Happy Canada Day Plus One!

Happy Canada Day + 1! As in the day after our country’s 149th birthday. I’m writing this post late because on the day itself there really was not time for blogging.

As a country, we are officially 149 years old (if you care to ignore the generations and generations of First Nation people who lived on this continent long before the Europeans arrived – but as a united & politically connected Canada, we are 149), which pretty much makes us a baby when comparing ourselves to other countries.

After witnessing the UK vote themselves out of the European Union last week (!!!! Arugggghh!!!!)  I truly felt gutted. Zsolt and I had rich lives in England while there. We met the best darn people you’d hope to meet. Some of my fondest friendships were formed while doing my MA and working in the library. Lifelong friendship were made as Zsolt studied his PhD. And while I missed Canada and family in a way that ached, it was becoming more and more my country. If I hadn’t gotten sick we would have made it our permanent home, I’m certain. I’d be English today. Instead, as it is, Zsolt is Canadian.

But it’s also the first place I ever felt like I didn’t belong. While working in England, I was referred to as a foreigner. That was weird. Me, foreign? Maybe, but not by much I reckoned. It’s the first place I witnessed an open argument between groups of people on the street – specifically Polish and English, which certainly I’d never seen in my suburban home of Kanata, Canada. It was the first time I realized that not everything was totally okay in the world, and that tensions were creeping in – seeping into some minds. Not into all people, but enough that 2nd generation polish kids felt compelled to explain their Englishness to me on more than one occasion. (at work, and once in a restaurant with the waiter). Something was certainly going on then, and it has clearly continued.

Though by living and working for an international university, you get into a lovely liberal bubble of acceptance – and most of this passed by me without noticing. So when it came to the Brexit voting, I never suspected it was possible for the Leave vote to win. Except that it did. Leaving me to worry about my international friends in England, and how they will be treated.

Remember when Quebec held the referendum here in Canada to remain or leave? Remember that? That was the damn worst. To think a 149 year partnership (okay, it was like 129 back then or something) could break apart with a simple vote – it was scary to me even as a child. Even as a kid, I knew Quebec leaving would break something very special. I’m not saying it is something perfect, but guys – we have a very special country. The more I see of this wonderful world, the more I know there’s a strong reason to love this place so much.

We are not perfect. But we are special. For one thing, we’re proof that a country can evolve its identity while maintaining important values, even as it welcomes the identities of others. (Just crash a citizenship ceremony to see what I mean, it’s totally inspiring. They do them in Ottawa.)

You know, the EU is very special too. I hope it remains an ever strengthening and evolving entity – where countries within work well together, support each other, realize each other’s worth (as if they didn’t already), and don’t leave when things are hard, or because some parties promised a vote that was really just some political tool rather than a smart way to govern.

And I cannot forget the United Kingdom, because it’s a very special place, particularly in my heart (along with Hungary). I know that it is bursting with good people – even those who voted to leave, in their minds, felt they were doing the right thing (though my frustration with them remains very high because it was a damn bad decision. In hard times, we look to blame – and they were given an easy and massive target to kick, with extremely serious consequences.) But I know there’s so much goodness in the UK – and goodness knows the more we attempt to understand and support each other, the better off we are all around.

 

Anyhow, Happy Canada Day. I love this country, and as my life grows I come to realize in how many ways I’m blessed to call it home.

P.S. I had a lemonade moment yesterday (term inspired by Mandi) when it was 9:30 and we decided to race to from our apartment to Major Hill’s Park to see the fireworks. I was exhausted, but Canada Day is only once a year. So on when the rain boots, out came the umbrella, and we went to see those big BOOMS happen in person. It was so nice, and even if I was knackered to the bone by the time we return, it was worth every ounce of energy.

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A Nice Little Life

Life has been nice these past 2 weeks. When I think back to this time last year . . . well, let’s not do that right now. Instead, let me tell you just a little about how awesome it is to take a holiday for real.

First some friends got married. Oh my goodness, that was lovely. Funny, I can remember going to a wedding last year and feeling a strange moment of . . . something. But this time it was far more about laughing with friends, and hearing touching speeches, and seeing a very happy couple united. So that was the start of the good times. Right after the wedding, we took off for a cottage.

"Photo booth"

“Wedding Photo booth”

My parents rented a beautiful cottage not long ago up at Lac Blue Sea for about 6 days. They invited all of us to go up and stay with them at the cottage for some R&R. There’s zero internet at the place, and that’s really good since the only time I seem to stop working is when I literally cannot access my work. So, we went to the cottage and unplugged.

It was fantastic. From kayaking to beautiful food to swimming at dusk, to pretend cottage shopping, to multiple cups of tea, to laying on the sofa reading books, to playing board games, to laughing, to napping . . . it was heavenly. Last year we went to the very same place, and Zsolt and I spend some time at this place last autumn as well. It’s a good place – a very good place.

But it doesn’t stop there. As you may know, I pushed my scan back this year. It took some juggling, but we got there in the end. So, for Zsolt’s birthday – he turned 33! – we celebrated his birthday. He received many video games that I hope he one day plays. . .

(We are playing The Walking Dead together at the moment, a game produced by Telltale Games and based on the comics The Walking Dead. It is seriously intense and emotional stuff – but also fun since we’re really playing together. He kills the zombies while I hide in the other room, and I help him solve the not very difficult puzzles. Also I choose the responses in the dialogues, and Zsolt kills more zombies and shoots stuff in general. Good teamwork.)

Zsolt had some special birthday waffles, and then we just hung out the entire day. It was honestly a bit of a knackering day since we also left the cottage that afternoon, but it was a happy day nevertheless.

Then yesterday was Canada Day. It was so, so, so good. Last year had the weight of a hundred bricks on my chest. This year we were so busy going downtown and snapping silly photos, meeting friends, eating awesome food and watching fireworks, that I hardly had time for heavy emotions.

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And then on Saturday it will be my turn to have a birthday. Thirty two years old J I’m so freaking happy about it that I could just cry all over this keyboard.

The week following will be, very likely, a challenging week. I’ll have a CT scan, and then wait another week for results, and then . . .I don’t know. I could cry all over my keyboard thinking about that too – but would much rather not at the moment. For the time being, it is far better to enjoy the summer weather and summer mode of life.

It was a good decision to push back the scans. This has been a beautiful time.