25 May 2011

O' Canada

For much of my life, I've been accused of being a 'secret' Canadian. I'm not, of course, but I take this as a huge compliment. There are not many people who actually dislike the Canadians, except, perhaps the Russians and First Peoples (Don't even get them started on the topic of the Arctic).

I remember one distinct occasion in high school when, in the middle of an audition for the madrigals, the director stopped and asked when I had moved to the US. 'Er...at birth?' I replied, confused as to what exactly he meant. 'Are your parents Canadian then? Because you've got quite the Canadian accent.' Cue awkward pause after I told him that they were not and that I had never been to Canada. To confirm: I've never been to Canada. Neither of my parents are from Canada. I don't have any friends from Canada. I don't watch large amounts of Canadian television. Nope, my 'Canadian' accent has developed on its own accord. Who knows where it comes from? Such scenarios have been the norm throughout most of my adolescence and have occurred even as recently as this past April.

Of course, the accent isn't quite as strong as it used to be, no doubt from having been diffused during my time living abroad. I pick up accents quite easily and occasionally slip into different accents depending on my mood. In fact, on one memorable occasion in senior year of college, I slipped into a Scottish accent without knowing it while giving a presentation. I became increasingly flustered as I watched my classmates expressions change into ones of confusion, believing it to be due to some mistake on my part. It was only later after the class had ended that a friend approached me and asked if my change in accent had been intentional (I was discussing a 14th century plague outbreak in Scotland, after all) that I discovered what had happened. Thankfully, this only happened a few times when I was in Edinburgh in April and not when I was in London since it would have proven quite embarrassing for me. I don't do it on purpose, I swear!

Anyway, a few of you may be aware that I have been studying Scottish Gaelic since my senior year of high school when my Dad and I visited Oban. I fell in love with the language and, despite the fact that my progress is limited at best, have been trying to learn it. I actively began studying it again last summer while in Edinburgh and was able to have a few (basic) conversations with people when I was on Mull and Iona in August. Attending grad school this past year meant that my skills dropped off considerably. However, since my mission this summer is to learn how to relax again, I've decided to pick it up again. (Side note: How can someone forget how to relax? Is that even possible? Well, apparently it is possible since I've spent the past week at home not being able to simply sit down and enjoy life. My idea of relaxing has been to go running, which isn't actually all that relaxing. Go figure.)

So what is the purpose of this post? Mainly to announce my intention to go to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia this summer, home of the largest number of Scots Gaelic speakers in North America. I spent my 22nd birthday (my best birthday ever) in Edinburgh, Scotland and so it is only fitting that I spend birthday number 23 in the 'Scotland of North America' - Cape Breton Island. What does Cape Breton have to offer? An entire fiddle school (omg!), native gaelic speakers, hiking, cycling, ceilidhs, and scenery like this:

Is that awesome or what? I think I'm sold. All that's left is to pick a date, find a way to get up there, and figure out where on earth my camping gear has gone. (I've a sneaking suspicion that it may have been 'borrowed' by my Dad's Boy Scout troop...in which case I will never see it again.)

1 comment:

  1. I come from a Scottish background and I remember going up to the Canadian maritimes with my parents and brother when I was a teen. We went up there so my Dad could look up some family history as most of our family came to North America through Nova Scotia. I just remember it being amazingly beautiful, the people were real nice and the seafood was out of this world. I can't wait to go back someday. You'll have a blast!