I’m trying to pick one event that stands out as that ‘defining moment’ that perfectly and neatly captures our time here in Canada. That moment when we knew this felt right, that this was home. And I’ve got to say, I’m not sure if there is one. There may be many. But there may also be none. Let’s review.
We’ve been in Canada for 8 months now. Two thirds of a year. We’ve been through winter, spring, summer, and autumn, and that was just today! We’ve also had a few tornados today but that’s probably a different story. We’ve bought the t-shirt and worn it. Then we shrank it in the tumble dryer and had to buy a new one. But that’s ok, because there are so many more t-shirts to see and we’re super excited to wear them all (I think that metaphor lost me somewhere).
When we landed, I don’t think we were completely prepared for how different our lives were going to be here. Obviously we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore, and that it snowed in Canada, and that we would drive on the right hand side of the road. We knew the obvious things, the stuff you read on the interwebs and that you can learn through research. We’re not totally useless and I like to believe we have the street smarts! But there are tons of less superficial, more implicit things you learn as you begin to acculturate. And that process involves making the conscious decision to identify with the culture of your new home. It doesn’t happen automatically and many people choose not to become part of their adoptive country’s culture. Some people choose to go only part of the way and hold onto their old cultures and cultural identities.
We have gone out of our way to absorb the Canadian-ness around us. We want to belong. We want to fully and totally be a part of this incredible country. That’s not to say we will forget where we came from, it just means that now, Canada is home. And we will throw ourselves into it completely by doing the following:
- Drink coffee. All. The. Time.
- Send our kids to learn how to ice skate and play hockey.
- Enjoy the weather when it’s a pleasant 5 degrees C in winter.
- Talk about the weather at every opportunity.
- Barbecue in the garage.
- Spend many many hours outdoors.
- Park our car just outside the garage in the driveway or on the road by our house.
- Walk late at night around the quiet neighborhood.
- Call the bathroom the ‘washroom’.
- Turn the basement into a playground for the kids to enjoy on the days when it’s too cold to stay outside for too long.
- Take a train to work.
- Use the library, parks and conservation areas.
- Clean our own home, do our own washing and look after the garden ourselves (although, to be totally honest, we have engaged the services of a cleaning company that comes twice a month).
- Decorate our porch and the outside of our house with the appropriate decorations every season. This month it’ll be pumpkins and such.
- And ALWAYS have maple syrup in our pantry.