I notice Nova Scotians and Quebecers have the most pride as Canadians.
I want to pride myself in this land. I want a rich Canadian culture and history like they have.
I do not just want to be Canadian because I was born here. I want to feel Canadian.
Before I die, I should to visit every Canadian province and territory, the capital cities of each.
Then maybe then I will say I am proud to be Canadian, and that I finally feel Canadian.
Then maybe then when I hear the national anthem, it will mean more to me.
Then maybe then when people ask me what I am, I will tell them with pride and sincerity,
I am a Canadian, born and raised.
Perhaps there are some things I am taking for granted. But I still fail to see what’s so special about this country I am living in.
Canada isn’t bad, but it’s not that great either. It’s whatever to me.
I want more from my country. I don’t feel Canadian. I want to feel Canadian, I really do.
But I wasn’t raised Canadian. I was raised in Canada. But not as a Canadian.
(On a side note, I’ve never understood how immigrants try and learn Canadian culture when they come here. I feel that when they come here and try and learn to be Canadian, they’re really learning the acceptable way of living in the west. They’re learning western ideals. Their idea of beauty changes, their way of thinking, and even doing.)
So because of my detachment, I find myself comparing other countries to live in,
and concluding that Canada is peaceful & boring.
It’s a wannabe Britain
Like a student who pays utmost attention in class and desperately tries to please the teacher
And a less rowdy America
Like that same student, that is surrounded by other distracting students, and notices that her neighbour would rather not listen to or pay attention to the teacher but rebel. Our once focused student unfortunately, ends up losing her attention span, and joining in with her other peer.
Your background, where you or your parents are from will sometimes influences how you see the current country you live in.
For example…My Afghan coworker loves Canada, she thinks she has more freedom here, and appreciates the peacefulness.
Freedom and peacefulness, I personally take for granted. I’ve never had either threatened in the same way…
And how would I? Look where my parent’s are from. They’re not from some kind of suppressive or communist regime.
Sure life would have been more rough if I were born where my parent’s were and not here.
I am not blind, I see for myself what kind of life I could have been living.
But even then. I don’t appreciate Canada the way I should.
It’s no secret that some of the best paying jobs are reserved for those who speak both English and French
I was looking the other day for lessons to aid with my French. One summer in Quebec didn’t quite appeal to me anymore.
And besides. If Canada has two official languages…why should I have to travel out of my province to learn French?
I mean obviously going to a region that has a bounty of French speakers makes sense,
but at the same time, shouldn’t I be able to learn French in any province through lessons?
And furthermore, shouldn’t these lessons be free of cost, sponsored by the government?
So I thought. I soon realized that my searching was near fruitless, I didn’t find the answers I wanted.
I did however stumble upon a page, describing free French or English lessons for immigrants, sponsored by…
Now quite naturally I was a bit annoyed, and even found myself envious of these immigrants.
Here I am trying to become bilingual, while many immigrants, if interested, could become trilingual.
But then I thought to myself:
“Some may gain these free language courses, but the years they may have lost, the adults anyways, studying in their home country cannot be replaced, all because their degree isn’t recognized.”
Free French and English classes though, outside of school, should be offered to all Canadian nationals, not just the immigrants.
I asked myself then,
“Is it in the government’s interest to promote true bilingualism?”
I don’t think so.
In elementary schools, classes are just 30 or so minutes and not more than twice a week. It’s a mere exposure to French it seems, a little taste of nourishment, an appetizer with no promise of a grand meal. This appetizer is given to students, for just 5 years, from grades 4-9. What is the sense of taking French for just 5 years? Why isn’t it taught along side English or “Language Arts,” as it’s called in elementary schools? We have signs in labels in both French and English, but what’s the point if not everyone by the time they graduate highchool, can read what’s written in French?
French remains an option in Ontario. Perhaps that is the current problem.
If you want to continue French past grade 9, you may.
If your parents would like you to speak French, they may enrol you in a French immersion school.
English and French are equal under the law, yet, I feel as if a person would get farther being a native speaker in English and a substantial level of French, but not the other way around. Otherwise French wouldn’t be such looming option over the horizon.
