Today I became a citizen of Canada. I am officially ready.
I have been in Canada on and off since the Millennium; and it is important to state the only reason I have not taken citizenship earlier is my pure laziness – filling out forms has never been my thang.
So what drove me to follow through in 2017? Well, partly, a promise I made to Lori a few years ago to share citizenship with my (Canadian) kids; just as I had shared my British citizenship with them. It makes life simpler, more organized.
But mostly, now, right now, because Canada continually and more deeply reveals itself to me as a country – THE country – that the world needs.
I am proudly British, for better or worse. I love the land, I admire the people – their curmudgeonly, sceptical, humorous, stoic acceptance (not an embrace) of the world; their ability and willingness to generally do the decent thing (Brexit notwithstanding). Britain is in my soul, my fabric.
But Canada, oh, Canada. You have my heart.
I could share my beliefs about this country that others can easily relate to: its multiculturalism, its bilingualism (my kids go to French school) and acceptance of difference. Canadians are openminded and outward-looking: they know a lot about the world and about others; they are intrigued.
But there is one thing that makes Canada right for today, maybe THE country the world needs. Canadians are (life) travellers. They are seekers. A nation of immigrants, by definition, is such a nation. Many of us have moved from there to here, with all the attendant newness and learning that comes with it.
We live in a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. How to respond? We need muscle in dealing with change. We need to be not-so-certain of how the world works. We must recognise others’ perspectives and ideas. We should steal the best ideas; and never make them shibboleths.
Here is my explicit example. I work in a team who all have roots, a history, elsewhere, randomly:
- US (birth); Jordanian (culture)
- German (culture)
- Venezuelan (birth); Chinese (culture)
- Italian, Croatian (culture)
None of us had parents born in Canada. All of us are good citizens, hard workers, seekers.
Canada is that country. Canadians are those people. I am of that country; of that people. Maybe I always was, now I am officially. I am ready.
Thank you Canada, and to all the Canadians who have inspired me to be more, do better. I hope I can do my bit.
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