A Tiktoker from the UK who recently moved to Canada is going viral for her takes on the quirks of her new country of residence, including the odd design of "toilet" doors.
Michaela Jessie (@michaelajessie_ on TikTok) moved to Canada from London last May, after her partner got a job in Vancouver. She was keen to pursue an acting career in a city with a robust film and TV industry, and was also craving an adventure.
As a way to put herself out there and have some fun, Jessie started a TikTok account shortly before her move. There, she shares videos of herself trying fruits, getting ready for auditions and giving her impressions of Canada.
In a video posted last month, she shared her disdain for the design of public washrooms in Canada, particularly the large gaps between the door hinges and the lock. It has been viewed almost 12,000 times.
"I like a lot of things about Canada," she starts in the video. "But I do not like the toilet."
“Every time I went to a public toilet, I didn’t understand why there were these humongous gaps,” she adds in an interview with Yahoo News Canada. “It’s very uncomfortable.”
"So you can literally see in while someone is peeing," she explains.
Many Canadian users responded to the post, assuring her that that’s the way our washrooms have always been, while others shared in Jessie’s disdain.
“A lot of people don’t know why that’s the way it is and they don’t like it either,” she says. “I still don’t understand the reason or rationale why toilets are like that.”
Since moving to Canada, Jessie has always been taken aback by how chatty with each other people are on elevators — or "lifts" as she knows them.
“Generally people in the UK, you stand there in silence, but people here will say ‘Hello’, or say ‘Have a great day,’ or have a conversation with you,” she says. “In the UK, you go in and ignore the other person and then you leave the lift without saying a word. I find it less awkward to chat with someone.”
Jessie is also adjusting to tipping culture when going out to eat. In the UK, people only tend to tip when at a restaurant, and when they do, it’s a little more than 10%. Here, a 20% tip is now the expected rate for most food industry services, like coffee shops and bakeries.
“If you’re going to Starbucks, you’d never tip or if you’re getting your lunch made right in front of you,” she says. “But here there’s always a tip option anywhere you go.”
When it comes to dining out, Jessie is impressed with how easy it is to split a bill in Canada, where many restaurants can automatically add up how much each patron owes.
"That does not happen in the UK and it saves a lot of problems," she says. "The amount of times you're sitting there with your calculator, adding up how much you owe, then it goes wrong ... not having to do that is the best thing."
At the suggestion of her TikTok followers, Jessie has explored the world of Canadian snack foods, sampling ketchup chips (or “crips” as she refers to them), Cheezies and Oh! Henry chocolate bars.
“I liked the ketchup chips, they kind of taste like prawn cocktail (chips) in the UK,” she says.
While Jessie won’t be in her home country for the upcoming momentous coronation for the King, she’s mostly disappointed that she won’t get the day off.
“Here, you kind of forget it’s happening and then you see back home they have their bank holiday weekend,” she says. “It’s something that’s always been a part of life in the UK, the royals, so it’s not something that I’ve been thinking about too much.”