By Taylor Squires
When I was growing up, I used to always dread coming home from all of my trips abroad.
I remember walking through the Park Güell in Barcelona and thinking there was absolutely no way that I could go home.
Why would I want to?
Things always seemed brighter, better and just overall more interesting overseas. In fact, I spent the majority of my time abroad marveling at what life would be like to live in the places that I was visiting.
It wasn’t until I actually moved to a new country that I started to realize that I wasn’t giving our home and native land enough credit.
To put it simply: if there is one thing that I’ve gained throughout all of my time spent travelling, it is a deep sense of appreciation for Canada.
There are some amazing places out there, but that will never change the fact we live in a pretty outstanding country.
Of course, we can see this by looking extensively at our core values, beliefs and way of life.
However, I also think that it’s important to consider the small things too.
For instance, nothing feels better than being polite to someone and them responding with: “let me guess, you’re Canadian?”
Or sitting at a coffee shop in France and realizing that even though you just paid 5 euros for your cup of coffee, it’ll never hit the spot quite in the same way a double double from Tim’s would.
Recently, this sense of appreciation was even further reinforced when I had a friend whom I met in Sweden stay over for a few days before she headed to the USA.
She came from the southern part of Sweden, so I started off the week by taking her on a quick camping trip up North.
I wanted to show her some of the winter activities that Canadians like to do.
I also made it extremely clear that cold weather isn’t a factor that we take into consideration too often because for us, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
When we returned, it was time to make our way down to Toronto, and although we tried a variety of things from the Canadian culture, a highlight was without a doubt going to Smoke’s Poutinerie (she had never had a poutine before so needless to say, it was a life-changing event).
While I was doing all of these different activities that represented certain parts of Canadian culture, I started to truly acknowledge how diverse and beautiful our country is.
Living up North is completely different from the life you would live in Toronto, just like living on the East coast of the country is completely different from the West.
In the end, the opportunity to show my friend just a sample of what it means to live in Canada allowed me to finally marvel at the beauty and uniqueness of my own country for once. For that, I am grateful.