Today, Canada is celebrating it’s 152nd birthday. And this year is the first time in my life I haven’t been in Canada for this celebration.
This year, I am in a village in rural Nepal, the only Canadian (that I know of) for miles. Most people don’t know anything about Canada besides that a family member or friend lives there, and “it’s cold, right?”
Back home, every year was a little different. Sometimes celebrations were as simple as making strawberry daiquiris with my mom, sitting on the deck battling mosquitoes and watching the sunset. Other years I spent with friends, celebrating a birthday as well as our country, watching fireworks in the nearest town.
This year, nothing like the above will be happening. But, this year, more than ever I have been thinking about exactly what it means to be Canadian and how lucky I am to carry a passport emblazoned with the Canadian Coat of Arms.
Being Canadian means I grew up with publicly funded health care, quality education, in a safe, peaceful place. Being Canadian means I have the ability to travel, and to pursue my dreams. Being Canadian means my gender has not impacted the opportunities available to me, and that my friends of all backgrounds are safe and can have a sense of belonging in my country. Being Canadian means I have the freedom to speak up about issues that are important to me, and that I am free to believe in whatever religion I choose. Being Canadian means that “home” is a country bordered by 3 oceans, and that I have 9,984,670 square km of beautiful country to explore.
Canada isn’t perfect, and many of the flaws are obvious.
Every day, I am thankful for my country and the privileges it has given me. And even though I love Nepal, and several other countries around the world, when people ask me where I’m from, I am proud to say that I am Canadian.