Border City Life


“She grew up watching hockey

With her daddy on Saturday nights”

Unless she’s from a border city, than it is Sunday and Wednesday nights.

“She likes snow storms and Gordon Lightfoot”

Unless she lives in the most southern city across from Detroit, than it is thunderstorms and Marshall Mathers.


 

I’m still a Canadian girl cause that’s what my birth certificate says; just like the name of the song those quotes are from. However, when you grow up in Southern Canada (technically the most Southern City) and it is directly across from Detroit, Michigan than you have to accept there is a little American in your soul. My favourite hockey team is Detroit Red Wings, you claim Eminem like you are from the same town, and forget about The Hudson Bay Company, you’d rather go to J.C Penny or Marshall’s. Who knows what 5 degree’s Celsius means? Our weather channel is American, just tell me 42 degree’s Fahrenheit. There was a drug bust a block from my house? Sorry, Fox News was telling about the school I would never possibly be near was shut down due to a threat. Also, let’s talk about the depression of a child growing up in Windsor, getting American news in the morning and listening to the hundreds of schools shut down because of a small layer of snow on the ground, but you still have to walk the 30 minutes to school.

Anyone from Windsor will tell you that being a Windsorite is something completely different and special than just being a Canadian. I don’t know what it is like for other border cities around the world, but we are so completely influenced by American culture that we really shouldn’t be offended when people in other countries think we are American.

My very first close friend until age 9 was a boy whose grandparents lived next to me but he was from Michigan.

th_menmyjohnnybestfriendsfromage1til8l

They came once a month or every other weekend to visit. We became close and he would spend most of his time at my house or in the yard playing with me. This is so common where I’m from even within adult friendships. People will work in Windsor that live in Michigan or work in Michigan when they live in Windsor, that you just get use to having semi-long distance friendships. I call it semi because it is faster to get to downtown Detroit than it is to travel anywhere else in Canada. You can cross the tunnel in less than 10 minutes when there is no traffic. It’s honestly like driving to the mall. Or for anyone here in my current home base Tauranga, New Zealand….it is like driving from City Centre to Papamoa Beach. You just end up in a different country.

It’s not just the ability to go to Michigan easily or the ease in having friends from different places. It is also just a way of life, a sense of being. We are this mix, this beautiful and difficult mix of 2 cultures. People be like “Canada is the same as America”, but Canadians are mostly socialists in nature and Americans are mostly Capitalists. You can’t turn the corner in Windsor without seeing these two ideologies clash. You will see an after school program or someone giving a homeless person change and then see a building with construction issues being demolished to build something newer, more modern in order to attract the Americans.

Our multicultural community is one of the largest because new immigrants want to be near the border to easily visit their family members that went to America. This draw brings us some of the best food in the world. The only thing we truly miss is a true authentic Mexican place, but that is okay because a 10 minute drive from our city centre is Detroit’s Mexican Town.

Can anyone else say that they have to make sure that their phone doesn’t jump to roaming just driving down one of the busiest roads in town?

The sense of humour we share with each other is also something of another world. Detroiter’s and Windsorites have this joint humour that just sounds to an outsider like complaints. We bash our cities, but will fight anyone from somewhere else that does it; we all say things like “just kill me” or “stab me in the face”, if you say that to more northern Canadians they think you are being over dramatic.

To truly understand what it is to be in this border than you need to check out these rap videos below that tell you the basics and give you a taste of the humour I mentioned. If you think “wow, it’s a hole” while listening……you just don’t get the humour.


 

 


 

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