adventures in the far east β€” of canada!

Archive for the ‘lingo’ Category

Regatta Day, 2009

In culture, friends, lingo, st. john's on August 10, 2009 at 11:58 pm

After some uncertainty about whether Regatta Day would go on Tuesday night (August 4)–in fact, that was why Jeanne and I retired home earlier from the bars on Water Street (not George Street this time–it was the last day of the George Street Festival, so entrance would’ve come with an all-inclusive $15 cover), as neither of us had a lunch ready to go if we did have to go to work, and she was going to help sell shirts at the event at 9 am. To be safe, we left downtown not long after midnight, after taking in a weekly quiz event at the Rose and Thistle, where teams of up to 4 answer 30 trivia questions; winning team gets a $50 bar tab, and the team with the best name gets 4 free rounds of shots. There is no fee to play, so why not, right?

It was only us two that we could quickly scrounge together (the plan to hang out after work was a same-day email she sent, “Want to hang out?”), but we didn’t do too bad…something like 14 or 16 out of 30. The winning team had…20 or 21 correct answers or so. If we tailored our team a little better, I’m sure we would have been much more competitive.

Questions are general knowledge, history, pop culture, entertainment, science, and so on. One question I was quite pleased with was “Which burger chain created the famous ads with the slogan, ‘Where’s the beef?’ ” Okay, I admit I struggled between two answers (Wendy’s and Burger King), but I got it right in the end by trusting my gut, which had instantly responded with Wendy’s! before the question even finished. Another good one was something about naming 1 of the 2 nuts featured in the Bible…there were some grumbles–I guess we were all pretty irreligious–but the host was good fun. During the answer, he said, “Okay, you only need 1 of the 2. You could have put down…religious.” (Religious nuts, har har). After some laughter, he amended that it was actually pistachios, and something else I don’t recall.

After that, we went next door to The Grapevine for some free live music. That place is lounge-y, classy, and the music was mellow. We had a drink each, bumped into Jeanne’s roommate Shannon and her beau, hung out some, and then called it a night. There was talk about rain Wednesday, and I hoped not, with the lunch thing and going to bed early…

Weather permitting, Regatta Day is a unique holiday for Newfoundlanders every first Wednesday of August. By “weather permitting,” I mean that if it rains, it is announced in the morning on radio and TV and such that Regatta is postponed, and everyone grumbles and goes to work. That continues until a clear day comes along, and Regatta Day goes on, and most everyone gets a day off. It’s the oldest continuing sports competition in North America, and teams of all men or women rowers train intensely for a chance to win some medals. It’s held at Quidi Vidi Lake, where I took in the Canada Day fireworks.

Well, Regatta happened! I rushed off early in the morning to get there by 9 am–a coworked of mine was on a team, and her boat of racers were long pegged along with another to be the competitors to beat. The best teams race early in the morning; in the evening, the top 5 then race for the championship, so as to give them the most time to rest as possible.

I met up with Jeanne on the way there, but sadly, I missed that first race by a few minutes. 😦 Still, I was there to speak with my coworker, run into some other Target compatriots, and hear the results; their boat finished second at 5 minutes, 4 seconds or so. She and some others told me some cool Regatta facts…that the women’s record time is 4:58, and most years, the best womens’ boats come in at 5:10 or later. So this year, they were doing very well…granted, they were beat narrowly by the other boat, but this wasn’t the finals yet. It’s always a possibility that teams hold back some for the big race…

After some chatter, I left them and Jeanne to her shirt selling, and wandered around the Regatta grounds around the lake. It was like a fair ground…vendours selling pretty much everything, some charities present, fairway games, some minor gambling, a billion food stalls, some basic thrill rides, bouncy castles for the kids…it was like a mini-Stampede. After taking in a few races and having some delicious lunch at an Indian food stall, I headed home. My coworker’s race would be at 7 pm, and Maria and I had made plans over email earlier to meet there later in the afternoon. Retreating inside the house (it was a stiflingly hot, humid day), I did some chores and was soon contacted by–surprise, surprise!–Angus, a great guy I met at the CouchSurfing bonfire last month! He and Maria were at the Regatta, and making some arrangements to meet, I headed back out.

