Friday, July 16, 2010

long live Canada

Things sometimes get out of chronological order on this blog and I apologize for the confusion. Sometimes we get so excited about one thing that we skip something else and have to go back. In addition, these posts are always written and scheduled at least a few days after we are in a particular place.

Anyhow, as I write this we are on our last full day in Canada. A week has been much too short and we knew that when we planned all this. We have had only an appetizer taste of Canada and we know we will be back for more.

So, why am I writing this ahead of the posts about the specific places we visited in Canada? Well, I just have a head full of things about the whole week and they need a place of their own, so here's my hindsight preamble to the Canada posts:

Long live Canada. I love so many things about my U.S.A... and then there's the wad of things that make me worry and frown. It's a mixed bag. Please, don't get the idea that I think I'm well versed in all things Canada and capable of characterizing the whole country, but Canada is swell. The same but very different. People here have their troubles, political fights, and awkward moments and all the shades of society that come with a big place with lots of people. The cities have traffic and the farmland is green.


It's different. I'm going to sound like a dope here, because I can't quite put words to what I am thinking. Canada (and the Canadians that have been our hosts, granted, a tiny sample) see and do things from a different angle. There's some Europe here, some Asia, some Africa, and some South America like the mixed nuts in the U.S... BUT... still it's different. Can't figure out quite how to describe it in a meaningful way. At least stating that in a vague sort of way gets me to the thing I really want to tell everybody:

Thank goodness there is a Canada and Mexico (and Guatemala, Belize, Honduras...) so that manifest destiny didn't eat the whole continent. When I was a kid I was fascinated by maps and geography has always been a strong suit for me. I recall looking at a map of North America and wondering about the long horizontal line between most of Canada and the U.S. What happens when you cross that line? When I learned that Canadians speak English and French it brought home to my new little brain that the language I spoke came from another country and it introduced me to the big wad of colonial history.

So, Canada... North Americans that speak English (and French) like me (not so much the French... I learned Spanish living in Southern California) but they are not part of the U.S.?! My new little brain reeled. Over the years I've always been a bit delighted when I hear of Canada NOT going along with everything dictated by the U.S. I like that there is someone to say, "yeah, maybe that's not such a hot idea." Canada says it to London sometimes too.

OK, let me repeat, I still like the U.S. and don't want to live anywhere else, but I wish we weren't such excellent fodder for all the "Oh you self-absorbed Americans" jokes. Canada doesn't hate us (though I'm sure there are a few Canadians who do) but I think Canada just wishes we'd pay just a little more attention and not assume so much. This Superpower business and the 20th century I know has blinded the U.S. to so much detail in the world, but with all the paranoia about "The New World Order" and some kind of world government taking over we should glorify the differences and see all the facets of where we disagree.

So... Long live Canada and all the other wildly different places and people in the world. Any where you go, the troubles are all the same. We need all the points of view to see the way through.


  1. Wonderfully said. I think the US should be more like Canada in the ways you mentioned.

  2. I think I know what you mean about being different and not being able to put into words. However, I'm a little concerned about this paranoia over this "New World Order" you speak of... is it global? Be safe.



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