From Monarchy to Republic

I’m going to assume you all know about Barbados removing the Queen as the head of state. It seems there is a ripple effect of Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean gaining independence from the English monarchy! Jamaica is the latest country to start the process of removing the Queen as its head of state. The latest news is that Jamaica plans to become a republic on its Independence Day this year, which is on August 6th. I am excited for them! I hope they become a republic after being a “constitutional” monarchy for 60 years and being subject to colonization and enslavement long before that. Even though it may take a lot longer, I do hope Jamaica and other countries that are demanding reparations from the monarchy will receive them.

Why Am I Putting Air Quotes Around Constitutional?:

I have learned from living in the UK that you can call the English Monarchy constitutional all you want. Newsflash: It doesn’t change anything. The monarchy has led to systemic inequality within the UK for almost 1,000 years and abroad for about 500 years. It’s been almost 1,000 years since the Normans invaded the UK in 1066. More than 80% of the wealth in the UK is still owned by the descendants of the Normans. They imposed the nobility and gentry system that still exists today. It didn’t just disappear with the Renaissance, the English Civil War, or the end of the British Empire. Its role today is far more subtle, but it’s there if you look harder. I believe in calling a spade a spade. If you put constitutional in front of monarchy, you’re putting lipstick on a pig.

On a Personal Note:

As you can probably tell from the flags in my display name and bio, I have a connection to Jamaica. I know what you’re thinking:

People’s Reaction when I say I have a connection to Jamaica

OMG Karen! You can’t just ask people why they are white!

Well, I am going to tell you part of the reason why I have a connection to Jamaica, but I won’t say everything. It’s not because I’m ashamed of it. It’s because there are others who could be impacted if I reveal the whole truth.

I grew up in an area outside London that had people from India, Pakistan, Africa (mainly Nigeria and Ghana) and the Caribbean (mainly Jamaica). My parents and I became quite close with Jamaicans, mainly because we were from a similar area of the world. We went to lots of Jamaican parties and participated in discussions of social issues with Jamaicans. I can honestly say Jamaicans are the most socially aware people I have ever met. I heard people’s firsthand stories of the Windrush Generation and moving to the UK because of the lack of jobs in Jamaica. Still, the ones who moved from Jamaica talked about how much they loved it and they taught their kids about their Jamaican heritage. Something else happened that had a significant impact on my life, and that’s where I will stop.

When I saw the 60 Reasons for Apologies and Reparations from Britain and its Royal Family, I was slow-clapping Jamaica. If you don’t know Jamaican history, the above link is a good starting point. Additionally, I am happy that word has gotten out about how Jamaicans have been treated in the UK and that has been included in the reasons.

And Now Kenya is Speaking Out:

When I was writing this post, I found out the Talai Clan in Kenya is petitioning Prince William for reparations. They were evicted from their land so that tea plantations could be grown. Seems like the ripple effect of demanding accountability is going beyond the Caribbean! Go Kenya!

Book Recommendation:

I would like to take the opportunity to give a shoutout to Rosaliene Bacchus from Three Worlds One Vision. She gave me a copy of her book The Twisted Circle during this time when I can’t afford to buy books. I have been slowly reading her book for a few months and absorbing the thoughtful writing that makes me feel like part of the story. Lately, I have been rereading the parts that are related to colonization because of Barbados and Jamaica standing up to the English Monarchy. If you want to learn more about colonization in the Caribbean, particularly in British Guiana, this is the book to read! It makes me recall my Jamaican friends’ stories with both fondness and sympathy.

Could Canada Become a Republic?:

When Barbados made the leap from a “constitutional” monarchy to a republic, there was a discussion on Reddit if Canada could do the same thing. The answer: not any time soon. In the past year, public opinion of the monarchy in Canada has become quite negative, especially after Harry and Megan’s interview. Although, here’s the problem. Canada’s constitution states that it must have a monarch. If they were to remove the Queen, approval of all provinces and territories is needed, which could take years. It’s tough to get provinces to agree on changing the constitution, to say the least. Let’s just say the monarchy has got its claws into Canada. It’s going to take a while to get them out.

It’s common to say here that it would be easier for the UK to remove the monarchy than for Canada to do so. I would say that’s true for Canada since it’s far away from the UK. However, getting rid of the monarchy there would cause serious upheaval in the UK. I’m going to write a post about what I have learned about the monarchy from living in the UK. What I am saying in this post is only the tip of the iceberg.

