Sometimes I feel like an immigrant in my own native America. I use an extra "u" in "humour" and "neighbour" and only realize the error of my ways when Word makes an angry, red squiggle line.

I answer in Celsius when someone asks the temperature, just to be shot a disappointed look.

I say, "eh," at the end of a statement and am predictably and mercilessly mocked for it.

I crave poutine after a solid Saturday night on the town and settle with a sigh for ordinary fries.

For all intents and purposes, I make a half-decent Canadian, but alas, I left before swearing oath to Queen and Country.

It wasn't so long ago I was struggling to spell like they do, tell temperature like they do and make proper use of their sing-song affirmation at the end of a sentence.

"Did I get it right this time, eh?"

I even warmed to watching ice hockey...for fun.

Seven winters. That's how I count my time in Canada. So my chronology is a little macabre, but for 26 years my blood ran warm in the mild Fahrenheit temperatures of Oklahoma. Not even a puffy Canada Goose down, fur-lined jacket could stem my disdain for a season that seemed to drag on out of spite.

When I explained to an American customs agent that I was entering the border to stay this time, she greeted me with an enthusiastic "welcome home!" but my heart was betwixt. Home, I realized in an instant, was just a backwards glance over my shoulder. What lay ahead was something I loved, but barely recognized.

To be continued...