Thursday, September 2, 2021

British or Canadian?


When people ask me where I am from my standard answer is: "I am a British born Canadian."  We hold dual citizenship and there was no doubt in our minds that we would become Canadian citizens as soon as we could.  We are lucky that we didn't have to give up our British citizenship; if we had to though I think we would have.  We carry Canadian passports; and have no desire to carry a British one even though we could/can.

Canada is home; the UK is where most of our family live and it's where we go on vacation to.  A lot of expats still say they are going "home" when they go back to their country of birth, I do not.  We have strong roots in Canada.  Our children have married fellow Canadians, have super careers here and have Canadian born children; our grandchildren.  Canada has been good to us and we are thankful for that.

Do I miss the UK; very much so.  As I said most of our family are in the UK.  They are getting older, and along with that comes the problems of aging.  If we lived there I would be able to help out more with various members of family.  As it is, all I can offer is support from the sidelines; it's not the same.  Add into the mix the pandemic and things become increasingly more difficult.  We were due to go to the UK in 2020, that obviously was cancelled.  We knew this year would be a no go; so we have our fingers crossed that we can go in 2022.

As our children were 5 & 3 1/2 when we came to live over here, they have little to no memories of living in the UK.  Dh and I were 25 & 30 and we still speak with a British accent, the kids sound as Canadian as people who were born here.  As we age our memories are viewed through rose tinted glasses.  However in real life things are totally different.  In our last couple of visits I for one have found that how I remembered things and what things are actually like are night and day.  I feel more and more like a "foreigner" every time we visit the UK.

The UK has a huge part of my heart and always will have.  We prefer to watch tv programmes from the UK.  Our sense of humour is very British.  The way I speak and the way I spell and write things are very British.  That's part of me and it will never change, but Canada is home.

Are you living in a country that you weren't born in?

9 comments:

Angela said...

This was an interesting post. I've read similar thoughts from. My cousins who emigrated to Australia as "Ten pound poms" in the 1960s. I admire people who do "up sticks" and build a new life elsewhere - but I agree about the family issue. It has been especially hard these past eighteen months when travel is restricted. I was talking to a lovely Portuguese woman who came here to England 10years ago.Thus is her home now. Last year her Dad died and her elderly mum is struggling. She was so sad she couldn't "go home to help". I guess "home is where your heart is" - and altho 99% of the time it's where you are living, at some moments it is 'back in the old country'. I do hope you get to see family again soo. In the meantime, thank the Lord for Skype and technology!

Winifred said...

A thought provoking post Gill. Have to say I've never lived abroad I enjoy travelling but have never wanted to up sticks & leave permanently.
I really wanted to live in Spain for a couple of years before I was married but family ties were too strong for me & later after we married and had our children had heart conditions & needed heart surgery & aftercare so it was out of the question.
The climate too is a big thing for me, we visited Australia & New Zealand a while back & I could never hack the heat in Australia & in NZ the Tsunami warnings on the beaches freaked me out. I also hate the cold so have to say the UK climate suits me especially as I've got older, winters are warmer now than I remember.
We notice the changes to the UK but I see them in every country I've visited over the years, it's inevitable.
Have to say I don't think a lot about what nationality I am like the Scots & the Welsh seem to. It's great that you'reso happy in Canada & you've been able to have both passports. Nothing like a plan B just in case Gill!

Maggie said...

We briefly considered moving to Cyprus many years ago but I'd would never have been able to do it, I think hubby would have though without much hesitation. I'm always glad to be back in the UK whenever we have travelled, we may moan about the weather and many other things but in comparison to many other countries we have it pretty good, free health care, no extreme heat, and no nasty insects, bugs or animals that can kill you, ha ha.

William Kendall said...

I was born Canadian and that won't change, but I would like to travel.

Jackie said...

We moved a great deal during my growing up years but always within the boundaries of Canada. However, many people say I still speak like an Easterner...I don't notice it, but my husband still laughs at some of my pronunciations. Oh well.

I went back east in 2000 and noticed lots that had changed. I think I might just like to stick with my memories rather than the reality of how the area I lived in changed.

God bless.

50 and counting said...

My family came to Canada in the 1960s. Back then international travel and phone calls were very expensive. Communication was mainly by air mail letters.

We went back once as a family in the early 1970s. But we were already "outsiders".

The Aunties only came to visit once and it was years after their brother, my Father died. My Grannie came once. My parents went back a few times but it had changed beyond recognition for them.

My best friend's family came the same year as mine and we met in school. Her experience was the same. The Canadian branch of the family being expected to travel.

Both of us feel at times more Scottish than Canadian but we also know that we don't really fit in when we go to the UK

We travel on Canadian passports, it's just too much hassle to obtain a UK one. None of our children feel the urge to obtain UK citizenship, mine are more interested in getting German through their father.

It's really strange for me how recent immigrants prefer to call themselves "expats" (too days of the Raj for my taste). The moan that Covid has prevented them from going "home". They have no idea of how lucky they are. The internet has made communication instant, they can Skype, Facetime, etc. They've never had to book a transatlantic phone call, had to wait for a letter. Going back for weddings, funerals, etc was just too expensive for my generation. They moan that they haven't seen their Mum for 20 months! I know people who never saw their family again.


OK< sorry, rant over.

My Piece of Earth said...

I was born in the UK and came to Canada in 1954 when I was 12 years old. There was some things still on ration from the war, and my Father was not allowed to bring all of his money here, so things were a little tight financially for several years. He was a farmer so we lived in a very rural setting, and even though my Mother never spoke of the hardships I now wonder how they both coped. But, they did, Dad had a nice farm and after all the hard work they both had a good life.
I remember a lot, leaving my two best school friends was hard, however, since 1954 we still communicate with each other. One has come for a visit several years ago, the other, I have met once when I went back.
My sister and I have both lost our husbands, (I am fortunate to find love again) we both have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have only a nephew and niece from my husbands side of the family, however, they are not, and never have been close. I do have a large number of friends and now family from my Hubby. But, somehow I feel cheated from having a extended family life, ie: going to weddings, holiday get togethers, funerals etc. with members of my family that were in the UK. I only know one of my cousins, and several of my second cousins, aunts and uncles I never really never knew. So, that part of my life feels empty, and as time goes by, they are all passing one by one, and I will not be a part of that either.
Now, because of social media, communicating is quicker and easier, those air mail folded letters seem to take forever to get to their destination.
Would I like to go back? yes, I course I would, and just as others have said, I am sure things have changed a great deal since 2001, when I last was in the UK.
I am a Canadian and proud and happy about it and glad that I am here with my family, but there is still a soft spot in my heart of the "home across the pond".

Linda said...

I'm British born, immigrated here in 1956 with my parents, I'm now a Canadian citizen with dual nationality. Hubby is Canadian but has a British mother, so had dual citizenship that way. Daughters have dual citizenship as well. Have family both sides of the ocean.

Rose said...

Yes, I live in the country I was born in. I don't live in the state I grew up in, though. Took a long time for Indiana to feel like home. It is sort of hard to explain, I still love East Tennessee, but I also love the midwest.

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