I imagined myself landing in Canada, spending a few days with mom and with Greg. Then buying a van and getting on the road. 3 weeks maximum. I mean maybe I might even be on my way in 2.
I had it all organised in my mind.
“Hey sis,” Greg smiled as he stepped forward to hug me. Mom started to cry as she took my arm. “It’s good to have you back.” I had just landed at Toronto airport.
I looked at them both and smiled. It was great to see them but I think I was in shock. I had just moved half way around the world back to Canada after living in New Zealand for 28 years.
How can I tell you how hard it’s been and at the same time let you know I know deep inside that I’m in the right place?
I remembered when I first moved to New Zealand I didn’t like it very much. I kept stubbing my toe, turning the light switches the wrong way and walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk. I had never been so cold in my life. The lack of insulation and internal heating meant the house was almost as cold as it was outside. I couldn’t get warm.
I had been living in Montreal before moving to NZ and I was longing for the colourful cafes so I headed out onto the streets in Christchurch of 1989 to find a café and to warm up.
“Excuse me, where can I get an espresso?” I had walked into what looked like a diner of some sort with thin white bread sandwiches and boiled kona coffee—not my kind of place. I figured if I asked for a specialty coffee that that would lead me to a real café, the kind I was used to.
The woman behind the counter looked at me puzzled. After a few moments she said, “Do you mean the train station?” Train station? Espresso?
I shrugged and rolling my eyes I looked around the diner, several patrons each sitting with their coats, hats and gloves on. To my horror it was dawning on me that not only was this the ‘café’ but it also wasn’t heated. I shook my head and tried to smile as I turned around defeated and went back home.
It took me a few years but eventually I fell in love with NZ, a lot. I miss you.
Here I am back in Canada now, my homeland, but it doesn’t really feel like home—yet. I’ve been stubbing my toes and switching the lights the wrong way…and I know the time will come when I will fall in love with this place…but today…
I wrote this poem some of you read on facebook.
Heeding Its Call
I’ve arrived on a land
I once knew,
It’s old to me and yet very new
It’s a stranger
And I am all ALONE.
Well not really alone, there are many who care
They really do
But I am alone to the land who I came here for
A stranger I am to the land even more
So alone I walk
Open to what’s there
Waiting for the tingle
And listening with great care.
It’s now just over 3 weeks that I am here and I have no van. I am unable to buy one because I have no Ontario driver’s license. That’s the rule around here. A comedy of errors has played out that has meant it may be another 3 weeks before I get my license. So I am grounded for now.
Yesterday morning when I was in the backyard greeting the day, a robin hopped towards me. I stood there very still as it came closer and closer.
1 metre away from me it stopped and looked at me. It hopped around to my other side still about a metre away, and then hopped back in front of me again. It was definitely checking me out.
“I’m not meant to leave just yet, am I?” I asked the bird telepathically in my mind.
The robin picked up something in its beak which was close to my foot and then flew away.
There’s a reason I need to be here a little longer. I can feel it.