Friday, March 14, 2008

Euro-trip Post Script

It would be silly for me to say that I am having a hard time readjusting to Canadian life, I wasn't gone all the long, and truth be told, things haven't changed at all since I have left. Mid January in Annapolis Royal, ain't a helluva a lot different than Mid March, the weather is desperate, the town is dead, and the locals are simply trying to hold on until spring.

So its not a matter of reintegrating, its a matter of settling for second best. Canada is great, I am proud to be from here. But there things that are really lacking. There is less freedom of movement, there is a huge lack of traveling internationals, things are too stiff, we worry too much, we don't eat as well, we don't drink as well, truth be told, we are too young, we haven't learned enough, we are uncultured, we are still insignificant. Canada, and the US for that matter have lived a sheltered life, we have rarely taken any lumps. We are the world's spoiled rich kids, whose parent's sent us to private schools, where we have been taught that this is as good as it gets, the rest of the world is dirty, they have got it all wrong, its best to stick with your own, forget the atlas, put down the book. Our search is over, we have already arrived. We as North American's are close minded, we would rather not know, why risk discomfort?

Europe opens the eyes to the world. It is a melting pot. There is nothing static about Europe, as old as it is, it continues to evolve. Europe has had to evolve, change is a must, its adapt or disappear, its a constant fight to be relative, complacency will not fly. Europeans are passionate, they are honest, they want to be heard, they will call you an asshole, and beautiful in the same sentence, because in the end we are all beautiful assholes, no? We in Canada could learn from this moxy, this honesty. Political correctness, and insular self-protection will get us nowhere. Its true, I am afraid, that the good guy finishes last. Stand up for yourself Canada, you are a grand spot, but really no one gives a damn. Big Brother down south is not going to stop trading with us if we call him an asshole from time to time, he can't, he needs what we are selling. There is dishonesty in Canada's politeness, we would be respected far more if we told it like it is. We need to become more European, we need to tare the piss.

This is what I have learned in Europe. I learned that yes, everyone likes Canada, but no one really knows anything about it. We are nothing more than polite Americans. The first time you hear this, you naturally cringe. Canada defines itself by how unAmerican it really is. How is that for a slogan, Canada, we are not Americans? Really though, we listen to the same music, we wear the same clothes, we drive the same cars, we eat the same food, on and on it goes. Canada is as American as it comes, it hurts I know, but its true. I am glad that Canada is sovereign, it is grand to be from a place that the rest of the world just wants to hug, and yet still enjoy the fringe benefits of the American lifestyle. But, truthfully, if Canada is going to be truly sovereign, it is going to have to become more European, it will have to embrace its European roots, it will have to stand up for its Canadian values, as fuzzy as they might be. If not Canada will slip further into insignificance. It has worked so far I suppose.

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