International Calling Cards
Coming home from dinner tonight, we had an unusually chatty taxi driver. As most people in South Korea can attest to, there are many surly taxi drivers in this country, so it is always nice to come across a friendly one. Anyways, the point of this story was that when he asked us where we were all from, my friend sitting in the front seat pointed to each of us, “Mee-guk, Canada, Namagon” (USA, Canada, South Africa) to which the taxi driver’s immediate response was, “Namagon?? ooooooooooo”. Now I realise that out of context this is not funny, nor even really understandable but what the taxi driver was doing was imitating a vuvuzela.
From my students, I’ve noticed that the first thing that comes up if you mention the US is Obama (I’m curious what it was pre-Obama), and Sam informed me that South Africa now has two international calling cards; Mandela and vuvuzelas.
This led me to wonder, what is the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Canada to a foreigner? Some of my more knowledgeable students know about hockey (especially after the Vancouver Olympics) and one of my mastery classes had an international foods unit at school that included a section on poutine (seriously!), but what does your average lay person think of when they think about Canada?