The beginning of July marks many things for many different people. For most Canadians, July 1st is not only a celebration of Canadian history, culture, and (especially for migrants) citizenship. Sure, Canada doesn’t get everything correct (case in point: the fact there are not one, but two, crude “Did you hear the one about…?” jokes-come-alive in power of the most populous city, and our nation continuing to vote in its own Sith Overlord), but I think we hit the nail on the head for a number of issues. On that same note, three days later, we have our neighbours, the Americans, celebrating Independence Day.
Just to disgress for a bit, isn’t it a bizarre coincidence both countries’ national days are so close to each other? It only serves to remind all of us how similar, and also how dissimilar, these two nations really are. Bubblers versus water coolers? Imperial versus metric? Center vs centre? Dollar bills versus loonies (though it does do everyone a great service to throw dollar bills in the air, rather than having it rain loonies)? But again, these are slight trivialities compared to the grand scheme of things: rising student debt, record high child poverty rates in America and in some of Canada’s provinces, and other migraines that make everyone versed in any sort of national problems cringe, sigh and search for a beer (Molson or … Bud Light…? Yikes.).
But nothing makes a Canadian more homesick for their nation, than travelling, be it to other countries, or even to other provinces.
And here’s a list of things that every Canadian and British Columbian, I feel, takes for granted:
- The environment – do you know what it’s like to try and orient yourself without the mountains to our North? Plus, the air is crisp, and especially evident in my Instagram, there is just so much blue everywhere. It’s stunning, if not enough to make you wonder how people can wake up everyday and not see a tree.
- Being able to drink from the tap – clean drinking water is a luxury in so many different parts of the world, developed and developing. And on top of that…
- OUR WATER, IN GENERAL. GODDAMN, VANCOUVER, YOU HAVE GOOD WATER. YOU HAVE GORGEOUS WATER. YA BEAUTIFUL. IT’S TRUE.
- Parking availability – as much as we all gripe about the price of parking, I encourage everyone to saunter over to San Francisco, and see the nightmares of owning a vehicle. (Bless ye if you have manual transmission.)
- The multiculturalism – as a person of colour, it’s a luxury to grow up with many other individuals from different nations. Fast forward to embarking on travels, and always having to answer the recently-scrutinized: “But where are you really from?” There’s also a certain peace knowing there are other POC nearby. More thoughts on this later, perhaps?
- The West Coast emphasis on keeping healthy – take a walk, everyone. 10, 000 steps ain’t gonna happen on the couch.
- Free healthcare. ‘Nuff said.
- Our liberal atmosphere. Can you imagine not being able to call the leader of your nation a Sith Overlord? I know, I shuddered at having to type “Leader” also.
- The chance to see our cities grow. As an urban geographer, it’s particularly interesting to see young cities, like Vancouver, evolving; our urban landscapes are essentially great case studies into how cities grow and shift. Young cities like Vancouver also provide its citizens a chance to speak and contribute to surroundings, and more critically, learn from the failures and shortcomings of other cities.
As for #10 … I reached the end of this list and couldn’t seem to put a finger on how to conclude this list. It seems fitting then to post this question: What about you, Canadian/British Columbian readers? What’s the one thing you’ve taken for granted, and didn’t realize it until you left home?
Help me complete my list!
Until next time – adios, amigos.