Canada Day, the dock, Blue Sea Lake, Quebec
I worried that coming home after just three months here would be too soon. It turns out, it was just right. Long enough to get over the sheer terror that is involved with chucking one's entire life and moving halfway around the world. Long enough that I missed everyone terribly, and was happy to see those I could squeeze in. (And I cannot apologise enough to those I did not - it was the most hectic two weeks ever) And short enough that I really wanted to get back and dive into my new life.
While back in Canada I realised something: for the first time in years, even though I have no idea what is going to happen or where I'll end up, I feel at peace. It's a peace from doing something about that nagging feeling I've had since I was 30 or so. The little voice that, nomatter how well my career or personal life was going, said "is this all there is going to be for you?" Aren't you ever going to go for it?"
I always wanted to work overseas. I am working overseas. It took a quick trip back to my home country for it to settle in, for me to realise it, and I am grateful. At the risk of this entire post sounding boastful or superior or anything else I would never want it to, it's a feeling I highly recommend.
The trip to Canada was amazing. I irritated everyone by exclaiming how beautiful the country is. One day, while staying with my brother, I asked him what the weather was like outside. "Sh*tty," he replied. I opened the door to a cool, sunless morning, damp from a recent rain. "I don't think it's shitty," I said, now out on the porch. "I think it's beautiful!" "I'm sure the neighbours are happy," he replied.
Later, up at my favourite place on earth, a friend's cottage on Blue Sea Lake in Quebec, I put on a sweatshirt and curled up by the woodstove with a book as rain fell outside, just like I wanted to. Then, the next day, we woke up to a Canada Day boasting a clear sky and a gentle, gentle sun. One that kissed and caressed, rather than pummeled. In Abu Dhabi, I tried to explain, it's like the sun is punching you in the face.
"How can the sun be so lovely here and so harsh there?" I asked, sprawled on the dock a few hours later, speaking in more vague, atmospheric terms. It is, after, a pretty dumb question if one takes it literally.
"You are closer to it there," someone said. Ah, true. I still wonder, though. When one can hop on an Etihad Airways flight at 2 a.m. and be in Toronto 14 hours later, at 7, the world feels pretty small. That's a comfort. But after being here, and there, and here again, I'm still wrapping my head around how big it is too.