I enjoy meeting with the women. It is a relief to share a common experience with those who share a similar past. Although I left Canada over 20 years ago, I am more Canadian than anything else. The group has several charitable projects proposed for the next few months and I found myself volunteering for every one of them. I am not sure what got into me, but I do have the time and the freedom to participate in whatever appeals to me. I will be making 'Nanaimo' bars for a bazaar next month. I have not made Nanaimo bars since I left Canada, and apparently they are very popular here, and sell amazingly well.
Maya was resistant but I insisted that she accompany me. The occasion was only for the women, but I had met the ambassador's children, and although they were older than Maya, I hoped Maya would enjoy meeting them, and at least she could borrow some books. When I met Nicole a month ago, she had told me that she was expecting boxes of books to arrive from her home in DC. Maya has been reading the same books over and over again since we arrived here, and desperately needs new books to read. She did in fact borrow two books, but more than that, she spent the three hours playing dress up and enjoying every moment.
How odd it is that after so many years away from Canada and of not feeling particularly Canadian, it is thousands of miles away in Ecuador, that I am discovering a sense of identity. I am not American, or 'estadounidensis', and am entirely clear about that when I am asked, but I don't feel particularly Canadian, whatever that means. But I was born in Vancouver, I studied in Edmonton and lived in Montreal; does that make me Canadian? I have a Canadian passport, that ought to mean something. I return to Canada at least yearly to see my parents, who feel very connected to Canada. As I get older, I wish more and more to return to Canada, perhaps to live, perhaps simply to discover it more, to feel more connected to the country of my birth.