Will Reparations Happen?:

Truth: I don’t think it will happen any time soon. There’s still denial on the part of the Royal Family about the atrocities they committed. I do think if Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya keep up the pressure, it could happen. However, public opinion in the UK is that reparations aren’t needed for Commonwealth countries. On one side, the UK has a long way to go to even admitting racism and xenophobia are problems in their culture. The denial is rampant! Then again, anyone in the UK who is not nobility is also entitled to reparations after almost 1,000 years of Norman nobility and gentry keeping them “in their place”. I’ll say more about that later. The Royal Family have 1,000 years of oppression in their history. It’s time they owned up to it!

Even though it’s tiring for Commonwealth countries to demand reparations, I have a feeling that they will be more successful at it than people in the UK. There’s too much groupthink in the UK that’s led to racism and xenophobia, but I believe that can be traced back to the propaganda the monarchy created during the Age of Exploration. When you’re talking about an entire nation with a groupthink narrative embedded in the culture, it’s tough to kick it.

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments! Go Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya! πŸ‡§πŸ‡§πŸ‡―πŸ‡²πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ

Best Winter Humour

Humour never fails to keep me going during winter! There are lots of things that one can do to stay physically and mentally healthy during winter. This winter, I haven’t been able to do a lot of those things. One thing I know I can always rely on is humour. I did a previous post about humour, but this one is more about winter humour that I have found in Canada.

Since moving to Canada, I have discovered the joy of Canadian comedians. In this movie “Being Canadian”, one of the guests had this line (and I’m paraphrasing), “Sweden has long winters and they come up with Death Metal. In Canada, we came up with comedy.” Another line is, “heat kills comedy”. Although, I am not sure about other northern countries and their humour (except maybe Russia). Russia is not on the same level as Canada when it comes to comedy. Here’s my list of countries and what I believe their Arctic-like winters have created. Please feel free to add to any of this.

Canada: Comedy.

Russia: Literature.

Finland: Saunas.

Norway: Death Metal.

Sweden: Tomten.

Iceland: Bathing in hot springs.

Scotland: Bagpipes, especially if you combine winter with the highlands.

I have noticed that these countries have a lot in common when it comes to winter activities, but I particularly chose things with a cultural element.

Without further ado, here are my favourite videos of winter humour from Canadian comedians. Please enjoy!

This Hour Has 22 Minutes:

For those of you outside of Canada, This Hour Has 22 Minutes is the political and news satire show here. It’s like Saturday Night Live (US) and Have I Got News For You (UK) had a baby.

In honour of the Winter Olympics, here is some curling humour.

A former 22 Minutes presenter, Shaun Majumder would make fun of a racist stereotype with his character Raj Binder. Here he is talking about ice fishing.

You can find more of his Raj Binder skits on YouTube.

Additionally, here is why the Vikings left Canada

Comedy Routines:

Here are my favourite comedy routines about winter.

And of course, combining winter humour with cultural humour is gold!

Thank goodness I have a VPN, so I will be able to access the funniest CBC shows no matter where I am in the world! It’s not like it was before where I would leave a country and miss their humour. I would love to shake hands with the person who invented VPNs because I can access BBC comedy shows from the UK as well! Okay, I’m spoiled. Lol. But I admit, it’s better than missing your favourite things about a country.

Still to come, more posts I want to do about Canada before I leave!

And the Answer is…

πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡³πŸ‡± The Netherlands! πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡³πŸ‡±

Here are my answer to Clue #3 and Clue #4.

The Netherlands Should Get First and Second Place!
I mean, even the Dutch army don't wear orange.
Sergeant Hurd is the BEST!

I have to admit any time I see Dutch athletes, I always say, “Even the Dutch army don’t wear orange!” The Olympics is so fun!

Congratulations to all who guessed correctly on my round of Where to Invade Next! You guys are good!

Some Other Updates:

The Netherlands isn’t going to be a permanent solution. It’s the best option in the EU for now. The Netherlands has the Dutch American Friendship Treaty which is a good pathway into migrating to the EU. I guess you never know when one of your passports will come in handy. I want to get my EU citizenship back, and the Netherlands doesn’t allow dual nationality. While I am living there, I will be able to assess different countries in the EU that do allow dual nationality and move to one of them someday. It shouldn’t be too hard to get permanent residence in the EU either. They might take into account that we have lived in the EU (including pre-Brexit Britain) for about 15 years. So, we might get fast-tracked to permanent residence. We are building a strategy, but we know laws can change at the drop of a hat.

I can’t say for sure when we will be moving, but it will definitely be sometime this year. Additionally, my Mum needs a hip and knee replacement this year. We are going to go to another country to get it because there is no way my Mum can get that surgery in Canada. There is a two-year waitlist, which she can’t get on yet because we don’t qualify for healthcare and she can’t wait that long to get it.

