Editor's note: Sarah McLellan is covering the Wild during the NHL postseason in her birthplace of Edmonton, but first must spend 14 days confined to her hotel room. She'll write regularly to her father, who now lives in Arizona, with an update on life with limited freedom.

Dear Dad,

My accent is coming back.

Well, I never really lost it. Since we lived in Canada until I was 9 years old, that was enough time to pick up the dialect. Even after we moved to the States, some of the words I said still sounded Canadian – like “about” and “mom” – and I was glad they did. It was a reminder of where I came from, and I was proud of my past and to show it off.

But whenever I’m back in Canada, to cover hockey or to visit family, it seems like the longer I’m here, the stronger my accent becomes. Being in quarantine is no different.



After just a few days, I noticed when you and I chatted on the phone or I did interviews with radio stations that my tone was changing. It gets a little higher and even when I’m not asking a question, it sounds like I am by how my voice goes up an octave as I finish what I’m saying. I just sound friendlier – and I’m a really nice person to begin with!  

I’ve also gotten back into the habit of adding exclamations like, “eh,” “for sure,” and “right” to everyday conversations.

Once I’m out of quarantine, I figure I will blend right in with other Edmontonians when I order coffee from Tim Hortons.

Being back here and hearing my accent has also reminded me of all the Canadianisms in my vocabulary, some that have faded the longer I’ve lived in the U.S. but some that are permanent fixtures. I still call a cash register a till. Macaroni and cheese will always be Kraft Dinner. What Americans call a garbage disposal is a garburator. Smarties are similar to M&Ms – not the chalky candies. In Canada, we call those Rockets. And knit hats are toques, not beanies.

We’ve already established how I rotate between pop and soda, and sometimes I call a washroom a restroom. I could pronounce the last letter of the alphabet “zee” or “zed.” A sofa is also a couch and a chesterfield, just like I will also call a robe a housecoat. Colored pencils are the same as pencil crayons, and my running shoes are also known as runners. And when I’m at a restaurant, I might ask for the bill or the check.

While I may get quizzical looks from Americans and Canadians depending on which version I use, you understand what I’m saying. You’ve always understood.  

Call you later.