Itโ€™s Remembrance Day tomorrow! I wish I could experience all the regular traditions here, but I know the public celebrations are cancelled because of COVID-19. Still, I have made a resolution to learn more about Canadaโ€™s role in WWI and WWII once things calm down with getting settled. Okay, I know the flower emoji Iโ€™m using in the titles is a hibiscus, but I looked it up and it said thatโ€™s acceptable to use it in replacement of a poppy for Remembrance Day. Meanwhile, tech companies need to catch on and create culturally appropriate emojis to make them available for different cultures.

Note: Iโ€™m saying Remembrance Day in my post because thatโ€™s what itโ€™s called in Canada, except when Iโ€™m talking about England. One thing that is making me chuckle right now is learning the meanings and slang terms of different words in Canada. Sometimes, I have to learn another term for something, when I already know two other forms of it in American English and English English! Remembrance Day is one of them because itโ€™s called Armistice Day in the UK and Veterans Day in the US. I wonโ€™t say much about how itโ€™s celebrated in the US, because frankly, it pales in comparison to both the UK and Canada, as far as I have seen.

Iโ€™m rather embarrassed to admit this, but I never bought a poppy in England. I made up for it this time and got a poppy last week! Next time Iโ€™m in England in November, I will get a poppy! I like how the poppies look here. Itโ€™s different from England though. In England, the poppies have a stem on them and they have that definite European poppy look. I think thatโ€™s fair considering you see those poppies all the time in Europe.

My Canadian Poppy

It snowed last weekend. I took a walk in a park near where I live and took some pictures. I noticed when I looked at a selfie that I did that it would be nice to put a poppy frame around it, so I did! Iโ€™m glad the snow came back! I think it makes a difference in the photo.

Me in the snow with a poppy photo frame

I noticed one thing that is unique to Canada a few days ago. November 8 was Indigenous Veterans Day. I thought that was really cool, considering we donโ€™t have that in the US. I hope someday the US creates a holiday to honour its Indigenous veterans too. Plus, I think they should have days to honour their Black veterans and immigrant veterans.

I ran into this news item a few days ago saying that Whole Foods (which is now owned by Amazon) said their Canadian staff couldnโ€™t wear poppies because it violated the dress code. They thought poppies were a political symbol. I know there was already a backlash from employees this year who were punished for wearing Black Lives Matter masks. I flipped out when I heard about this! Poppies are NOT a political symbol here, or in any country that wears them for November 11! Thank goodness the Canadian government told Whole Foods to reverse the ban on poppies!

Itโ€™s not the first time, I have seen cultural controversy about poppies though. In November 2010, David Cameron offended Xi Jinping when he went on an official trip to China despite being asked not to wear it. Poppies are offensive in China, because of the opium wars. Itโ€™s one of those cultural mistakes that could have been avoided if David Cameron hadnโ€™t been so bloody proud! Sometimes, I think individual expats and Third Culture Kids are more culturally sensitive than global businesses or governments.

I want to take a step back here and talk about what I remember about Armistice Day in England.

When I first moved to England, I noticed things around me that were reminiscent of WWII. In school, we observed the 2-minute silence at 11 AM on November 11. One time, I was at my local library, and all these people who had lived during the war were having a discussion about rationing. I didnโ€™t really pay attention to the things around me that were reminiscent of WWII for a while, and I didnโ€™t understand the poppy symbolism for a while either. Plus, after coming from a country that had engaged in all these useless wars, and then instituted a Patriot Act after 9/11, I was against anything pro-military.

Then, when I was 16, I became really good friends with my neighbour who was a little girl during WWII. She told me all the stories she had about it. Some of them were funny. Some of them were sad. Overall, it was a very personal and human experience.

I had a complete change in mindset about the war too. Both my grandfathers were in the US Navy, so up until I moved to England, I had a US perspective on the war. After I had lived in England for a while, I was rather disgusted when I said to one of my grandfathers that England had won the war, and he said, โ€œBut they didnโ€™t!โ€

My neighbour shared that she didnโ€™t mind the Americans coming because they were needed to help win the war. She remembered the Americans were always giving the kids gum! She did say, in a culturally sensitive way, that there was a lot of resentment towards Americans for showing up late AGAIN and then taking the credit! I saw it for myself too. I could see that England, as a culture, has a lot of pride in what they did to stand up to Hitler. They deserve to have that pride. They got hit hard with The Blitz and rationing, but they came together and stood up to fascism. What they went through was far different than the US, who sent their boys overseas. Now, I am very pro-England when I hear about WWI and WWII history, and I adopted that when I became a British citizen. One of my favourite shows about England during WWII is Foyleโ€™s War. Itโ€™s a wonderful tribute to that war generation.

