Just curious. Are Ukrainians different from Canadians? 

Sure, but not as much as many Canadians think we are. There are things that unite us and there are things that make us distinct. It’s hard to think of everything at once, but I’ll try to give you a few examples. Here we go.

 

WHAT UNITES US

 

         Tolerance and multiculturalism

Ukrainian land has a very long history to dig in. Through its existence, our country has been a part of so many different regions, countries, cultures that – whether we want this or not – we “borrowed” some bits and pieces from all of them. And though we often complain about our past and think of ourselves as victims most of the time, I do believe that we actually gained no less than lost. We managed to preserve our own culture while absorbing the best things in other cultures.

These days, you’re going to find that Ukrainians are very hospitable and outgoing. We love to communicate with people, we love to show the newcomers our homeland, and we usually don’t care what nation, race, religion or whatever they come from.  All that matters is respect towards us, just as we respect you. Of course, not all people are like that. But there is no single place in the world where all people are nice, right? Unfortunately.

 

         Optimism

Yeah, we complain about our government a lot, we complain about our laws and regulations, about our healthcare system, about our economy, etc. And we often say something like “We’re definitely going to die soon”, “They want us dead”, “How will we survive?” and some other fun stuff. But who are we kidding? Deep down we all love Ukraine and know that everything we’ll be fine eventually. It always is.

Well, if we don’t die before it’s fine. Joking.

 

         Free spirit

And this leads us back to history. Having been suppressed by many nations for many centuries, we really developed a common purpose for our nation – be free. Sometimes we forget what freedom we are fighting for, but who cares, it’s freedom, right?

 

Why are these awesome Roots hats so expensive? 😭😍

 


WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT

 

         We are not that polite

There is nothing to be proud of. Like a thousand time in a row, I repeat that a simple smile can change everything. Ukrainians love a good joke and a good party, but in everyday life we tend to smile like ten times less than an average Canadian citizen. And don’t even get me started on such word as “sorry”. We may actually be sorry, but this word is just so d*mn hard to spell out.

 

         Ukrainians are more emotionally involved

It’s hard to explain, but I feel like we create bondage with people and we want to keep this bondage for life. We usually take friendship super seriously. We get used to certain people very quickly (sometimes, too quickly) and value relationships a lot. I guess we don’t have middle in anything, especially in emotions – we either love with all our hearts or hate with… What do people hate with, I wonder?

Anyways, I’m not saying Canadians are bad in making long-lasting relationships. It’s just that I feel like our emotions are often on one side of the spectrum. Does it make any sense lol?

 

         Individualism vs “united we stand”

Yeah, we are big on collective mind, collective work, collective approval, collective support, collective guilt… Basically, you can insert any noun after “collective” and it would be fine. We have personal ambitions and goals, we have different opinions and capabilities. But when it comes down to stressful situations or problems, we value other people’s support and help (sometimes too much). When it comes down to tough competition or giving honest feedback on how our friends performed, for instance, we often feel uncomfortable. We also care a lot about what people say about us. Oh, and we tend to share all our victories and failures with people who were somehow connected with the events leading to these victories and failures.

I feel like, though Canadians are naturally very nice and supportive, they still value personal ambitions and desires more than other people’s. And I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just different.

 

         Law obedience

Okay, Canada takes rules and laws very seriously and I approve of it. People here actually know the rules and follow them. It’s often different in Ukraine. We like to be naughty from time to time (of course I’m not talking about robbing people or killing them, just some minor civil disobedience haha; that’s not funny I know).

In general, I believe it happens because Ukrainians know that can easily get away with it, which I’m so not comfortable with! But our law system, government and corruption would be a completely different topic. Some day.

 —————————————————-

So, here are the things I managed to come up with real quick. I’m sure there is still more to tell you, but we’ll leave it for later.

Though you know what? Because Canada is so diverse and so “inclusive”, it’s hard to judge and draw conclusions. At least yet. Besides, I stick to what they say about “it’s not what makes us different, it’s what unites us” thing. Let’s unite, people! 🙌🏼

 

See you soon, my curious friends 👋🏽

/ Iryna Zheliasko /

#UkrainianInToronto

 

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