Select Page
What is home?

What is home?

We moved from Canada to Atlanta in 1999. It’s hard to believe that of the nearly 25 years that my husband and I have been married, Georgia has been our home for more than 17 of them. And home it is. As much as I have a deep love for “my country” – and miss my family (and, well,  Tim Hortons coffee…) — when you move to another place, you have no choice but to make it “home.” Sooner or later, even if you’re fighting it, your life starts to morph and mold around this new place. Not just the geography of it – the entireness of it. Things sound different. Smell different. Feel different. Are different. And you become…well, just a little different. You settle into what becomes your new normal. The grocery stores that I visited at “home” were Loblaws, No Frills and A & P. Here, I shop for groceries at Publix and Kroger. The Mac’s Milk variety stores don’t exist here. If I have a hankering for a Coffee Crisp or a scratch ticket, I head over to the 7-Eleven or RaceTrac. Oh, no, wait… no Coffee Crisp bars here. Those chocolate bars (aka candy bars) don’t make their way this far south of the border. And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’ve had to wean myself off my double-doubles. The hydro bill is…I quickly learned, called a power bill here. And while I’m on this rant, I want to make a note that a toboggan is not a hat, people. It’s a sled. You slide down snowy hills on it. You can imagine how surprised I was...
The Journey – Just Busy Being Me

The Journey – Just Busy Being Me

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice – – – though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. ‘Mend my life!’ each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations – – – though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do – – – determined to save the only life you could save. ~ Mary Oliver Note: I am good. Very good, indeed. After posting this poem, a friend reached out with “Are you ok?” I guess I can see where she might think I was digging through something re: THE JOURNEY… but I just love to read Mary Oliver’s words and this one struck me today. So, no, my life doesn’t need mending, but I do love at the end of this poem where it says “… there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company.” My birthday is next week and it’s always a time of reflection for me. Every...
Leaving home

Leaving home

“How selfhood begins with a walking away, and love is proved in the letting go.” ―C. Day Lewis It’s when they take the bed out of the room that you know it’s all over. A few years back, my youngest kid went to college. And I was a suck about it all. As proud as I was that he was “all grown up,” I hated that those childhood years were behind him. Behind me. Me. Yes, it’s me everyone should be thinking about. The mother. When he left for school, his room stayed pretty much the same. The closet still held his yearbooks, and basketball trophies — the clothes he’d outgrown years ago were still squeezed between his Varsity jacket and lone black suit. The room was still a bedroom — with a bed, dresser, desk. It was still his bedroom. And that made the leaving part so much easier. And now, in just two days, that bed will be packed into a U-Haul and carted off to Alabama. Five hours away. When I tell people my son is moving away, I get a lot of “Wow, that’s exciting. What an adventure.” And what I want them to say is this: “Oh my God, I can’t believe he’s moving so far away.” Yea, again, it’s all about me, right? And yes, I’m excited for him. I am. As the youngest of four, he wants to fly. Be on his own. Start his own life. I get it. He’s got this. But I’m also nervous. And, yes, I’m sad. I’m really just kind of sad that it’s really happening. I...
Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse Culture Shock

Every day since returning from my trip to Costa Rica, I’ve been restless and irritated. Thrown back into THIS life, after experiencing THAT life, has really messed with my brain. Just last week I was living in a bathing suit.  I was awake every morning to greet the sun and started the day with a walk on the beach — stopping on the way home to pick up fresh fruit for breakfast. Just last week I was swimming in waterfalls and hiking to volcanos. Just last week, I was calm and happy. Just last week I felt healthy and more like myself than I had in a long, long time. Re-entry is tough. And I think I might be experiencing a little reverse culture shock. I feel as though I am not where I belong, which is weirdly unsettling. As the distance between then and now widens, I feel like I’m losing a part of myself that I was just getting to know, and like. That girl wore two-piece bathing suits and didn’t straighten her hair. That girl breathed slowly and floated without care in swimming pools. Since coming home, I find myself oddly disconnected from the things I used to think were important. Frustrated, even, that so much time is spent hashing and rehashing things that just end up stressing us out. You know, that whole “why are we sweating the small stuff?” thing…Yea, I’m there. My heart is more open to the idea that there is not just one path in life. That we don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations of us. We have to be true to ourselves. Take good...

A Different Way

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” -Pema Chodron I haven’t worn makeup in eight days. The pre-vacation manicure I squeezed in before flying off to Costa Rica is long gone. Scrubbed clean away by the sand and salt. The flat iron I shoved into my suitcase during those last moments of vanity before closing up the bag, is still zipped inside –along with about 50% of the clothes I thought I needed to bring. What made me think I would need things from “that life” in this one? This is my second time in Costa Rica and what I love most is how easy it is to just be. Pura Vida, the pure life — it is everywhere, and if you spend any time here, it feels like the most natural way to live. And there are a ton of people doing it. On the first day here at the beach, we met Captain Jack and his wife over beer and Pina Coladas as we watched the sun make its sleepy descent into the ocean. They were on the tail end of their three month stay in Costa Rica. When I asked them what they had been doing with their days since leaving New Brunswick’s cold winter, they were quick to share that they had been doing an awful lot. Taking the bus and exploring the beaches that lined the coast. Trips to the fruit stand or the Super Wendy for breakfast or dinner fixings. Mrs. Captain Jack told me that the thing they noticed most was that they ate so differently...