I am Canadian, married to an American.
Our first date was on the Fourth of July; my first ever 4H tractor pull in the bible belt of the great US of Eh.
I had celebrated Canada Day with other friends in more different surroundings days before, so for me the days are now a combined ultra patriotic fest with friends and family. More importantly it is also reflective.
I like to tease my American friends about the War of 1812, which most of them never heard of but I simply refer them to the Liberty Bell for proof it really took place. I take the chance to be all Canadian and lay down the knowledge that in 1775 the US Revolutionary War had made it’s way to the Northern Maritime and for a while the US occupied Montreal before invading Quebec. I let them take the opportunity in turn to make fun of me for saying ‘aboot’
I remember my first year in the US, I had questioned what I had done. People assumed because I was a smart white girl that spoke a form of English that I would just slide into an easy life and fit in. I didn’t – it was fraught with tears, social confusion and isolation but through it I had my partner.
The subtleties are small but big enough when it comes to morals and ethics – I truly believe we want the same things for ourselves, our countrymen and our kids but the way in which we go about them are drastically different. It is no different than my marriage, it has some well defined borders and other missing all together but at the end of the day the state of my marital union is what matters most.
I am really fortunate to be of both worlds, to know both countries intimately and have those options to express that much more love for the people I call my own. My status as a human being on this planet is simply of one trying to navigate the world in which I live, beyond and within national borders, it is no different than my finding fulfillment in my plural relationships.
Perhaps it is this immigration experience that has also had an effect on how I have changed my approach to a secondary partner, to maintain my Canadian identity while forming an American one takes a lot of deliberation, commitment and forgiveness. I must be both wife and lover to two different people but in the middle is always me and I have to remember I am from a different experiences and I must take care to remember the little things do add up.
I know who I am, every day I am able to look myself in the mirror and be okay with what I see and I approach every day as a call to endless possibilities. I didn’t ever think I would be here but yet here I am, happy.
Happy Canada Day and Independence Day.