150 Ways We Love Canada: Erica's StoryThough born in a land across the sea, I was blessed to be born to Canadian parents. I guess you could say for many years of my childhood I took my citizenship for granted; I enjoyed the benefits of carrying my Canadian heritage without appreciating its value. Everywhere I traveled, people (and countries) would open wide their hearts to me because of the passport I carried.

Because I grew up in Asia with a lot of people and concrete, as a child I reveled in the ability to run barefoot for miles over green grass or sail over the sparkling waters of clear lakes at my mother’s family cottage in Muskoka during my summers here. However, I think Canada fully captured my heart when I moved here to complete my post-secondary education.

I grew up in my birth country as a ‘third culture child’ where I was always ‘different’. Even though I spoke the native language and understood their expectations of success, I was ‘accepted’ but never fully belonged. I looked different, I wasn’t perfect and didn’t want to be one of the ‘big four’ professions. Here in Canada, I learned that I could define success for myself; that it was ok to strive for something, fail, and get back up and try again.

As someone who is the truest version of myself in nature, I love that I can explore, and continually be awed by, the diversity and beauty of this land. From Cape Breton’s breathtaking cliffs to sunsets on PEI’s red shores to the majesty of the peaks in the west, they all speak to me of the Creator in different ways. I’m never bored or lonely when I take my dog for a walk in the woods. There is always something beautiful to find – whether it’s freshly fallen snow glistening like diamonds in the sun or a child, and my dog, splashing through a mud puddle. I love the vastness and strength of this land; strength to allow people to find their own path and define their own version of ‘success’ by what matters most to them.

In Canada I have found a place where I can truly be ‘me’ without excusing, explaining or justifying who I am. Better yet; I have found a community I can truly embrace which is also proud to claim me as one of their own.