Am I a Real Canadian yet?

Hiya pals, hope you’re all well! Here’s a quick life update before we get to the good stuff.

  • Healthwise, it had really seemed like I’d reached the end of the road. After finishing my latest round of medication, I was feeling great and I had a whole four days of no pain which was a new record! PMA.
  • I. Am. Exhausted. Midterms are brutal.
  • I’m cutting my hair off tomorrow and, hopefully, donating it to make a wig for a child. I have always had a weird attachment to having long hair. I’m terrified. Stay tuned on Twitter to see how it goes!
  • People keep saying that I look really young for my age. It’s really strange. Oh well. If it’s true, I guess my baby face will serve me later in life! What do you reckon? Let me know if I need to add some grey highlights or something.

 

A few days ago, I wandered into my local Kind Exchange store. I’m a fairly avid bargain hunter and I’m always popping in with a bag of my old clothes and leaving with a bag of new ones. The girl behind the counter and I became friendly when we discovered that I did my first year of uni in her hometown, Cardiff. God bless those giveaway accents, helping me make friends for the last two years.

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From our conversations over the summer, I started to notice more coincidences: we both love travel, have similar music tastes, we live within a few blocks ofeach other, and we both have lotus tattoos in the same place. The other day she told me that after three years abroad, she’s going home. I was enthusiastic and happy for her- I told her that I know how hard it is to be far from home, and that that was partly why I transferred to Glendon. She glanced at me, surprised. “So you think of Toronto as home, then?”.

Do I? Yes, I suppose I do. After all, this is where my family is, where I study, where I voted a few days ago. I’ve been a Canadian citizen since birth. These are the hallmarks of where we plant our roots, aren’t they?

The truth is, I find it very easy to make somewhere Home. I’ve lived in 12 houses, five cities and three countries. I’ve been the New Girl more times than I could count. I’m lucky that these experiences make me adaptable.

But do I really belong here? Is there some kind of initiation process? Am I supposed to dress entirely in plaid, chug a pint of maple syrup and fight a moose before I get my official certificate?

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I’m pretty sure this is how an attempted moose-fight would go down.

 

I grew up in England. It will always be home. I will always go through life justifying my spending as “but in pounds it’s so cheap!” and I will probably never lose my accent. I will always love tea and I will always be a little bit awkward. But I grew up in a town where I was constantly asked where I was from- and the answer they expected was definitely not “I was born in London”. In Toronto, one of the most diverse cities in the world, I am able to be Trinidadian, I am able to be Northern Irish, I am accepted as English and most importantly, I can still be Torontonian. The beauty of this city is that it is a culmination of Elsewheres- every culture remains intact. Being from Toronto doesn’t erase wherever else you belong. 

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(Especially Toronto)

Yes, I miss England sometimes. I miss being able to go to museums and art galleries for free, I miss the fashion, I miss the countryside, I miss the history, I miss my friends- I miss being slumped in an early morning lecture between Greg and Rachael, I miss weekend escapes to Jen, Joy, and Kelsey, I miss being in the physical company of people who know me well and love me anyway. I miss being funny- believe it or not, people understand my cultural references there.

Coming to Glendon has definitely tipped the scales in Toronto’s favour. For the first time, I live here with a degree of permanence. Living here with no plans to leave is a very new experience. And strangely enough, it’s a good one. I love living somewhere where I can get any kind of food at any time of day or night, I love that Canadians really are the nicest kind of people you can find, and I love studying in the prettiest, friendliest campus in the city.

I may be English- and proudly so- but somehow Toronto has become home. I’m not going to question a good thing. You know what they say, two homes are better than one!
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