One thing I like about Armistice Day in England is that people still stand outside stores and sell poppies. Itโ€™s great for older people to do an activity like that, especially since a lot of them were of that war generation. I had a friend who was born shortly after the war, but she loved selling poppies every November! She was very sociable, so she got a lot of customers, plus she had the endurance to stand in the winter rain! She was one tough cookie! My friend died almost two years ago of cancer. At her funeral, her colleagues from the Royal British Legion laid a poppy wreath on her grave to thank her for her volunteer service. Iโ€™m remembering both my neighbour and my friend at this time.

Since I am still learning about Canadian WWI and WWII history and Remembrance Day traditions, I donโ€™t feel I am in a place to say too much about them. Iโ€™ll do a post about it next year though. Iโ€™m looking forward to learning how that fits with the British part too and celebrate those sides of myself.

In closing, Iโ€™m going to put a link to the poem that started the poppy tradition. Itโ€™s been at the forefront of my attention now that I know it was written by a Canadian. Please enjoy the work of physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

ย ย ย ย That mark our place; and in the sky

ย ย ย ย The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.



We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

ย ย ย ย Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย In Flanders fields.



Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

ย ย ย ย The torch; be yours to hold it high.

ย ย ย ย If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย In Flanders fields.

About Author

I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.

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18 Comments

  1. kagould17 โ€“ Not much to tell. After working for 3 companies over 43+ years (38 years 7 months with my last company), I finally got that promotion I had waited my entire career forโ€ฆโ€ฆretirement. I have been exploring this new career for the past 7+ years and while it is not always exciting, the chance to do what I want for myself and my family instead of what my company wants has been very fulfilling. Early on, there was a long list of projects in my โ€œto-doโ€ hopper and I attacked these projects with a vengeance for the first 9 months of retirement. Eventually, my brain told me that this was not what retirement was about, so it took me another 5 months before my industriousness again took over and I attacked another line of projects, this time somewhat shorter and less complicated, as well as many new projects related to the family weddings in 2016. After going hard for 6 weeks and 3 weddings, my body was telling me to relax, then the flu bug hit and as soon as that was done with me, my sciatic acted up. No rest for the wicked. In 2020 and 2021, the Covid 19 pandemic changed the whole retirement gig. I was lucky to not be still working, for sure. I enjoy photography, gardening, working with my hands, walking, cycling, skiing, travelling, reading and creating special photo and video productions obtained in my first pastime. I may never become wealthy in any of these pursuits, but I already feel I am rich in life experiences far beyond any expectation.
    says:

    Good thoughtful post. I think Remembrance Day captures what is required on this day perfectly. We must remember the Hell of war, the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedoms, those at home who filled the gaps left when soldiers went to war and those who resisted or died in the villages and streets. We must remember, so we can do our utmost so it never happens again. War is not glorious, but freedom s. Stay well. Allan

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Thank you. I am still learning about Canadaโ€™s role in the World Wars, but I wanted to write about my time in England too. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Thank you ๐Ÿ˜š

  2. Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe โ€“ Lagos, Nigeria โ€“ Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe is a Lagos based travel blogger who blogs about a wide range of topics including his journeys, interview with travel personalities, travel blogging tips, public transport, art galleries and monuments, and touristic attractions.
    says:

    A couple of days ago #VeteransDay was trending and I thought it was an official date to celebrate war heroes in the USA but maybe I was wrong.

    You were right at the beginning, tech companies need to take notes from ya on including much more emojisโ€ฆ LoL.

    Happy Remembrance Day in Arrears and youโ€™ve truly concluded with a remarkable poem Winteroseca.

    Finally, I think itโ€™s important for everyone to learn about cultures of certain places before going what is wrong. Like in some parts of Asia, writing peopleโ€™s names in red ink is bad. Regardless of David Cameronโ€™s status, itโ€™ll be considered inappropriate if he tried such especially if he knew beforehand.

