Saturday, February 27, 2010
With the finish line in sight of our country's and city's hosting of the world in the 2010 Winter Olympic games it is time for me to talk about being Canadian. I am Canadian born in Montreal raised by Immigrant and second generation Canadians, but for reasons of economic opportunities we moved to the US when i was very little. Culturally i was American as I knew very little of my birth country's history and culture, raised in the glow of stars and stripes I felt American how could I not it was all I really knew. Yes I identified as a Canadian but I knew little about my birthplace other than Montreal where most of our family remained.
We traveled a lot to Montreal, I loved and love that city to me *IT* was canada. To me my grandparents were Canada, my wonderful, talented and crazy aunt was Canada. Canada to me was my loving family. I remember my grandfather gave me a 45 record of "Oh Canada" which I played on my little record player over and over eventually wearing it out and driving my parents crazy in the process.
I for some reason Identified my self as Canadian first. It was a place of love and safety for me, a gentle oasis. So when my wife died 5 years ago and I was seeking a place to hide, to lick my emotional wounds and the U.S. lost it's technocolor luster I decided to move back to Canada. I was a new Canadian I was walking in the shoes of so many who have come here for the promise our wonderful land promises so many. A place of opportunity, acceptance, kindness, humility and abstract beauty.
I had to learn Canadian customs, lingo, culture just like a new immigrant..I fell in love with my birthplace, my motherland, and my grandparents all over again. I learned that I was always Canadian as even if I was raised in the States my parents raised me with pure Canadian values.
During these games, during this amazing swell of Canadian Patriotism in a place where we all know and have heard about our usual modesty, I get tearful by watching "all" Canadian new arrivals from across the globe from different cultures and different colours wearing "our" flag and colours. For me it is proof that that experiment that is Canada works, that we are a kind and welcoming people.
This past week a friend of mine from Scotland moved here (this is Liz's Blog http://lizkearsley.wordpress.com/ ) and this week she bought a Canada Toque she has been to a hockey game, she is on her way to being Canadian, I look forward to sharing in her discovering of our country our people our beauty.
I love my country, my home which welcomed me back like I was never away, my safe harbour in the world. Now that the world has seen us we are not a secret anymore...So Canada and Canadians do not keep our Patriotism secret anymore as well......