July 1 is Canada Day and this year marks the nation’s 150th birthday. To celebrate the occasion I thought I’d post the following essay, which I wrote in 2012 for the Canadian magazine Explore, edited by James Little. It’s a story about kayaking in Canada, but also a story about Spain. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Birthday Canada!
A few years ago, I moved from Toronto to Zaragoza, a city in northern Spain. Not long after, my friend Graham came to visit. Hanging out one evening, drinking wine on the terrace of my neighbourhood restaurant, he said something I still think about now and then.
“Do you ever worry that if you stay here long enough, you won’t really be from Canada anymore, but you’ll never really be from here either?”
I don’t know the answer to my friend’s question, except to say that when you live somewhere for a span of years, you can grow into the rhythm of the place and eventually it starts to feel like home. I was born in Spain, but we moved to Canada before I ever spoke my first word of Spanish. My family was a typically Canadian family in that our house was a small enclave of some other country. When I didn’t spend my summers in the Canadian bush, I spent them on Spanish beaches. It was never easy to choose between them. Continue Reading →