… ahh, alliteration, how I do love thee!
I have one. A nasty, head-squeezing, inner ear-itching, sinus pounding, can’t-sleep-‘cos-every-time-you-lay-down-your-head-explodes, head cold. Yesterday I surrendered and indulged in some cold and flu medication. Pseudoephedrine is a girl’s best friend.
Citizenship, Canucks, and Cultural Context:
On Friday 3rd June I became a Canadian citizen. It’s been a long 7 year journey for myself and Mrs Widdershins. We both got a little teary at the ceremony, (I held it together until ‘O Canada’) then headed off to a swanky restaurant we had a coupon for, (times being what they are) to celebrate.
The Canucks (Vancouver’s Ice hockey team) are locked in a bruising head-to-head battle with the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup this year. (it’s the Superbowl, Melbourne Cup, Wimbledon, etc, of Ice Hockey) It’s only been this season that I’ve come to understand the game, both on the ice and off.
When I arrived here 7 years ago I had no frame of reference for any of my surroundings. Australia is a Summer Country. I enjoyed playing and watching sports, but of the tennis, cricket, swimming, summery sort. Snow and ice were anathema.
It’s a funny thing this processional from one homeland to another. I didn’t understand the depth of dislocation that would occur. No-one does until they go through it. It’s as if I existed only in the present moment, with no understanding of the past and no expectation of the future, because I had no historical or cultural context to hang any opinions off of.
Who is Wayne Gretzky, or Henrik and Daniel Sedin? What is the Canadian Shield? Why does Canada have two official languages? … Just to name a few conundrums. These are things you learn about in school or by osmosis as you live your life, and require the passage of time and experience to fully comprehend.
Now, I’ve acquired an historical and cultural understanding of hockey and can enjoy the game because, apart from anything else, I understand what the hell the commentators are talking about. It also helps to have a decent sized TV screen to see that tiny bit of black vulcanised rubber they all seem to be fighting over!
The same goes for being a citizen. If I’d’ve been able to instantly become a citizen the minute I arrived here, I doubt I would have had an inkling of what it means to call myself Canadian. Now I have a better understating of what it doesn’t mean, and less ignorance of how it happened. Confused? Oh well, that’s us Canadians for you, eh?
These quotes just about cover it.
“Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it” – Martha Gellhorn
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote” – George Jean Nathan
“I am so excited about Canadians ruling the world” – John Diefenbaker (I suspect he might’ve been joking … maybe) Canada’s Prime Minister when the Bill of Rights became law, which led to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which we have today.