Today I want to talk about another home. Canada's national anthem starts with these two lines:
Our home and native land!
For me, Canada is my adopted home. I moved here when I was twenty-three years old. I had met Jay, a Canadian from Vancouver, while I was attending the University of Idaho. He was there to work on his master's degree in fisheries, and I was finishing up my degree in mathematics. After completing our studies we decided the best place of us to be in terms of employment was Canada, so I became a very reluctant immigrant.
By reluctant I mean I was sure I already lived in the best place in the world. If you have that mindset it's rather hard to resign oneself to settling for what you perceive to be second best. I was an American through and through. It wasn't that I didn't like Canada. I did. But it most definitely didn't feel like home.
Then slowly as the years went by I noticed a shift. I found myself cheering for the Canadians over the Americans during the Olympics, especially during hockey games. When I would cross the border back into Canada after visiting my parents' farm in Idaho I started to have a feeling of being home again. I began to think of distance in terms of kilometres, and temperature in terms of Celsius. I had a daughter with extreme medical needs and realized what a gift we have in our Canadian medical system.
It wasn't that I had stopped caring about the country of my birth. It was a case of starting to love the country I was living in. The end result of this slow transformation was me applying for and being granted Canadian citizenship while we were living in Kamloops.
It has been a rough week in this country I love. But in the midst of the darkness there have been many patches of light. We live in a world where the term hero is both overused and inappropriately used. But there are still true heroes. People who rise up to do extraordinary things, brave things, in a time of crisis. I encourage you to click on this link to hear a tribute to an incredibly brave man. Thank you Kevin Vickers for your service to your country.
This link will take you to the story of another hero. You might want to grab a tissue before you read it. From this day forward every time I hear the expression "you are so loved" I will remember this woman. Thank you Barbara Winters for your service to your country.
I started this post with the first two lines from our national anthem. I'd like to finish it with the first two lines from this article in the Globe and Mail.
"I was never prouder of my country than I was Wednesday. I learned that we are a pretty cool people in a crisis."