I've been living abroad for almost four years now, and every July 1st, I have the uncontrollable urge to dress in red and white, sing 'O Canada' and only listen to music from the "great white north".
What I mean to say is... I love Canada Day.
Before I lived in England, I enjoyed it. It was fun to see the fireworks, and to have the day off, but now I truly love the first day of July, and all it stands for.
It sounds obvious, but when you live in a foreign country, you become a foreigner. Even though England is, in many ways, similar to Canada, I do still feel very much that divide in cultures that continuously reminds me that I am the odd one out. I don't say this to complain, but to just state a fact. Every time someone mentions a television show that I'm not aware of, says a certain phrase that I've not heard, or even talks about football (soccer), I remember that I am from a different part of the world. Canada Day gives me the chance to (shamelessly) talk about my country and culture, and remember that there is a country in which I am not the outsider.
Living overseas has also taught me a lot about Canada, Canadian culture and what it means to be Canadian. Before moving, I never realised that other countries don't have poutine (or even cheese curds!!!), or know Canadian bands like Our Lady Peace and Blue Rodeo. I never thought that bilingual packaging, screens on windows, or 24 hour coffee shops were things that wouldn't be standard here in the UK. There are many things that I've come to understand are uniquely Canadian, and this has helped me better know what Canadian culture really is.
Although I love living in England, and there are tons of things that I enjoy about living here, I cannot help but be proud of the country that I come from. Being able to see and compare Canada to other places, has allowed me to see all the amazing things about Canada. A good health care system, excellent education system, trees, lakes, Tim Hortons, and friendly people are just a handful of things that Canada has to offer. It is certainly not perfect, and there are many ways in which the country could improve, but unarguably one of the most beautiful, and awe-inspiring nations on Earth. The land, and the people in it, are in my heart.
Because of this, I feel strongly that no matter where in the world I am, I need to celebrate the day that Canada was born. The day that pen was put to paper and my home country became a nation. It might be simple longing for the lake in the summer, or a double double on a cold winter's day, but I believe that Canada is a great country that deserves to be celebrated. The rest of the world has had an impact on shaping it, through the centuries of immigration, so now is the time that we share our culture with the rest of the world!
And that is why I, even though I live far away, will continue to celebrate the day that Canada became a country.
Happy Canada Day to all!