Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Post: Finding Your Inner Canadian

By Leana @Runner_Leana


Hi JG’s readers, I’m Leana! I’m not a style blogger but I certainly love Anthropologie, shoes and reading style blogs. You can find me on twitter where I post my shoe of the day pictures. When JG mentioned that she was looking for guest posts I jumped at the chance!

I have always struggled with my cultural identity as a first generation Canadian. My dad is originally from Finland and my mom is from Hungary and they both moved to Canada as children. I think because they both hailed from very different places a lot of their cultural traditions were somewhat lost when they married and started a family. English was spoken in the home and I was convinced that my mom didn’t want to teach my brother and I Hungarian because then she wouldn’t have a super secret language to talk to her sisters in when kids were around.

We left Canada when I was three and we wandered around the globe until my final year of high school. I had no clear concept of what it meant to be a Canadian as I grew up overseas. I remember one time having to make a food dish native to your homeland for school. What on earth is Canadian food?? Eventually I discovered that Canadians would finish questions with the word “eh” so I started making it a habit. Canadians liked hockey? No problem, I could like hockey too! Curling is a popular Canadian game? Sure, I’ll try playing it! I would take the opportunity to buy t-shirts and sweatshirts with “Canada” written across the front because surely if I was wearing it that would make me feel more Canadian, right?

I went to university in Canada and then moved to Texas for work, but I finally moved back to Canada on a permanent basis five years ago. After a few disastrous turns on the curling rink I decided that I didn’t need to learn how to curl in order to feel like a better Canadian. I certainly didn’t need to advertise it on my shirt. I also started to incorporate my parents' Hungarian and Finnish traditions in my life as well. I learned how to make my mom's Chicken Paprika and my grandmother taught me how to make Finnish Piirrakka this Christmas (a savoury pastry consisting of a rye crust and a rice pudding filling).

After all of these years Canada now truly feels like my home. I've learned that there is no one specific thing that defines being a Canadian since this country truly is a melting pot of cultures. Every time I go to a hockey game and I hear the Canadian National Anthem my emotions well up inside and I tear up. I'm no longer searching for a specific definition of what it means to be Canadian, I know that it is what I make it.

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