Question: Do you miss Canada/the US?
Answer: Depends on who you talk to :)
I think that after you live anywhere for a long period of time it becomes home and what used to be home still is home, but a different kind of home. Totally confused yet?
Chris moved away from home when he was 18 and from there went to university, spent a year in England, finished university, worked a bit and then did his DTS and then the mission field. He started at Clean Water for Haiti in January 2003. He’s spent the last 8 years living and working here. This is very much home for him. I think it’s the most settled he’s been since he was 18. He’s going to be 37 this year, so that’s a lot of years to be moving from one thing to something else. Also, getting married and having a family was the icing on his cake. He is living what he was always aiming for and because of that he feels very settled.
When we’re on holidays in Canada and the US Chris is always the one that’s ready to come back first. Always. As much as the work can be stressful, he likes to be close to it and doing it. He worries that things are getting off kilter while we’re away and that there will be lots of things to “clean up” when we get back.
I, on the other hand, come from a totally different perspective.
I grew up in the same house my parents moved into before I was born. They still live there. My roots in my community are deep – about 4 generations deep. Growing up in that gives me a very deep sense of connectedness, and being in Haiti, I do miss that.
I look forward to going “home” and being in Armstrong. I love the area that I’m from. It’s beautiful, relaxed, has four distinct seasons… I could go on.
I think having our sabbatical, and then being home for Alex’s birth was actually a very healing thing for me. I know that I was grieving the fact that I would only get to go “home” for a couple weeks here and there. I was grieving the fact that there were so many wonderful things that I wanted my kids to experience about Armstrong and the Okanagan and BC and Canada. The thought of them not seeing the leaves change color, or experiencing the first snow fall of the year was so hard for me. God really used our time back in Canada over the last year to heal some things in my heart. We got to watch the transition of seasons and to do things like rake leaves with Olivia. We picked apples in an orchard and went pumpkin picking. I saw the expression on her face that first morning when we opened the blinds to a snowy wonderland. I got to pick out a Christmas tree with her. I saw her garden with my mom and get excited about picking raspberries with her dad. We made smores around a camp fire. We did swimming lessons. So many things that I thought I might never get to do with my kids because of the calling we have.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love what we do and I love our life here. You can often hear me telling people that I love that we can both be home with our kids while we work. Not something we would experience back in North America. I love that our kids are slightly more removed from so much of the stuff about the first world that shows them to focus on self. I love that they will have a bigger world view. I love that we have to have conversations about wearing pants and why some people don’t here. I love that being away from the “you should do this with your kids to be a good parent” mentality has helped Chris and I become confident parents, and the result is a confident little girl and a very happy baby boy.
I love our little apartment and that it is our space. I love our routine as a family. I love our friends here. I love all of it. And I miss it when we’re away. I miss it after I’ve had a good break :) Then I’m ready to come back and fall back into our “normal”.
So yes, I do miss Canada/the US when we’re here. I miss the conveniences like being able to go get whatever you need, when you need it. I miss the entertainment options like parks and movies and beaches and friends. I miss the changing seasons because Haiti has the rainy season and the dry season. I miss the yummy food, though I do cook a lot of yummy stuff myself. I miss my family. I miss all that, but it just helps me to look forward to the times when we do get to experience it.