Hola mi gente! Ya salio el soooool!!! Finalmente!! It is a gorgeous day today and I’m looking forward to an even nicer fin de semana. Espero that this weather is here to stay! Anoche was crazy, Raptors won in the Oracle and are leading in the Finals!! So much orgullo and excitement for our only NBA team in Canada. Our whole nation is behind them. This really has me reflecting on my Canadian side even more. Ademas, today at lunch we had to rehearse a few songs for my Principal’s retirement, and las canciones are all de los Beatles. Although the Beatles are not Canadian, they were (and still are) HUGE. My dad looooooves los Beatles, and I grew up listening and singing along to various artists, including them. Gracias to my dad, I was able to sing along to these remixed songs for the retirement. Porque la verdad, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in that genre of music if it wasn’t for him. Vamos a chismear about my Canadiense side and the influence of that cultura had on my upbringing. Traete un esnack y vomonos!
Sabes that I’m always repping and sharing about mi Mexicana side, pero tambien soy Canadiense. I was born and raised here in Canada, I didn’t go through the immigration journey (pero experienced it through mi mama), and I am still here raising my own familia with mi esposo. Being Canadiense is just as much a part of my identity as is being Mexicana. Supongo that I don’t emphasize it as much, or make efforts to let it shine porque I’m here. Canadian cultura is already all around me, the languages (English y Frances) I speak everyday and everywhere I go here, and I am immersed in everything Canadiense as it is.
Being Mexicana in Canada takes effort. No como si fuera a chore or anything. It happens naturally, pero I have to make a conscious effort to keep this cultura alive for myself and mis chamacos. Tengo que find restaurants, stores, products, festivals and events that will allow us to celebrate and live out our cultura Mexicana. Tengo que make sure that I’m speaking to mis chamacos in Espanol enough so they can acquire sufficient language skills to be fluent. Y that all comes from me, myself and I. No tengo a mi familia Mexicana, ni a mi mama to help me and help motivate mis chamacos with this idioma and cultura. Mi esposo either, because he is Filipino and doesn’t speak Espanol (yet jaja). They are learning together, y puedo decir that it is a work in progress.
Being born and creciendo en Thunder Bay, Ontario – one of the most Canadian cities you can find here in Canada, I was exposed to everything Canadian. English language was all around me, harsh winters came every year, and outdoorsy activities filled our time. The first song I knew off by heart fue “Hotel California” de los Eagles at the age of 3. I could ice skate at the age of 2, y despues became a competitive figure skater – with lots of early morning practises at the rink before ls escuela. I learned how to snowboard and spent many winter fines (weekends) at the hill. My dad would take us camping (not to a cottage or summer camp) in our camper (like a trailer that sits on the back of a truck) and fishing.
Fishing. My dad loves fishing. Fishing on the lake in a boat on a nice summer dia, or even en invierno (winter) on the frozen lake. Para mi, fishing was the most boring thing of mi vida as a chamaca. My dad would tell us “don’t move, don’t talk, don’t jerk the line – you’ll scare the fish away”. Ay ay ayyyyyy, enserio?! How long are we going to be here for!? Jajaja, fue lo peor. Pero, we went – and he loved having us to himself on a quiet lake, trapped in a boat with nowhere to go jajaja. Looking back, I loved it too. Chistoso, how you learn to appreciate things you thought you hated.
Ademas, I learned A LOT about fishing. These skills have served me so well. Especialmente cuando your amigos from the big city invite you to go on a fishing weekend at their cottage, ouuuu que fresa! Jajaja. Fuimos, and I was the ONLY one who knew how to tie their line, handle the bait, and actually fish. Ay ay ayyyy, who would have thought I’d ever use those skills, pues not me! Jaja.
My dad made sure we learned valuable life skills, como any good parent would. Despite being the only provider for our familia and casa, he always made sure to spend the rest of his time with his familia. He taught me everything from riding a bike, to all the sports rules for hockey, baseball and basketball, he would take us on hikes (which I also hated jajaja), have BBQ’s and he always took advantage of the small pockets of valuable time to just sit with us and talk.
One of my favourite times with my dad, de seguro had to be “what colour car?” Jajaja Esto may not make sense to you, porque it’s our insider game we would play. My dad is a smoker, y aunque I know it’s not the healthiest decision, I find comfort in his bad habit through the time we spent together outside. Cuando he would go outside for a smoke, it was the perfect 5 minute one on one time. Pero, not in the winter – I was not that dedicated jajaja. En verano, we would sit on the front steps of our casa and play “what colour car?” Cuando we heard a car coming, from either direction, we would guess the colour of the car. Jaja sounds silly, pero that was one of my favs. Ademas, he usually threw me a loonie to go grab some dulces from the store across the street.
No se if my dad planned it this way, pero our casa was the ultimate location for raising a familia. De hecho, the casa I grew up in, was also la casa that my dad grew up in! He bought it from my grandmother and still lives there to this day. Nuestra casa was (digo “was” porque the neighbourhood has slightly changed since) across the street from a bodega (corner store), 2 blocks from an elementary school, a 10 minute walk from a highschool, a FREE public outdoor pool 3 blocks away, and we had a public park in our backyard. Enserio, the park’s parking lot connects to our driveway. It was lo mejor.
En verano, you would see the tee-ball teams gathering at the park, chamacos walking a casa from la alberca (pool), and familias eating their helados on their front steps. En invierno, our hockey rinks were always full and games happening constantly. No importaba if it was -30, alguien would be out on that rink. Our comunidad was unlike any other: you could stop by for a visit at any time of day and be welcomed in por un cafe and pan dulce, you could leave your sueter on the bench at the park y ahi estaba when your mama would send you back after te regano, and going to the mall you knew you’d run into al menos one person you knew. Y aun today, most of these things are still the same.
Cuando we weren’t en casa, we were most likely in our home away from home: Mexico. Te juro I think this was a condition of mis papas’ marriage, as if they stated it in their vows or algo. Porque my dad always made sure we went to Mexico every year. Sino, mi mama would be miserable, and he’d never hear the end of it jaja. Como me encataba, I wanted to stay there, move there, live there, and never have to come back or have say Adios to our familia and amigos. My dad would always highlight the differences between la vida en Canada VS. en Mexico. He made it clear why we choose to vivir en Canada, and only visitar Mexico. As much as he appreciated and loved Mexico just as much as the rest of us, he was our voice of reason and kept us grounded when our ideas got too carried away. Jajaja. Esto made me appreciate SO many things that most of us take for granted (I still do aveces too).
Growing up in Thunder Bay was lo maximo for a famiilia and chamacos. Pero, once I grew up and had travelled back and forth to Toronto y Mexico, I knew I had experienced all that I could there at that time, and needed to branch out and explore more de este mundo. Aunque me fui, and was far away from home (I still am), llevo todos los recuerdos (the memories), the valuable life lessons, and the cultura and traditions en mi corazon wherever I may roam. I am orgullosa to be a Mexicanadiense and to have grown up in Northern Ontario, Canada. So much so, that we make sure to bring our chamacos every verano to visit their abuelos. They love the freedom, nature and calmness that you feel being back there. A sense of recharging your energia. We all could use more of that.
*Go Raptors Go, make us proud!!* Arriba Canada!! *
*Pic from Google Images, I couldn’t find it again to tag the artist, please let me know if you know who it belongs to. Gracias.*