Journeys of The Zoo's "I Am Canadian" Feature for April is...
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How She Feels About Being Canadian.
I was born and raised in Toronto. I have lived here my entire life. Sometimes it's hard to define being Canadian, because our country is so vast in size, yet small in population. What I can easily define is how I feel about being Canadian –
You never really know how much you love your country and how much you are a product of it until you travel. When I was younger and cracked out my blue Canadian passport with my family, I always wore hats and shirts to identify myself as Canadian. As I grew older, I realized that by travelling to other places I was not only educating myself about other parts of the world – I was also educating the citizens who lived in those destinations about my city, my home.
In grade 8, my class travelled to Washington D.C. as our class trip. It was spring 1996, right before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. One of our teachers found out the Olympic flame was passing through an area we were already scheduled to visit, so our trip guardians made an executive decision to change the plans a little so we could all see the flame.
While we waited for it to come, we found ourselves next to a group of students from Washington whose teachers had also decided it was an event worth attending. I'm not 100 per cent certain, but I'm pretty sure I was wearing a Toronto Blue Jays shirt. Regardless, some of the Washington kids started speaking to us Toronto kids, and it became quite clear quite quickly they had no idea where Canada was, let alone Toronto. They bought our stories about living in igloos. They bought our stories about riding polar bears to school. They even bought a story about how we had just got our first movie theatre in Toronto and we were really excited to venture out in our full-body parkas and watch "Gone with the Wind" in the theatre for the first time.
We laughed amongst ourselves.
The Washington kids were so clueless when it came to Toronto and the rest of Canada. Didn’t they realize we lived in a big city too, living in the same type of housing, driving the same type of cars, and watching movies such as "Clueless" just like them?
As a Canadian, I remember this story so vividly because I have always had a problem with Americans looking at us like "America Junior" (thanks Homer Simpson, and by the way, Canada is ABOVE your country, not "way down there".) Although, once these Washington kids realized we had lied to them, how did that look on us? Is it better to be seen as ignorant, or misleading and mean? Being 13, I didn’t realize I was a part of the problem – we were validating lies, instead of teaching the truth.
As I have gotten older, I have become more understanding. Not everyone is as interested in travel as I am, or learning how people around the world live. I also think if a bunch of Toronto and Washington grade 8 students were to get together now, the latter wouldn't buy any bull from the former, be it from having Internet at their fingertips, or from the super success of the television show Degrassi south of the border.
Now that I'm a Mom, I want my daughter to be a proud Canadian like me. I want her to travel and learn about other cultures while keeping Canada's great reputation alive. I want her to see how lucky she is to grow up in what I think is the best country in the world, and teach others about how amazing Canada truly is.
But mostly, I want to experience Canada with her. There are still some territories and provinces I've never stepped into, and that needs to change. To be a good Canadian Ambassador is to have experienced the way all Canadians live.
Sarah Lynn is a working Mom to one in Toronto, Canada. When she's not in the office, singing in the car while commuting or spending precious moments with her daughter, Sarah Lynn blogs about life and product reviews at YYZBambina.com.
Thank you Sarah from YYZ Bambina!
And Now for The "I Am Canadian" Linky...
If you are Canadian or have a Canadian Product, Cause, Blog, or other Canadian related item, then you are officially invited to add yourself to this Linky.
Note that this Linky is not intended as a Giveaway Linky. Please go here to post or enter giveaways.
|FROM THE ARCHIVES|
|March 2013||Ottawa Valley Fiber Arts|
|February 2013||Gone With The Family|
|January 2013||Treasures from the Ark|
|November 2012||Life After My Kids|
|September 2012||Current Works of Glass|