Moran Abroad

Came to Canada for camp. 17 months on; still here.

Paracetamol and Cheeky Monkeys

When you spend a lot of time with someone over the course of nearly two years (especially when it’s to the point they think they could probably put up with you for the foreseeable, and ask you to marry them) your conversations tend to cover a fair spectrum of the English language. Nonetheless, nearly 20 months since I bid cheery oh! to England and set up camp this side of the Atlantic, my Canadian beau and I still have vocabular misunderstandings in abundance.

Searching for his allergy pills this morning, Michael picked up a packet of paracetamol and inquired as to whether they were my malaria pills. I looked at him for a moment, wondering whether this was a joke. He’d already been exasperated at himself when, making a shopping list for the drugstore, he’d called kitchen roll kitchen roll and toilet roll toilet roll (as opposed to the Canadian equivalents paper towel and toilet tissue – “why do I say everything British now?” he’d lamented). The paracetamol were from a bag of painkiller goodies my British friend left when she went back to England, and my quizzical look at his inquiry was lost on him.

In a similar way, I recently noticed, he has given me strange glances when I call the new dog, Cosette, a cheeky monkey. “You cheeky monkey!” I exclaim as she places herself in the most inconvenient location she could possibly be in at any one time.

Paracetamol and cheeky monkey inspired me to list the very best sounding words that you Canadians are missing out on using. They are spectacular. Here they are all in a row: poorly, stroppy, mardy, wally, brolly, manky, lurgy.

Poorly: when you are ill. “I’m ever so poorly,” you might say. I feel it garners more sympathy than simply being ill or being sick. When my dad’s poorly, he not just poorly, he is weak as a kitten.

Stroppy: when you sulk because you don’t get your own way. You can also be “in a strop”. I spent the years 2001-2007 in a strop.

Mardy: as far as I’m aware, this is the Northerner version of stroppy. The Artic Monkeys had that song “Mardy Bum”.

Wally: when you’re being silly. My dad calls me a wally, an eejit which is the Irish slang version thereof, or an omadhaun, which is proper Irish but along the same lines. He also says “daft ha’p’orth” which is a full-on Northerner way of saying the same thing. It occurs to me now my dad has an abundance of ways of saying I’m being stupid.

Brolly: umbrella, for when it inevitably rains in England.

Manky: when something’s disgusting or gross, it’s manky. Mankey is also a Pokemon.

Lurgy: the UK equivalent of cooties. When I was a kid, we all knew to clench a fist, place your thumb in the middle of your forehead and say “plugs forever” and then you’d be immune from the lurgy for life. OR SO WE THOUGHT. Sometimes people would try to tag you with the lurgy anyway. Madness.


Got a dog.

Cannot stop taking photos of everything she does.

Goodbye Cable

The last time a Rogers man visited my apartment I had a full-on meltdown. I’m pretty sure I wrote a blogpost about it, but I can’t find it to reference, so I’ll just say what happened was that the internet I ordered wasn’t wireless. Imagine my utter distress.

Anyway, this time, when a Rogers man turned up unannounced and I had to haul ass out of bed - where I was wallowing in most unjustified misery, as one does at 7pm on a weeknight - I took his visit with gentle acquiescence.

He had come to take away all the boxes that do the things, because our first Rogers bill in this apartment was over $600. Upon receiving this astronomical bill (“At least Dick Turpin wore a mask”, my dad would say) I called Rogers and told them to take it all away. I envisage this phonecall as having had a similar level of unbridled fury as when the Queen of Hearts yells OFF WITH HER HEAD in Alice in Wonderland, and advise you do the same.

We still have internet, because we’re not animals, but cable is gone and so is the landline. Who even has a landline? The Rogers man circulated the apartment gathering items much as a woodland enthusiast would gather mushrooms. I presume. Goodbye all the little black boxes, I hardly knew ye.

I’ve decided, this time, being nearly exactly one year older and wiser than the last time, I shan’t have a meltdown. There’s no cause to have a meltdown, really; cable and a landline are superfluous in the modern age in which we live. Also, I’d asked for them to be spirited away, I hadn’t made a simpleminded faux pas like last time.

Truly, I’d rather not have been disturbed from my gloom and made to interact with another human being whilst wearing pyjamas and odd socks, but perhaps it was for the best. Blog fodder, you might say. Look at me, writing a thing instead of just shrouding myself in despair.

Thank you, Rogers man.

ohyeahpaulchin said: I’m taking my exam tomorrow! Funny how a British passport isn’t enough to convince them of such matters, amirite?

Haha I know right. Good luck! It’s pretty strange showing up to an English exam with a British passport, speaking English and only English. 

Guess who has “Effective or Advanced Proficiency” in the English Language?


If Buzzfeed Says So

Much as I malign the fact that Buzzfeed has gone wild with quizzes and neglects it’s traditional lists, I forgive them because I did the career one and it told me this:

What Career Should You Actually Have?

  1. You got: Writer

    You are a maker. Creative from the day you were born, you spend most of your time thinking about the world you live in. You are open to new ideas and value beauty and originality more than most. We both know you’re not really the office type, so give yourself some room to create. Other occupations: director, producer, advertiser.

The English Exam

On Saturday morning, as part of my ongoing Permanent Residency application, I took an English test. Directed to a booth with headphones and a computer, I spent an hour and a half (of a three hour test) proving I could read, write, listen and speak in my native tongue. English being the only language I can speak. 

After 90 minutes I was done, so I raised my hand, picked up my belongings and left. The irony, of course, is that if I do fail my English exam, I have to go back to England.

Questions ranged from “should people in cities keep dogs?” to “how would you cope with being famous?”, both of which I had to record a reply to.

"What friend or relative do you like visiting, and why?" asked the automated voice in my headphones. Relative, singular, not relatives, plural, I thought to myself. They can’t fool me.

"A relative I like visiting is my mother in England," I began in my best English middle class accent, "I lived in England for 23 years," I made sure to mention, "and it’s always nice to go home and see the family."

I get my results next week. Fingers crossed, old chaps.

My postcode in England just got rated 9th on a list of worst postcodes for burglary in the whole of Britain.

My postcode in England just got rated 9th on a list of worst postcodes for burglary in the whole of Britain.



Why I Loved Toronto

Global Village Backpackers Hostel

It seems that 2014 is starting off as the year of the goodbye. We said goodbye to LeVack Block last week and we are preparing our goodbyes for The World’s Biggest Bookstore, Sears and the Chapters in the old Runnymede Theatre.

The best…

2 months ago - 13
View from my room in GVB back on the 21st June 2012. Ohmygod the CN Tower!

View from my room in GVB back on the 21st June 2012. Ohmygod the CN Tower!