new, do you try to find something in common with that person? There is one thing we share with everyone: laughter.

I usually work from home, but in February I started a two-month contract at an office in downtown Ottawa. On my lunch hour every day, I go for a walk around the streets of Canada’s capital. As I walk, I entertain myself by guessing what language the groups of people I meet will be speaking. English and French reflect the bilingual nature of Canada. I hear them both often. But on Parliament Hill, anything goes. Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Italian . . .. Tourists come from around the world to visit our beautiful city.

One afternoon I approached a group of people in animated conversation. I ventured a guess—French? Just when I got close enough to hear, the group burst into loud laughter. They laughed heartily until I was well past. I never did hear what language they were speaking.

I smiled as I walked on, because I realized it didn’t matter. They were speaking a universal language.

Photo by tsaiproject Creative Commons Attribution

Parliament Hill – Ottawa, Canada
Photo by tsaiproject Creative Commons Attribution

Our thoughts are now free: no more pennies

canadian-penny“Penny for your thoughts?”

Rounded down, our thoughts are now free, so Canada is a country of free thinkers for certain.

For the non-Canadians in my audience, Canada discontinued distribution of the penny, a coin that cost more to make than it was worth, so retailers now round cash transactions up or down to the nearest five cents. An item that costs $1.01 or $1.02 costs $1.00, while an item of $1.03 or $1.04 costs $1.05. (Electronic transactions remain calculated to the penny.)

This affects Canadians at their heart centre—our famous Tim Horton’s doughnuts franchise. Tim Horton’s made a practice of pricing their food items out to the most inconvenient total possible. I don’t have scientific proof to back this up, but I suspect Tim Horton’s franchises kept more pennies rolling than any other business in this country. But now—the mind boggles—a coffee could be $1.50, not $1.51. Oh, praises be!

And rounded down, our thoughts are now free, so choose good ones and share them freely.

From bikinis to burqas

I went to the bank to make a deposit last week. Ahead of me in line was a young women wearing a bikini top and shorts that were about as short as they could be and still qualify as shorts. If I had seen her at a beach, I would not have given her a thought. But in front of me in line at an ATM, there was just way too much skin way too close to me. I thought, “Why couldn’t she cover up just a little to come and do her banking?”

About three minutes later, as I walked out of the building,  I met a woman going in who wore a burqa. The sight of a woman covered head to toe on a sweltering humid Ottawa summer day startled me. I thought, “Why couldn’t she uncover just a little to come and do her banking?”

I laughed at myself. Upon coming face to face with two extremes in a short time, I wanted one woman to wear more, and then I wanted another woman to wear less. I wanted them to be more, well, more like me.

Then another thought crossed my mind. What a society we live in. We live in a country where all three of us can wear what we feel comfortable in, and it’s okay.

What a gift that is.