We left my parents’ place last Tuesday morning. We drove the long way up and around Lake Superior to get to Minnesota. It was probably the prettiest drive we’ve had so far. The leaves as we drove through Ontario and then Michigan were amazing. I love this time of year.
It was a bit weird to cross back into the states again. We realized, on this trip more than others, that Canada really is a foreign country. There are different laws, units of measure, and customs. Words are pronounced differently. They don’t use pennies, but do have loonies and toonies ($1 and $2 coins). And the health care system, I’ll just leave it at I miss the Canadian system terribly. I’ve been asked many times what the differences are between the two countries I’ve lived in. I usually say that they’re not so different really. But, this time, I saw things through a different lens.
I haven’t lived there for fifteen years. I’ve spent most of my grownup years in the US. I’ve voted in 3 presidential elections and for only one prime minister. Many customs come back naturally. I can still fit in in Canada, but it’s a bit more of a stretch these days. I feel like a foreigner.
I know people change as they grow up and move away from home. They discover more about themselves and who they are at their core. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, with my quirks and imperfections, and with my values, that have become more set in stone. A lot of this happened after I moved away from home. I’m sure that’s common. We grow up, are nurtured by our parents or caregivers, then set free in the world to figure out where we fit. I wonder where Canada fits in with me. Will I always feel a bit like an outsider? Maybe… But, the Canadian part of me will always be there, even if I don’t say “eh” anymore. It was a wonderful place to grow up, boasts one of the most beautiful countrysides, and as it is home to so many that are dear to my heart, will always be one of my favorite places to visit.