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day in the US, just like in England. My parents remember when they changed it. Now, itโ€™s lost all meaning there.
      And right?? Tech needs to keep evolving depending on the culture, especially since symbols mean different things to different cultures.
      And thank you! I love that poem too ๐Ÿ˜Š
      You are so right about learning what is acceptable in other countries! I know politicians have protocol departments to help them with that, and you think people would listen to them! I agree that David Cameronโ€™s actions were unacceptable especially since he and the people with him were asked to remove the poppy. I understand an honest mistake, but that wasnโ€™t it! Seeing blatant lack of cultural sensitivity makes me shudder!

      1. Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe โ€“ Lagos, Nigeria โ€“ Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe is a Lagos based travel blogger who blogs about a wide range of topics including his journeys, interview with travel personalities, travel blogging tips, public transport, art galleries and monuments, and touristic attractions.
        says:

        So much to learn and thanks for sharing Winteroseca. How long ago was Armistice Day changed in the US and under which administration?

        Sorry about my questions, Iโ€™m usually not this inquisitiveโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜Š

      2. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
        says:

        It must have been the 70s or something. My Mum remembers the day it changed and there was an uproar because it was supposed to be there to remember The War to End All Wars. My Mum let me know itโ€™s not okay to forget that the US did that! I took it to heart, especially after my experience in England. Now, publicly remembering the World Wars is dead now, and thatโ€™s not okay!
        I like your questions! Keep them coming! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      3. Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe โ€“ Lagos, Nigeria โ€“ Eromonsele Emmanuel Oigiagbe is a Lagos based travel blogger who blogs about a wide range of topics including his journeys, interview with travel personalities, travel blogging tips, public transport, art galleries and monuments, and touristic attractions.
        says:

        Thanks. ๐Ÿค—

      4. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
        says:

        Youโ€™re welcome!

  3. restlessjo โ€“ Hi! Iโ€™m Jo! Johanna when Iโ€™m feeling posh, Jan to my Dad, and Joasiu to my Polish family. A bit of a mix-up, thatโ€™s me. The one constant, however, is my restless nature. I love to travel and to explore our world. It doesnโ€™t have to be the big wide world. I can be ridiculously happy not too far from home, so long as Iโ€™m seeking new horizons. Of course I have a wish list, and it was to help me fulfil my dreams that I started to write travel guides for a venture called Simonseeks. Iโ€™d always kept a travel diary, and it was hugely satisfying to share my experiences and to make new friends who shared my passion for travel. Alas, Simonseeks hit a few troubles, but I still find myself writing about my travels. Iโ€™ve become addicted. Iโ€™d love to share them, and to make more friends. So, it has to be a blog- right? Or do I mean- write?
    says:

    Itโ€™s unbearably sad, the poem, but so very evocative.

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      I know! I totally agree. Thanks for your comment ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. Beautifully post ๐ŸŒบ

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Thank you! I have been remembering London a lot at this time. Maybe because Iโ€™m in a Commonwealth country now lol

  5. Rosaliene Bacchus โ€“ Los Angeles - California - USA โ€“ I was born in Guyana, a former British colony on the northern coast of the South American continent. As the only English-speaking country on the continent, Guyana's historical, cultural, and economic development is linked with the Caribbean Region and is a founding member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In 1987, I migrated with my husband and two sons to Fortaleza, capital of the northeastern State of Ceara in Brazil. For fourteen years, I worked as an import-export manager. My sons and I migrated to Los Angeles, Southern California in the USA, in October 2003. After migrating to the USA, I started writing articles about international trade issues and US-Brazil trade, as well as fictional short stories. As a form of self-therapy, I began working on a novel. You can learn about my journey as a writer on my authorโ€™s website. My debut novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, was released in August 2019. You can learn more, read reviews, and purchase a copy on my authorโ€™s website at Under the Tamarind Tree: A Novel by Rosaliene Bacchus. My second novel, The Twisted Circle, the story of a young nunโ€™s journey to self-determination in a patriarchal church, was released in August 2021. I am currently working on my first book of creative non-fiction.
    says:

    Beautiful post. Remembrance/Armistice Day traditions are different across the British Commonwealth of which Canada and my birthplace of Guyana are member nations.

    1. Third Culture Kid โ€“ I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ/๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Thank you! Yeah, itโ€™s really cool to experience this. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ˜Š

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