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jane goes to canada
April 11, 2010, 12:16 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

I couldn’t resist another quotation from the interview with Jane Jacobs.  In this one she talks about moving to Canada and how her American friends respond.  As an alien here in America, which has many great qualities to recommend it, I must agree with Jane:  Americans grow up differently, and somehow, like no one nowhere else in the world, come to believe that they are the center of it.

Yes, we were but we were—you know this was another thing that we found out when we got here. Americans don’t really think that other places are as real as America. We were leaving things behind. Well, we were coming to other things that were just as real and just as interesting and just as exciting. And people would ask me after we had decided to stay, “Well, when are you coming back?” “Well, we’re not. We are living here.” “Oh, but you can’t just—you’ve got to come back to real life.” And I would say, “It’s just as real.” This is very hard for Americans to understand and I think that may be the biggest difference between Americans and people elsewhere. Canadians know that there are places just as real as Canada. It’s a self-centeredness that’s a very strange thing.

Yes, they have got it so dingged into them that they are the most fortunate people on Earth and that the rest of the world—the sooner it copies what America is like, the better. I still have a lot of family in America. I still have a lot of friends there. There is a lot that I admire there very much. When I find America getting too much criticized outside America, I want to tell them how many things are good about it. So I am not any hate-America person. I really came here for positive reasons. We stayed for positive reasons, because we liked it. Why did I become a Canadian citizen? Not because I was rejecting being a U.S. citizen. At the time when I became a Canadian citizen, you couldn’t be a dual citizen. Now you can. So I had to be one or the other. But the reason I became a Canadian citizen was because it simply seemed so abnormal to me not to be able to vote.

-Jane Jacobs

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[…] a Canadian living in the Unites States, I found thie passage extremely interesting.  I have had almost the exactly same experience, only in reverse. When I […]

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