…after first talking to my new roommie (first arrived late Tuesday night), the probationer/druggie replacement. The guy’s sane, thank goodness. That’s all I have to say about him, really, a normal guy, which is fantastic haha.

Anyway, after much confusion as to where we were, I met up with Angus, Maria, Lisa, Celine, and Philipp. Jeanne was still selling shirts until 6, but I spoke to her while I waited for Angus and Angus waited for me, both of us hidden from view from each other probably not even a hundred meters apart. We all hit it off again, hung out, etc. etc.

We soon retired to a shady patch of grass away from the crowd a bit…it was getting even more disgustingly hot, and we wanted to make plans for a farewell for Maria, Lisa, and Celine; excepting Celine who would be leaving Saturday and Philipp next week, they were going back to Germany early Friday. 😦 It was also Maria’s birthday Friday…but here’s the funny thing. On Thursday, it would be a day before her birthday here in Canada…but in Germany, it would already be Freitag, them being a day ahead. So wouldn’t it be her birthday in normal circumstances? I dunno.

While we lazed around the grass, Lisa quietly took each of us aside to sign a lovely gift they’d bought for Maria. It was a ceramic coffee cup, in the shape and form of the disposable Tim Horton’s cups, but with a resealable rubber lid as well; she told me that in Germany, they had no such cups for coffee! Weird, eh? So we all signed it, they had drawn some Canadian/Newfoundland pictures on it both as jokes and best memories, and it would be sealed later so as to become permanent.

In a random tangent, we also spotted a funny spider walking in the grass–it was noticeable because of bright red somethings on its back. It was not part of its normal colouring, but looked like giant, bright red orbs stuck to the sides and back of the spider. Looking closer, we figured it had to be mites…but man, those were big mites! I mean, proportionally, it would be like six or seven monkeys on your back…it was kinda gross/sad.

Anyway, Jeanne joined us after 6, and we chatted some more/watched races until near 7 pm, when I insisted we go closer. Sitting by the lake with our bare feet dipped into the deliciously cool water, we watched my coworker’s boat finish……………………….second. 😦 Oh well, they gave a good chase!

And what do you know, we bumped into Whitney, the CouchSurfing member whom I attribute my explosion of friends to, along with the Australian with the yummy bread at the bonfire, and a few of their friends! Together we all caught up, and watched the last championship race, the men’s (who have longer races, clocking in times of around 10 minutes).

After the last race, the bright sunny day very suddenly gave way to a mass of dark clouds blowing in…it couldn’t have been a better closer! We took our leave from the other CouchSurfers, Celine and Philipp also headed home, but the rest of us stayed for Angus’s invitation to hang out at his place.

In conclusion regarding the Regatta Day event…enjoyable, but not amazing. The races were neat to watch, but I doubt anyone watched them all, and the fair grounds were, as I said, just like a mini-Stampede with no giant rides. Great excuse for a day off, though, and it was really well attended–the radio said that it often draws in excess of 50,000 people. Think about that for a second–remember how many people St. John’s has? A little over 100,000. That’s right–nearly or over half the population at one place! Incredible.

This year, there were 18 races…but I was told last year, there were like 30 to 40. And years before that, even approaching 100! They were lamenting the decline of rowing, the rising cost of entry, and the need to interest youth again. Yeah, I can totally see how it could be a much more exciting and fast event with like 80 races in one day! With only 18 races, 2009’s Regatta Day races were usually set a lengthy 30 minutes apart.

Backtracking a bit–while we spoke on the grass, the Germans expressed a desire to eat seafood for the farewell dinner. There was a suggestion to cook it, as it would be cheaper, but no one had a big enough place to host everyone. There was also talk about going to the Thai restaurant, but I killed that by warning them against that…and asserting that if they wanted to try out some tasty Thai green curry, that I’d be happy to show them what it’s really supposed to be like! This is relevant, because I offered to go home first, and bring to Angus’s some of my cooking–a lovely rich and spicy brocolli, onion, and goat cheese soup, and the aforementioned Thai green curry. While I retrieved that, Angus would prep some rice.

The dinner was a hit! πŸ˜€ I love feeding people, and they loved the food! We chatted for ages about some brilliant and random things, Angus shared some chewy cookies and wine and I shared some of my spiced rum, and the Germans tried some real Canadian maple syrup with his crackers! We had to round out their final experiences in Newfoundland, see.

