• Cruising Cocoa

Why can't I be Canadian?

Traveling was one of the best experiences I’ve introduced to my life. Majoring in hospitality and tourism while in collage, I scored my first solid job in the industry 4 years ago. With that came meeting people from all over that world, whom I still have a relationship with today. These adventures and encounters are what fuel my existence, I’ll probably be doing this forever. I’ve never been scared to book a flight and accommodations, load my backpack and take on the road. Nervous? Yes, but never scared. I’ve established a sense of street smarts and being in the service industry for many years, I know how to interact with people, regardless of their age, race, gender etc. However, what I find interesting is how others lack knowledge in all those areas, especially in 2019. Perhaps it could also be that I’m from a pretty diverse city so nothing comes as a surprise to me with the people I meet on a regular bases. I often travel alone. It challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone. They say you need to be uncomfortable to get comfortable. So here I am, back on the open seas working retail on board a cruise ship. I’m meeting crew members, guests, both from all over the world. I actually have a friend from Brazil, born and raised, that has Japanese. As a conversation starter the first question that usually comes to mind is “where are you from?”. This is when things get exciting. I am Canadian. I was born in Scarborough, Ontario. I hold a Canadian citizenship. I travel with my Canadian passport. So when I’m traveling and get asked that question, my answer is Canada. Now, this isn’t like being back at home and getting asked ‘where are you from?’ and I don’t even thing that question gets asked at all. It’s more so worded, “what is your background?” or “where is your family from?” Which I feel is valid because Canada, Toronto specifically, so diverse it’s gotten to the point that 1st and 2nd gens are everywhere so yes, we are all Canadian. When I’m traveling and I embrace my nationality, why is that not enough? Why can’t I be Canadian? I actually asked a few guests that question when my initial response wasn’t satisfying enough and they said... “no I mean, you must have immigrated from somewhere” “oh? You aren’t from [insert a common nation filled with black people]?” Yes, that’s what it comes down to. Apparently I can’t be black and from Canada. I find that a little insulting. My family is from St Vincent and the Grenadines, located in the Caribbean Sea, between St. Lucia and Grenada. *shout out the vincy massive!* I’ve been there myself, the country is beautiful and I love that I could also call St. Vincent my home. It’s funny because sometimes when you’re around family and they hear you claim the nationality of your parents they tease and say, ‘you were born Canada, what are you talking about?’ or something along those lines and my response is always YES AND?! You want me disown yuh!?’ At the end of it all I am Canadian, a Canadian descendant of Vincentian parents. If you ask someone where they’re from, don’t insult them.

Thank you for reading,

…keep Cruising with Cocoa :)

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