So I have been here almost a month now, and I have noticed some stark differences between my birthplace and this fine nation known as the United States of America. Here are some of the totally random things I have noticed:

1. Men are more chivalrous here. I have had more men stand and offer me their seat on the bus or subway than anywhere I have ever been in the world, including the UK, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, etc. They do it for all women, young and old, black and white, skinny or more corpulent. I used to stand in the streetcar at nine months pregnant in Canada and people would simply avert their eyes. I am impressed with American men on this front, even though the feminist in me at times wants to say: It’s OK, I can stand.

2. Except for Twix, Milky Way and Butterfinger, American chocolate bars largely suck ass compared to the delicacies to be found in any Canadian shithole. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Caramilk, a Crunchy, a Coffee Crisp or a Mars Bar. The Milky Way with extra caramel comes close to a Mars, but no cigar. There are far too many nuts to be had in American chocolate bars, as well.

3. Washington men are HOT. I saw one of the finest looking men in the Metro today that I have ever laid eyes on. And I have the serious hots for my son’s guidance counsellor, who looks like Blair Underwood. Yes please. But no thanks, I can’t, you are my son’s guidance counsellor. And you are HOT, did I mention that? HOT!

4. Cheese is cheap here. I don’t know why that is.

5. Women are so amazing about telling you when you’re wearing something nice. I have been told three times: “Nice shoes!” by women on the subway. Then we end up talking about where I got them, and they tell me about where they got theirs — it’s all so nice. Not to racially stereotype, but white women are so uptight by comparison, and I include myself in that generalization. Until I moved here I would never have had the guts to say to a stranger: “Hey, I LOVE those Mary-Janes!” Now, I just might try it.