If I were to write a memoir


I’ve lived in the United States for more than a year now. It’s weird, but kind of great. A friend of mine has been asking me for a while now to write about the differences between living in Canada and the US. I’ve been hesitant, though.

I mean, where do you start?

I could go on a Canada vs America rant, which, depending on your political persuasion and understanding of Canada’s healthcare system, could be entertaining. Or I could get serious about everything I wish I knew a year ago (and probably will eventually). So what if it were a memoir?

I could write one of those, couldn’t I? After all, it seems to be that all you have to do is come up with a hook, usually some form of experiment, and then go to town. So what would I call it?

A Year of Living Americally

In 10 chapters, I would cover the most interesting and bizarre features of this lovely nation:

  1. “Free Refills: Shut up and drink your diabetes.” Because, seriously, that’s a lot of Sweet Tea, y’all.
  2. “Let’s all watch the news together!” Everywhere we’ve gone, the news is ALWAYS on. Always. And it’s terrifying.
  3. “Guns: A Love Story.” Every day, I pass a giant billboard about about a gun shop with roughly 50,000 styles of guns available. 
  4. “What the Heck is a HOA?” On feeling overwhelmed by the neighborhoods in Middle Tennessee.
  5. “Everything is Big.” Insert whatever joke you want here.
  6. “Cracker Barrel.” Americana caramelized.
  7. “There’s Booze at the Kroger!” My ongoing shock at the existence of alcohol at the grocery store (and Target. And the gas station. And the corner store…) instead of in a government controlled liquor store.[1. Note: I don’t partake out of personal conviction.]
  8. “I Got Carded.” On my experience buying NyQuil at Target.
  9. “I’m Canadian, too!” How to win friends and not talk about healthcare with our fellow ex-pats.
  10. “Missing U.” Brief reflections on spelling.

Would it be a bestseller? Probably. Maybe someday I’ll actually write the thing.

Emily Armstrong contributed the funniest chapter titles to this post. 


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