Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving Thanks, Canadian-Style

It is Thanksgiving up here in Canada.  Sure, the sneaky Canadians beat the Americans every year to the harvest celebration.   Aside from being earlier (harvest is earlier!), Canadian Thanksgiving is different from the American one in a couple of other ways.
  1. No real consensus on when the big meal is: my informal FB poll has Sunday as more popular, but not as dominant/no brainer as Thursday is for the folks down south.
  2. No consensus on the meal itself.  Sure, some go for Turkey (and we had a hard time just finding turkey breasts at the grocery store on Saturday), but duck seems like a popular choice.
  3. The travel/family thing.  Canadians always marvel at how many Americans travel very far for Thanksgiving, as they don't go great distances for their version.  
But my daughter is a big fan of holidays and turkey (and pie), so we had a low-key (how Canadian!) celebration of the holiday, with turkey, pies, stuffing, and the like.  So, it seems like this would be a good time to give thanks for Canadian stuff (will save the general life thanking--health and family and such for the American one). 
  • I am thankful for my Canadian (and other) students.  They are bright, engaged, fun, and only a few are whiny (papers are due last week and this week, so the whininess inherent in the 21st century undergrad went up a bit).  
  • I am thankful for the Canadians around me.  Our neighbors and other folks we have met in Canada have always been quite friendly.  Even though we don't speak the dominant language of this part of the country, we have never felt especially alienated (particularly when compared to a certain previous place we resided).  We have developed some great friendships with people in Montreal, Kingston, and Ottawa.
  • I am thankful for the benefits of living in a small country (big territory, small population) as I have had amazing access to politicians, policy-makers, military folks, and the like. 
  • I am thankful for the generous national grant agency (SSHRC) for funding much of my research for the past ten years.
  • I am thankful that the Canadian economy has been in better shape than the American one, even though there are some similar problems up here.  One of the benefits of the last referendum (1995) is that my house was undervalued when we bought it, and has steadily gained value since then.  
  • I am thankful that ultimate is not only pretty robust up here but growing even more with the new West Island ultimate leagues. 
  • I am thankful for the skiing (not a big skating or hockey fan) that will keep my weekends interesting for much of the winter.  I am not so grateful for the long, long winters, but skiing and indoor ultimate can make the winters move a little faster.
I am sure there is stuff that I am forgetting (no, I am not forgetting the health care system--just not giving thanks for it).  But we are in our tenth year in Canada, and we are grateful for a great ten years (leaving aside what the country has done to our cars). 

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