5 things I miss most about Canada

Canada Day 2012

Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Canada Day, 2012

Eleven months ago, I left Canada to chase my wanderlust and get a degree while I was at it. I have since lived in three countries, including my current short stint in Singapore, and travelled to many more. While I enjoy embracing new cultures, I often catch myself saying, “If I were in Canada, this would be different.”

There are also moments of “I wish I was in Canada for this.” That includes Stanley Cup playoffs, friends’ birthdays and other milestones, and the Canada Day long weekend. For the last two years I have been road-tripping to Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s birthday, and also fume over the hooliganism of our young, intoxicated, underage Canadians.

The most I can do this year is rock a red and white outfit (which also happen to be the colours for Singapore’s National Day in August) and actively miss Canada.

After almost a year of living abroad, here are the five things I miss most about Canada:

1 – Tim Hortons

Whether it’s with classmates before lecture or coworkers before the big 10am meeting, lining up for Timmys is an integral part of our daily routines. Yes, it’s not the best coffee in the world. In fact, it’s quite awful and many of us can’t figure out why we are so addicted to it. But, I haven’t found any other coffee chain in the world that is cheap, addictive and part of a national identity. Continue reading

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Uh-oh Canada!

Devoted followers of my blog (yes, all four of them) may recall that I recently became Canadian at the end of 2010. Since then I have successfully used my shiny new passport to travel to Central America (without needing any Visa – woohoo!) and Southeast Asia; voted in the federal election, even though clearly my vote didn’t count; and continued to enjoy identifying myself as a proud Canadian.

Given my new-born patriotism, it was obvious that I needed to be in the country’s capital to celebrate my first Canada Day as a Canadian. Plus, Will and Kate were in town. So I made a quick road-trip to visit my friend Sheila in Ottawa. The morning of Canada Day we played my newly-invented game called “Eh to Zed of Canada” (sorry, if someone has copyrighted it already) where you go around the table reciting the alphabet and name off a Canadian word starting with that letter. For example: Apple, Beaver, Canada, Deer, Elections… YYZ, Zipper etc. There were several toasts to celebrate my initiation to this wonderful nation, and yes, even the Quebecois attendees raised their glasses.

Then we embarked on a strenuous journey from the suburbia to Parliament Hill. A twenty minute walk later, we got on a bus full of intoxicated young adults who were clearly not patriotic but just needed an excuse to act passionate and repeatedly chant O Canada! Take a look…

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