Okay, I know I’m eons late by now. But did you really want me to half ass a post about Canada? I didn’t think so.
And yes, pictures of the vacation are on the way. Josh is moving around right now, so he hasn’t had time to send them to me. Don’t forget, we’ve got celebrities, strippers, and inappropriate licking. So stay tuned!
Now, onto Canada Day.
In case you didn’t notice somewhere along the way, or are joining us here for the first time, I’m the Canadian half of this couple. Josh, on the other hand, is from the Deep South of America. It makes for some fun times, but it also leads to very involved, sometimes heated conversations about our different ways of life, politics, and principals. I have to admit it can sometimes be difficult for me to not bash my head into the wall at a lot of what I see coming out of America…
But on the plus side, there are advantages to being in a relationship with someone who’s way of life has been totally different than mine, and who will debate me on things that matter. He can play up the southern redneck side when he wants, but at the end of the day Josh is sharp, and politically motivated. You can’t bullshit him. So when he doesn’t understand or agree with why we do what we do, I have to be on my toes.
I realize that as far as some are concerned (it’s okay Talea, I still lub you) being from Toronto may somewhat negate my Canadian status. After all, it’s a pretty massive piece of land and civilization – I’ve only seen the French and Maritime parts of it, and my day to day life is mired in urban culture as opposed to prairies, mountains, and small town issues. But a year of dating an American, I have discovered, makes you want to be the best damn Canadian you can be.
This isn’t to imply that Josh is arrogant or anything – quite the opposite in fact. I’m continually impressed at his wanting to know and understand everything about the country he’s moving to, to pick at issues until he’s sure he has the facts. But to give him those facts, I have to make sure I know what I’m talking about.
I’m not going to go into a long involved schpiel about our differing policies, beliefs and political structures. Frankly, politics are only so exciting, even during that coalition brouhaha we had. I’m even going to try and avoid grandstanding (as much as I’d love to run around with a flag yelling CA-NA-DAAAA! FUCK YEAH!!!) Because when you get right down to the nitty gritty of comparing rights, freedoms, taxes, benefits, social institutions and etc., well… it can be disappointing. Josh is still very true to his southern heritage, but I think he’s more than a little frustrated at the state of his nation lately. Sometimes I feel a little bad about it.
However, I will say that despite some decline, Canada’s economy has fared relatively well. There’s no doubt we’ve been affected, but I believe that our economic and political foundations are strong enough to weather bad times – relatively speaking, we’ve got it together. I will say that we have health care. There are problems, I know. It may take months to get an ultrasound, there may not be enough general practitioners, but when your kid is sick at 3 in the morning and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, you don’t have to think about whether or not you can afford to go to the hospital. I will also say that when I told Josh that I’d want to consider placing our eventual kids in the seperate school system rather than the public system, I was dumbfounded when he asked me how much that would cost – it never occured to me that others don’t have free access to more than one school system. And I will say that I’ve grown to appreciate the multicultural mecca of Toronto more and more every day – do you have any idea how many kinds of food I get to feed Josh?
So moreso than anything else this past year, I have learned not to take these things for granted. While we’re not the biggest or loudest player, Canada is a well respected member of the international community. And we didn’t get here by having the biggest army, by being the most outspoken, by having a standardized Canadian flag hanging above every porch or so help you the neighbours will talk. We got here by quietly building up a solid foundation of domestic and international diplomacy, by beginning our country with less war and more politics, and by encouraging flags from around the world to be flown next to our own. We’re more than maple syrup, mounties, and whatever party is in charge this quarter. It’s how those parties interact, how the entire system is set up. I like to think of it as a hockey team that doesn’t always get along, but scores when it counts, parties calling each other out for the greater goal of winning at the internationals. It’s how we work with each other, and with the rest of the world.
Yes indeed, it is a damn fine year to be Canadian.
I can’t wait until Josh is here to see everything that Canada, and especially Toronto, is all about. The Gerrard Indian Bazaar, Greektown, Corsa Italia, Chinatown, Litte Portugal and others. The Pride Parade, the music festivals, the film festivals, the Agricultural Winter Fair, Winterlicious and Summerlicious, the theatre, the symphony, the media, and the constant barrage of invitations to info sessions on everything from meditation to Darfur.
More than anything I’m really looking forward to just having him here living with me. But I’m also hoping that while keeping his own brand of southern flavour, he also gets to understand that certain je nais se quoi of what it is to be Canadian.