Friendly Waters


15 days. That's how long it took to meet a brand-new, previously unknown local person here in Montreal who invited us to her home.

About 4 and half years. The amount of time for the same thing to occur in Amsterdam (thanks Michiel!).

Expat blogs in the Netherlands will routinely tell you a similar story: although there's a great number of things to like about living there, for some reason there is a distinct border between public/work life and home life for the Dutch, a border for which internationals don't often seem to have the correct visa.

Here in Canada, it's never long before a co-worker or a playground parent will - recognizing your newness to the area - invite you to their place for a barbecue or for drinks with the group from work.

There's probably some historical reason behind this, something along the lines of "Canadians are ALL from someplace else originally, so there's an empathy for new arrivals", whereas as the Dutch are simply born locals, so they lack this gene.  

Maybe we simply have enough space in Canada to squeeze in more people into our personal space, versus the high population density of a place like Amsterdam, where people might crave some elbow room.

Or maybe there's something frostier afoot, a nationwide know-it-all mentality that leaves them genuinely uncurious about others.

In any case, it's nice to be in this place.


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