Canada has just been ranked 6th in the ‘World Happiness Report’. The survey measures the wellbeing of residents in more than 150 countries, based on six key factors: GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. The report found that happier people earn more in their lifetime, are more productive and are better citizens. Given that the UK was listed as being 23rd overall, it made me wonder whether I’ve felt the difference in overall ‘happiness’ since moving over to Canada 18 months ago?
That’s not to say I was ever ‘unhappy’ in the UK. Not at all. I love it. It’s my birthplace and will always be ‘home’. But do I feel happier in Canada? ……… yes. I could cite a million reasons why I prefer living in Canada to being in the UK – and on many dimensions – practicality, affordability, opportunity, environmental, lifestyle, friendliness, community. The list could go on.
Building national pride was always strong in the UK, and likewise in Canada, they do the same – but probably more so. Even in the schools, every Monday morning bang on 8.30am, the kids all listen (and sing along to), the Canadian National Anthem. Back in the day, I always remember doing the same when I was in primary school but in later years, this was less so. Comes to something when my youngest kid can recite the words of the Canadian National Anthem but struggles with the English one. That’s what happens I guess when you relocate …
Diversity is much more pronounced where we live than I’ve experienced previously in the UK – and everyone is completely embraced and incorporated into local communities and made to feel welcome. My kids have a plethora of friends at school from all nationalities. In my middle kid’s class alone, they have kids there from Jamaica, Pakistan and Greece. My youngest kid has been doing about ‘where we were born’ and Texas, China, Africa and Korea – plus the UK, obviously – have provided a rich source of material from which to understand different customs, traditions, language and geography. In my days at primary school, we’d be hard pushed to find anyone who had been born outside a radius of 15 miles from the school!!
In ‘social studies’, the teacher recently gave an assignment to my oldest kid requiring the class to each draft a speech on the topic of ‘what makes you proud to be a Canadian’. Given the range of nationalities in the class it was with some interest that I was keen to see how she tackled this challenge. Apart from the obvious fact that my kid isn’t Canadian, that’s not to say she doesn’t feel Canadian. I thought you may be interested to see what she wrote …..
Even though I am not Canadian,
There are some things about them that I know make them special.
For example, how they survive all winter in the cold, cold temperatures
and the strange accent that they speak with, even if they do mispronounce a few words.
The way they mix sweet foods with savoury foods and how apparently they think bacon is finger food.
With a Tim Hortons on every corner, you will always see them sipping a cup of coffee.
Where they have the best hockey in the world and were actually the ones that created
These Canadians love poutine but not as much as their maple syrup.
With the maple leaf on their flag and the anthem that tells the world who they are,
These are the things that make a Canadian
For a 12 year old, I thought it was an interesting insight into Canadian national pride. She tells me that they had to memorise their own speeches and perform them in front of the class – getting a few chuckles from her classmates during her rendition.
18 months into our venture in Canada and we’re loving every second. They say happiness is in the eye of the beholder and I can certainly say that it doesn’t get much better than this. I’ve even been starting to support the Canadian team in the women’s world curling championships …… 🙂