Angus also educated us all on some more Newfoundland lingo! He showed us some old “grammar worksheets” he made a while ago for fun with Newfoundland vocabulary and grammar. I shall share what I remember…I reminded him today that we’d love some scans!

World’s shortest conversation:
(A fisherman yells to another returning from the sea): “Arn?”
(He replies): “Narn.”

Isn’t that great? Back in the day, “Arn?” meant, “Did you get any fish out there?” or thereabouts, and “Narn” meant “Nope.” In the case that fish was found, it’d be a fuller reply, I imagine, as both words sound so similar.

Mealtime confusion:
Dinner
in Newfoundland can mean lunch…but it can also mean the evening meal, supper.
Supper here always means supper, however…
…but both of these words are used! So if someone asks about dinner, they could either mean lunch or supper. I joked that if I were invited to dinner, I would in all likelihood arrive 6 hours late!

Newfoundland “conjugation”:
Add -s to all verbs. So you’d say, for example–“Yeah, I likes it,” “Yes, I sees it,” and so on.

Newfoundland terms of endearment:
Me love
or m’love is for men to women who are strangers
But you may call friends a trout, duck, or ducky, usually preceded by “me,” “my,” or “m’,”–m’trout, my duck, or m’ducky. Angus said you can certainly mix it up by saying something like, “Me ol’ trout.”

So in review of this lingo and previously covered lingo, I ask any readers–Where’re ya at, m’trouts? πŸ™‚

I am an honourary Newfoundlander! And a note of sadness

In calgary, culture, food, friends, internship, lingo, st. john's on July 12, 2009 at 1:18 am

On the long-awaited Friday night, I got screeched in with my friend Jeanne!

But firstly…holy hotcakes, we’ve been having great weather. So good, I don’t like it–like 26 degrees, very sunny (I gradually get more uncomfortable for every degree above 20). I’m baked.

Friday at work was great…it was a light day, and most everyone left earlier on account of the weather. In fact, we were encouraged to–“Get the fuck out of the office!” the higher ups in the offices urged. I did, but only an hour early, because I was finishing up some work I don’t ever want to touch again. You’ll begin to understand why with this brief description: densely packed maps I standardized, only to find out each one is sized differently depending on the section (so some maps are 83%, 100%, 125%…). I had to proportionally determine the ratio to increase or decrease each symbol on the maps, and rearrange the type…the stuff of nightmares.

But that’s been how I’ve been discovering some of Newfoundland’s crazy place names like Dildo and South Dildo a little further…south. A few more random ones: the town of Goobies, and an island called Random Island.

Target is near the harbour, and right across from Harbourside Park. Beautiful place, and every Friday afternoon, there’s a free lunchtime concert there! And as it so happened, the Idlers did a free hour show there, to a very large crowd. It was great, kids dancing everywhere, people basking in the sun listening, and while watching (even though I would be at the show that night), I met some of the friends I’ve made there. The other Karen was there too (being a co-worker of John), and she invited me to her own birthday event at her place Saturday. Suddenly, another event, but that’s another batch of stories and pictures.

Some of Friday's crowd at the Lunchtime Concert

Some of Friday's crowd at the Lunchtime Concert

Idlers at Harbourside Park, across from Target

Idlers at Harbourside Park, across from Target

After work, myself and two co-workers (including my lovely intern buddy) went to Taste of Thai. Hmm. Good food, but pricey, no free foodstuffs, and honestly–the Thai green curry I make is far superior. I ordered it to see how well they do theirs, and it was white. Guys, it’s called green curry for a reason…I knew instantly it wouldn’t taste right, as it had to be lacking a whole lot of the green herbs. A disappointment overall, sadly (my first…not bad, but disappointing eat out in the city), but it’s the only Thai place in the city. Maybe there needs to be at least two of something to upkeep quality, like the two Japanese restaurants, or the two Indian places?

However, that’s not the note of sadness I mention. One of the friends I’ve made, Kevin the fellow Calgarian, told me he was leaving for home…flight at Saturday 9 am. WHAT! We got along great, we played squash, dammit, shared a number of beers, and were looking forward to hanging out more. He couldn’t find a job in his few weeks here–I think he was getting a little impatient, he’s only been around for 3–so he won’t be back until September for school. 😦 He was awesome, and now I am back to having no squash partner.

