John mentioned in the comments section the ignorance of people not knowing about Nunavut because of the driver's licence I flashed as ID in the U.S. I'm afraid it's worse than that. Anticipating that while Americans have many wonderful, redemptive qualities, a strong sense of world geography isn't one of them, we simplified things when trying to explain where we are living.
So when people asked 'Where do you live?" We said "Northern Canada" figuring they might clue in that we were emphasizing things by saying we're not just from Canada, but Northern Canada.
Sadly, we underestimated the geographic obliviousness of the country we were in. The most common response was, no kidding, "Oh around Toronto" (Never mind that at 43 degrees North, it's actually further south than some American cities). Following in a distant second was "Oh, you mean around Vancouver." (Which, at 49 degrees north, pretty well hugs the U.S./Canada border.)
By the way, that sound you might be hearing is that of our lovely American friend Karin, who lives in Nebraska, bashing her head on the keyboard. She knows a fair bit about Canada, having married a Canadian, and tends to take the errors of her countrymen a little too close to heart sometimes.
Anyway, we had to develop a follow-up response when people got confused by what we meant by "Northern Canada" (one person did guess Edmonton, which is northish, I guess). Cathy's follow-up answer was "Imagine Santa's workshop. We're a little south of that." I went for the slightly more pragmatic answer of "No, we're just west of Greenland." Sadly, one or two still had troubles figuring even that outÂ
Most people managed to then clue in that when we said Northern Canada, we weren't fooling around. Although there was still one or two that were having problems getting their heads around the notion that people willingly lived in places that cold. It's a California thing, I suspect.
We did have a couple of interesting conversations with people while waiting for trains or whatnot about Nunavut. The best was probably with a recently retired teacher who was horrified to discover that after 34 years of teaching and being a vice-principal at her school about an hour outside of San Francisco, she was making only about 25% more than Cathy is right now with about five years experience. And that was taking into account the currency exchange.
There are challenges to living in Nunavut, to be sure. The money isn't one of them.
Oh, and that brings me to Point 54 Â Americans will ask questions about your salary, retirement package, mortgage, etc that most Canadians would be horrified by. We consider it terribly rude and nosey. They're just trying to help to make sure you're not being screwed over. Which is nice, but still a bit jarring when you first experience it.