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The joy of coming home to Canada!

Canada snow High Park Toronto

Winter in the Japanese Garden, High Park. My favourite place in Toronto.

Top 10 things to experience in Canada

I recently travelled in India for three months, and as usual I had an amazing time. Anyone who reads Breathedreamgo for more than 20 seconds will know that I am passionate about travelling in India. And it’s true — travel in India restored my enthusiasm for life when I needed it most; and there is a magic in India that just can’t be found anywhere else. But then one day — December 14, 2012, to be exact — I was in Goa and I suddenly got homesick. Homesick like I have never been before. I wrote about it in There’s no place like home. As exciting as India is, I just wanted to get back to Canada. I wanted to see my niece, make tea in my own kitchen and watch the snow falling gently in the backyard. I wanted to stretch out and enjoy the space, the big sky, the fresh air. I wanted to be among people who line up, drive in their own lane and don’t stare at you as you walk down the street. I wanted to be home. So, I am joining the #MyCanada blog tag to share:

My top 10 things to experience in Canada

Snow falling gently in my backyard.

Snow falling gently in my backyard.

While most of my fellows Canadian travel bloggers participating in the #MyCanada blog tag are extolling the rugged beauty of the Canadian wilderness, the liveliness of Canada’s cities, the fun to be had at winter festivals and summer outings, toques, Tim Horton’s, hockey, maple syrup and saying eh?… I’m just happy to celebrate:

  1. Even, unbroken pavement. You can wear pretty shoes with heels and not worry you’re going to twist your ankle!
  2.  Continuous power. No more playing “what do I need to recharge now because I might not be able to later.”
  3.  Central heating. When I was in Delhi this winter, the temperature one day dropped to a low of 2 C. and a high of 9 C. — and I experienced what it’s like to live in a meat locker. They don’t have heating systems in Delhi because most of the time, they’re trying to keep heat out! And did I mention the solid marble floors?
  4.  Lineups. Oh the joy of getting off the subway car when everyone waiting to get in stands in line patiently outside the car until you’re out.
  5.  Salad. You can shut your eyes, enjoy the crunchiness and fresh flavour and not worry about getting sick.
  6.  Tap Water. After three months in India, the first thing I did when I landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto was go into the washroom, turn on the tap, drink directly from it, and exclaim loudly, “I’m home!” Yes, you can drink it. Straight up. And you will live.
  7.  Shorts and tank tops. Women can walk with confidence and safety in Canada, even if they are wearing “skimpy” clothing.
  8.  Taxis. You get in, they turn the meter on and say, “Where ‘ya goin’ lady?” and when you get there, you pay the fare on the meter then you get out. Sigh.
  9. Trains. Not only do they run on time, but they are clean, with plush, comfy seats, clear windows, and an old-fashioned  air of civilized decorum. I love taking the train in Canada for the efficiency and comfort.
  10. Decency. Canadians are truly decent people and we demonstrate it in so many ways. After travelling the world, there is SO MUCH I appreciate about Canada: the commitment to equality, the respect for human rights, the social safety net, the open immigration policy, the multiculturalism, the efficiency, the universal healthcare system, the education-for-all, the low crime rate, the prohibition on capital punishment, and on and on. I am even loving the current snow storm here in Toronto. I love you Canada!

Thanks to Pamela McNaughtan of Savoir Faire Abroad for starting this blog tag that celebrates Canada, and all the wonderful things you can experience here. And thanks to Arienne Parzei of See You Soon for tagging me! Be sure to follow the hashtag #MyCanada to see all the post that Canadian travel bloggers have written. I’m now tagging David Jon Fuller and Little Gray Bird and Karrie Mendoza of Family Food an Travel.

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17 Responses to The joy of coming home to Canada!

  1. Lisa from Gone With The Family February 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Loved your list – there are so many things that we take for granted about living in Canada until we have been away and returned home!
    Lisa from Gone With The Family recently posted..This is My CanadaMy Profile

  2. Monica February 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    It’s funny what you miss from home isn’t it. I never in a million years thought I would miss salad but it was the only thing I wanted to eat after a few months in Asia.

    Long, hot showers were another thing I REALLY missed!
    Monica recently posted..Incredible views from Table Mountain, South AfricaMy Profile

  3. Arienne February 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    I too miss a good hearty salad when I’m on the road! And I learn to appreciate clean drinking tap water every time I return home :)
    Arienne recently posted..This is My CanadaMy Profile

  4. Mariellen Ward February 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Thanks for the comments!

    Lisa, Yes, sometimes, it takes a long-term trip to a developing nation to make a person really appreciate home :)

    Monica, oh yes, long, hot showers! Forgot to put that on the list :)

    Arienne, I was going to add that it’s great to not have to slam my mouth shut in the shower, and not have to brush my teeth with bottled water!

