Can I say I am more Canadian since landing on the East Coast of Canada for the first time?

Last night I tried molasses on my biscuit, apparently a Nova Scotian thing. Strange, but surprisingly good.

I woke up at 10 o'clock this morning... who does that when they're travelling? So little time, so much to do. But I guess the fact that it was only 7am at home might explain things. When I looked out the window this morning, I was rather confused. Had we left Vancouver? Fog filled the sky, much like your average morning in Vancouver.

So we layered up in our rain jackets and took off for the day. First stop: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. To be honest, it was boring. I'm not really a museum person, but overall, just not an interesting museum.

The one topic that I was interested in was an exhibit called "Hello Sailor!" Gay Life on the Ocean Wave. My initial thought was that I'd be learning about the tragedies that homosexuals on board the ships had to endure, but I was pleasantly surprised. The exhibit was in fact about the "gay heavens" that were these boats. Many men looked to the sea for an escape from the homophobic attitudes they were experiencing on land. There were stories about men who were openly gay at sea, but upon returning to their wives they fell into a state of depression. It was explained that for entertainment, gay and straight men alike put on drag shows for their personal fun at first, and later as shows for their passengers. On some boats, over 50% of the crew was gay, and they were accepted for it. Lesbian women, however, not so much.

After not being too impressed with that museum, what do we do but head to a second museum. This one was much more interesting however. It was the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 where thousands upon thousands of immigrants arrived from overseas. Blake and I got our picture under the door where our great grandparents made their first steps onto Canada (known as the land of milk and honey apparently?). Am I ever grateful that they decided to make that move. Canada Day is tomorrow and my Canadian pride is apparent.

Probably my all time favorite exhibit was in that museum; Revolutionizing Cultural Identity. Kip Fulbeck, a professor at the University of California is the creator of this fascinating piece called "The Hapa Project". Hapa: once a derogatory term stemming from the Hawaiian word "half", but is now embraced by many whose mixed racial heritage includes Asian descent.

Kip took pictures of the bare head and shoulders of over 1200 people from all walks of life. With nothing covering their shoulders and little to no makeup hiding their face, we could see these people for who they are. Under their picture was their ethnic backgrounds and a handwritten blurb from each of them answering the question "What are you?". The answers were diverse. Many straightforward and many clever. One of the cuter ones was a young Chinese, Danish boy, "I am part Chinese and part Danish. I don't like to tell people I am Danish though, because they think I'm a pastry."

A Chinese, Japanese, German, Hungarian, English wrote "I am a person of colour. I am not half-"white". I am not half-"Asian". I am whole "other"."

One Japanese, French, Irish lady replied "I am millions of particles fused together making up a far less than perfect masterpiece. I am the big bang."

It might have been the simplicity of this exhibit, or the fact that it is relevant today; not history from 70 years before I was born, but there was something about this exhibit that made it fascinating.

If I had to answer the question, "What are you?" I would probably answer with a Doctor Suess quote "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." Gotta love Doctor Suess. He says things like they are.

From there we went on a nice long trek (after Dad had promised it was a short little walk) to the Dalhousie campus. A good friend of mine, Taylor Quinn, is heading there in September to study international relations. I was thinking of him as we walked through the campus of the school founded in 1818, the largest school in the Maritimes and one of the oldest post-secondary institutions in Canada. But I was also thinking of him all day actually, because tonight, as the world tunes in to watch William and Kate arrive for their Canadian tour, Taylor will be in Ottawa to have dinner with not only them, but the Prime Minister, the Governor General and Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children. Taylor was invited to represent the youth of Canada. I couldn't think of a better person to give this opportunity to; he is more than deserving of it.

And to finish off the day- because the Halifax Citadel we were hoping to visit was closed- I sat on the deep green, and freshly watered grass of the hill that overlooks the city and it's harbour listening to Counting Crows and repeating the motion of threading a red and white bracelet. Serenity.

Tomorrow is Canada and we are off to Peggy's Cove.



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