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My Canadian Fitness Instructor

When we went out with my cousin the first time about a month ago, he seemed to know everyone in the bar. Waving here. A nod there. A quick hello.

I commented that he seemed to be quite popular. He laughed and said, "Belfast is a small city. You'll be surprised how many people you will just suddenly know."

A small world in a city. And it has happened. I have been walking down the street and there were the ladies we hung out with on a Saturday night.

Dazed-faced on the bus home from work, I have noticed a couple-friend walking home that we went for Chinese food with.

Now that we actually know people here, I'm not so surprised to see a familiar face.

And when I found out there was a Canadian working at my gym, I figured he'd be from Vancouver or Calgary. Somewhere where the air is fresh and the scenery breathtaking. Isn't that where the healthy fitness types are from?

Until this morning, I had only seen him teaching a class and it further confirmed that he would not be from any where near where I was from in Canada.

I arrived at the gym early this morning for my free one-to-one with a personal fitness instructor. Sound very glamourous but it's just someone who suggests what you should do to lose what you want.

And it was Joe Canadian. We went through the whole session - cracking jokes, I might add which seemed SO NICE that I didn't misunderstand his words and vice versa.

It wasn't until the end that I asked the big question, "Where are you from?"

I saw his face do the same thing my face sometimes does when I'm tired of feeling like a foreigner. It's the polite sinking of the face into a forced smile and the closing of the eyes as the word:


escapes my mouth.

"Oh really?" I said innocently, "Me too! Where from?"

His face lit up. Kinda like the way mine tends to do when I meet someone from Canada.

"Oh yah?" he said smiling "Ontario" The left side of his mouth started turning up in a coy, mysterious, I-wonder-where-she's-from look.

"Me too!!" I gasped, mouth open

"No way!" he said laughing.

Suddenly, we were best friends.

He's from beach town a couple hours outside of Toronto, one I used to frequent when I lived in my small home town as it was closer, one that I drove my big grey van to with my boyfriend at the time only to have it die right in the middle of the road because my friend had removed the alternator fuse. (this is a longer story but it's my big claim to fame in the place).

We were both beaming. It didn't take long to slip in the "my boyfriend" although he did say the "my girlfriend" first but then the conversation got even more comfortable because then there was no picking each other up or anything it was just talking about being here, two Canadians, happy to reminice about home and compare notes about our new town.

It never ceases to amaze me how happy I am to chat to a Canadian - one that I probably never would have approached when I lived at home and I know wouldn't have given me the time of day if he saw me.

And yet, we could have put someone's eye out with the beams that were shooting out from our smiles.

I'm learning more and more every day that the key to our human satisfaction is comfort and acceptance. There are phrases and words I can use that I know only Canadians can appreciate, whether they are hockey or poutine or American related, only they will get it.

Sometimes, amidst meeting new people and exploring new adventures, you just want someone to get you, without having to work very hard.

It was nice to find that at the gym. Especially at 8 in the morning.


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