While Canadians have already celebrated Thanksgiving, the US will celebrate this week.
Since I am a dual citizen, I am marrying my loyalties to both nations and have drafted an epistle of gratitude toward my homeland. (#ocanada)
(To set the tone: here's a little ditty about Thanksgiving from comedian Jim Gaffigan)
This year, I'm grateful for being Canadian. (Please stop hyperventilating)
I was understandably driven to this corny sentiment honestly.
Just last week, I was chastised twice for being Canadian: The first time was a result of liking a Canadian editorial about why Obama isn't so bad (I know, please take a shot Gray Goose if this stresses you out). The editorial was tongue in cheek so I figured no one took it as gospel. I was wrong. Rude words were written on Facebook about my flippant reply which went something like I enjoyed reading that. (My turn for a shot of Gray Goose).
The second time, a local business man and medical professional indicated he would not hold my Canadian heritage against me.
Surely he was kidding.
Unless he kind of wasn't, which he vaguely admitted - for political reasons. Apparently, he was unclear about my role in recent US health care edicts.
Fair enough, but it got me thinking about how our upbringing shapes our world perspective and you can't fault a person for that. My personal view on immigration, health care, government, even cold weather and hockey, comes from where and how I was raised.
So, in honor of my heritage I'm going to share my gratitude for the following:
Nestle chocolate bars. They are awesome. I smuggle tons of chocolate bars back to the US for friends and I stock my freezer with them. They are delicious if not hazardous to my waistline.
I can also figure skate. My repertoire includes a half Salchow (pronounced sow cow) which at the age of 45 should impress most people - except my fellow Canadians.
I can speak two languages thanks to a school that provided bilingual French/English education. I cheated on the playground and spoke English, but learned the language. At my father's funeral, my 1st grade teacher spoke to me like I was still fluent in French. I almost belted out a first grade nursery rhyme ("Un elephant, ca trompe, ca trompe"), but figured it would overtly demonstrate my desperation and inadequacy. Turns out, despite my lack of practice over the past few decades, I still know enough to get around in France. Merci, Mme. Robinson!
I'm going to say it: I am grateful for poutine. Who isn't thankful for the awesome idea of slathering french fries with gravy and cheese curds. Good call, Canada. It's a treat I have when I travel North to visit family. Gravy and fries is classic. Why is this not a thing everywhere else?
I'm not sure "gratitude" is what explains the beauty of our cars always starting (we plug them in) and how I made it to school every single day...before global warming! Since my dad was a teacher, I was sometimes one of only a handful of kids who came to school because snow days didn't really exist. I know my mom was grateful for block heaters because she knew everyday was a school day.
And finally, I'll just say that there is a special bond between those of us who can talk about Mr. Dress Up, Danger Bay, and the Beachcombers, and sing the theme song to The Littlest Hobo. Those shows remind me of my youthful days when I walked home from school in the dark with my friends.
And I'm grateful for stuff like this that made my heart smile this week:
We all have our stories.
I am grateful for you, no matter your nationality, experience or background.
I am grateful that we are all different while having common ground.
And, I think sharing our stories over a nice tourtiere (or a plate of poutine) is a fabulous place to start an avalanche of mutual appreciation!
(Here are some Fun Facts on Canada)
Talk Back to the Trio!
How might our past limit our ability to open up to other experiences?