August 8 12

We are beyond obsessed with the Olympics around here. I forget that every two years, my world basically comes to a halt and between the opening ceremonies and the closing ceremonies, I live, eat, breathe, discuss, watch nothing but the Olympics. The kids are up early watching highlights…and are up late re-watching races and matches and floor exercises and medal ceremonies. And I couldn’t derive more pleasure than I do, realizing that I have birthed and raised Olympic fans.

I mean, sure, some of my obsession is a bit on the silly side, especially when I sit here and type it out. But, you know, sometimes you need to read articles about a certain American rower’s non-boner boner (*cough* Henrik Rummel *cough*) and how the guy won a medal at the olympics, but will be remembered for his, um, appearance at the medal ceremony. And sometimes you need to watch video and just feel for the poor guy named Feck who landed on his back in his dive, and, you know, sometimes you just need to walk around all, “OH FECK!” and laugh like a hyena and pretend that you are not 34 years old and the mother of three children. And sometimes you need to write articles about Ryan Lochte’s one-night stands and how you really don’t even care that he is kind of…erm…simple and that he likes women who wear white pants and that he likes to wear expensive diamond-encrusted mouth grills.

And sometimes the editor in you just needs to argue about that Olympic song that they play on CTV all the livelong day. You know, that lovely little Nikki Yanofksy jaunty tune which is all well and good until Nikki flawlessly sings that she believes in the power of YOU AND I. Really? You should know, however, that I still cry like a wee baby every single time I hear it. I believe in the power of bad grammar in olympic songs, I guess?

But beyond the silly, there’s this little naggy something that comes up each Olympic games.

I am American. 

I am Canadian.

I was born in Wisconsin. I lived in the US until I was an adult. I still vote in US elections. I still carry a United States passport. I believe that Girl Scout Cookies have magical powers. I am Mama, not Mummy.

I live in Toronto. My children carry Canadian passports. I vote in Canadian elections. I happily partake in my free health care. I have lived in Canada for 14 years. I know what a toque is.

Now, in my everyday life, it’s easy to be both American and Canadian.

I can love America at the very same time as I love Canada. I can sing the praises of Dunkin’ Donuts in the same breath as the praises of Tim Hortons. I can carry loonies and toonies in the same wallet as I carry my dollar bills. I can enjoy both the Canadian Kit Kats AND the US Kit Kats. I can celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in October and then celebrate US Thanksgiving in November (You get a turkey dinner! And you get a turkey dinner!). I can tell temperature in Fahrenheit AND Celsius. I can write favorite and favourite. It’s possible to love both; to feel at home at both; to embrace my dual citizenship with pride. And I really, truly feel both American and Canadian at any given time.

Until I find myself watching an Olympic soccer match. And regardless of dirty plays and bad calls, I cannot help but root for the red, white, and blue.

Until I find myself watching an American Olympian standing on the podium as the star spangled banner plays behind him. And not matter how hard I try, I cannot help but cry patriotic crocodile tears. No mascara for me during the Olympic games; lesson learned.

It’s very clear to me that no matter how much I love Canada, no matter how many extra Us I throw into my writing, no matter how much I feel Canadian…I really am an American.

And I believe I will always be.

And it’s not just because Canadian milk comes in bags.

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  1. USA! USA! USA!

    Unless we’re talking about health care.

    CAN A DA! CAN A DA!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on August 8, 2012
  2. I would always be an American no matter what country I moved to. Nothing gives me chills more than seeing one of our Olympians on the medal stand and hearing the National Anthem play.

    U-S-A! U-S-A!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    It’s almost ridiculous what the anthem does to me.

    [Reply]

    Kristabella replied on

    The funny thing is that because of working in sports, I hate listening to it at sporting events (football, baseball, etc.) But when it is the Olympics? I’m a goosebumpy mess.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on August 8, 2012
  3. I think no matter where you live, where you were born may always win out. At least in large sporting events. Ha.

    Okay really? Bags?

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    …and for me it goes beyond just being born there. I lived there for a long time, most of my life. My family all still lives there. We visit a lot. It’s just still such a huge part of who I am.

