I’ve just returned from an enjoyable and educational trip to the U.S., where I was able to connect and re-connect with lots of American and international colleagues.
But as much fun as it was, I am always glad to come home, and I appreciate it more than ever today, Canada Day.
A few of us were teasing some American colleagues at the conference* I attended last week in Chicago, giving them a quick test to see if they could attend the annual Canada Party, famous as a highlight of the annual international event.
They figured if they just added “eh” to the end of their sentences, they were in, and knowledge of hockey and Canadian hockey teams was a bonus. A few of them knew what poutine was (although I’m not so sure they could identify perogies), but when I asked one of them who won the War of 1812, she said, “The what?”
It didn’t matter – they were welcome at the party anyway, another typical Canadian attitude, along with extreme politeness and a tendency to say we're sorry (which rhymes with Lori, by the way).
It’s always seemed fairly representative to me that the Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with so much more fireworks than we do Canada Day. We’re more understated; no less patriotic, but less apt to wear it on our sleeves.
Our loyalties run deep, and are often invisible to the eye until challenged. It can take a lot to get us riled (Stanley Cup riots being the exception to that generalization), but we’re a formidable force when we decide to take a stand.
All of which (riots excepted) is part of why I’m proud to be a Canadian. That said, I think we could step up a bit more in recognizing our own brilliance and promoting our own achievements, if only so people – ourselves included – stop underestimating us.
Don't underestimate us. Please.
I’ve always considered myself a typical Canadian, and I believe I would do well to take that last bit of advice on a personal level, too.
So I’m treating this Canada Day as if it were New Year’s Day, complete with resolutions but without the overeating and too-many-seasonal-parties hangover of January 1.
Beginning now I am going to give myself recognition for my talents and achievements without worrying that I’m bragging. I will take credit where credit is due. If nobody else will blow my horn (and why would/should they?), I will.
And I hope that somewhere along the way, I’ll stop underestimating myself. As the commercial says, I AM CANADIAN. And damned proud of it.
*For info on things we actually learned at the conference, I can do no better than to refer you to my colleague, Martha Myzychka, ABC, and her Tumblr feed.