Monthly Archives: January 2015

What I Want to Say

canada usI’ve been busy. Perhaps not in the conventional sense, or busy like many of you have been. But those walks on the beach each day take quite a long time, and then there’s coffee. Coffee is an event in and of itself. I mean who wants to hurry up and finish when there’s sun, surf and a nonfat, no foam latte all wrapped up in one? So that’s where I’ve been but, as you can plainly see, I’m here now and I have something I want to say.

I like Americans. Well probably not all Americans. I suppose if I had to pick one off hand who I particularly don’t like it would have to be, hands down, the Idaho State Trooper who saw fit to cite me for going a little faster than I should have been just moments before I would have been back in my own country and out of his hair. But then who likes all of anything really? Even in a box of chocolates there’s sure to be a dud. Besides, I spend a fair bit of time in the U S of A and overall, most of the people I meet are really lovely so I don’t have any complaints. Well maybe just one. It seems, and I say this with some trepidation as it’s based on a rather small sample, but nonetheless, it does seem that people here don’t know very much about Canada. Which is a little odd since we are, quite literally, attached at the hip.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Americans don’t know anything about my home and native land. As a matter of fact it seems to me that they are pretty good at identifying us, or at least those of us who quite unknowingly, and perhaps unwittingly, end at least one of our sentences within an entire conversation with “eh”. Who knew I did that, eh? But I must because, as soon as it happened my American friend popped the “so where are you from in Canada” question. Unfortunately, beyond that things get a little iffy. Especially when it comes to geography. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that most people here are geographically challenged when it comes to the large landmass to their north. Which surprises me a bit because here’s the thing. I’ll be the first to admit that I am no geography genius but ask me where, let’s say, Arkansas is and I can give you a pretty reasonable answer. More south than north. More east than west. And I’ve never even been there. So at the risk of tooting my own horn I’m going to go right out on that proverbial limb and say that I can pretty much do the same for any of the remaining 49.

Which is why I was surprised, and perhaps a little dismayed, to discover that the same can not be said for my southern compatriots who, having asked me where I am from are, more often than not, stumped when I reply, “Edmonton, Alberta”. In an attempt to assuage the inevitable blank stare, I further clarify my answer with “Canada”. To which the most frequent response is “Oh, it’s cold there, isn’t it?” Because that seems to be the constant, the one thing they are sure to know about Canada. Now even as a shallow person I know this is neither the time or place for sarcasm. I simply know that I shouldn’t say what I want to say. At least not then. Not while I am the sole representative of my entire country. But here. Well this is my blog and I can say what I want to. So let me tell you how some of these conversations go and how they could/should have.

American #1: So where are you from?
Me: Canada. And in an effort to be more specific, “Alberta”.
American: Oh, is that like another country?
What I said: Alberta? Oh no, it’s a Province in Canada. A province is similar to your state.
What I wanted to say: Yes. We call it Oil Country. At least we did. And I’m sure we will again one day.

American #2: When talking about our house in Victoria on Vancouver Island asks “how did you ever find that Island?”
What I said: Oh. Vancouver Island is quite well known in Canada. In fact, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia.
What I wanted to say: Actually, we didn’t. It was founded by Juan de la Bodega y Quadra and George Vancouver in the 18th century. 

American #3: While chit chatting in a line at a very popular amusement park asks “where are you from?”
Me: Canada. Alberta to be specific.
American: Oh, Canada. What language do you speak?
What I said: English. Although French is also an official language.
What I should have said: The same one you and I have been conversing in for the last ten minutes!

American #4: Where are you from?
Me: Canada
American: It’s cold up there isn’t it?
What I said: Yes, yes it is.
What I wanted to say: Yes, yes it is.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Pyramid of Kindness

pyramidHello and welcome to 2015. As you are well aware, long ago I resolved never to make any New Year’s resolutions which is why I have once again this year, not resolved to write this blog more frequently. Hence the delay in getting back to you. Suffice to say, having recently escaped the bitter cold of my home town for unfortunately, a rather briefer than usual sojourn at the sea, my fingers have thawed sufficiently to begin again. And while what I want to tell you about might surprise you just a little bit, it solidifies my contention that being shallow doesn’t preclude being nice, or kind or really just about anything else “other” people profess to be. Except, perhaps, deep. I’m not sure one soul can be shallow and deep at the same time although I might have to do a little more thinking about that. In the meantime, here’s the thing.

I’m not sure how this all happened but sometime between Christmas and New Years I got myself involved in a Ponzi scheme, of sorts. I know! How, you ask, could someone with so much insight into the human condition find herself lock, stock and barrel in the midst of what anyone who knows anything, can only be a game of fools? Was it the result of too much turkey and merriment? Perhaps one too many rum balls? Could she have been blinded by all of those lights? Or did she just get caught up in the season of giving? Well, my friends, if I can be so bold as to call you that, it was none of those. Let me explain.

I’ll just take a moment here to refresh your memories. You’ll recall that not so long ago I extolled my appreciation for Facebook, a place where “everyone knows your name” even if they don’t really know you. To tell the truth, and that’s something I almost always do, I visit my Facebook page several times a day to see what my friends are doing, where they are travelling, who and what they like, what restaurant they are eating at, play or concert they are going to, who they might have just met and what they are doing with their new friends which, as I write this, is beginning to sound a tad creepy. But nonetheless, I do find out a lot stuff and once in a while, something that is even interesting. And so it was in Facebook, that one day, one of my friends posted this:

“This world needs as much kindness as it can get. I’m participating in this “Pay It Forward” initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during the year–anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown, homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented “I’m in” I will forward this message to you privately, so that you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status, (don’t share it) so that we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other. smile and show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, friendly, and love filled year!”

Well, there’s nothing I like more than a challenge so I jumped high onto this bandwagon and before you could say “Jack Robinson”, I was saying “I’m in!” and there I was, copying and pasting this very same message on my wall or newsfeed or whatever it is Facebook has all of us doing now. It wasn’t long, although it was longer than I thought it should have been, that five of my very own friends also proclaimed their commitment to this act of kindness and that’s when it occurred to me. I had just found myself right smack dab in the middle of a pyramid scheme. A pyramid of kindness. A pyramid that’s been turned on it’s end. Because in this one, I’m at the bottom since I’ll receive one act of kindness for the five that I dish out myself. You know, I’ve always professed to “give” but now I’m going to give and give and give and give and give. I’ll let you know what happens.

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: