Living in Canada vs USA

Our move from Canada to California was planned as my husband accepted a job in California mid-November. However there were a few hiccups along the way regarding the departure, getting out of our apartment in Ontario, and all the legalities to move to the United States.

I’d rather not get into detail of it all, since it stresses me out when I have to think about what we had to go through to move out of our apartment.

nancy in uhaul Long story short, we miscalculated the size of the u-haul we required to bring our belongings, and had to throw away or leave a lot of furniture, and sentimental items in Waterloo. Getting out of Ontario was another feat on its own since it took hours during a snow storm to get my car up on the back of the u-haul trailer, leaving us with 3 days rather than the prior 5 we initially decided on, to get to California. I’ll spare you the details.

On a lighter note, I want to talk about living in Canada -vs- USA.

California is awesome

The weather here is incredible, the skies are always blue, and there’s palm tree’s everywhere. How can that not make you smile? Some days I cruise around the city with the sunroof open, and my windows down, simply enjoying life. I have yet to give anyone the stink eye for cutting me off in traffic, or nearly running me down while walking Alfie. Because, it’s America, and Americans are allowed to carry guns. All humour aside, everyone I’ve encountered has been welcoming, and incredibly friendly. I know a handful of our neighbours which is always good. Not to mention you could go swimming year round in the heated pool. Tremendous! We have noticed that the Bay Area doesn’t have any bugs, or mosquitoes. We’re not questioning it.

Luckily, we only live 2 miles from my friend Jessica. What are the odds of that happening? Moving to the exact area of California, as a blog friend I met in 2011. Jessica has been a God-send helping my husband and I find a place to live. She’s been helping us out with everything and anything you could imagine. I don’t know what I would’ve done if we were on our own.

The produce? It’s unreal. So fresh, and I can’t get enough of the locally grown fruits. I’ve never been huge on oranges but the one’s down here are sweet, juicy and positively flavourful.

Shopping in the USA is way better than Canada. I think all Canadians can agree to that.

So many new-to-me stores: Nordstrom, Nordstom Rack, Macy’s, World Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, In-N-Out Burger, I mean I could go on.

beach in californiaBeaches, everywhere.

Golden Gate JumpThe Golden Gate Bridge!

California is expensive

  • The amount of money we pay for rent is atrocious. Google the cost of living in Silicon Valley, and you’ll find out for yourself.
  • My CrossFit membership is more than double in Ontario. The climbing gym membership is also pricey. We knew things would cost a lot before moving, so it wasn’t surprising. There are things that are relatively cheaper than Canada. Milk, gas, produce, meats, cheese — all cheaper here in the USA. Minus Whole Foods. They’re crazy.

What I miss about Canada

  • I miss my family, friends, and co-workers. A few months into living here, I’ve been getting fairly lonely. It’s hard to meet friends when you’re not in school, and not working. I’ve been slowly putting together my graphic design portfolio since I will be allowed to work. My husband’s work place mentioned they would help me find a job and sponsor me on a visa. But I’m intimidated by putting together a portfolio since it’s been nearly 8 years. I think every artist thinks their stuff is junk.B
  • Being able to call my parents whenever I need them — can’t do that anymore. Now there’s a 4.5 hour time difference, so in the evenings I can’t call them without waking them up at 2am ;)
  • Tetley Tea in orange pekoe is not available. Nor is hickory sticks, ketchup chips, smarties or mars bars. Not that I should be eating that all the time. But I’ve noticed that they don’t carry it anywhere.
  • Bulk Barn.

There you have it. A little insight from my side on living in Canada -vs- USA. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love living here, and I’m definitely not ready to move back home any time soon. Just wanted to answer a few questions I’ve received on how different it is, living here. Hope you enjoyed!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

If you had the chance to live anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose and why?

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21 Comments

  1. I’ve always known I wanted to live in a big city for a portion of my life. While I lived in Florida all the way up until now, San Francisco is fulfilling that big city dream.

    So, one day, I’d like to live in a suburb of a major city, have a car, have space, and have a driveway, so I could drive right up to my door with groceries.

    Many of the things you experienced moving to California, I did too. We used a moving company, but they were very very delayed … we went for nearly three weeks without out stuff. And yes, it’s expensive here. However, in the city of SF, our weather is cooler and foggier than it is in the Valley, so I miss the beaches of Florida.

