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International Relations

I have a complex relationship with my neighbours. No, I don’t mean my fellow condo dwellers or even the angry man across the street who yells at me from his balcony. I’m referring to my friends in the south: The United States of America. It’s complex in that I’ve got some American blood in me, but I spent many childhood years raggin’ on the Red, White and Blue. You see, my Dad is an American, and he’s pretty wonderful. But bi-annual visits to the USA as a kid meant I had to develop an extensive list as to why Canada is the superior nation. I had to convince my American cousins I was right and they were wrong. Kid logic. These conversations usually began with me and my siblings adamantly denying living in igloos.

Of course, I’ve moved beyond list-making and igloo-denying. In fact, Canada and America have more in common than they don’t. However, if I were still score-keeping, America the Brave just scored a few very major points this weekend. Most of them come from this dress.

This dress cost me ONE DOLLAR. I’m going to give you some time to let that settle in.

(…Settling time…)

Again, if you didn’t hear me the first time: ONE DOLLAR.

This one-dollar miracle came from the Salvation Army in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Planet Earth. I spent last weekend in good ol’ GR, visiting my sister-in-law Magdalyn and her husband. The Salvation Army decided to throw a Cinco De Mayo sale, and declare all clothing 5/5$. This is just one of the two vintage dresses that made their way into my bag, along with some other goodies for my sister-in-law. I didn’t really realize this sale was on until we walked up to the cash register. If I had clued in sooner, I would have spent every last loonie in that store. While I still love my country dearly, this one-dollar dress has me reluctantly granting the USA a win in thrifting category. And that’s a big deal.

They also scored major culinary points on my visit. We went to a restaurant that serves nothing but breakfast. Forty different kinds of breakfast, each more delicious than the last. This is such a brilliant idea, I’ve concluded all restaurants everywhere should serve only breakfast for every meal. Wait, I revise my answer: all restaurants should just serve breakfast and hotdogs. Why? Because another big boost in points can be attributed to the restaurant that put chili, cheese, and potato chips on my hotdog. It was the stuff of dreams (wait, final answer: restaurants can serve whatever they want, so long as they put potato chips on top).

But don’t worry, my mild-mannered Canadian friends. I won’t be pledging my allegiance to Old Glory any time soon. They may have perfected thrifting and hotdogs, but we still have way prettier money, more lakes, and a shit-tonne of gold medals. Our fellow countrymen are people like Margaret Atwood, Christopher Plummer and Bryan Adams. Even our fictional peeps are pretty awesome: Anne of Green Gables, Scott Pilgrim and Robin Scherbatsky all call Canada home.

And one more point for Canada: have you ever tried listing the fifty states? People, that’s too many states. Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Much more manageable.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter if you’re an America, Canadian, or something else all together. They’re all pretty great. Plus, we can all rally behind shared interests – you share with me your cheap  dresses, and I share with you Justin Bieber. Here in Canada, that might be called a win-win…eh?



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