I will openly admit that, for the longest time, I took my country for granted. Probably because I rarely left it except for grocery trips to North Dakota and a trip across the Western US when I was 12. So, really, considering our neighbors to the South had Jumpin' Jack doritos and Disneyland I was glad to be Canadian but always felt like something was missing.
Perhaps it was because I felt my dreams lay in LA. After all, I was going to be an actress, didn't you know? Just like every 12 year old girl. Ever. Perhaps it was because I found out only Americans could be in the CIA and I so desperately wanted to be the female version of James Bond. Or perhaps it was the Canadian winters.
Most likely it was the Canadian winters.
Then I went on a trip. A tad further than Disneyland. And it was there, halfway around the world, that I got to experience, firsthand, how the world loves my homeland. How the world rspects my homeland. How the world embraces my homeland. And that's when I first started to realize... maybe I should too.
And when the real estate crisis hit south of the border I got a different perspective of my country. A perspective beyond the patch on my backpack and tales of moose and maple syrup. Perspective as a grown-up. As a responsible adult. And as a single girl with a house of her own and a mortgage to pay without the help of a man. A perspective that made me grateful that my country and government had policies in place to protect me. And when I saw my bloggy friends struggle with healthcare my perspective changed yet again... and I considered myself lucky to live in a country that promises to take care of me, regardless of whether or not I can afford it. When my job got to be too much I was thankful to quickly and easily find not only one job but two. And while the jury is still out on said job I am grateful every day to have a roof over my head and money in the bank... regardless of how old the roof may be or how small the account balance is.
And now there are the Olympics. From the moment I tuned into CBC instead of NBC to watch the opening ceremonies I knew my feelings for my country had changed (Plus... what up with the time delay, NBC?!? Don't you know my 'live tweeting' is best enjoyed, although still mildly annoying, live?!?). When even the commercials made me well up with tears of pride I knew these games were different. Not just because they're being held in my country, in a city where I used to live (albeit very briefly). Not just because I have friends who are there, cheering loudly for the lot of us. And not just because these were the first games since The-Break-That-Turned-Into-a-Breakup we hadn't planned on going to together. No... it's not about any of that. It's about me. About how much I have grown. Grown into my skin. Grown into my self. Grown into my country. It's part of who I am. And with all the parts of me that I may want to change, it is the one part of me I wouldn't change for anything.
Although I could really go for an Extra-Large Double Double right about now...