    Happy Friday, California girl!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted..Big vacation plans and my May goalsMy Profile

  2. It is super hard moving to a new area when you aren’t working or in school and don’t really know anyone. I experienced that when moving to SC and to Connecticut. I hope you find a niche soon so you don’t feel lonely! On the flip side, Cali looks beautiful! :) And yes…Whole Foods is completely crazy. Zero desire to pay nearly $7 for a bag of gluten free pretzels!
    Jill recently posted..Five on FridayMy Profile

  3. Pick up Lipton tea. It’s very much like Tetley, and it makes much better unsweetened ice tea (one of the few things I always miss about the states here in Canada) ;). I usually swipe a few big boxes to bring back across when I’m visiting relatives. And there are companies that ship Coffee Crisp and other Canadian candy delicacies to expats down south ;) Re: the milk… there’s a few reasons it’s cheaper down there that’ll make you gag. Make sure you buy organic!

    Sincerely,
    A former American
    Anne @ FoodRetro recently posted..Smooth Hummus from Canned ChickpeasMy Profile

  4. @Anne @ FoodRetro: I’m not sure I want to know what’s in the milk. I don’t drink it often (mainly the husband consumes it). As for the tea – I am not straying far from Tetley’s Orange Pekoe – I’m stuck in my ways, especially after trying Red Rose :) My Mom mailed me a parcel of 100 tetley tea bags a few weeks ago, so I’m set. I’ve also found some delicious american chocolate bars. Mmmm…
    Nancy recently posted..Living in Canada vs USAMy Profile

  5. @Ashley @ A Lady Goes West: I always thought I wanted to live in a big city – but I think as I get older, I’m content with living on the outskirts of large cities. I feel safer, and have more space (driveway/garage/yard/etc) with something in the ‘burbs. I have to say, it’s pretty great having the elite weather here all year round – minus the expense of things. I’m enjoying it!
    Nancy recently posted..Living in Canada vs USAMy Profile

  6. I’ve definitely seen Mars bars AND Smarties (the good kind) here. Smarties are harder to find, but if you can find a British shop, they usually have them there :) Mars bars I feel like I see all the time. Definitely haven’t seen hickory sticks and SUER rare for ketchup chips as well! Orange Pekoe = amazon :)
    Sheena recently posted..Apera Tech Pack reviewMy Profile

  7. Interesting, I just found your blog and I’m reading your post. We are a family of 4 that used to live in Southern California {San Diego to be exact}, then due to my husband’s new job relocated within a week to silicon Valley {Cupertino to be exact} we lived there for a year and a year ago in June we moved for that same job to Costa Rica. I can honestly tell you that everything you are feeling here we expats feel no matter our country of origin, we are bound to miss family and lifestyle including pricing. I for example miss the grocery prices of the Silicon Valley, however based on that picture you shared I have a feeling you were at either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. If I can ever be of any help with your adjustments to life in Silicon Valley let me know. I just tweeted you, I would love to help you out with fun shopping :D and places that won’t break the bank. The Bay area is a little more expensive than the rest of California specially in real estate. Anyway, welcome to the Bay and enjoy the ride! :D

  8. I just moved too, and am still working on getting my furniture from NL. I had my own U-haul adventure a couple weeks ago! Funny thing, I’m a lot closer to where you just left now!

    Enjoy the sunshine! The awesome weather was one of my favorite parts about living in Texas. Besides the concerts and endless adventures, my other fave was Pei Wei. Their Kung Pao is amaaaazing! But I just noticed they don’t seem to call it the same as they used to… but it looks the same… I really have only had the one dish there because I order it every time. But the other stuff might be good too! Check it out!
    http://www.peiwei.com/locations/locations.aspx?state=CA&fav=0

    I hope all is going well. I’d love to chat some time! Things are a little quiet here in my new place too… and I don’t have a special anyone along with me.

  9. I’m still in awe. Every time you post a photo I just sit and wish! Hopefully that lonely feeling doesn’t last forever I know what that’s like!

    It’s on my short bucket list to visit Cali. One day I will, when the kids are grown and I can do it! It looks beautiful.

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