Canada is a richer, more vibrant country today. And no, I’m not referring to yesterday’s election which, while it easily could have been worse, sure as hell could have been a whole lot better.
In between meetings downtown this morning it was my pleasure to watch our good friend Rocio’s oath of citizenship ceremony. I’m hardly a flag-waving patriot, and I sometimes find the concept of ‘citizenship’ problematic (especially when paired with terms such as ‘global’), so colour me impressed with how moved I was by it all. Seeing the simple, genuine pride and excitement of the new Canadians and their families, not to mention Rocio herself, was itself memorable. The presiding judge invited the spectators who were citizens to repeat the oath as well, which I did, probably for the first time (unless I did it as a schoolkid). The first half of the oath was in French, and given my mangled skills with our other official language I may well have pledged undying allegiance to the Dark Lord Zoltar… By the time we sang our national anthem to close I was sincerely emotional, so much so that I resisted the urge to yell “now drop the puck!” when it ended.
We’ve known Rocio since she befriended us while we were living in Mexico. We’ve watched her triumph over the challenges of language, culture and career in a new country. We’ve shared some rocky times and a whole lot of good ones — oh yes, and some epic Mexican meals. At this point, she’s family. Just to bring things full circle, very soon she will be bringing her ample gifts here to UBC, where she’s just been hired. Today clearly meant a lot to her, and sharing this moment was a privilege. It was also a provocative learning experience for me — funny how those can pop up unexpectedly.
The presiding judge was crusty, warm, witty and wise. He began and ended his remarks with the same command to all in attendance: “have a real good party tonight.” You bet your robes we will, Your Honour.