here, there, everywhere

A Foreigner at Home

In At home on July 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I hang out in Burnaby at one of the parks on pleasant summer evenings when I’m visiting friends.  This park is more United Nations than any other place I’ve been on the planet:  Iraqis, Syrians, Afghanis, Kurds, Chinese, Serbs, Filipino/Hungarian, Czech, and pretty much everybody else.  I’m the foreigner in the bunch.  Sometimes our different life views show up in awkward, uncomfortable moments, like the time I showed up in a skirt (at the knee) and tank top with spaghetti straps.  One of the conservative Muslim women who wears the headscarf and full coverup, top to bottom, even on hot days, told me she had been sewing “appropriate” clothing all day.  She gave me a deliberate up and down as she said this and then cocked her eyebrows at me in that disapproving manner.  Sleazy girl in sleazy clothes.  I told her as long as my bum was covered I was pretty sure I was “appropriate” in Canada.  The other women laughed, discussion over, and the two of us still get along.  I like her, she’s a force and something tells me if it came down to it she’d have your back, your family’s back, and everyone in between.  And this even after my scandalous attire and the fact that I’m a foreigner in her neighbourhood.  The other night I found out by accident the women at the table call me “The Canadian”.  Really?  I guess I could be called worse things and if that’s how they know me, as the only Canadian in their bunch, I think I’m ok with that.

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