Summer patio season, pint on the table of a dog friendly patio in the city's core. It's a long-weekend and the mood is light throughout. Everyone is out, enjoying and milking the rare bit of sun we know better than to take for granted.
My dog is asleep on my lap, her ear draping my thigh between the hubby and I, and we're out celebrating Canada. The second birthday since our re-homecoming. Having lived abroad for the last eight years will make you miss the things that make Canada great real quick.
Here are some of the things I feel inclined to outline for the world.
The Melting Pot
Canada is known for its great diversity in its many "people." I mean, we've seriously have got them all. Sitting down to reserve a table by the shade, I got pulled into a nice four-seater by an older man that saw us looking for a spot, dog in-tow. "I'll be vacating the table in 5 mins, so you can sit here and claim it if you wish." So we sat. Five minutes later we're still talking about what it mean's to be part of this melting pot, and how, given the choice, we would always call this country "home" first. He wanted to know if we could have stayed abroad indefinitely, to which I was quick to reply: "I'm too Canadian now." "Me too," he claimed. "I would only go back home to Ireland for a week, two max." What else do we love about this ethnic rich country? How about the fact that you can go for authentic Jamaican jerk chicken for lunch, with a side of Mexican-churros for dessert, and cap the night with hot pupusas fresh off the grill c/o that Salvadorian spot?
This is something that does get taken for granted in the city, and not many people know just how lucky they are, so let me enlighten you.
I was born in South America. Our family immigrated from Venezuela in the 90s. We went through the whole process of applying for visas, citizenships, and even learning to sing the national anthem. We were one of those kids in the playground of whom Canadian comedian Russel Petes makes fun of for bringing the funny looking/smelly ethnic food for lunch while everyone else had things like PB & J sandwiches. But this has taught me we seriously take for granted the ability to walk away from our table (full of our personal belongings) to go use the comfort room. Or leaving our dogs tied up at the front of a store while we run our errands, and come back to our things/pets right where we left them.
We live in a country that makes it perfectly safe to go out in public and speak our minds without fear of retribution. For minorities especially. We are the most lucky of all! As a woman living in a third world country, the fear of driving alone at night as a foreigner not speaking the language was a real concern; as in acid reflux inducing. Because of that experience, I walk around now, head held high, thankful for the reminder of the great privilege that is to live in a home like this one.
As a blog that strives to provide infinitely better choices for your wellness, the fact that we live in Canada has made it all that much easier to do so. So there's point number three: We have free healthcare! Sure, you may have to wait five hours for an ultrasound in the emerge room, but you will be taken care of, so pick your battles. If you ask 100 Canadians about their experience with healthcare, chances are there will be around 10 bad stories. Heck, I'm one of them. But a broader spectrum has taught me to appreciate it nonetheless. Things could always be worse. Complaints are far less now though that the pursuits towards enlightenment (ahem, legal weed) is more accessible. I'm not here to judge.
Canadian's are so nice! Like my gosh, we will go out of our way to open the door, smile at you and your dog, offer you our table before we're done. Give you our pre-paid parking ticket because there are still three hours left on it and hey, maybe we can save you a few bucks. We live in a constant mentality of "Paying it Forward." It is always at the root of all that we do, so if you're looking to come here to live or to visit, best get with the program fast. Don't mess with our niceness. We still bite.
WE THE CHAMPS
It goes without saying that we're an extremely proud country. We work hard, and play equally hard. We pride ourselves in our freedom, equal rights. Love who you love, be who you are. We explode, come together, cheer loudly, and we're gender neutral. We bleed red and white, and constantly preach the nation's core beliefs. Any footage of the recent NBA championship will serve as proof to any of my claims above. #GORAPTOSGO #ProudlyCanadian
For a more ethnic flair, travel with us abroad to the hidden "magic lake" town of Bacalar by checking the link.