I found out when I called to confirm with him our screech in; obviously he couldn’t come, as he had to pack and leave so soon. So, it was down to myself, Jeanne, and her roommate, who is tons of fun, and I know we’ll be seeing more of each other. My intern buddy showed up to take pictures for me as well, which was brilliant because she had to cancel earlier as well.

Anyway, the screech in…so much fun! The guy at Christian’s Bar is so entertaining. The ceremony was full of laughter and good-natured fun, and telling locals afterwards, they’ve all been pleased we did it at Christian’s, apparently the best place for it.

The place was jam-packed. It cost $15 a person, and the presiding guy was larger than life–he was dressed in fishing gear, and carried a big wooden canoe paddle, and his accent was wonderfully befuddling. He regaled the crowd with jokes, and asked everyone participating their names and where they came from. There were surprisingly a ton of people from out of town, and I don’t just mean elsewhere in Canada. When I announced my name, he remarked to the crowd, “Well, we don’t get many Natrix’s out here, I tell ya!” and so he renamed me Captain Eli for the remainder of the ceremony haha.

Keith, master of the ceremony, myself and Jeanne

Keith, master of the ceremony, myself and Jeanne

Keith's fierce!

Keith's fierce!

We all ate a hunk of canned fish meat on toothpicks, and he told us some of the history of screech and such which was cool, and then led us through a raucous sing-along of a tune that reminded me of the Twelve Days of Christmas. No, not the melody itself, but the way it was structured…you know…”5 golden rings! 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree! On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” It started at 1, progressed to 2, then 3, and so on to 10, and each time, he sang what preceded it, faster and faster. It was quite impressive actually when he got to 10, he was singing the words faster than any auctioneer!

Fish cube on a toothpick!

Fish cube on a toothpick!

We had easy responding lines like, “What will you sing me?” (about him singing us a song, to which he answers that he’d sing us a number*, which increased) and then we sing back something like, “What will the one* be?” All the numbered things were all nautical…I think haha. His accent was impressive.

Then we were made to get down on our knees, and he produced a frozen cod from a bag; we each had to kiss it on the lips. What a riot, eh? Okay, thinking about it more thoroughly, probably not the most hygienic thing, but it was fun, and most of us did it with gusto. One young woman near me was so freaked out about kissing it…she got within inches of it many times when it was offered to her, and she was always at the last moment turn away in disgust, grimace, and physically shudder! Even our peer pressure couldn’t get to her, and the host (Keith, I think) playfully jerked it and cried, “BOO!”, startling her after a few too many tries. I mean seriously, it’s all in good fun, lighten up lady!

I'm kissing the cod, you just can't see it...

I'm kissing the cod, you just can't see it...

KISS IT! Lady in red had the trouble

KISS IT! Lady in red had the trouble

Next came the screech…we each had mini shots of Newfoundland rum. I love rum, so it was no big deal for me…it’s a little stronger, yes, but still tasty to me. Earlier, the host taught everyone the appropriate response to a question often asked by Newfoundlanders: “Have you been screeched yet?” The proper answer is:

” ‘Deed I is me ol’ cock, long may your big jib draw!”
(sounds like: “Dee-die is me ole cock”)

BRILLIANT. Let’s break it down…” ‘Deed” is a contraction of indeed, ” ‘ol” is of course old, and don’t think inappropriate things for “cock,” it’s shorthand for the British cockney, which over here can mean friend. To the question “Have you been screeched yet?” the first part in essence says, “Indeed I have, my old friend.” The second part is wishing someone good fortune, a saying you can find in many cultures. A “jib” is the triangular sail on a ship, so literally you say to the person, “May your ship’s sail draw wind for a long time.”

After the shot, he went around challenging the participants to recall and say it again. Most couldn’t without screwing up, but I did fine. πŸ™‚ One guy who disappointed got his bottom paddled a few times by Keith’s oars! Acting frustrated that most couldn’t say it properly, he just told us all to keep saying, “Yes.” After the great show (because it was that enjoyable), he pronounced us all honourary Newfoundlanders, and passed out certificates!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Just screeched in

Just screeched in

My screech certificate!

My screech certificate!

