12/22/07

I'll Be Home For Christmyth

I've acquired a lithp. We're back home in Edmonton for the holidays and even though we've jumped ahead an hour to Mountain Standard Time, I feel as though I've timeslipped back a million years to the Christmyths of my childhood.

Pick a holiday jingle and chances are I've been singing it. The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful....let is snow, let it snow, let is snow. I can't believe I've already forgotten the feeling of freezing snot dangling from my nose. Or the sound of crunchy snow beneath the feet or the pain of thawing numbed fingers and toes as they adjust to heat again. I've quickly been reminded and it's only been about -14 celcius ('though it did dip to minus 25 the other night which translates to freakin' cold in Fahrenheit). Yes, baby, it's cold outside. But it's nice to be home amongst friends and kin. My people. I've missed Canadians. I ran into a fellow Canadian woman at a Nutcracker party last weekend and we both agreed Canadians look distinctly different from Americans. I can immediately spot Canadians. Unless Canucks happen to live in a couple of affluent pockets of Canada's major cities, chances are they are dressed ultra casual and driving a pick-up. It's so not like the West Coast dressy casual look of our fair American city, where highlighted blonde hair, French manicures and pedicures and designer label outfits are the looks du jour. I've seen many First Nation peoples and Ukrainians, too. Both of these are my people, too. Speaking of Ukrainian, I'm looking forward to pyrogies and cabbage rolls for Christmas at my birthmom's. Yes, it's nice to be home where memories loom large. We drove by the courthouse and I recalled my days there, working as a judicial clerk whilst covertly searching the basement archives for my sealed adoption file. Driving by The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald brought back fond memories of working late nights in sales and promotions, in prep to re-open the grand dame to the public after an extensive restoration. Everywhere I turn, I see stomping grounds and old haunts and the ghosts of Christmas' past. I recall going to visit my grandfather in the penultimate days to Christmas - usually Christmas Eve -as a child. I remember the excitement of seeing the lights and hearing the holiday music and waiting for fresh snow so we could go toboganning. And I remember sneaking out Christmas Eve as a teenager with my imaginary Catholic friend to go to midnight mass, so that I could stay out til 2am. And I remember Christmas morning coming way too early those years.
I had forgotten how pretty the city is, all dressed for Christmas. And of course, my children have been away so long, they've all but forgotten the home and native city of their parental units. We are here to visit grandparents and siblings and other friends and family until the 30th. We have three families here so visiting everyone is impossible and very exhausting.
Holy Hub flies in tonight and then the real excitement will begin, as we visit families, check out the holiday lights of Candy Cane lane, and do our last minute stocking stuffer shopping.
Anyhoo, hope your holidays are filled with as much holiday fun, feast and frolic with family and friends - both mandatory and otherwise - as our's are sure to be.

Seasons greetings, one and all.

13 comments:

Lynn said...

I can't think of much better than going "home" for the Holidays. Mine is only an hour away, but it feels like an entire different country in so many ways too. All those childhood memories, places to point out to the kids and reminisce about, places that haven't changed in 40 years and the heartbreak and wonder of those that have...

Have a most wondrous holiday time, Holy. You and your beautiful family!

The Beast Mom said...

Tell us more about how Canadians look distinctly different. I am interested...

-bm

Jeri said...

What a great description of Christmas in the north! I'm so glad you got to go home and spend the holiday with family and friends.

I don't miss the cold... I'm dreading my next trip to ANC in the deep freeze of January.

I'm glad you're having a great Christmas!

Jorge said...

Your site has been a year-round gift I very much appreciate. Thank you! Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year,
J.

manda said...

Christmas jingle:

You'd better not run / you'd better not hide / you'd better be food / I'm telling you why / Cannibals are coming to town.

Oh Schmidt, it's been too long. I almost let a lot of good friends go 'cause I was too exhausted from boxing practice every night to keep up on their posts... then my trainer decided that I should be the one to look after the little kids. Oh wow, this isn't because I'm the only FEMALE who can hack it in your gym, is it? Then he put me in a real b* of a position by saying he'd lose his house & his gym if I let any harm come to those kids and I didn't need that aggravation. Instead am writing a book. And blogging.