  5. Shalu Sharma February 11, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    Great post on Canada. I have been to Canada and I did like it. But I found the immigration people extremely rude and had to wait for hours before I was allowed to go. Also I hated the weather, to be honest did not like one bit. I was in Calgary and found -16 degrees C almost Antarctic. Also I found Canada extremely expensive, more than London. A ticket to Calgary’s History Museum was extremely expensive while in most countries, it would have been free or very cheap. Also I did no expect mosquitoes, I thought you get this only in India.
    But there is no denying that its an extremely beautiful country. We drove from Calgary to Edmonton, and the scene was beautiful. The food was excellent varying from Chinese to Mexican and was cheap.
    I am still considering if I should immigrate for not to Canada, what is holding me back is the climate.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh GayaMy Profile

  6. Shubhajit February 11, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Once I met a Canadian girl in Rishikesh, she was too cool and fun loving. She was quite happy that she did trekking in India that she missed in Canada because of the factor “population”. According to her, Canada is so sparsely populated, even more in mountains that you couldn’t find help during in emergency. In India even in mountains you will find lots of people around, so in case of emergency you just scream for a while and you find people running towards you!

    I lived in Delhi for 6 years or probably I would again return there. Though it is a capital city, still the basic amenities are missing even in good places. I stayed in south Delhi and I know how difficult it is to get plenty of water to bath, communication without own vehicle (everybody has their own vehicle and nobody knows how to drive) and people around who sentence never complete without one or two mother and sister slang. Winters are brutal and summers are more brutal.

    I like the way you say drink from Tap Water and say “I’m at home”. I can visualize your relief, and also a bit understand the home sickness part. I wish I can also drink water from the tap!

  7. Rohan Jayasekera February 11, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Another item for the Decency list is the lack of corruption: paying a bribe is not something that I would even think of doing in Canada. We’re very lucky to take this for granted: the only reason that this even occurs to me is that my cousin who moved to Canada from Sri Lanka told me that it’s this difference that he most appreciates!

  8. Mariellen Ward February 11, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Hi Shalu thanks for commenting on my blog! Funny you should comment about the price of admission to the Calgary Museum … one of the things I was going to mention in the post was the admission price equality in Canada. It really burns me when Indians pay 50 rupees to get into the Taj Mahal and I have to pay 750 (or whatever it is). I think it’s a horrible way to treat a visitor to your country. But, sigh, I do understand they need to keep things affordable for the many Indians who have very little disposable income.
    Mariellen Ward recently posted..Ode to the lady traveller: Why we need the #WeGoSolo movementMy Profile

  9. Mariellen Ward February 11, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Oh, good point Rohan, and I think that is what I meant by efficiency. Yes, we do have corruption here, and it is probably on a scale we can’t even imagine (I shudder to think what Brian Mulroney was up to; and what Stephen Harper is up to). But it doesn’t affect the day-to-day running of the country.
    Mariellen Ward recently posted..Ode to the lady traveller: Why we need the #WeGoSolo movementMy Profile

  10. Jessica February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    LOVE this post – it’s a wonderful feeling to finally arrive back home again isn’t it, and Canada sounds like a great place! :)
    Jessica recently posted..City Breaks Europe – When, Where And How?My Profile

  11. Linda February 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Just wanted to say that I understand where you’re coming from. I recently realized that I am an ‘expat’ and not ‘an immigrant’ – there is a difference.
    Linda recently posted..Maria’s Rock: Stories of El Médano Nº2My Profile

  12. Vasu February 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Mariellen,

    Beautiful pictures !Loved your pictures and appreciated comfort of Canada versus India. that is how I feel too. Whenever I go to India, I feel like a foreigner even though I am Indian.

    One exception. The relative warmth of Vancouver is more my cup of tea than the Brrrrr, bitter cold of Toronto!

    Sweet dreams!
    Vasu

    How many straight guys do you know who say sweet dreams to a woman ? ;)

  13. Raymond @ Man On The Lam February 12, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Oh how I miss tap water!

  14. Marianna February 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    What a great list, Mariellen. There’s nothing like travel to expand your horizons and also to make you realize how fortunate we are here in Canada.

    If you are mobility-challenged, you become even more grateful.

    Enjoy the snow!
    Marianna recently posted..Mirthful Monday – The RationaleMy Profile

  15. Thomas Dembie February 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Great list! These are things I think you only miss if you’ve spent an extended time away from home. I would add diversity and politeness to the list. I love that when I get back to Toronto I can usually find some food similar to what I ate abroad to help dull the pain of being back at my 9-5 job.
    Thomas Dembie recently posted..Sossusvlei Namibia: Tips and InsightsMy Profile

  16. Steph February 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Lovely pic of the Japanese Garden. H proposed to me there.

    Gotta love clean drinking water straight out of the tap.
    Steph recently posted..Where Are We Going in South America?My Profile

  17. Alejandra @ wishfulshrinking March 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    I loved this list. I too often take for granted being able to drink tap water until I travel to a country where I can’t. You can quite easily replace “India” with any country in South America too! Quite literally the same things I’m thankful Canada offers me when I get back.

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