    YES. Bags. Apparently, though, it might be Ontario-specific.

    [Reply]

    Issa replied on

    I think it’s very cool that you have two countries. Not many people can say that. :)

    Bags…I am intrigued. One of these days I must make a trip up north.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Issa on August 8, 2012
  4. I’m loving your Olympic love.

    But here in the west, our milk is straight up jugs. (Ha, jugs).

    Also, I like hearing that you can feel at home and LOVE both all while knowing that in your heart, you are an American. My sis-in-law is American and I think she’s afraid to say she likes it here, out of disrespect for The US or something. I tell her it’s okay to be happy in Canada and still love American… but she still can’t seem to do it.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Apparently the bagged milk is only in Ontario.

    Oh, yes. I LOVE CANADA. 100% Love it. You can love both…even if I side with the USA in the end, yanno?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Amy on August 8, 2012
  5. Just so you know, it’s only in Eastern Canada that milk comes in bags. Manitoba and west all use those plastic 4L jugs like civilized people. When I moved from SK to ON a few years ago I was appalled by the bags. I still cannot understand why on earth anyone would want to use them??

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    Yup. If you read the comments, I wrote that it’s only in Ontario. But, you know, I have only lived in one place in Canada…and…BAGS! ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Shannon on August 8, 2012
  6. Here in Ireland feck is used all the time – sometimes to replace the other ‘f’ word but mostly on its own merits i.e. ah feck it – it’s raining again!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Breeda on August 8, 2012
  7. I need to try both versions of Kit Kats. How about next year at Girl Scout Cookie time, we exchange cookies for Kit kats? Oh, and bagged milk. I really feel like I have to try it.
    I’m kind of jealous that you have two countries, and I think its pretty awesome. And since I’ve heard that Target is coming to you – you’ll have one less reason to visit.

    [Reply]

    Comment by monstergirlee on August 9, 2012
  8. I know the feeling, I’m a Canadian who has been living in England for 8.5 years.

    All my family are in Canada and I will always be a proud Canadian. But I love England too, and it is now home as well. Although I hang on to a lot of my Canadian roots.

    I’ve felt kind of disloyal to Canada throughout this year’s Olympics because I’ve been rooting so hard for Britain (we are doing so much better than my homeland).

    But then Canada did kick the world’s ass at the last Winter Olympics :) And boy was I proud.

    I make no apologies to anyone for being a British Canuck. None at all. And nor should you.

    And by the way, I get a lot of Brit’s apologizing to me when they think I’m American and I correct them. No apologies needed, I’m proud to come from a country that shares it’s continent with America :) We are all good people (for the most part ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by jody on August 9, 2012
  9. Out of all of that, the first thing I had to do was google Henrik Rummel erection.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Oh. There was extensive research done on this one. See: Gawker for details.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sharon on August 9, 2012
  10. I don’t really have a sense of nationalism or patriotism. I appreciate what America has to offer but recognize that other countries offer similar freedoms and benefits, and some are superior.

    I just call myself white.

    Heh. That’s a joke!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Avitable on August 9, 2012
  11. You know what? I’m Canadian and still totally tear up for the American Olympians, and I may even admit to shedding the odd tear during the anthem. I can’t help it! So much emotion! So many awesome candies! Such great shopping!

    Wait… where was I?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Alex on August 9, 2012
  12. You watch HIMYM, right? Because 30 Rock aside, the Robin Scherbatsky Canada-isms are my absolute favorites.

    I generally cheer for Canada if they’re not playing the US, because well, I love me some Canada, the country is beautiful and so many of my favorite people are from there.

    But can we all just agree that that Tancredi is one nasty b-word? I mean, I know that all soccer(/football) players are aggressive, but I have watched the video of that game so many times and nothing about the way she played screams “sportsmanlike.” As I Tweeted, professional soccer might be the one incident when Canadians are not polite to a fault!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Camels & Chocolate on August 9, 2012
  13. I couldn’t me more Canadian…but I cry at the US anthem…bizarro. But can i tell you – milk bags – CAN BE FROZEN WHEN ON SALE. This is the beauty of the milk in a bag!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sara on August 13, 2012
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