I went to a school that taught me to love my country. I learned to deeply respect Mexico’s three national symbols: the flag, the national anthem and the coat of arms. My school was a very strict one, our principal was a Colonel and discipline was as important as math. All male students, from little kids to high school teenagers, always had perfect short hair; we all had shinning black shoes that were inspected on Mondays; we all knew how to march and even sing the army’s anthem. I know it is a little strange, but I always loved it all, especially the weekly Monday morning ceremonies where we paid our respects to the flag. My school was named after a group of 6 young men considered national heroes because of their bravery during the Mexico-USA war in 1847.
Anyways, all this information is to partially justify how much my patria –apparently this word simply translate as my country-means to me. I totally disapproved when people don’t respect the flag or when they don’t know how to salute it. Simply put, I love Mexico with all my heart. Of course there are things I wish could be different, from less corruption to a real respect for our indigenous groups, minorities and people’s sexual rights.
In two weeks, by this time, I will have become a Canadian citizen, a legal process that has taken me years. I’m so happy and proud about it. I know for sure I’ll cry when I sing by the first time O Canada. Oh! I will probably cry as well when I get to vote for the first time (I can’t wait for election day!).
Becoming a Canadian citizen means more than getting a passport from a first world country, or swearing allegiance to the Queen (by the way, I really love Queen, in case you want to know, I write to her regularly and I love getting her answers by Royal Mail). Canadian citizenship to me, it’s a privilege that comes with responsibilities that go beyond any written statements.
I will always respect Emiliano Zapata’s ideals and admire my beloved José Vasconcelos; I will always love that hungry eagle eating a snake that was a sign for the nahuas about where to found the great Tenochtitlan. But now, I feel a great gratitude and respect for the Musqueam people where my house is standing right now; I’m thankful to all the war veterans, not just in Remembrance Day but all year around, that fought for this country: my country. I have new people to like and admire, a diversity that goes from Louis Riel to Joe Beef. From now on, every time I sing the Canadian national anthem I will feel immensely proud to live in The True North strong and free!
I so happy that on November 15th I will become a Canadian citizen!