I moved away from Canada in 2012 to seek out adventure and expand my horizons. While there have been highs and lows along the way, most of the journey has seemingly been fulfilling and enjoyable. With the challenges came personal growth, with each new country came a better cultural understanding and worldly view. However, I still have my days when I miss home and feel a wave of nostalgia arise inside of me, with little to no warning. It’s not necessarily in a depressing way, but more in a heart-filled joyful way that ignites gratitude and appreciation for the life that I’ve been blessed with so far. So here it goes, diving into my moment of weakness, when home started calling for me.
When I was a little girl, I had this envision of how my life might turn out, a naïve perception of what was ahead of me. Certainly, much of my ideas were inspired by my environment, and the rest by my imagination. Unsurprisingly, it looked a bit different to how it turned out. Yet there’s still a sense of truth in what I felt then, to how I feel now. There’s a part of me that hasn’t changed, and probably never will. I have a thread of cherished memories that I do my best to hold on to from my childhood. Those moments in time that stick with you throughout the course of your life, even into adulthood. We all know the ones.
Like sitting on the couch with my Grandpa Cleland going through old black and white photos, after we just played a game of Crokinole. Or when my Grandma Cleland without hesitation, offered me a hot water bottle to warm my feet in bed. Like the days on the farm, when my Grandpa McPherson would take me for a slow and steady drive on the dirt roads in his Niva. I remember my Grandma McPherson teaching me how to Paper-Mache and trying on her beaded necklaces in front of the mirror. I can still smell the woodstove, hear the sound of creaky floorboards, the ticking of the old clock in the hallway and my Grandpa snoring on his favourite rocking chair.
I remember warm summer nights at the lake with my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends. July long weekends full of fire works, hide-and-seek, skinny-dipping, campfires and without doubt, delicious food to be enjoyed. At any given holiday or family reunion, I felt safe and loved. I can still hear the infectious laughter around the room and see the proud smiles across my Grandparents faces.
I remember my Mom reading to me in bed, teaching me how to bake banana bread and helping me build my first tree fort. I can recall watching my Mom do her make up (eye shadow days), the smell of my Dads aftershave and the taste of cherry certs that we got before church (which are apparently discontinued now). I know the comfort I felt coming home. My Mom made our house feel warm by zenning it out with a good meal, candles and light music playing in the background. I remember helping my Dad out with his car wash as a child (counting change/sweeping) and afterwards we would go for lunch at the local diner. In my teen years, my Dad and I had extensive conversations over long car rides together when he was my hockey coach. We used to talk about life (philosophy and psychology) at least from my limited experience and understanding at the time.
I remember long walks in the bush behind our house with my siblings. Whatever was going on with us, we could all seemingly find peace there. Then there was my dog Molly. She used to wait for me on the back deck every day after school. She had this adorable gentle nature. I remember how she would wag her tail uncontrollably and oddly enough, bring a tea towel to whoever walked in the front door. I remember so many goofy moments with my girlfriends. We used to play dress up, roller blade in our basement, listen to ‘Boys to Men’ on repeat, dance to ‘Spice Girls’, run through the sprinklers in the summer, sun tan on my trampoline and finally, exhaust our favourite topic – boys.
Yeesh! How time flies. Those are just some of the many defining moments in my life that have made a notable impact. It can be easy to overlook the past in a world of distractions and with our busy lifestyles. But taking some time to acknowledge the building blocks of your life and remembering the people who played an important role, can bring you back to that very moment in time and that’s something special.
I haven’t been home in 18 months and I can feel the pull calling me in. My sister just had her first baby boy (named after my Grandfather). For the first time, I’m navigating the role as an Auntie and that feels like a great privileged. In one week’s time, I’ll be back to the familiarity of Canada, with those I hold dear. While it’s only for a short visit, it is likely to revive me in all the ways I need.
“She was an adventurer at heart; but oh how she loved drinking tea from this mug in this chair. Oh how she loved to be home.” – Unknown