Saturday, July 30, 2011

Time Travel

Last night we had a wonderful evening with some of our oldest and dearest friends. Mark and Krista nearly always host a get-together while we're visiting NB so we can have all our closest friends gathered in one place, and it is always a highlight of our trip. The kids are happy in the pool. The adults are happy catching up on the latest news. We're all happy eating lots of good food. In many ways it feels like not a thing has changed since we moved and left all our friends behind. Oh, our kids are all taller. They are the true markers of time in our yearly visits. But our friendships haven't changed, and that gives me much comfort. These are friends we'll have our whole lives, no matter where we live.

At one point in the evening last night, Mark started playing old home videos on the computer in the kitchen. He found a video of a similar party ten years ago. That time it was a going-away party for friends moving to Toronto, and Krista had decided to make it an eighties themed party. There were no kids running around that time -- the oldest would have been 7 or 8 and home with a babysitter. But many of the same faces were at that party as this one. I say "the same faces" rather loosely: I was amazed at how much some of us have changed in 10 years. We were all in our late twenties or early thirties then. Most of us had very small children, and some of us hadn't yet become parents. But one thing hasn't changed at all since that party in June of 2001: we were having fun! We were enjoying being together, catching up, being goofballs together. Flash forward ten years, and here we are, in the same house, with the same people, having the same fun. Loving being together. I'm looking forward to next year. Time travel.

Thanks to Mark and Krista for another wonderful evening with some of our favourite people. Thanks for new memories to add to our abundance!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Heading Home

Over the past year the meaning of the word "home" has become a bit fuzzy to me. Whenever I mentioned "back home" in conversation, everyone knew I meant "back east". But when I put my kids to bed at night, we would say bedtime prayers thanking God for our beautiful home. Which was it? Where is my home? This past couple of weeks I've been able to bring it into focus a bit.

I'm in New Brunswick, the place I have immediately and without hesitation called home for most of my life. Our drive here was successful, and most importantly, completely uneventful. The first day we drove 11 hours and stopped in Levis, PQ, and I rewarded my awesome co-pilots with a hotel with a pool. We all went to bed early and were in the car again at 7:24 a.m., ready for the last leg of the journey. By early afternoon, we arrived for a visit at Nana's, and by 5:15 we had arrived at my parents house in Rothesay. HOME!

We've been "home" 10 days now. We've spent some time in the Saint John area, some time at the cottage in Cambridge-Narrows, and took a day trip to Fredericton last week. Tomorrow we'll go back to the cottage, and then spend a few more days in Freddy. It is as beautiful here as ever; my favourite place in the world. We've enjoyed visits with friends and family. The kids have loved connecting with their cousins, and I've relished the time with my family. But one thing has become abundantly clear to me on this trip. This is not my home. One thing is glaringly absent, making it impossible for this place to fit my definition of home. My husband isn't here. He is in London. So London is home.

I underestimated how much I was going to miss Chris in the two and a half weeks we planned to be apart. It began to become apparent in the few days leading up to our departure. I wasn't looking forward to leaving nearly as much as I had last year. I thought it was because I was nervous about the drive, but when Chris mentioned how we wouldn't see each other for most of July I realized I wasn't looking forward to spending such a large chunk of my summer without him. Thank goodness for technology, because my texting skills have grown by leaps and bounds in the past week! I miss sharing my days with my husband. He knows me and understands me like no one else does, and I appreciate him in a whole new way now. I love my family, but he is the most important part of my family. Home is where he is, and that is absolutely the way it's supposed to be.

I'm sure when Chris arrives next Saturday I'm going to be completely content to be in New Brunswick, and saying goodbye to this place and all my loved ones in it a week later will be just as difficult as ever. I will miss my dear friends and family and look forward to visits from them, and another trip "home" next summer. But I'm also pretty sure about something else. In two weeks, when we get in the car to begin that long journey back to Ontario, I'm not going to be confused about where I'm going. I'll be heading home.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Twenty Minute Post

I have twenty minutes that I cannot spend packing. I decided that I don't want to arrive in New Brunswick looking like a grandmother, so I should probably add a quick dye job to my list of "must-dos" today, my last day before leaving on vacation. Therefore, as any other trying-to-stay-dark-haired 40-something woman knows, I have to sit for half an hour as my amazing transformation takes place. I spent the first ten minutes trying to figure out how I was going to productively use this time. Then I thought of my blog. Can I write a post in twenty minutes? Well, let's see...

I could talk about lists. About how at heart I am not a list maker, but how getting ready for vacation always seems to push me to the place where I feel I desperately need a list. Then I end up writing all sorts of lists that I leave all over the house and I wind up ironically needing a list of lists. No, that just stresses me out.

I could talk about how I'm not really able to get excited about going to NB this year because I have to drive the whole way myself, and until that 18 hour drive is behind me, I'm not getting excited about anything! But Chris has carefully mapped out my route, even printing pictures of all the exits I need to take, so that really absolutely nothing can go wrong. Between that, my somewhat trusty GPS, and my eager co-pilot Connor, we should be just fine.

I could explain how different it feels to be going home this year. Last year I returned to London absolutely miserable. There wasn't the sense of excitement that we had when we first moved here. There was just emptiness -- a house that didn't feel like home, nearly no friends to lift my spirits, and a desperate ache for the friends and family I had left behind. This time, I have friends here, very good friends who are going to miss me while I'm away. I have a life here, and I'm actually looking forward to getting back to that life.

So I'm going to NB, and I know it will be a wonderful trip, because it truly is my favourite place in the world. I can't wait to see everyone! I know I'll be making wonderful memories, and the time will fly. And once again I'll be sad to have to leave. But this time I won't be broken-hearted. Because London is starting to feel a little bit like home. Finally.

I think the grey is nearly gone. Time to wrap up. One of my loyal readers asked me on Facebook today if I was still going to blog while I'm away. I love to hear from readers, whether commenting on posts or on Facebook! It is so encouraging to know people actually read. The answer is, I'll try! I don't have a laptop (can you imagine?), but I think I can manage to borrow a computer now and then. Last year I was able to get one post written from NB. I'll try to at least double that. Ding! Time to go! Remember to offer a prayer for our travelling safety tomorrow if you think of it! See you soon!