Dear Canada, thank you for being so awesome.

Dear Canada,

You’re awesome. Really. I loved living in the Great White North for five years. And I will always be grateful that my oldest child was born in Vancouver.

Thank you for excellent comedians. John Candy, Mike Myers, Leslie Nielsen, Phil Hartman, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Jim Carrey, Dan Ackroyd, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Will Arnett, Michael J. Fox, and others. There is a  lot of humor in your self-deprecating nation. I love that you don’t take yourself so seriously, willing to laugh at yourselves and helping us Americans laugh at ourselves as well. And all of those Canada jokes in How I Met Your Mother were simply brilliant. Thanks for letting us laugh with you and at you.

Thank you for your bacon, even though it’s just ham.

Thank you for your flag. The best one in the world hands down. Really. Simple symmetry. Environmental connection. Just lovely. It makes the American flag look cluttery in comparison.

Thank you for your maple syrup. So tasty.

Thank you for our openness to immigrants. I love your open-door policy and how it has changed your white British faces to being so wonderfully multi-ethnic.

Thank you for hockey. You invented the sport. It’s yours. Thank you for sharing it with your southern neighbors. That final match between the U.S. and Canada in the Vancouver Winter Olympics was truly epic. I’m sorry that we’ve bought some of your smaller market teams, breaking long-standing community bonds. I hate that. It’s one of the things that frustrates me about being American. (The puck moves so fast, I could really use a glowing one …)

Thank you for your government. I like your take on the parliamentary system. I like that elections don’t take as long or cost as much as they do down here. I like that new parties pop up now and then and that a party can go from being the majority to being almost non-existant as happened when I moved to Canada in 1993. It was stunning. I wish the same thing would happen to the two parties in power in the States.

Thank you for calling your indigenous people groups First Nations. It’s much better than our “native Americans.”

Thank you for a great health care system. There are so many fears and lies about it south of the border, but we saw so many people covered by it and cared for by it during our five years of graduate school, without anyone falling through the cracks. That year of working as a chaplain among cancer patients was amazing in its immersion among people who were so grateful for the access to care that they were receiving.

Thank you for Justin Bieber. Just kidding. Though I do hope he’s able to pull things together, drive safely, treat women well, and sing powerfully.

Thank you for great music. Rush, Neil Young, Tom Cochrane, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Oscar Peterson, Triumph, Feist, Bruce Cockburn, David Wilcox, Neko Case, and many others. My life is richer for the music you’ve brought to me. I understand why the White Stripes wanted to play concerts in just about every corner of Canada. You’re great music fans as well as great musicians.

Thank you for hosting the Women’s World Cup this year. Even if it is on turf.

Thanks for your accent, eh? I love how your pronounce process, pasta, Mazda, basil, roof, out, and about. I love that you spell colour and counsellor differently than we do. That’s rad.

Thank you for Regent College, the unseminary. Christian graduate studies in Vancouver was a great immersion into real community and faith. Some of the best days of my life. And what other seminary devotes that much space to an art gallery?

Thank you for keeping mullets alive a lot longer than we did. I was sorry to see you abandon them, bending to American fashion trends. The same is true of parachute pants and bell bottoms.

Thank you for letting us call ourselves Americans when you have just as much a right to call yourselves as Americans, living in North America, as we do.

Thank you for being so nice. Sometimes, it’s just being passive-aggressive. But most of the time, you’re just nice. Compared with aggressive Americans, it’s no wonder why the rest of the world likes you as tourists.

Thank you that we don’t have to arm our border. You’ve been a good friend and ally for so long. Sorry for taking you for granted.

Some of my best friends and best experiences are Canadian. Thank you.