This blog is dedicated to Chantel Johnson who at the most recent Rider game told Shaun that she has read every one of our blogs and thinks we should keep writing even though we’re back in less exciting Regina.
What does it mean to truly be Canadian? It’s interesting that you never really think about that question until you are on the other side of the world or you are trying your best to help a refugee family from the Congo fit in. Since befriending Calvin and Josie, I’ve done more “Canadian traditions” than I’ve ever done before in my life. At the age of 33, I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Josie is regularly asking to learn to cook Canadian food so with her by my side I’ve now made homemade pizza, spaghetti, chili, soup, bread and pumpkin pie. On the flip side, she has taught me how to make tilapia and ugali. Next up will be cassava leaves.
We’ve also been trying our best to answer their questions about Canadian society. Sometimes it is just too difficult to be politically correct so we may be guilty of oversimplifying things. Here are some examples:
Calvin and his friend Moses (after I have dropped off chocolates and carved a pumpkin with them): Tell us, how did this Halloween thing originate?
Me: Well, people from Europe brought this custom. They used to believe that spirits would come out on Halloween night so to scare them away they would dress as scary things like ghosts and witches.
Calvin: Then why are you dressed in that (referring to my Minion costume)
Me: Now people dress up in fun costumes. We no longer really believe in ghosts. I am a character from a cartoon movie. All the teachers at our school are dressed up the same for today.
Calvin: Oh . . . This is not a very professional way to dress. It is good in Canada that you don’t worry about these things.
Calvin: People have been phoning me to offer me a credit card. Who are they?
Shaun: These are evil people who will get you into trouble with money. You must hang up on them. It is not rude ; it is a part of our culture.
Me (as I drop something on the floor): Aiyo!
Joel and Jesse: Aiyo! Aiyo!
Calvin: What is the meaning of this?
Me: In Sri Lanka they say this. It means “oh dear”.
Calvin: I like this.
Jesse and Joel continue to throw things on the floor and exclaim “Aiyo!” as we all laugh. It is the one expression the boys have truly embraced.