I personally feel that classes should be in both languages, students should learn both. Students should also start at an earlier age as well, not after they’ve been instructed in strictly English in the previous years. The government needs to do more to ensure that Canadian nationals are thoroughly familiar with both languages, and it starts through education. And if perhaps a person would like to better speak or perfect either languages after school, government funded classes should be available to them.
Please note, before reading this, that this post is based off the observations I’ve made in my region, which is the Greater Toronto Area, in Canada. It just may happen that some, all, or maybe none of what I am saying, may apply to where you are. I am not writing my observations as if they are set in stone rules that are supposed to apply to all Caribbean restaurants everywhere, I am not.
Im more likely to eat from a “West-Indian” restaurant than a “Caribbean” restaurant…
I buy my groceries from a “West-Indian” store, not a “Caribbean” store.
There is a Caribbean restaurant on the campus of my school. It is popular, as it is one of the few places on campus you can get a home cooked meal at a reasonable price that is also rammed with flavour. It is also one of the few places that is “ethnic” in origin. So last week when a friend of mine invited me to try some food from there, I of course said yes. She reassured that “Dude, if you’re Jamaican, you’ll love their food.” Glancing over the menu, I recognized a few familiar dishes…Jerk Chicken, Ackee and Saltfish, and Mannish Water. (Kidding, I didn’t see Mannish Water.)
That experience, (along with many others) has led to me conclude something about the title “Caribbean Restaurant, ” when used to classify, and businesses that use the term “Caribbean” in their restaurant names. “Caribbean,” is merely an umbrella term that seeks to categorize foods from some, but not all, islands. Islands, that have notable differences, that are not homogenous in language, race, religion, and especially not food…This is not to say that you don’t have some similarities between some islands, but it is the similarities between some islands, that these “Caribbean” restaurants focus on, or they focus on one particular country’s dishes more so than others, more so than their own…
Taking the restaurant at my school as an example, the people running and cooking the food are from Grenada. However, I found that there were many more traditional dishes specific to Jamaica than anything else on the menu. Jamaica is a part of the Caribbean. Jamaica is not the only island in the Caribbean. So to say you offer “Caribbean” food but a large percent of your menu only really consists of Jamaican dishes, that is odd. As a “Caribbean” restaurant, shouldn’t the focus be on dishes from a range of islands, not just one or two? Unless you’ve specified somewhere the style of cooking you will be doing, or where you and the chefs are from, so guests can know what to expect?
It is for this reason, that if you’re looking to enjoy authentic Jamaican food, you should stay clear of any that are named “Caribbean Queen” but don’t really say the kind of food they cook. Caribbean food technically can be Latin American style of cooking from the island of Cuba, or it can be West Indian from the island of Trinidad. “Caribbean,” as mentioned before, is an umbrella term that ignores difference. Restaurants owned and operated by Jamaican’s are more likely to have their country name incorporated into the restaurants name, have a flag in the window, or have some manifest way of letting you know it’s a Jamaican operation.
One obvious reason for incorporating “Jamaica” into the mix is no doubt because they want people to make a connection between the island, the people hailing from the island who have achieved global recognition, and their food operation. I really only need to mention one Jamaican here, which still influences people of all generations and has influenced a strong youth culture posthumously: Bob Marley. Perhaps if music isn’t your thing, surely you’ve heard of the “Fastest Man in the World” Usain Bolt, or have heard of Marcus Garvey, if you’re into black history. When people see the names of these people, one of the first few series of words that come to mind is “Jamaica” or “Jamaican,” which is why restaurants owned and operated want the word Jamaican, or Jamaican flag in plain view.
Interestingly enough, I’ve run across so many “Jamaican” restaurants, such as Albert’s Real Jamaican , but hardly any restaurants that cater to the dishes of specific countries, such as (and I’m making this up of course) Mama’s Grenadian Kitchen, Guadeloupe Flavour, Curacao Fusion. It seems like countries that are not as well known, rely on the term “Caribbean” to bring an image into the minds of people. Because let’s face it, unless you have a good sense of geography, how else would you know that the countries listed above, are in the Caribbean? And furthermore, are you familiar enough with the culture pertaining to those countries?