Two Flags

Being born and raised in the UK, and now calling Canada my home has allowed me to come to love two flags. The Union flag of Great Britain and the Maple Leaf of Canada. To me both inspire chills, a reaction I think we should all feel towards our national flag.

I spent the first twenty years of my life in England, and now at forty I have spent the latter twenty years in Canada, more specifically in Montreal. Growing up in England in the ’70s and ’80s was brilliant. I was very fortunate, I realize that, and so wherever I lived I was going to experience a level of comfort that not everyone can enjoy, and I understand now in my ‘old age‘ that this was a privilege. Despite this start, my parents had the foresight and the strength to encourage me to fend for myself and when it was time to stand on my own two feet the handouts stopped. I’m grateful they had the strength to go through with it, because I would not be where I am today had I kept down the path of a lazy, spoiled privileged kid!

But I digress. I have two citizenships and two flags.

Flag No. 1 was being worn today.

I don’t think I will ever move back to the UK, but I do miss it. It’s a magnificent country and I need to get back more often. Canada is my home, though, and I am fortunate that I have a truly gorgeous family life living in this quiet suburb of Montreal. The riding is perfect (see all previous posts related to my riding!) and I am not sure I would be able to duplicate the standard of living we have so easily in another country.

The Canadian flag was today providing notice of the aggressive headwind I was riding into. Not that I needed the tip.

Proud to be English. Equally proud to be Canadian.

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7 Responses to Two Flags

  1. richard h says:

    Funny you should write this today James, I have been thinking about the UK this afternoon, it was A level results day so I had fingers crossed for my oldest nephew (straight A’s and off to med school 😉 , he’s all set and his parents are facing 6 years of poverty.
    My 50% will be the age of 54, (happily I’m not quite there yet) . British by birth Canadian by choice seems to be my mantra. My quality of life here is enviable and deciding to come to Canada was, bar none, the best decision I’ve made . I can’t see myself ever moving back to the UK for financial reasons if nothing else …. it’s not a bad place to be from, but now I look at the place almost like tourist. When I visit I compare it with the way it was in ’89 so am suprised you can now get decent coffee and that they have the internet…but it is also nice to be able to understand 100% of whats going on around you and not to be told you have “an accent” every 3rd time you open your mouth.

    • James says:

      Yes they have apparently moved into the internet age! My Dad has had it for a while, although he does still complain about the speed etc, something that in North America we have not had to complain about for many years. It’s just fast and faster!

  2. Grant, UK says:

    I’ve never been to Quebec but I’ve spent time in BC and alot of the Pacific Northwest and I have to admit that if the opportunity arose (or I could make it so) then I would jump at moving. I love England greatly and appreciate what it has given me but quality of life is very important to me and I would love my family to experience life elsewhere. I guess you never know where life will take you so I’ll never say never!
    And it looks like you’ve got some great riding there! 😉

    • James says:

      Never say never is right. I never thought at the beginning that I would end up calling Montreal home, but it happened. The riding is good here, but personally I would like more mountains. I have some friends who live in Phoenix, AZ and they rave about the riding down there. I’ve been there in the spring and summer, and I don’t know how you ride in that heat. They do have some good climbing though.

      Quality of life is key, and Canada provides a very good quality of life. We are also close to the US which offers a lot in the way of visiting etc but as much as I love the states I would not want to live there, largely due to lack of free healthcare! Anyway, that’s another whole discussion!

  3. andylmoore says:

    Where did you get the cycling shirt from? I want one.

    I can relate to your story. I spent over 20 years in England where I was born, 8 years in HK and another 8 in Australia, which is now my home for good. But I was very proud when the olympics came on. Have a look at my post which looks at cultural identity. It’s a complex mix!

    Great post.

    • James says:

      Hi Andy – just running off for a weekend out of town. I will drop you a detailed note on Sunday evening if that’s OK. Bottom line is anything is possible! I will also check out your blog – always love reading someone else’s view of the world. Be in touch soon!

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