Am glad you stopped by. Truly.

And I agree with you. Canadians are vastly different from Americans.

Anonymous said...

Glad the Scmidt clan had a Canadian Christmas! Hope the trip was a great time of fun for all...and speaking of current world events, bet you are happy you arent in Pakistan anymore. Congrats on your quotes in Macleans but where is the full page spread?

Hollie

SAAM said...

I agree that Canadians look different.
Hope your Christmas was joyful and best of wishes for a Hap-Hap-Happy New Year

The Beast Mom said...

How do they look different? Someone enlighten me...

Holy, are you back yet? Or are your kids still on break as well?
Happy 2008!

-bm

HOLY said...

Beast Mom: I can't believe in all your trips to Vancouver that you've never noticed the subtle and not so subtle differences between Canadians and Americans.

It's not as obvious from big city to big city - especially between say a Vancouver and a Seattle, but it's apparent to those of us ex-pats with double vision. And it does not apply to all areas of the States - I'm convinced that most Western Canadians would best be able to identify with midwesterners, just as some Maritimers and Quebecers would find kinship in New Orleans and surrounding points due south.

So of course, I'm generalizing and that's apples to oranges, at best. Ask the average American and they may not immediately intuit the differences, unless they've spent a good amount of time in both countries. But ask a Canadian, and chances are, they'll get it.

Next time you find yourself due north, head to a Tim Horton's donut shop or Canadian Tire store and simply observe the mannerisms, appearance and dress of those around you. Chances are, you'll see what I'm talking about. There is a wholsale difference, by and large.

I first caught on to how different us Canadians were when I was part of the host committee for a large international tourism conference called PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association). We were hosting delegates from all over Asia in Edmonton almost 2 decades ago, and I'll never forget the comment one delegate made to me about how he'd never encountered anyone like us Edmontonians - we were so...he struggled to come up with a word but finally settled on unpretentious. His underlying meaning, of course, was unsophisticated. We are, for the most part, a wysiwyg nation of peoples....what you see is what you get.

And we are way more of a multi-cultural melting pot...perhaps because our immigration policies are more liberal. You tend to notice this varied ethnicity when you spend any time looking at Canadians. You'll tend to see way more Eastern European faces and South Asians and First Nations peoples than what you would in these parts.

And we're just a bit more down-homeish than West and East coast Americans. At the local Winners store in Edmonton (which is like TJ Maxx or Marshalls), I immediately noticed how all the women were dressed ultra casual - wearing sweatpants and baggy non-descript clothing while shopping. Here in Fashionistaland, few women save me and you and a handful of others, would be caught dead without at least donning some designer apparel.

So there you go, eh?

And yes, we're back. Nice to be home sweet home here again. The grass really is greener.

KC said...

I know I know... I've been terribly absent... Tsk Tsk Tsk...

Welcome home honey... its bloody cold here as well... as the nostrils stick together as you breath that cold frigid Canadian wintery air...

Happy Christmas... and wonderful New Year to yer... Email me at my home... I have something I wish to discuss with you offline. When you can of course!!

Much Canadian love!
KC

Jorge said...

Here it is, only the second day of the New Year, and I'm already missing your writing. Wishing you and yours a happy 2008,
J.

Jungle Mama said...

Oh, I miss those feelings! Even the frozen snot hanging from the end of my nose :) And it really is true the each country has its' destinct features. My FIL laughed at us when we were pointing out each Dutch person we saw while on our tour through Europe last summer, but it's true! And it never failed, if we pointed one out and got close enough afterwards to hear what language they were speaking it was always Dutch. Gotta love it!

c said...

definitely a little late here, but thought I'd say hi anyway. I'm catching up here and there as study breaks. Enjoyed your thoughts on the differences between canadians and americans. While I don't own any designer clothes I struggle to even wear track style pants to the gym. It just seems sloppy. It's funny how that works despite the west coasts reputation as uber casual.