Have you ever gone to a party where the only person you know is the host? It feels like all the other guests know each other and they — often without even realizing it — are talking in verbal shorthand and exchanging inside jokes and referencing things you’ve never experienced. You’re surrounded by people yet you feel an aching loneliness.
That’s what it feels like to be an immigrant.
I know. In 1999, I emigrated from Canada and landed on an emerald isle where people were incredulous that I’d never heard of Wayne Rooney and I was equally aghast they had never heard of Wayne Gretzky. I wished someone had given me a Coles Notes guide to my new country’s culture because it sure wasn’t all shamrocks and shillelaghs.
It was my time in this self-imposed exile that made me realize how cool Canada actually is. And since returning to my homeland for good, I’ve wanted to create a little starting point for new Canadians so that they might feel less lonely at parties, specifically Canada’s 150th birthday party. Is Canada Even Real? How a Nation Build on Hobos, Beavers, Hip Hop and Weirdos Taught the World to Beliebe is designed to let people in on the joke and show that anyone among us can rise to become the life of the party, or even its leader.