I am not so Canadian anymore…
Now, I know that that is a bit of a weird statement to make but I think this is something that has been going on for quite some time now. And it only just completely hit me this morning.
I guess it was this whole Vancouver Olympics thing that kinda really put things into perspective. First, I have to say that I love the Olympics. As a child I remember my father explaining to me how special the Olympics are, and I remember always thinking that I would like to go there some day. And so the closest I had ever come to that was when I was in judo. I wasn’t half bad, back in the day, but I was never quite good enough to make it on that level, though everyone in highschool thought I had a chance. It was the most common comment made in my yearbooks, ‘see you at the Olympics!’ I had gotten over my dream when I turned 19, moved to Europe, said goodbye to my sport and hello to all those things young folk enjoy at that age. And I don’t regret it. I never look back now and say, ‘if only I had stuck with it…’; I was smart enough to know, already then, that the olympics was something that was just not gonna happen for me.
But I still love the Olympics. And now with them being in Vancouver I thought I would get that extra little bug of excitement brewing, being Canadian and all. But that didn’t happen. I enjoyed watching some of the events on Eurosport, and I am happy that Canada won the gold in hockey last night, and respect to the Canada team for achieving a record number of golds at a single winter Olympics. But you know what, I don’t have that pride.
So many of my Canadian friends were, obviously, absolutely dripping with pride (especially after that win) but I just didn’t feel it. Having now been living in Europe for a decade I have slowly gone through some sort of process of Euronization (yes, it’s a word I think I have just made up – meaning, I consider myself a European, not so much a Canadian, or North American anymore). And this is a very strange thing for me. When I was in Canada with my family last summer, all I thought about was how different I was from ‘them’. Wherever I went, all I kept saying (with a bit of disdain) was ‘they are so North American’.
I feel almost guilty for feeling this way, but it’s true. I grew up in Canada. I spent my childhood there (sure I was twenty when I left, but realistically, I was still a kid). I spent my adulthood here in Europe. This is where I formed into the person I am today. Now, let’s make it clear, I happy that I grew up in Canada and had a wonderful opportunity to meet different people and make some very good friends along the way. There are still some things that I miss, that I just can’t get here; i.e. Mr Christie’s chocolate chip cookies, and relish, and baked beans, real sales in the malls, and wonderland, and good (though most of the time over-the-top) customer service. I am thankful to Canada for all that it has given me, but I don’t get that tingly pride sensation anymore. How strange is that…eh?