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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Being asked the hypothetical question, “If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?” is always fun. Americans often select places like Europe or the Far East, where culture is far different than our own, but the food and tourist attractions are well known and will provide stories and bragging rights for a lifetime.
Although I certainly wouldn’t turn down a trip to Europe or the Far East (especially if someone else is paying), neither would be my first choice. Before I die, I have only one place I really want to see…Canada.
Yes, I’m serious.
I just may be Canada’s biggest fan. I even double majored in college, so one of my majors could be Canadian-American Studies without getting too much grief from my friends and family.
No, I am not Canadian, nor related to anyone who is. The closest thing I have is a friend with dual citizenship. Unfortunately, our plan for a mutually beneficial marriage of convenience (yes, we were mostly joking) was foiled when he and my best friend fell in love in college and got married. Damn it.
I had planned to move to Canada and at least obtain a work visa to live there as soon as possible after college. However, I met my husband right around that time and…well…I’m still here in the U.S. My husband understands my love for Canada and has promised me he will seriously consider retiring there. Retirement for us, however, is a good 30 to 40 years down the road. So the best I can do in the meanwhile is daydream about at least vacationing there.
Why Canada? I get that question a lot.
What burns me the most is when people chortle at my interest in our Northern neighbors and say, “But they’re just like us!” Excuse me. No, Canadians are not “just like us.” They may look and dress like us, but they have a history and culture all of their own.
Americans would scoff at the idea of a foreigner lumping Southerners together with East Coast people, or Midwesterners with Northwesterners. The different regions of the U.S. are extremely varied. Canada has this regional diversity, too.
Although the Canadian West coast is very similar to where I live (Seattle), their Eastern provinces are a world of their own. I want to visit Nova Scotia if it’s the last thing I do! The second smallest Canadian province is a little world all on its own. Ever since I saw a documentary on the speech patterns of the native fishermen there (they supposedly speak English, but it’s so heavily accented that even many other Canadians don’t know what they’re saying), I wanted to visit it. I want to hear that accent in person. I want to see the breathtaking vistas.
I also want to spend time in Quebec. How awesome is it that I can have a full French experience without leaving North America? Although Canada is divided over Quebec – and Quebec would just a soon prefer to be its own independent country – having such a unique and independence province lends to Canada’s appeal. Quebec is the only Canadian province where French is the predominant and official language. Immersed in the French language and – inevitably – culture, a visitor would likely forget they were still in Canada while spending time in Quebec.
Finally, the adventurer in me wants to experience Canada’s northernmost territory, the Yukon. My husband and I have always had an adventurous side, and the idea of camping and snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the extreme outdoors sends a thrill of excitement down my spine. Granted, we have a daughter now who is far to young for such an adventure, so it’s not likely to happen any time soon – if ever – but it is still fun to daydream about.
This extreme variety in sights, cultures, and experiences is why I am drawn to Canada. Just because it happens to be close to “home” for us doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an adventure.