“Downtown” Pisac, Peru“Downtown” Pisac, Peru

Wow, Nora: you really don’t live here any more, do you?

This came from a friend who I was visiting whilst recently spending two weeks in my hometown of Toronto. When I tried to pay for our coffee with cash, she looked at me like I was from the moon; she shook her head and handed the cashier a plastic card.

“Is that a Tim Horton’s credit card?” I asked, confused as to why coffee shops would be in the credit card business.

“Um…no, Nora. It’s just a store card. You load it up with credit, and just pay for your coffee quickly and easily with it; no messing with cash.”

As I relayed this revelation to another person, they too, looked at me like I was from the moon. “All kinds of stores have these cards now, Nora.”


After nine years of living abroad and returning to Canada for periodic visits, I no longer suffer from reverse culture shock or other standard traveler ailments, but apparently I’m stuck in a bit of a time-warp. While living in idyllic (and often rural) little corners of the world, I’ve lost touch with what daily life in Canada (and to a greater extent, North America) is like – for better and worse.

Here are some other differences in daily life between Canada and Peru, as observed during my visit:

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  • Nora Dunn

    In 2006, Nora sold everything she owned in Canada (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of full-…

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