Canadian Rhapsody ~ Read a guest blog by @nchardenet

Please welcome American turned Canadian, author Nicole Chardenet. I asked her to write about her experience of becoming a Canadian citizen, then I braced myself. You see, Nicole was interviewed in my author series last year, and her answers had me in stitches, as does her post here.

She pokes fun at everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE—Republicans, Canadians, the Irish, and more … so please … pour yourself a vodka or a beer and enjoy the musings of this very funny lady.

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~by Nicole Chardenet

Nicole Chardenet Pravda

Nicole at Pravda Vodka House, Toronto

When Canadians ask me why I moved from the US to Canada nine years ago, I tell them, “Better beer.”

If they’re Republicans I tell them, “Better healthcare and all the damn socialism.”

And then I tell them what we do all day is smoke pot and have gay sex.  I love messing with Republicans! They’re so naïve.

“Why would you move to Canada from the US?” asked one early Canadian friend. “I’d move there in a heartbeat if I could, that’s where all the money is!”

Well, yeah, back in 2005 that might have been true…but nine years later I’m making a lot more money than I was in Connecticut and I’ve moved up the food chain professionally. And, the US has gone to @#$% since I left.

Truth is, I can no longer remember anymore why I moved. All I can tell you is it seemed like a good idea at the time.

zombie best

Zombie American Tea Partier, Toronto Zombie Walk

While I watched the US banking system crash and burn like Charlie Sheen on a three-day coke bender, as I lived and worked in the country with the most stable banking system in the world (who knew?) it seemed one of the all-time greatest decisions ever made in the history of the world.

Now, when people ask me if I’ll ever go back I think, “Only if the US government outlaws the Republican Party and makes it legal for decent, intelligent Americans to feed them to rabid orcas.”

The whole thing really started when I read on a news site about a dozen years ago that Ireland wanted to become the Silicon Valley of Europe. They encouraged immigration by techies and investors, and since I was in a very bad place in my life personally, I decided to apply. Unfortunately, Ireland had extremely high standards for immigrants and also favoured EU members, so I never even filled out the application. My skills were too generalized for their high-and-mighty selves. I was so mad I didn’t speak to Ireland for years, until their whole economy went belly-up.

Mom, Dad & me

Nicole w/ her mom and dad at Centre Island, Toronto

Meanwhile, a longtime email friend near Toronto kept urging me to move here, enticing me with an offer to share his house if we split the bills. That sounded like an awesome deal, except for the part where I’d have to move to – Canada? Really? The True North strong and sleep-inducing? Whose flag was – what, I don’t know, a pot leaf or something? Whose history was – well, did they even have one? I mean, who knew anything about Canada? I’d visited relatives in Montreal when I was a kid but my buddy lived near Toronto. I’d been there once before, on a day trip with my family when I was in university. I remembered Toronto as clean, with a beer factory and decent-looking subsidized housing.

anniversary pic 3

Nicole’s 1st year anniversary in Canada

I scheduled a reconnaissance trip, then had to reschedule because of the SARS crisis. When I became reasonably certain Toronto wouldn’t kill me, I discovered I liked it. Around this time, things started to get ugly in US politics with the American invasion of Iraq and then later the Iraqi prison scandals, and I began to feel uncomfortably like I’d better get the hell out of Dodge before the Republicans passed a law herding all liberals, homos, and evolution supporters into Jesus camps where we’d be subjected to Mao-style “re-education” efforts, except with more crosses and bigger guns and hair.

Nicole - Day 1

At Fan Expo pushing her 1st book, Young Republican, Yuppie Princess, 2011

Long story short, I filled out an application longer than a Rob Ford police report as Canada wanted to know absolutely everything about me including every single address at which I’d lived, ever, some information about my ex even though I’d made it clear he would NOT be joining me, and, of course, the requisite four rolled-up Tim Horton’s cups to prove that I did intend to become a Real True Loyal Canadian. (Fortunately we had Tim’s in Connecticut).

After that I had to visit the police station to get fingerprinted so I could schlep my grubby mitts off to the FBI so they could run a check on me to make sure I wasn’t a terrorist, fugitive, international jewel thief or close personal friend of Robert Mugabe. Later, I had to visit a special Canadian-approved doctor to make sure I wasn’t trying to sneak any expensive diseases into the country. Then I crossed my fingers and fervently hoped that Canada had way lower standards than Ireland.
It did, and my temporary visa arrived a little under a year and a half later. I stuffed everything in a U-Haul and crossed the border, which wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as I’d thought it would be, as they praised me on the penmanship of the most anal-retentive list of personal goods they’d ever seen, and I think I scored some extra points for having a French name. They didn’t even ask about the sword I brought nor did they want to see proof that my cat’s rabies shots were up-to-date. (Which just goes to show you the Glenn Beck-head and Faux Newsie critics of Canada’s spongey border are right – any old terrorist can cross with a tetanus-laden rusty weapon and a foaming, frothing housepet anytime they want! Fear us, O Canada!)

Nicole - zombie drummer

We’re proud to have you as one of our own, Nicole!

Once I was officially over and stamped I heaved a sigh of relief. The Republicans couldn’t get me anymore and I was turning my life around.

It hasn’t been a complete bed of poppies, of course, but I can honestly say the last nine years of my life have been the most stress-free since I was pre-school.

Thank you Canada, for being so good to me. And for Nanaimo bars. Canada’s greatest gift to Western civilization!

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Connect to Nicole 

Tongue of Dog’s Breakfast Blog | Nicole’s Novels

Website | Twitter: @nchardenet | Facebook | Google+

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If you would like to be a guest blogger, please comment below and let me know. The goal is to highlight YOUR writing. Connect to me via any of my networks. Twitter and email are best.

