Raccoons, the creatures taking over Toronto at night

RaccoonBefore I came to Canada I knew raccoons only from the zoo. I thought they were these cute, fluffy animals you almost want to cuddle. To be honest, I didn’t even know the English word for raccoon, although I already considered myself to be fluent in English at that time.

My first encounter with a raccoon was on a relatively warm fall night in October. I decided to go for a walk after dinner and was wandering around in my neighbourhood. All of a sudden I heard some rustling in a pile of leaves which had fallen down from a maple tree. Then I saw a striped tail.

Continue reading


Halloween and the happy looking pumpkin

Austrians don’t really do Halloween. Every year, there are more and more parties where people wear scary looking costumes. But houses with Halloween decoration and kids running around in the neighbourhood for trick-or-treating was something I had to come to North America to see.

Carved pumpkinMy first Halloween experience was in the United States, in Baltimore. I didn’t see any kids, but rather many adults painted in blue and dressed up as Avatars heading to an outdoor party. I guess it was the same year the movie came out. My second Halloween experience was really no experience at all. I had just come to Canada for my work assignment and spent the evening in my apartment in a relatively small city about one hour away from Toronto. It wasn’t a surprise that no one knocked on my door to say “trick or treat” – the apartment was on the 14th floor.

Continue reading

Viennese meets Canadian coffee culture

Image of a coffee cup

“First Things First… Coffee…” My favourite mug says that.

I am not a morning person and drag my feet to the coffee maker as soon as I get out of bed. Coffee is essential to start my day. I simply love coffee. But it’s not only the hot beverage itself I appreciate. I also enjoy what comes with it when you go out and get a coffee – a nice chat with a friend, today’s newspaper, sometimes even classical music.

Classical music? Yes, classical music. Well, I am from Vienna, right? And I guess I grew up with a different coffee culture than most Canadians.

Continue reading