English Idioms learned the hard way.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Do you know what “being half in the bag” means? I thought I did, until this happened …

First, if you know what it means, read on. If you don’t know, or just maybe know, read this! English is not my first language, so while living in an English speaking place, I do sometimes reuse phrases and idioms without double-checking them, since, to be honest, it is just not feasible, and works great most of the times.

Well this is how it worked out with “being half in the bag”.

During my first visit in Toronto (years ago) we were invited to a New Years Eve party at a friends place. When we arrived, the host opened the door in his bathrobe and said: “Thanks for coming over, I am already half in the bag so make yourself at home, I will be with you in five“.

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How a park made a fool out of me, 3 times. True story.

Considering a downtown park, in a mega city like Toronto, I assumed the following things are impossible, can’t exist or just won’t work. Oh boy, was I wrong:

1. Did you know white squirrels exist? No? Me neither, until I saw one at the park!

 

2. Checking out the neighbourhood of an apartment we where going to see, I discovered this huge park where Google Maps revealed 8 tennis courts in there. Looking forward getting some use out of my racket, I considered worth shipping over from Vienna, I started searching for the Tennis Club operating it, trying to find out membership fees, etc. I did not find anything! Okay, maybe they just don’t have a website. After moving there I walked up the the tennis courts and just asked someone about where to get a membership and how much it is.

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How following my grandfathers advice brought me to Canada

Just before I went to study in the UK for a year, my grandfather got serious: “Don’t fall in love with an Englishwomen, it would be such a pain for the family to travel back and forth, on top of the language barrier“.

When I got back, I told him I followed his advice: “Her name is Jane, she is from Canada.”

And here we are! After spending two years in Vienna together, while I was finishing my Masters degree, we moved to Jane’s hometown, Toronto, in January 2011. However, travelling back and forth for family events hasn’t been that bad, thanks to direct flights. And languages, can be learned.

Since St. Patricks is coming up, I have a story about an Irish guy to share as well: He has been living here since many years and asked me why I moved over. I told him I did because of the best reason ever, because of a woman. He started laughing, told me I might haven’t been living here long enough to understand, as my reason to move over is just the second best reason. Wondering what the best reason is then, he said: “Because it’s the f$%&#ing best country in the world!”.

Stay tuned for more stories about how it feels to live in Toronto, that I will publish in the next weeks. In case you wonder, how I got myself back into blogging, checkout out rehabit.me, where I challenged myself to make daily blogging, a habit.

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