While you’re at it, show Nicole some love in the comments, will ya? Isn’t she adorable? 

Many thanks, 

~ eden

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Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

13 responses to “Canadian Rhapsody ~ Read a guest blog by @nchardenet

  1. John Dolan

    Great story, Nicole, delivered with panache. Now enlighten me on something. I’ve heard every time a citizen of the USA relocates to Canada, the average IQ of both countries goes up. I only mention this because a lot of my hate mail has dried up recently, and I’m beginning to suspect I’m losing my touch. 🙂
    And eden – an excellent choice of guest blogger. Nicole rocks.


  2. Hi John! Thanks for the kind words. I strongly suspect, however, that only the Canadian IQ rises every time an American moves here, because only the smart ones want to move to the socialist, diverse, financially stable, polite, un-imperialist nightmare famously known as Canada. I’m not sure which country is failing to melt down your computer with insufficiently flaming emails, but if you’re trying to piss off Americans just attack our Chosen-By-God specialness, and if you’re trying to piss off Canadians, then *claim* Chosen-by-God specialness!


  3. Ig-no-rant Amer-can

    It is always nice to read a post by someone so erudite and enlightened! We rarely get the opportunity to read “international authors” here at the Wichita Trailer Coral, so this was a real treat. Obviously, with my limited IQ, I was forced to look up several of the words, but if we do not stretch we do not grow.


    • To be fair, I’m writing from the city that made Rob Ford famous (and you must surely know who that is, everyone in the galaxy including those gumless scaly-necks in the farthest backwater reaches of the Kuiper Belt know all about our crack-smokin’ vodka-shootin’ gay-fearin’ gang-bangin’-hangin’ mayor), where there is a very real fear that he may get re-elected in the fall because a) Toronto has no impeachment process and b) All he has to do is say, “No one but I will defend your right to ridiculously low taxes while promising exorbitantly expensive subways!” and like 44% of those polled drool copiously and babble, “Okaaaaay…” This is also the country that voted in Stephen Harper and his Mad Band of Tories *twice*, and Harper is a man who, not unlike certain American politicians, pitches a hissy fit if you mention “climate change” in his presence, wants to spend billions on jails in a country where the crime rate is dropping, appears to be pursuing his political enemies with tax audits in a page ripped right out of the Nixon playbook, and who’s been attacking science with all the fervor of a Faux News follower. In fact, Canadians stopped asking me “how could you guys be so stupid as to vote in George Bush TWICE?!!” when I held up a “HARPER RE-ELECTED” headline and replied, “Because we don’t pay attention when we’re voting either.”

      So, reports of higher Canadian IQs may be somewhat exaggerated. Or greatly, in my end of Toronto (known as “Ford Nation”)…


  4. Damn you, Nicole, with your hilarious sarcasm and right-wing barbs, yet again making me seriously wonder if I shouldn’t leave this rabid country for some place with better hockey and real beer. I’ve never even been to a Tim Horton’s! My life is a farce of deprivation! *sob*

    Kinda intimidating, tho, since I’d have to get fingerprinted, and there was that one time I ran away from home when I was 17, got arrested, and told the police I was someone else…


    • Well, Delena, if you’re looking for better hockey, Toronto is NOT the place to be, where the Leafs haven’t won the Cup since the Johnson administration, so might I suggest Edmonton or Ottawa? They have way better teams. However, there is a Tim Horton’s on every street corner in Canada, and in every attic and basement, and pretty soon they’ll be taking up some space in our kitchens as well, and maybe the backseat of your car, because that’s the law. Drink Starbucks and die. As to fingerprinting, the Canadian government only cares if you committed a felony, so your fingerprints may no longer reside at the FBI, if they were ever there, although it’s entirely possible Obama and the gang at the NSA have been dusting your coffee cups for fresh prints in their everlasting quest to stop terrorists. So, there’s only way to find out: Book a flight to Europe and see if they’ll let you on the plane. 🙂


  5. I’m falling about laughing, Nicole!

    It astounds me that Rob Ford is still alive- you’d think with all that booze, drugs, lack of exercise, and hair trigger temper that he’d have had a massive and fatal heart attack or stroke by now.

    As to the Republicans… well, it saddens me to think that this is what has happened to the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower.


    • Ironically, William, *how* and *why* Rob Ford is still alive is one of those great mysteries of life. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it through his first term because when he got elected, he looked like he was on the verge of a massive coronary. I actually emailed him a few months ago urging him to get into rehab and saying I for one, NOT a fan or voter, would publicly support his effort if he did…but he didn’t listen.

      In the end, though, we have only ourselves to blame for our crappy politicians. We do, after all, vote for them & we don’t demand nearly enough of them. Feh. I’m moving to Mars. 🙂


  6. Great choice for a guest blogger, Eden. Nicole – so COOL! (Is that still in?)


  7. What a fun, interesting article! As a Canadian, I had quite the giggle over some of the things Canada is known for. Although, I missed seeing an ‘eh’ in there 😉

    Nanaimo bars….mmmmm.


  8. Nicole, thanks for sharing your experience of becoming a Canuck, and doing it in such an entertaining fashion.

    I’m so happy you’ve found a home here in Toronto, and that we met through this crazy world of writing. Yes, Canada as a whole can be too mild mannered, too easy to apologize, too tolerant (hello Rob Ford), but in the end, the majority of Canadians are pretty cool. One of the things I’m most proud of is their sense of the world around them. It extends to more than just their borders, and more than just the Americas. That’s evident in the news and the coverage of the global society and economy. The world may be a huge place, but it doesn’t seem that way from here. And to me, that gives me hope we are more alike than different, no matter where we are on this crazy planet.

    Thanks again for the super post, supergirl xox


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