Here a few things you need to know about me:
1. Yes, my obsession with Canada stems from years of watching Degrassi.
2. I’ve only been out of the country once, and it was to Canada.
3. Drake, yes I will marry you.
July 1st, 2007. I’m 14 years old, almost 15, and somehow they’ve let me out of the country. The Roanoke College Children’s Choir has been my home for 6 years now, and it’s my first C Choir Trip. Concert Choir, also known as C Choir, is the eldest group of student singers in RCCC. I’ve finally made it to The Prime.
One of few black girls, people knew my face, but probably not my name. I brushed it off if I ever got confused with another girl who wasn’t me. I was hoping this would be the year I made my core group of friends and to my surprise, I got my wish granted.
Morgen, Clancy, Ali, Abby, Katie. I met five young girls that year that would eventually shape my high school years. When I felt lost or scared, I would find refuge in our Tuesday night choir practices, Macados Dinner Dates, or The Infamous Sleepovers. But none of that would have happened without my First Canada Day.
Traveling out of the country wasn’t as glamorous as I imagined it. Though I was thankful for this, we did not fly to Canada, but however rode in a charter bus. We crossed the border sitting in alphabetical order so the Identification Process went by quickly. Before we got to Canada, we stopped at the Philidelphia Zoo and in NY, I tried Quizno’s Subs for the first time.
14 and out of the country. I’d never felt so cool…even though we all had to wear weird matching T-shirts and color code our outfits for 80% of the trip. 7 days away from home, bonding with My Girls, and doing what we all loved best at the time.
Our Canadian Excursion included a Choral Festival where we met young people from different Canadian cities. There were the girls from a chorus that wore plaid skirts and navy Blazers. They mocked our accents and assumes all Americans were Southerners. We met a nice girl whose name I can’t place, but I remember hoping we would stay in touch.
There were the older and sexy French Canadian all boy choir that smoked cigarettes during rehearsal breaks and flirted with our senior girls. Morgen was smitten by a 19 year old named Tony, and I remember us all thinking 19 was so old and mature.
And then, there was Dave. My first International Love. He was part of the oldest group of singers there: The Prairie Voices. Dave and The Prairie Voices were an incredible choral group from Manitoba. Ages ranging from 18-25, I knew that it was my calling to move to Canada and audition when I was old enough.
Dave had beautiful light brown skin and had dreadlocks. Morgen and I asked him for several photos like the groupies we were. Ali and Clancy would tease us because it was kind of ridiculous. I remember thinking we would never forget him, and I was right.
On Canada Day, we stood on stage during the first day of the festival. We wore red shirts and white pants to help celebrate Canada Day while we listened to the other groups sing O, Canada.
And then for some reason we sang the American National Anthem, which I think was an attempt at solidarity but I think we just looked like jerks.
I still remember the small moments from this trip, 8 years later. Niagara Falls will remain my most beautiful and most wet memory. Staying up as late as we could to all talk to one another, gazing out the window at Tim Hortons, hoping to sight Degrassi stars, and counting all of the African-Canadians. We were so passionate about counting all of the Black people in Canada and soon learned they were not called African-Canadians.
After the festival was over, we said goodbye to our new friends and spent the last leg of our adventure in New York City. We saw Wicked, ate amazing food, and ran out of money.
Oh wait, yea, that was only me.
My First Canada Day set the tone for that group of girls and I. The next three years, we stuck together the best we could. We grew up together and just last weekend, one of us got married. No matter where life takes me, these memories will stay with me. While seemingly not that sensational, my time in Canada was fantastic and I hope to go back one day soon!
Happy Canada Day and cheers to my start of 31 Days of Blogging!