We also found out even Canadian citizens have to pay about $28,000 CAD for orthopedic surgery. Note: Other surgeries in Canada are paid for through the healthcare system, but orthopedic surgery has recently changed. It’s the most expensive type of surgery and now requirements for paying for it out-of-pocket are being implemented. We met someone recently who had gone to Lithuania for a hip and knee replacement at a fraction of the price and two months after the surgery, he was walking in the snow and ice!

Another note: this information keeps changing and it’s what we have found out right now. So, don’t take it as the Alpha and the Omega.

Future Posts:

Before I leave, I will do my best to finish my Parks Challenge. Additionally, I have a few other posts about Canada and expat/TCK life that I still want to do. I will also be doing posts on learning Dutch. I know that they learn English to a high level there, but so what? Moving to another country and not bothering to learn the language, or travelling without trying to learn some basic words and phrases of their language is rude. That’s a universal rule. Frankly, people like that get on my nerves and I question their upbringing.

Note: I am going to be honest about why we have had to leave. When I hear the Canadian government talking about how they want to welcome more immigrants, I laugh! There are problems on provincial and federal levels! We just got a survey from Statistics Canada about healthcare, and my Mum and I let them know if they want highly skilled migrants, they need to do a better job! Highly skilled migrants know how to compare countries and they will go elsewhere!

That being said, some of my readers seem to be under the impression that I don’t like Canada anymore. That’s absolutely not true! My emotions have been rather intense since concluding we had to move. It’s not the people or the culture that’s the problem. It’s immigration, healthcare and economic systems that are not in our favour. Although that seems to be true for anyone in Canada, regardless of whether they are citizens. I am going to come back to Canada for the eclipse in 2024, and for other things. Canada is one of my homes now, and I have no regrets at all about moving here!

Hope you are all doing well!

My 2022 Goals

The reason why I say 2022 Goals, is because there is too much hype around New Year’s Resolutions. As I said in my post, Third Culture Christmas, I do believe there is a lot of truth to the Russian saying that you spend the New Year just the way you meet it (Как Новый Π³ΠΎΠ΄ Π²ΡΡ‚Ρ€Π΅Ρ‚ΠΈΡˆΡŒ, Ρ‚Π°ΠΊ Π΅Π³ΠΎ ΠΈ ΠΏΡ€ΠΎΠ²Π΅Π΄Π΅ΡˆΡŒ).

I feel like with COVID-19 disrupting so many things, it’s often harder to hold yourself to goals, so I decided to set goals that I know I can achieve. Although, if I am not sure about a goal, I am okay with putting a question mark beside it. So, here are my goals!

Plan for Getting COVID-19:

I don’t mean to sound negative right off the bat, but because of Omicron, it’s becoming even more necessary to plan for COVID-19. It just recently occurred to me that I don’t have a plan for getting COVID-19. After almost two years, I have not got COVID-19, and neither has anyone in my family. It’s only been some friends of mine who have got it or had family members get it. There is an element of luck to not getting sick, even if you do everything right. I was certain when my Mum got sick that we were going to get COVID-19, and I was amazed we didn’t, even with Mum having a nasogastric tube and Dad flying in to help us!

The best advice I ever got was if you have a health problem, throw everything you possibly can at it until something sticks. It doesn’t matter if it’s something weird, but if it works for you, use it! Lately, I have been doing a massive Google Search on what to do to relieve COVID-19 symptoms, so I just need to compile all that data on it and be ready. And, of course, recovering is not the full story. I need to see if I will get long COVID-19. Anyway, thank you next!

Start Journey to Financial Independence:

I am not going to say what exactly I will be doing to start this. I will say this though, I can’t start with my original business idea because there is a 1.5-year backlog at immigration for permanent residence. The good news is I have an idea to tide me over. I may end up sticking to that idea permanently. Who knows?

Start Writing A Book:

I have been talking with some of my TCK friends about collaborating on a book! Originally, I thought of writing a book about my stories and insights, but I feel like I’m happy with my blog. Watch this space!

Read At Least 50 Pages Per Day:

I was in a funk with reading in 2021. Lately, I have been hanging out at my local library, and I realized how much I have missed reading! Plus, as an entrepreneur, it’s even more important to read. And I love it too, so I’m excited! Now, I have a great set of books lined up. I maxed out my library card!

Speaking of libraries, I revisited this episode of this British show I love. Watch the part before the intro because anyone who has worked at a library will tell you this is true. Glad they made fun of it!

