Happy Birthday! I am sorry that I can't make it to your birthday party in Ottawa. It's pretty crazy that I am not there for such an epic event, but part of me is glad to have escaped the chaos. We had hoped to join the celebration in London today, but the universe had other plans. So we are headed to Devon, dressed in red, with our Canada tattoos and flags. It's not the traditional celebration, but you are always in our hearts. Always.
Thanks for being so awesome. I am grateful to have been born and raised in Alberta. This meant that I had access to one of the most amazing places in the world, the rocky mountains. Thank you to my dad for teaching me how to ski and taking me skiing in the mountains so many times. I enjoyed all my time spent in Southern Alberta, a beautiful place, where the plains meet the mountains in the skyline beyond. Quiet living in small towns with the widest roads I have ever seen (I am looking at you Magrath). Fun times in Medicine Hat with the cousins, adventures on the farm in Raymond with the "Zingbells." Venturing into gorgeous British Columbia. I was convinced when I was a teenager that I would live in Vancouver or Victoria when I grew up. Then I remembered that I was poor.
My experience with Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the northern territories, is mainly driving through them. This is something I need to rectify I think. I must say that everyone I have met on my drive throughs has been pretty great. We had a man in Manitoba close his store temporarily just to help us with directions- we drove across the country (over 50 hours of driving- and it was not even coast to coast). We did this in the days before everyone had GPS. I am honestly surprised that we survived. Thank goodness for good-hearted strangers!
I left a huge part of my heart in the jewel of Canada, the maritime provinces. That is where I learned to live. It's where I learned to be a friend, to slow down, to savour the little pleasures of life. The maritimes taught me what is truly important. Wealth, busyness, and status distract from the art of living. I hope to be able to spend more time on the East coast of Canada in my lifetime. I would not be the person I am today if I had not spent 8 years soaking up the wisdom of the maritimes.
Ontario is where I learned to be tough. My life became infinitely more complicated while living in Ottawa. Luckily, the beauty, food, friends, culture, and richness of life in Ottawa got me through and I was able to thrive in the face of challenge. I look forward to enjoying more of all that Ontario has to offer.
The history of Canada is complicated, and not perfect. What I know for sure, is that Canadians have a resiliency of nature. We are positive, polite, and friendly. We share with others, we celebrate diversity, we welcome refugees with open arms. We eat poutine, hang out at Tim Hortons, and apparently a lot of us enjoy hockey (not me so much but I hope I am excused on this one). We enjoy the beauty of the outdoors in ALL weather. We produce some of the best music on the planet and everyone knows that nearly half of Hollywood is Canadian. We are the world's main producer of Maple Syrup- you are welcome, World. Our wildlife is beautiful and only a little frightening. We invented insulin, basketball, Superman, the telephone, canola oil, snow-mobiles (of course), walkie talkies, and peanut butter.
Thank you Canada for medicare, for democracy, for the sheer size and scope of beauty all around, for kindness, and for always trying. I am absolutely proud to be a Canadian.
Have a wonderful birthday!
Homesick in England