This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. This was the first Thanksgiving in a very long time that I did not celebrate. Historically that weekend is filled will family, friends food, laughter and the Rotor Rooter Man. Not once did we ever invite the Rotor Rooter Man over for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe we should have, then we would have been given a deal on fishing out turkey necks from the garburator. Hind sight is 20/20.
I did not celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense because I was busy flying home from Paris, France. No one thought to fill my fridge with Turkey, stuffing, potatoes or rutabaga while I was gone, not that I am bitter about that or anything. Okay, maybe I am little bitter. But being a non-traditional kind of gal, I did actually give thanks for several things in my life. So my friends, it is time for another Edmonton Tourist top 11 list!
The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things She is Thankful For:
- I am very thankful I went to Vimy Ridge! Vimy Ridge is located in France and is a significant battle in Canada’s History. You can read more about it here. It was a powerful and moving experience for me and my family. Walking through the cemetery and looking at the ages of the boys, who were not much older then my children or my nephews, made me pause and be thankful for what I have. The visual of the munition craters in the surrounding battle fields and the maple grove you walk through was such a moving experience. It is one I will never forget. It is a much different experience being there then reading about it in history books.
- I am very thankful for Facebook. I know you think I am cracked in the head. Facebook has given me the opportunity to get to know Americans on a friend basis. I am proud to say I am a world traveler. With that experience comes a opportunity to defend your identity. Everywhere in the world where I have been, an American had been before me. Likely it was the same Texan I met on a cruise to Alaska. He was rude and self centered. So I naturally swept all American’s with the same paint brush. Here is my formal public apology to the Citizens of America. I am so sorry I stereotyped you in that way. One person who is not globally aware does not mean the entire country is that way. I have met some spectacular people who live south of the border and proudly call you my friend. I am honored that you live next door. I am thrilled it is you who is my neighbor and not someone else. So Please forgive me for stereotyping you in a way that was unbecoming to you and made me less of a Canadian.
- I am very thankful for my family. I know it is cliche and everyone says it. But after spending a week in a caravan with my family, I appreciate them more then I did before I left on my vacation. All our strengths came together and complemented each other. Other days it came together and clashed like the titans. But in the end, it was more fun then should be legal. We laughed together,teased each other, fought like crazy and cried. It was worth every second and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
- I am very thankful for French Dairy Products. My husband said it best, “Canadian Customs won’t let you bring dairy into the country because everyone would know French Dairy is better and that would kill our industry.” It was so amazing I will mourn it for a lifetime.
- I am very thankful for my 5 senses. I know this seems odd but after my vacation to Europe it is so very true! I saw buildings that dated before 1322! I could hear the Church bells ring in every little village along the way. The sound was angelic! The smell of the lush, green forest of Germany reminded me of home. The taste of the foods and beverages from shops in the villages and carts in the city brought a thrill to my taste buds every time they tried something new! The touch of my skin was so soft in the humid climate of Europe compared to the dry prairie of home. My skin misses you already Europe!
- I am very thankful for Maple Trees! Please don’t tell my Grandpa if you see him before I do. The Maple Leaf is such a strong Canadian Symbol, yet I saw more Maple Trees in Europe then I ever have in Canada. It made me proud and homesick all at the same time. My children collected maple leaves and pressed them in their books. I love Maple Trees!
- I am thankful for Canada’s low population! We were traveling on the Paris Metro when an abandon package was found. The train needed to be evacuated. That means a GAZILLION people tried to squeeze through the door. 6 million people ride the Metro everyday. There are only One Million people in the Greater Edmonton Area. When we arrived in Canada, it seemed like the country was deserted! Low population density is a beautiful thing.
- I am thankful for Art. We spent some time in the Louve of Paris. I stood before paintings that I had only ever seen in books. It is a much different experience to see a Leonardo Da Vinci painting in person then to see it in a book. I could imagine him standing where I was looking at his own work and deciding what needed to come next. The depth and emotion in his work far surpasses any of that of his contemporaries. It was a spiritual experience for me. Later that same day, on the steps of the Seine, I met another artist who made a living from his work. I was moved buy his choice of colour and vision. I bought a piece of his work and love it as much as I loved looking at a Da Vinci.
- I am thankful for language. I know, you think it’s another odd choice. I speak one language fluently. Obviously it is English. Here is Canada we are considered a bilingual country. All our food products have both English and French labels and ingredients. Our version of Cereal Box French helped tremendously in grocery stores and markets. German Language was fairly easy to read and figure out because it is so closely related to English. But mostly I am thankful for the abilities of others who took the time and effort to learn English. This enhanced my trip because I was able to meet and learn about their life and thoughts about places. This was the true highlight for me. From talking to Adolf Herr the clock maker to Arnuad the Disney Cast Member and everyone else in between. I loved meeting new people.
- I am thankful for water. For it’s million and one uses to its life giving nature. I was thankful for clean clear water on this trip. But more thankful for water when I came home. Canada, you produce some of the best water in the world, thank you.
- I am thankful for my bed! As fantastic as my days were in Europe, my nights filled me with dread. I slept in a bed that was too short for me, the mattress was too thin, and the blankets were not warm. An uncomfortable night can seem longer then a busy action packed day. After forever and a day on the airplane, sliding into my thick cozy bed was pure ecstasy.
I am a very luck girl to have so many things to be thankful for. But mostly I am thankful to be home. This is something I need to keep remembering. The importance of home.