At around noon today, I was informed by a few fellow Canadian colleagues at work that the Canadian Embassy down on Pennsylvania Avenue was celebrating Canada Day a few days early with free food, music, and overall good cheer. Being a Canadian away from home, I decided to go and experience Canada Day away from, well, Canada.
We took a taxi cab to the large embassy building (Canadian tax dollars hard at work, baby), and, upon nearing the entrance to the activity area, we were asked to produce a proof of identity (my Quebec license did the trick) and were searched with one of those airport wand devices. Canadians are calm people, so the process was painless, and we were cleared to enter the grounds.
Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the smoke pouring out from the numerous BBQ grills and the din of Canadians, friends of Canadians, Embassy employees--and even our Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson--mulling around, chowing down on hot dogs, hamburgers and--is that what I think it is?--poutine!
Needless to say, I felt at home.
After 1 hamburger, 1 hot dog, 1 poutine (with real cheese curds), a Coke, and then a mini tour of the embassy (forgot my camera, sorry folks), I joined the crowd in signing O Canada in both official languages (well, I tried anyway).
After that stirring rendition, the speakers began blasting Billy Talent, a Canadian hard rock band (whose song is still ringing in my head), and I felt like shouting: "Vive le Quebec, Vive le Canada!" But I didn't; I restrained myself.
It's weird: Though I am working in the States, a country to whom I am thankful because it's been mainly in America where I have received a few breaks, I am still a proud Canadian, a proud Quebecois (even if my French is rusty), and a proud bombastic Montrealer (a city that has seen better days, sadly, but I hope will make a comeback).
So to all my Canadian readers: Happy Canada Day! And to all my American readers: I'll see you at the National Mall on the Fourth of July. God willing.
about the author
- David Kemper
- I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.
I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.
I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.