When I was five years old my parents decided to uproot our lives and commence an adventure. We came to Canada on what was supposed to be a three-year living abroad experience. Well 16 years later we still here a country full of seasons and wonder.
My whole identity is based around this country; to me I am Canadian, to others not always. Every time someone asks where I’m from I say Canada and then they look exasperated. “ Where were you born, why can you speak Spanish?” they ask as I was stupid for not understanding the question. “Oh Colombia.” I respond thinking it was an honest mistake. The top answer I get after that is “ Oh, so you’re Colombian.” “ No!” I want to scream, “I’m Canadian.”
It’s not that I don’t like Colombia, I was born there and I am proud to have been. My family is there and I like to visit when possible. Yet the truth of the matter is that apart for those two things I have no ties to the country. To Colombians I speak funny (because I speak formally like my parents do and no like the young adults there do), I dress funny and I listen to funny music. I don’t like to salsa, dance or party like even the quite Colombian seem to like. I am the odd ball of the group and I never feel like I quite fit in.
In Canada, I experience the same kind of alienation but not to the same degree. My biggest pet peeve is New Years. Here New Years is a day to party with friends, where as in Colombia New Years is for partying with your family. As much as I love my family I always feel left out on New Years because it’s always spent with them.
I once saw this documentary about Generation One. It depicts how kids of immigrants feel and struggle in our society and for the first time I felt like I had found my group. The problem is I’m not Generation One, I am an immigrant.
I will be forever grateful to my heritage, but ultimately Canada is my home, and Canadians are my people. In the words of Joe from the CANADIAN beer commercial: I am Canadian!