Blogging Goals:

Here’s an overview of what to expect next year. I am going to be catching up on posts I planned to do. I have a backlog. I’m also going to be doing Bloganuary. You can read more about it here: https://wordpress.com/blog/2021/12/16/new-year-new-success-with-bloganuary/ I don’t think I will post every day though. I am going to do a cultural theme to this as well, so if I get a prompt and I’m not inspired by it, I’m not going to do it. I’m thinking at the end of the year, I am going to do Blogmas, but again, do culturally themed posts. We’ll see though. I’m already feeling inspired for posts I can do this year. I am also going to be doing at least THREE guest/collab posts! Looks like it will be a great year for blogging!

One last thing: If you have any questions you want me to answer, or give me any feedback, please do!

Continue What I am Doing for Mental Health:

COVID-19 has helped me a lot in terms of learning more about what I can do for mental health. It was tested to the LIMIT when my Mum got sick! You get more insight into your mental health when times are challenging. There’s no silver bullet, but I am more than willing to do the work I need to do to improve whatever needs to be done. I would say I’m somewhat okay now.

Additionally, I have been doing everything I can possibly do to help my Mum mentally while she recovers. I don’t know what it is about appendicitis that messes with you mentally, but it does. I’m not a mental health professional though, and if my Mum needs more help, I will encourage her to get it!

Continue Calgary Parks Challenge:

After Omicron burns itself out, I intend to continue with my Parks Challenge. I have four parks to write about, that I put off for a while. That’s a good thing to do while waiting for Omicron cases to drop.

So far, I have seen 11 parks, written about 6 parks, and I have 62 parks left to see!

Continue Physical Health Habits:

I’ve been working on my physical health as well. It’s been tough to do so because it’s easy to be a couch potato in lockdown. Even so, I found a solution and I’m happy to continue to improve on them.

Question Marks:

I’ll mention a couple of goals that I have question marks with. I really want to learn how to drive in the winter in Canada, but so far, that’s not been possible. Will it happen this year? Hard to say.

Additionally, I have got signs that I am aching to travel. I was jealous of my Dad when he came here because he got to fly and I didn’t. I was like, “I’m the person who meets him at the airport. Meh.” A friend of mine sent me a photo of a mall lately, and I kid you not, I thought it was LAX! I’m really hoping I can travel at least once in 2022.

One thing I am already thinking about is travelling over the Christmas season. I have had a string of tough Christmases since 2017, which was the year I got appendicitis. The only Christmas where I was truly happy was in 2018 when I travelled to Yosemite. I feel it’s time to experience the Christmas season elsewhere. I have already thought of a few local places to visit if COVID-19 is still a problem, but also some international ones, just in case. Here’s my list:

  • Banff: Want to see what it’s like at Christmas.
  • Jasper: Ditto
  • Yellowknife: Okay, pretty hardcore climate, but I would like to try it.
  • Jamaica: Those close to me know why.
  • Germany: If you have seen how they do Christmas, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Will I go to one of those places, or will I go someplace else? Watch this space!

I wish you all the best for 2022! What are your 2022 goals?

Best Photos of 2021

This is my last post of the year, and I wanted to showcase the best photos of 2021!

January:

From this post: Third Month Theme: Rest, Reflect and Observe New Things

February:

From this post: Fourth Month Theme: Okay, It’s Cold! Wake Me Up in Spring!

March:

From this post: Fifth Month Theme: Spring? What? Confusion All Around!

April:

From this post: Sixth Month Theme: Slow Spring and Time for Health

May:

Painting of A Canada Goose that I see frequently
I took this photo in May but used it for a post in June

From this post: My Most Canadian Story (So Far)

June:

I started my Parks Challenge this month!

From this post: Park #1: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

July:

From these posts: Park #3: Sandy Beach Park

Park #4: South Glenmore Park

August:

From this post: Park #5: Bowmont Park

September:

From this post: Preparing for Winter 2021

October:

From this post: Medical Emergencies While Abroad Part I: My Story

November:

From this post: Not included in any posts

December:

To summarize, there have been unusually cold temps this month and I experienced my first blizzard in Calgary!

From this post: Not included in any posts because this just happened!

What do you think of my selection?

Finally:

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. Get your booster as soon as possible! I got mine because my pharmacy had spares at the end of the day that they were literally giving away. This new Omicron variant isn’t easy, but we have to do what we must for this pandemic to end someday.

Here’s what I have planned for my posts next year. I am behind on posts I wanted to do about the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation because of my Mum’s emergency in October. Additionally, I have suspended my Parks Challenge until further notice, but I do have some posts to write on that. Look out for more guest and collab posts as well as more stuff about expat and TCK life! Here’s to more adventure in 2022 that does not include COVID-19!

Happy Holidays and enjoy the Winter Solstice!