The Summer Solstice is almost here

And I’m very excited about it!

Why, you may ask? 

Well, let me tell you.  I learned a loooooooong time ago – while reading a Geography textbook belonging to my mother’s only sister who was in middle school (I must’ve been 5 or 6 at the time and yes, I used to read textbooks for fun.  I’ve always been a geek and a nerd, ok?), that the day of my birth was a special day.  The longest day of the year.  The Summer Solstice, they called it.  Sweet, I thought. But then I was left scratching my head.  What the hell do they mean with the longest day of the year? Days last exactly the same, don’t they? Every single one of them?

You see, where I was born, the sun rises at 6 am every day and sets at 6 pm every day, all year round.  Give or take 10 minutes.  I was dumbfounded.  So I kept reading.  And I saw a cool picture that looked pretty much like this one

RASC Calgary Centre – A Complete Guide to
Right Ascension and Declination

And boy, oh boy did I ever get excited! In some countries there were things called seasons! Through the year, days would grow long (or short), peak (ON MY BIRTHDAY) and then grow short (or long) again.   Now, THAT’S cool.

And not only that, but it was different in different parts of the world.  In fact, it was the complete opposite! it would be Summer in the northern hemisphere (brand new word for me) while Winter in the southern one.  And vice versa, exactly six months later.  Same for Spring and Fall. 

The Summer Solstice.  Then the light bulb in my head went on.  I was the Summer Solstice Girl! 

[mind you, I could have very well been the Winter Solstice Girl, but the book was biased toward the Northern hemisphere and I was only 5 or 6 so give me a break]

But there was more.  I also learned that there were places on earth where where daylight is continuous during the spring and summer days.  And that there was something called the midnight sun.   Now, that’s something I have to see, I say to myself.  One day, I’ll go to one of those places and enjoy the Midnight Sun on my birthday.  Then I’ll truly know what the Longest Day of the Year really mean.

Fast forward 30 something years.  It is now that I live in Canada, that I can finally appreciate the Longest Day of the Year.   So, on my birthday, I like to watch the sunset, look at my watch and be amazed at the fact that it is happening at almost 10 pm.   Good times! 

This year is even more special because it marks the 10th anniversary of the very first time I got to enjoy a real Summer Solstice.  

As a side note, that book also had pretty pictures of seasonal landscapes.  That’s when I stumbled upon that proverbial picture of a Canadian Winter Wonderland.  A very serene scene of a cottage, by a lake all covered in snow.  It was love at first sight.  There and then, at that very moment, I decided one day I WOULD live in that country. 

Yeah, I can see myself living there

It took me a while but I made it :)

Still haven’t seen the Midnight Sun, though. Perhaps next year…. Stay tuned for more Summer Solstice Adventures!

And Happy Summer Solstice to you all :)

On being Canadian

Almost nine years have passed since I came here with just two suitcases containing all my earthly possessions.

Then I quickly bought myself a copy of How to Be a Canadian (Even if You Already Are One)  Excellent book.  I highly recommend it.  I even talked about in one of my earlier posts.   It has taught me a lot about being Canadian, eh?

I have learned how to quickly say “I’m sorry” even if it is not my fault. I have learned to take my shoes off at the door (my American swingdancers friends don’t get this). I have learned to dress in layers. I have learned to love the seasons -as I knew I would, summer BBQs and hockey. I have learn that most Canadians have a big porcupine index… Sorry, what’s that? oh, you don’t know what the porcupine index is? let me tell you:

You know porcupines, right? funny chubby rodents with quills or spines which they use for protection.  To keep predators away.  You wouldn’t want to hug a porcupine but most important of all, the porcupine doesn’t want you to hug him.  So a professor of mine used to joke in class about how people have different porcupine indexes.  Some people have a high index so if you get too close, they become uncomfortable and they bristle.  Some people have a low index and are more comfortable with letting other people get close to them.  As in hugging and stuff.

And yes, I know that here they call it personal space.  I think porcupine index is funnier.

So, where was I? ah yes, Canadians and their high porcupine indexes.  Except for Swing Dancers.  Swing Dancers belong to a completely different species.  They do like to hug and stuff.  I guess that’s why I feel so comfortable among Swing Dancers!

Every now and then I forget and I hug a person I just met.  In the millisecond before my arms touch them, I can feel them bristling and I go “ah, crap” but the momentum carries me and there’s nothing I can do but try the Man Hug

But I digress. I moved here on September 3, 2001. I’ve had good times, bad times, hysterical times.  I’ve met a lot of wonderful people.  Since, I’ve learned how to shovel snow, how to get a fire going on a fireplace, how to keep warm.  I’ve learn to ski and to skate.  I’ve learned to love Hockey, maple syrup, shepherd’s pie and meatloaf. I’ve also learned that in order to survive an Ottawa summer one needs A/C.  There’s no other way around.  Holy heat, Batman, does it ever get hot in here.  I’ve also learned that if you’re renting, hydro better be included in the rent cause otherwise your paycheck is gonna go straight to the pay the hydro bill in the winter.

I’ve also learned that Canadians are very polite people but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like you.  Some of them are just being that, polite.  I’ve learned that most Canadians are obsessed with being politically correct (subject for another post).  I’ve learned good English and bad English -It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing  ;)

Furthermore, I’ve been the proud owner of a Citizenship Card since December 2006.

I’ve learned so many things in these almost 9 years I’ve been in Canada.

But what the most important thing I have learned is that if there is a place on earth where I can be happy it is right here, in the Great White North!