Now that I've returned to Canada, things seem different. Not only that—-I seem different.
I feel like I'm clinging to past identity markers: I listen to the CBC more and am embarrassed to be seen beside an American flag.
This time around, I was able to view more family dynamics and Easter traditions, and glimpse, form a more intimate perspective, the Most Powerful Country in the World.
So...what did I learn?
First of all, at Easter, you've got to paint a lot of Easter eggs. These are hard-boiled eggs painted with crayon and dipped in dye. You can draw little bunnies or, in the case of my Jesus-lovin' boyfriend, scrawl 'Jesus Rules' on the little guys.
Then you put them in a basket and/ or make deviled eggs. (We did both; not sure if the devil got Jesus.)
There's also way more cities in the U.S. As family trickled in for Easter dinner, and I was introduced to all, I had a hard time tracing the routes home. In Canada, especially in Ottawa, it seems people basically herald from along the 401 corridor. My roommates are from London and...Namibia. Okay, so there are plenty exceptions.
But in the U.S., people will drive for six hours to the next state, where there's a whole new line-up of capitals and metro areas. And this goes on, state by state, across the country.
Which is why, by the time the train hit Canada, I heaved a little sigh of relief. No more cities. Yes, there'd be Montreal suburbs and big box stores, but those are generally around something, ie, one of the biggest cities in Canada. If you take southern Ontario out of the equation--and I know you don't like that, Toronto, but the fact is you're small potatoes in relation to the rest of North America--Canada is a huge area with, relatively, little development. And I love that!!
I'm sure Texans would think the whole of Saskatchewan a National Park (Regina being a visitor's centre of sorts, stocked with Mountie trinkets).
Suddenly, I'm more territorial about the Canadian border...