Guestpost #32: Liz Jukovsky – Ten things I’ve learned from being an American ex-pat in Canada

Short Bio: Liz Jukovsky is an improviser, comedian, writer, and actor from Boston, Massachusetts. She studied Anthropology at the University of Toronto and has lived in Toronto for five years. You can find her profile and upcoming improv shows at or check out her twitter @Eljukjuk.

Note: Liz is a very talented improviser, despite being American (just kidding! Americans are waaay better improvisers than Canadians. Because we’re so passive-aggressive). We were recently part of a 3-person team that competed in an ITC improv tournament (along with Dani Alon). She’s great and everybody loves her.

  1. White privilege knows no borders. Having an American passport and pasty-white skin is like having a North American skeleton key. Unlike my brown-skinned compatriots, I have never, EVER had any problems on either side of the border. I thought maybe I was imagining it, until a certain bus trip from Toronto to Buffalo. My broken ankle prevented me from leaving the bus to go through security so the driver summoned a border guard to enter the bus and check my passport and papers. Upon seeing me and the cover of my passport, the stiff-spined American officer softened and said, “Oh, you’re fine, it’s not like you’re Indian or anything.” This was an instance of American douche-baggery, but I’ve seen many a non-white, ESL passenger yelled at and excessively searched on the way back to Toronto.
  2. Being in another country makes even the most cynical American a little more patriotic. Anyone who knows me can attest that I’m the first to bitch about my government and last to stand for the pledge of allegiance (in fact, I don’t) but because I’m from Boston, I can’t help but tear up at the sound of a Southie accent or the chorus of “Sweet Caroline” (Google that + “Red Sox”)
  3. Canadians aren’t any more polite than Americans. Chirping “Süry!” after knocking me over to board the bus first doesn’t make you any less of an ass.
  4. Canadian money is fun ‘n’ all, but what’s the protocol at strip clubs? Sorry, I guess this is technically more of a question than an item of acquired knowledge. I’ve just always wondered whether Canadian strippers make more per annum due to the lack of loonie & toonie G-string-compatibility? Like, do Canadian dancers only take fivers? Moreover, does a dancer’s willingness to accept loonies and toonies correspond with the classiness of the stripjoint (i.e. seedy slot machines vs. casino games)?
  5. The southern U.S. is universally stigmatized. Every Canadian I know puts on a southern accent when feigning ignorance, racism, or general curmudgeon-ness.
  6. Surprisingly, Canadian Content is a contentious issue. And no, I didn’t just write that for the alliteration.  Canada has a smaller and more geographically dispersed population. Considering that and the fact that American content saturates the global market, the federal support and enthusiasm for Canadian film and television seems all the more noble/pointless.
  7. There is no such thing as free healthcare for working non-Canadians. In University, I paid $756 per semester for “UHIP,” which is OHIP for international students. Once I graduated, I got my work permit and a steady service industry gig. Still, I was not eligible for an Ontario health card, as I was not full-time and thus could not become a permanent resident. So, I’ve had to say goodbye to negligibly cheaper clinic visits and medications, and get used to the idea of being berated and guilt tripped for getting my yearly pap smear.
  8. Canada is small (for some) “Oh you’re a middle-class artist/musician/media professional from Winnipeg? Do you know <other middle-class artist/musician/media professional from Winnipeg>? — No way! Small world, eh?”
  9. Canadians love hockey. They really do.
  10. Canadians appreciate the summer more than Americans. This is one trait I’ve adopted. It’s March 18th, 11 C (that’s about 52 F) and overcast. I woke up this morning and seriously considered flip flops.

1 Comment

Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

One response to “Guestpost #32: Liz Jukovsky – Ten things I’ve learned from being an American ex-pat in Canada

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Guestposts from 2011 | tenthingsivelearned

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