I'm a world traveler, but I am lucky enough to call Montreal home. Even though I've experienced tons of different cultures in places like India, Morocco and Australia, I still haven't been able to completely leave my Canadian life behind.
If you're anything like me, there are certain defining characteristics that all people from Quebec can't seem to escape. Here are 10 signs you were born and raised in the province of Quebec:
1. You are picky about poutine.
Every Quebecois has his or her favorite poutine. You can have big, fat fries or skinny fries, a lot of cheese curds or not, classic or galvaude (with chicken and peas) or even bit fancier with other crazy ingredients. The sauce is also different everywhere, so that means everyone has his or her favorite poutine place.
For some it's La Banquise, La Poutinerie, La Belle Province or St-Hubert. But no Quebecois likes the one from McDonald's. And you know that any poutine outside of Quebec can never be a real poutine.
2. Hockey is your religion.
You knew about hockey before you knew how to talk. You probably have pictures of yourself watching hockey with your dad when you were only a couple months old. You grew up with it, and it's important.
You love the Montreal Canadiens, of course. You hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. The playoffs are a moment you look forward to as soon as the last ones are over. You also probably love to play hockey at the ice rink with your friends.
3. You love to complain about the weather.
That's what Quebecers do best, no? It's too cold in winter, too hot in summer, too rainy in spring and the winter is too long.
Quebec sees pretty much all of what Mother Nature can do, and you have a love-hate relationship with that. You hate it and complain, but you love it because you know you are a badass and can handle any weather forecast.
4. You can wear shorts and a tank top when it's 8 degrees outside.
You know it. Since your body has become so accustomed to the cold, every temperature over 0 degrees feels so warm. When it's 10 degrees in April, you are literally sunbathing in a bikini, your neighbor is mowing is lawn with no T-shirt on and your other neighbor is having a barbecue party. That's a typical spring day.
5. You know what an l'épluchette de blé d'Inde is.
You like the end of summer for this Quebec tradition of peeling, boiling and eating corn with butter and salt and drinking a few beers. It's just fun and a good time.
6. July 1 isn't just Canada Day.
You could be celebrating Canada Day, but no. You better go help your friends move on this specific day when all leases are up. Afterward, it's pizza and beer time, if you worked well.
7. You love to spend time outside.
Summers in Quebec are beautiful, and no one wants to stay inside. If you are not out in nature, we can probably find you having a beer on a terrace with friends or having a picnic in a park with a grill, wine and a soccer ball. Any excuse is good to go outside when there is sunshine.
8. You can probably switch from French to English with no problem.
Especially if you come from Montreal, you can easily switch from a language to the other. You are fluent in both because you just have to be. Quebec is so beautifully multicultural that you grew up hearing English in addition to French, so it's no problem for you to speak it.
9. It's not very uncommon to clear your car of snow with a shovel.
Yeah, it happens. There are days you can't even see your car anymore and need a shovel. You plan to leave the house 30 minutes in advance because you know it will be a hell of a job.
Oh, and these days, you know that everyone will be late at work, and it's all fine. These are normal Quebec winter problems.
10. You could bathe in maple syrup.
I mean, you probably love it and put it in everything from pancakes to bacon, salmon and salads. Also, you take pride that Quebec has three-quarters of the whole world production of this oh-so-delicious golden syrup that has fallen from heaven. Maple is not a Canadian thing; it's a Quebec thing.