A Special Trip (Writing the Self #2)

A Special Trip

I was kind of upset when I landed in the airport in The Netherlands. I was incredibly jet-lagged and I was not up for a full day of touring since it was three in the morning Regina time. On top of this, I was already incredibly homesick. After spending ten months at a boarding school I really just wanted to spend the summer at home. Yes, I had signed up for this trip two years ago but as time went on my heart was longing to spend time in my quaint little town, Vanguard Saskatchewan. I got off the plane with my Notre Dame backpack with Saskatchewan and Canada pins all over it and Canada baseball cap on and immediately I noticed something, everyone was staring at us. I asked my dad if we had done something wrong and he just looked at me and laughed.

Later that day we arrived at the Anne Frank house. The curiosity of people everywhere we went hadn’t stopped, it seemed that everywhere we went people could not keep their eyes off of us and especially my backpack and hat. To add to my confusion an elderly lady walked up to me and asked “Canadian?” I responded “yes” and she teared up, gave me a huge hug, said “thank you so much” and just walked away. It took me a moment but finally, it dawned on me that Canadians had liberated the Netherlands from German forces in World War II. I asked my dad if that was why people were so curious about us all day and he said that yes the Dutch people still held extremely high respect for Canadians for fighting for the liberation of the Netherlands.

Eventually, our trip concluded with a visit to Vimy Ridge where we were able to see the memorial for Canadian soldiers. The people who work there presented us with a pin on medal for making the journey to see it. As they handed us our pins I noticed they all had tears in their eyes and the person presenting was barely able to choke out the words. They were so happy we were there because they love showing us what many of our people fought bravely for.

Seeing how Canadian soldiers had made these people across Europe so happy was a moment I felt truly proud to be Canadian. Our people’s bravery has had everlasting effects on these people and they are so eternally grateful for it. Before this trip, I was having serious doubts about Canada and questioning whether it really is a good country to live in, but after this trip, I had no doubts and I’m so happy I decided to go despite being homesick. Canadians saved those places and people from uncertain and potentially horrible futures. Now the Netherlands is considered the happiest country in the world, and that’s thanks to us. I’m not even tooting our own horn, they will all tell you that, because for them it’s the truth. People tend to look over all the good things and just focus on the bad, but to a lot of the people in Europe, especially the Netherlands, Canadians are heroes. 

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