Keith was great man, he kept us on our toes, and he was good on his own–every performance has to be a little different. He worked fluidly with what he had–for example, when Jeanne (again, from Montreal) was passed the fish, he warned, “No French kissing!”

Something to remember for sure. Immediately afterward, we went to The Dock beside Christian’s and watched the Idlers play. They’re so good live, we danced our shoes off! I stayed after their show (ended 3 am), bought a CD from John for $10 (such a good price, and so well done), went up with John and Kate to the band suite (bands get like a top floor suite above the establishment with its own bar, nice washrooms, couches, flatscreen TV, etc) where we hung out for a bit, and then we all had to leave (bars legally should not be open past 3 am, even on George Street). But the three of us and Mark, the frontman and trumpeter for the band who I’d also met that day at the cabin, invited us over to his place for a nice chat until like 5 am. It was nice, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much at the cabin, and he’s a remarkably cool and down-to-earth guy for being a frontman. He grows so much of his own food in gardens, and he’s so socially and culturally aware.

Idlers at The Dock

Idlers at The Dock

Friday was everything I’d hoped for and more! And I’ve found out that I may have a day off Monday. Huh. My afternoons and evenings are so delightfully occupied these days. I slept late, and almost missed a lunch thing with a university prof I met here as well, but that’s for later.

Suddenly everything is okay…

In calgary, culture, friends, lingo, st. john's on July 6, 2009 at 11:53 pm

…because I now have a squash partner. YES! πŸ™‚

Met him yesterday, and as luck would have it, he’s also Calgarian! So we had a lengthy chat at Bridie Molloy’s, and then Christian’s Bar when it opened later (because I love the free popcorn there too much).

We’d met because weeks ago, I put up a “friends” personal (a rare category among any Classifieds site), a callout to interesting people around my age, guys, girls, or anything in-between, to have coffee, a beer, hang out, play squash maybe…and he was one of the respondants. There were a few more whom I’ve traded a few emails with, but they’ve suddenly dropped off the face of the planet when a meet was actually set up. So it was just myself and Kevin.

Awesome guy–arived at the city like a day before me. Being Calgarian, we had even more to talk about than normal, and it really was thrilling to compare notes on St. John’s–just to even find out, no, it’s not just me having this grand old time; I thought perhaps I was being a little more positive with all the excitement of coming out here.

Nope…we giddily traded wonderment about the whole “There are 10 times less people here, but it feels like there’s more than in Calgary,” and marvelled mutually at how excellent the live music is here. Neither of us were big bar or pub goers in Calgary–he actually only began drinking beer here in the city!–but both of us were happily going often now on George Street. It’s the vibe, man…as I said, with people clapping, stomping, and singing along to music, it’s such a lovely thing! I’ve since invited him to the big screech-in happening Friday, and seeing the Idlers later.

Friday can’t come soon enough!

Anyway, he’d always wanted to try squash, and I was happy to show him the ropes–myself and others (Roxy mainly) have done a lot of introducing, and it’s such an easy sport to pick up. He loved it…and he may have been the best beginning player I’ve encountered. Barely missed the ball, got serving down only after a handful of serves, really fought hard to try and get the ball (diving, sliding, etc.), was playing the front and back… He loved it, and expressed (like some of our squash-ees at the SAIT facilities) almost an addiction to the game. As a newbie, he was huffing and puffing, but he was driven, and we played for quite a while, again longer than other people I’ve taught. He’s determined to beat me, and I’m sure he will one day if he improves as fast as he took to the sport!

He says we must do this often. Excellent!

And randomly, I’ve realized a correction to some of the simple lingo I’ve described here–“by.” Sorry guys, it’s actually “b’y” with an apostrophe. It makes more sense now (I thought, why the word by of all things?)–it’s actually a crazy contraction of the word “buddy”! So yes, it does indeed sorta act as a stand-in to “man,” but it is more accurately a stand-in for “buddy”–“What’s up, buddy?” Things said to me before: “Yes, b’y,” and “Hey, b’y.” Now I know.

