This weekend is a long one, celebrating 150 years for Canada. It is also the weekend we are celebrating 122 days (4 months to be more general?) in our new country.
And so I decided to list a few things that strike me about Canada so far (well, mostly GTA and close surroundings). And by the way, ‘GTA’ is one of the first new things I’ve learned since coming here?.
So here we go, in order of thoughts and feelings:
1. Niagara Falls. Don’t need to say more, I will never be able to say enough, some bits I’ve put here already:
2. Lake Ontario. Because the only thing I need to reach peace is look at it. And I’m so grateful for being so close to it.❤ (apparently I’m not the only one).
3. The bus. Any bus or subway or other public transportation means. Because these are places where I’ve seen people making genuine connections, be it for only a couple of minutes. I’ve seen people smile at each other, heard them talking, witnessed compliments made by one senior lady to another (‘I love your earings, they are beautiful’), got instructions and help from the bus driver and felt part of the community by mere participation and observation. Thank you for that!
4. Relaxed style. Which can mean anything from people being nice to each other to signs I’ve seen on the street, such as these ones here.
5. School. And teachers! Because my kids say so, 4 months after moving here! Because teachers are most of all human and because they really observe the children they work with. Because my kids feel encouraged and relaxed and because they feel they are important. Because we get reports at the end of the school year, which are genuine feedback about the kid’s skills, contributions and even talents, while also encouraging improvement points. Because teachers take time to observe each child and then write these reports, individually. Because teachers crack jokes with their students and because no matter what they’re doing they are never too busy to say hello. Because they give me a sense of how much they love their job and the kids they work with. Because they teach so much more than just the subject(s). I’m so grateful for all these and so happy this is my kids’ reality.❤
6. Toronto. With all its buildings and style, downtown, beaches, buzz, and I know we still have so much to discover!
7. Canadian beer – Molson – because it’s so similar to the Romanian one, that’s easy! ?
8. Highways and driving on them – I hadn’t driven on such large highways before, and never seen any in the middle of a city! I love it, so thank you!
9. ‘Sorry’ and ‘thank you’ – these are two of the most used expressions, maybe apart from ‘eh’ ? – and I like that so much. Because everyone is so polite.
10. The Go bus and train (I decided they needed a separate category), because I feel I’m on a field trip whenever I travel on them.
11. Street signs, because they’re clear. And because some of them go right where they should – to the heart:
12. Traffic lights, because they’re way in front of you on the other side of the street you want to cross by car. And because the pedestrian green for ‘pass’ is actually white, while the red is a red hand sign to wait.
13. Because number 13 does not exist as a floor in any building ?. The elevator has buttons for 11, 12, 14… ?.
14. Flags – because they are everywhere! I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s true, and I’m sure it’s not just for the 150 celebration.
15. Turn right on the red light is allowed in Ontario, provided you make sure no cars come from the left side and you give way to pedestrians.
16. Squirrels. And other National Geographic like beings, such as coyotes. Because only in Canada can you see a squirrel on the 10th floor of a building! Because they’re everywhere and look so funny!
17. Parks. Because they are so many, in the city, out of the city, and so clean. And wild where you don’t expect it, and unexpectedly organized in other places. Because you can decide to have a barbecue and walk on a trail in the same park.
18. Fun and creativity. Because they make the 150 celebration so close to you that it’s impossible not to feel it to the core. I mean, even the church bell this morning was tolling the national anthem in rehearsal for tomorrow. McDonalds has a commercial on TV where people sing the national anthem, while M&M and Coca Cola have special labels for the occasion.
19. Justin Trudeau. ? Because he is representative for what a politician should stand for in our times. Because he grows the brand of the country constantly, with simple (funny and human) things such as wearing rainbow socks that have ‘Eid Mubarak’ written on them, because the pride parade and the end of the Muslim holy month of fasting happened to be on the same day.
20. Commonwealth. Because we’re in it now and realized we haven’t been before.
21. ‘Eh’, that’s about it, for now. Sorry! ?
22. Oh, Happy Canada Day. Because it’s a greeting that expresses the spirit. Because the 150 years celebrations include interviews with indigenous peoples who’ve been here since forever, with refugees who were welcomed here recently, with people who just became citizens. Because they put everyone in the equation, including the permanent residents?.
It’s going to be a long, long weekend!!
Happy Canada Day! ???????????