My dad was similar in some ways to Granny for a while. He was born and raised his first ten years in Maple Heights, Ohio, and during his teens he moved to NYC and worked on the tugboats in the harbour. Then he moved to Canada and, although he loved it, it could not replace for him all that the United States was. And that tie was made stronger over the years as he romanticized everything about America. I really don’t think to this day that he truly feels Canadian. It was years before he took out his citizenship and even then, it was mainly so he could exercise his right to vote. He loves Canada, but his heart is American, steeped in the politics and the history. Dad is an American Civil War buff and an expert on the old west. He loves American literature and American poetry and has volumes and volumes of all of the above on his bookshelves.
Yet this proud Eagle managed to raise two very Canadian kids whose pride in the Maple Leaf Forever knows no bounds. I have always been a lover of Americans and fascinated with the culture and the history. I could live in New York City in a New York second, and likely will at some point as it is a shared dream of my husband’s and mine. I could also live in London, England, and hopefully will as well. At least, these are our dreams! And if we get to fulfill these dreams, I know it will be the time of our lives, this time of living in two cities, in two countries we love. But for me, Canada will remain the country of my heart.
The boy, for his part, is American-born with a landed immigrant status in Canada. He was born in L.A. and moved to Canada when he was almost three. He chose to go to school in NYC and loved every single second of it. He is proud to be American-born and proud of that tie with his Papa, but after school was over, he wanted to come back to Canada to start his career. We were a little surprised, as we assumed once he had done the Apple for some time, he would never come back. Turns out, this is the country of his heart.
My husband on the other hand, refers to himself as a man without a country, a man without a city. He claims he could live almost anywhere and I think that is true of him. He is proud of his Scottish heritage and he loves Canada, often defending it when need arises, but he could also happily live in London or New York forever at this point in his life, I think. His parents came to Canada from Scotland when Colin was just six. Both his mom and dad fell in love with their new country and, although they kept many Scottish traditions, this became the country of their heart. More Dad than Mum I think, truth be told.
We were away with dear friends this past weekend and we started this discussion around “were you born where you belong or were you transferred to where you belong?”
Do you live in the place of your heart or are you still searching?
Barbara: SUCH an interesting question, Deb! I love Toronto, I really do. Especially since it’s a city that is maturing in all the ways that resonate for me: its culinary, arts, neighbourhood, and green-space/Lake Ontario gifts just keep getting better and better every year.
That said, if I were to honestly answer your question, I am not tied to one place, and Phil and I have often imagined living somewhere else. I feel my greatest connection is to a great vista of water. I would love to live on the ocean. I also love the mountains. I was born in Vancouver and, in many ways, it is probably my ideal setting—but I worry about the rain, rain, rain. I would love the chance to explore different homes in the not-too-distant future: NYC, for sure; San Fran (and surrounding area); the south of France; a serene Japanese countryside. Yeah, I have no strong need to stay here forever, although I do believe I will always always BE and FEEL Canadian.