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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cold and Canadian

My friend in Austria texted me this afternoon asking me what I was doing. At that particular moment I was wandering around Home Depot, Starbucks in hand in my most comfortable well-worn pair of jeans and a t-shirt. In Kelowna.

The question made me give pause. I would never wander around my Vorarlberg home like that. First thing to note was that I was dressed inappropriately for the weather. But being Canadian, we often don’t bother with such formalities. We can usually be found dashing from our vehicle to whatever our destination happened to be in clothing that is anything but warm. When I first arrived back in Kelowna I was wandering around with my big scarf, warm jacket and a hat close at hand. Its now 10 days later and I have already resumed my Canadian ways. Its ironic really, the country most noted for its harsh climate and we seem committed to defying the reality of it all.

I must admit however, even though I am not a fan of the deep cold winters – I feel home in them. Just yesterday when the chairlift I was on came to a screeching halt we had a few moments to enjoy the fierce wind that blew the snow so hard it felt like little pin pricks on any exposed skin. As I pulled my neck warner over my face and shared comments of displeasure with my lift mates I couldn’t help but smile. This is the winter I know, not just the weather itself, but the common bond fellow Canadians share over it. We are too cold, too hot, and too humid – we are a country of extremes and we like it – even though we would never admit it.

That same day I skied into the resort village. A large inflated beaver anchored in the snow was inviting people to come celebrate. Only in Canada would we have a vicious, bucktooth reclusive animal as our countries mascot. The sight of the massive beaver made me laugh and in some odd way also feel proud. Generally speaking, Canadians don't take themselves too seriously.

I have indeed adapted to my European life. But one thing I did realize in that Home Depot moment – you can take the girl of out of Canada, but you cannot take the Canadian out of the girl…