6.29.2007

Canadian and Proud

O Canada! This is the time of year when my Canadian pride resurfaces. I grew up in Alberta, Canada but married an American citizen (my mom's worst nightmare) and moved permanently to the USA many years ago. To be completely honest, I have lived in the US much longer than I ever lived in Canada. I became a US citizen at my parents' urging so that I could help my younger brother stay in the US after he finished college. I did all the paperwork and made all the trips to the consulate and paid all the fees they charged. I had to have friends who had known me more than 5 years (I think) show up in SLC (where we lived at the time and where all this took place) to vouch for my character. I had to provide police reports for all the places I had lived (which was a lot even back then -- I can't imagine doing that now -- too many moves) and I had to take the citzenship test. And I hated it all because inside, I wasn't ready to become a US citizen. When the big day came that we were sworn in as US citizens, I was not happy. I felt like I was losing part of me -- I hadn't learned yet that I will always be Canadian in my heart and that it's OK to love the USA as well. It's been a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Anyhow --- during the ceremony, there were a bunch of Laotian boat people becoming citizens and they were absolutely joyous and thrilled beyond belief, while I cried (not tears of joy) and crossed my fingers the whole time (mature, I know) hoping that maybe the naturalization wouldn't 'take' if I did that.

My attitude has changed over time. I live here, my family has been raised here, and it's important for me to feel like a US citizen, to participate in voting (I boycotted that for a long time), and to honor the US patriotism I feel. I love it here, I love it that we are free here, I love it that I raised my family of US citizens here -- but there is a big part of me (bigger than you might suspect, I think) that will always be Canadian. I love Canada and I love that being my heritage. The sight of that red maple leaf will always bring a lump to my throat. And I will probably always do the same thing when we cross from the US into Canada by car -- stick my head out the window, take a deep breath and say "Smell that good Canadian air!". That's home to me. That's where I go to remember who I really am. I need to go back home from time to time so that I can find myself again.

5 comments:

Jori said...

I love "Oh Canada" I think it's a beautiful song. How great that you have 2 countries, that you love and consider home.

Chris * Natalie * Maya * Mason said...

it's a privilge to be 1/2 canadian, 1/2 american! :) good heritage.

Kristi said...

That's amazing! What a wonderful thing to have such a great love for your home country and hold it so close to your heart. I think that's awesome!

The Duenas Fam said...

i didn't know you were from Canada-how neat! i've been there once-such a beautiful country. also sounds neat to have lived in so many places. i was born in corpus christi, lived there until i was 23(same ward my whole life!), then moved to austin and then to here. that was scary for me-the first move to austin. man, i have lived in texas forever! i guess thats my heritage-100% Texan:)

Darleen said...

You Canadians! So patriotic about your country. Wish Americans were more so.