Took the Metrobus transit here for the first time, a free shuttle service around downtown. Handy (it was labeled, “Free Ride With Buddy,” and its site were questions about the service with the happy-face character answering, “Yes, b’y!”–how I found out). Also bought a 10-ride card, just to have just in case, for $20. Did I mention how smart the system here is? Aside from the computerized card that is refillable (and programmed to whatever you want–10 rides, a monthly, etc.), it recognizes whether it’s a transfer or a new fare (I guess from the time it was last scanned). And the Metrobus…Kevin, who takes it a lot, says they are very on time (we ranted that night, “Why does Calgary Transit, despite having so much more money, buses, and even trains–suck??), within a minute or two. In fact, on their site is an updating list of the routes, and how behind they are–3 minutes behind, 1 minute ahead, etc., all there for the public. Brilliant.

One other random thing…Kevin, into history, corrected me that not only is St. John’s one of the oldest cities in North America, it is the oldest city on the continent. And the street where Target Marketing is on, Water Street? That’s the oldest street in North America. Pretty cool.

That’s it for now. I have more free time these days as my routines–cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, making lunch, laundry, etc.–are getting done quicker. Not a bad feeling.

My Basilica pics, and Sunday: I’ve never felt so helpless (plus local lingo!)

In accent, food, lingo, st. john's on June 22, 2009 at 3:03 am

*As in my brother’s pics…I absolutely adore the stain glass figures in this style. The people have such a look to them…they don’t look overly decorated (like the fanciest stained glass windows lining the top of the Basilica), but they remind me of the work of confident illustrators, as they feature well-applied exaggeration of form and a cleanliness of line.

After the gym I mentioned before, this is really really the end of my Saturday, now! Actually wait–when I got home from the gym, I was surprised to be greeted by Ruth. Ruth is the lady who actually owns the house, who is only there periodically, as she works mostly in Halifax, and was vacationing in BC; she wasn’t due back for another 2 weeks at least. Due to a mix-up on her part with flight tickets, she was in St. John’s for a night, and back off to Halifax the next morning.

Anyway, another lovely lady! I offered to cook something for her as she was so tired off the flight so recently and I was about to start cooking my own dinner, and there was a bit of confusion back and forth: she hadn’t checked their (Karen’s and hers and Tracy’s) fridge to see what was there yet for me to prepare, but I was talking about stuff from my own stash. It was no big deal, because I planned to grocery shop Sunday anyway. Realizing the charity, she told me only something I didn’t have to take long to prepare–so the last of my pasta it was! I love to share, and particularly to feed people just because with no strings attached. After bringing the sauce back up to a boil, I quickly served it while I made my own meal, a lovely piece of steak I set to marinate earlier in the day. She loved it, and we had a lively chat. πŸ™‚

Alright, Sunday for reals now–what an ordeal…

Walked to Dominion (this region’s Superstore; elsewhere in Canada, it is also Loblaw’s), 20 minutes away. Made a list (checked it twice), brought 4 cloth bags, it was a nice day again.

Initial confusion: shopping carts. This Dominion had a second floor, and you got your cart on the bottom. There were escalators up, but surely you can’t put the cart on the escalator!

Introducing the cartveyor. I kid you not; I did not understand what that contraption was, so I was confused. The little sign crossed out the cart and people, but I realized later it meant, “Do not ride with the cart up, just let the cart go by itself.” It was so…weird. You roll your empty cart onto the cartveyor (yes, it was called that), and then you take the people escalator up right beside it! I looked for an elevator first (fruitless), because that’s the only reference point I had…

Anyway, got the cart up eventually with me, and found out that I unknowingly came to Dominion on a No Tax promotion! Newfoundland has something called an HST–Harmonized Sales Tax. That’s fancy talk for, “We combine the GST with the provincial tax.” It’s at 13%, so the PST is really 8%–steep stuff coming from Alberta, the land of no PST. So I took advantage of it and bought more than I planned to–it was cheap, and the variety was good, and I always buy groceries for a long term (long being a few weeks).

After I finished (and down about $100), I confidently took the cartveyor and escalator down. Weeeeee!

Here comes the ordeal. Stowing the cart, I retrieved the cloth bags–4 of them, bulging, and each a few kilograms (one item in a bag, a package of chicken, was already over 1 kg). No car, too cheap for a bus (and no knowledge of the bus routes anyway, and the buses here run hourly or so), and home is 20 minutes away. Taxi out of the question, that’s even more expensive!

