Dumb Things I’ve Done (as an American) in Canada


I accidentally gave a $4 tip on a $6 beer.

I should have known better, as I’ve also made a similar mistake in Europe in the past. In the states, if I pay in cash for something at a bar or coffee shop, I get my change and immediately dump it in the tip jar… Because change in the States means LESS than one dollar. In Canada, they have similar dimes and quarters, but also one dollar (loonie) and two dollar (toonie) coins. We were at an event here a couple weeks ago and I got $20 out of the ATM so I could get a beer at the cash bar. The bartender handed me a beer, gave me a bill and some change, I dropped the coins in the tip jar and walked away.

As I was walking away, I realized that the coins I dropped were pretty heavy. I looked down at the only bill in my hand, a $10 bill, and back at the bar sign (that read “Beer: $6”) and realized I’d just dropped two $2 coins in that tip jar. I wasn’t about to walk back and dig one of them out, so I just walked back to my seat shaking my head. Lesson learned: pay more f***ing attention. The bartender was surely stoked though.

img_2157find the Tang!

I let my dog off-leash near a meadow before checking ALL of the meadow. 

This is more of a mountain town thing, rather than just a Canadian thing, but it’s a thing nonetheless. Each day, Tango and I take a 2.5 mile walk. Around here, there are tons of places to go with no other people or dogs around so I can take him off-leash and let him run free. The other day though, we came over the hill and there was the local elk herd, what looked like 50 of them. Luckily I saw them  and was able to quickly clip the leash back onto Tang’s collar and head the other direction before he had a chance to take off toward them.

We walked back down the hill for a few minutes to a park and nobody was around, so I let him off leash again. He ran around for about 10 seconds when I saw him stop dead in his tracks, look left, and take off. I figured he was going after a rabbit, but when I looked up, he was chasing several female elk that were then running down the way. I immediately started looking for any male elk, and also for escape routes, should Tango lead an angry one back to me, but luckily Tango came back when I yelled (read: shrieked) for him to “leave it!” No bull elk followed him and we were able to take off in the opposite direction. Now, I take a harder, longer look around before the leash comes off.


I trusted the weather forecast in the Canadian Rockies.

My man-friend has warned me: “You’ve got a 50% chance of that forecast being correct. These are the mountains and shit changes on the hour, so they [meteorologists] don’t really know what’s really going to happen.” Last weekend was supposed to be sunny and warm. It was cold and rainy. This week, I was SO excited when the forecast said we were going to get three days of snow. We got one. He’s right.

*I completely realize I’m about to be in the longest winter I’ve ever experienced and I shouldn’t rush it to arrive, but it’s SO PRETTY HERE when it snows, guys. It’s magic.


I tried to hike and run in the snow without assistance.

While Tango is running along with no problems whatsoever, I almost busted my ass 10 times the other day. Snow on grass is one thing, but snow on pavement is another. Apparently I need some Yaktrax for legit traction in the snow. Thanks to my mountain lady buds in the know, Crick, Cate, Paula, & Jenn for the recommendation! I’m putting them on the Christmas list now… Though I’m not sure how much running I’ll be able to keep doing as the temperature drops – which brings me to my next one:


I thought that one month of running at altitude was enough time to acclimate.

I know the affects of altitude on the lungs and oxygenation of the blood. I also know the effects of cold air on the blood vessels. Despite knowing these things, I still think I should be running faster than I am currently. I’ve been running 3 days a week since I’ve been here and I finally made it up to 30 minutes of running non-stop this week. I was still annoyed to see that I’d only covered 2.5 miles and had spent over half my time in heart rate zones 4 and 5 when I checked my heart rate monitor results. And I’m not even that high up! I’m at 4,500(ish) ft. ( I don’t care how many meters that is right now) and I’m still dying. Woof.

But I’m staying consistent, damn it! I’m running 3 or 4 days a week, which is something I don’t know if I’ve ever done for more than a week or so. And they always say training at altitude makes you perform better at sea level. Just y’all wait until I’m back home at 400 feet altitude next week for Thanksgiving. Me and my super lungs are gonna crush it on the park loop!

*I’ll keep you updated to see if this work helps my running time actually improve there or if I’m just a mediocre runner.



I thought I was getting good enough to not need my conversion app.

I know I keep talking about the metric system, and I can do the math for distance and temperature, but I really keep forgetting about things like grams when it comes to grocery shopping. My man-friend’s youngest son wanted to make a “Cheesyful Cheesecake” (a cheesecake recipe from his Geronimo Stilton book) and since I love baking, decided we’d do that Monday night. Recipe ingredients list reads: (4) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese. Actual cream cheese packages in the store (that look exactly the same size as the 8 oz ones at home) read 250 g. So, to make sure those two measurements were the same, I consulted my conversion app… in the middle of the store… just like I did last trip… and the one before that. Just so everybody knows, in case you happen to be baking outside of the U.S. any time soon: 8 oz equals 226 grams… Meaning 24 less grams than how much comes in the package. How the f*** am I supposed to measure 24 g of cream cheese to cut off the block? Don’t answer that – I understand math and how to figure that out, but I instead think to myself, “F*** it. There’s no such things as too much cream cheese in a cheese cake and we’ll just keep it all and have more.”

*I’m thinking I’m going to have to make some conversion tables and start studying them each night like I used to do with my times tables in 3rd grade. Eye roll.



The good thing though? I’m staying warm!

It’s just now getting chilly up here. It was 19 degrees F (-7 C,  I’ll have you know I didn’t need my app for that switch) this morning. Four years of dating my man-friend has given me plenty of time to stock up on cold weather apparel/gear and he has played a huge role in that. When I arrived here last month, a brand new hooded fleece vest was waiting for me. I’ve been wearing it daily, along with the down slippers he got me for Christmas last year. So I may be a kook around here, but at least I’m warm kook. ; )

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  1. Rennay says

    On the baking front, try your best to find recipes already in metrics because converting grams and ounces is almost impossible. But if you have to, remember that 1 gram is the weight of a paper clip so if you’re over a few it’s not a huge deal ?

    • Ami says

      OMG that’s helpful! Thanks, homie. I’ll be looking for future recipes in metric. I’m sure there’s no shortage since metric is used EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. ha! When you come to Canada, we’re going to bake together.

  2. Shannon Fox says

    Love this! on a side note…instead of YAK TRAKS for running, try solomon trail running shoes…you can get them with or without spikes in them. The ones without are good for trail running spring, summer and fall…and the ones with spikes are great for winter snow and ice. Much more comfy that yak Traks. Keep the Yak Traks on your list though…they are great for putting over your winter boots when hiking in the winter. 🙂

    • Thanks for the tip, Shannon! I’ll look into those! Last winter I didn’t run outside that much (since it felt like -1,000 degrees) and was fine running the gym. I am in the market for some new trail shoes though, so the ones without spikes sound awesome! #fistbump

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