And it was later in the afternoon–it got warmer. All in all, it took longer than 20 to get home, and I’ve never felt so helpless! It may sound silly to you that my most helpless moment was this, lugging home way too many groceries in hot weather. But truly–I was going at a crawl, the bulging bags kept almost bumping into my feet and nearly tripping me, when I kicked them it was heavy enough for the whole bag to twist my arm a little, and I’m not kidding when I say I was soaked through with sweat in the heat. People say that a lot, but really. At a few points, I stopped to rest and wipe my face–we’re talking really wet, like streams; it didn’t even feel sticky anymore, there was so much it became water.

I’m not a big sweater. Even when I run, I don’t really. Other guys I see, with those puddles on their chest, under their arms and down their backs after a run–that’s always puzzled me. I run harder than most of them–genetically, I’m just not much of a sweater. Not today, I felt bathed when I got home, my mind was despairing, and I was going to collapse. I HATE THE HEAT, I thought, and, Oh, to have a car…

That’s even considering how frightening the roads are here…

But I did get home, finally. Ugh, that was horrible (and if you thought about it–no, I couldn’t get Karen to drive me, and I think she would’ve. She was out of town for the weekend).

ANYWAY…I made a big communal pot of cream of broccoli soup (delicious), and Karen came back later in the evening, and gave me some truly brilliant Atlantic crab from her trip. It was already cooked, I just needed to reheat it–and you’ve already heard my lobster praise. Well…the crab praise is much the same. Condensed: HUMONGOUS. I said the Atlantic lobster was big, but not particularly bigger, but Atlantic crab is quite massive. SWEET–oh so very sweet and meaty, their legs yield thick sticks of perfectly whole meat. And again, more intensely flavoured–crab times 1.5, and also a little saltier. Awesome.

Over dinner, I was chatting with another rentee, Sam and her friend. They’re both from around here, and we got to talking accents…

I apparently have an accent, so Sam claims! Well, I guess I would, if they talk with their accent (in my point of view)! I observed the whole “bot/but” “whot/what” thing to them, and she agreed, and I suggested then that the way I speak is flatter (“but”–the UT sound, rather than an airier OT sound, that pronounces like “aught”), while they speak…almost a little…higher or “rounder” in tone. It’s hard to explain.

Then her friend gave me some local lingo! πŸ™‚ And it’s catchy–the more I say it, the more it rolls off the tongue. It may stick….

“What’re ya at?”
=What are ya at?
=What are you at?

It’s a strange one, no? I told them, “It sounds like you should be saying, ‘Where are ya at,’ which makes sense; because if you break it down, ‘What are ya at’ makes no logical sense whatsoever.”

That’s not the point, they still say it haha. It means simply, “How do you do?” or “How are you/ya?” You say it really fast–there’s barely a pause between “ya” and “at.” It sounds like “What-er ya-at?” It’s a friendly greeting or inquiry.

“What’re ya at by?”
=What are ya at by?
=What are you at by?

Again, if you looked at each part and together, there is no logical sense of meaning whatsoever, but it’s still used. It’s just a beat behind “What’re ya at?” by a single word, so it’s also real fast–but this is used negatively. It’s something you exclaim, or say in frustration or sarcasm, and it would mean something like, “What are you doing?” or “What are you thinking?” (emphasis mine to convey that it is not a question, but an exasperated expression), or tell someone they’re being pissy.***

***UPDATE: my intern buddy was puzzled by this, and explained it differently. She says it’s like “What are ya at?”, only “by” is a stand-in forΒ man,Β dude, orguy. She did not agree with the negative connotation, but admitted yes, you could say it in such a way to make it hostile, but that’s like everything else.Β So, it’s essentially “What’s up, man?” or “How are ya, man?” (She tells me that in Ontario, everyone uses “guy” forΒ man orΒ dude–“What’s up, guy?”). She also gave me:

“Luh!” (or is it “Le”?)
=Look!

Very simply, it’s an even shorter way to call attention to something–someone may, for example, see something, point at it, and exclaim, “Luh luh!” (We don’t know how to spell it; it rhymes with “duh,” though). It’s equivalent is “Look look!” It needn’t be so urgent, (one “Luh” may be adequate), but that’s what it’s used for.

Fascinating, eh?? And “eh” is still common, no matter where in Canada. πŸ™‚

Now you know how to respond if someone (or me…) throws such a phrase your way!