Friday, January 12, 2007

Home? for the Holidays

I just finished watching "Over the Hedge" with my kids - if you haven't seen it, you should, funny, wacky, with a nice environmental message slipped in, and Canadians dominated the cast (that's one thing we Canadians do - look for that sort of thing, and then go on and on about it, that and the weather). How do I know this, well of course we must watch all the special features at the end, one being all about the cast - are you ready? William Shatner, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, & Avril Lavigne - Bruce Willis? baahhh! (btw - the squirrel, that would be my son)

So what does a kid's movie have to with going "home"? Well there's the rub. Just where is home for me now? I am Canadian (can recite the Joe Canadian thing etc), very proudly so, still say 'zed' use Celsius and metric down here in Chicagoland, but really I have no place in Canada to call home anymore. When I was driving across the border for the first time in almost two years this holiday season, I was elated, I was HOME. I was dans mon pays (in my country), but I have no homebase. We moved so much as kids, and later I did on my own - let me see now (in order....)

Winnipeg - born
Nashville (less than a year, when my dad was teaching at Vanderbilt) - kindergarten
Grimsby (with my grandparents briefly)
Hamilton (couple of apartments) grades 2 - 6?
Dundas (a house!) grades 6 - 10 (2months of grade 10)
Thunder Bay (2 townhouses) grades 10 - 13
London (3 apartments) unversity
Toronto (4 apartments) unversity- work- got married
Mississauga - had baby
Yarker (oh gawd... outside of Kingston) had 2 babies
Cornwall - 4years, my personal record at any one address, and my last Canadian address.

just which place would I call home?

I've been here 3 1/2 years, and on my return journey with the kids this time, I kept thinking I just wanted to get home, and then doubling back on that thought. I have a social security #, an IL driver's license, and can legally work in the US now. I was suppose to get an RCMP check done while in Canada, but got so hopelessly lost in Kitchener (of all places) that after a hour I gave up. (the trip home could be 3 blogs, but don't hold your breath) The Canadian criminal check (I'm clean) is the last thing I needed for my Green Card here, so I can start my nursing IL registration, and get my divorce going, so I can start over in this country. Wasn't the time for it I guess.

So where is my home? Not at my mother's (at least not for more than 48hrs every 2years!), no one city holds me emotionally(except maybe Toronto), but Canada does hold my family, almost all of which I got to see in my trip. Most taking huge chunks of their time to drive out to where we were, just for one evening. My children were beyond thrilled, and I still am so touched I can hardly express it. (actually my oldest daughter was completely entranced with my cousin's boyfriend, she has just recently stopped going on about him....). In that way I felt so proud even to be a small part of such a marvelous extended family.

Still I am now a guest in my own country. I have made a family for myself and children here, and they are wonderful as well. We were surrounded at Solstice, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day - and missed a brilliant annual family party New Years Eve - me with the chicken head, very classy event.... (but I was with my brother and his family). I have warm loving adults who are not 'substitute aunts and uncles' but safe adults other than me for my children to seek council from, and houses to go to when needed, and their children come also come here.

Still I feel adrift. I would like to stake out one place, and say "this is mine" this is my spot on this planet, where I will make my mark. Perhaps that's what 2007 will be about for me, or perhaps it will be another year of learning patience and tolerance - time will tell.

In the end, home will be where my children and I end up, and wherever that is, we will make it our own.


Anonymous said...

I, too, moved all over (never lived anywhere for more than a few years from birth to 40 years old). I tell myself I'm a global citizen, but do identify with being Canadian (so do you :)

I love the town and area I live in now, so feel comfortable saying it's my home (Nelson, BC). Yet deep down, I know that the feeling of displacement is not just about family and home base - it's something I've felt as long as I can remember. I think it's probably because I am here for such a brief time and need to find ways to connect to meaning, to love, to beauty, to books!

Rambling I'm afraid.

Nice photos.

Callooh said...

not rambling. and I know what you mean about the books, they are starting to pile up on my floors! I collect authors from all over, maybe the world is my home, perhaps that is meant to be my view?

could you pick me out in the pic with my great-grandma? I'm the one with the too tight pig tails looking cross! (not quite as flattering as the chicken head one of course....)

thanks Gary.

Lance Morrison said...

Which cousins boyfriend?

Did she recover from that fall she took just as we were driving off? It looked pretty nasty, but she said she was fine. No teeth missing?

PS: Good to finally meet you.

Callooh said...

the one with the dashing dark hair, and the cool new boots, and since only ONE cousin actually brought a BOYfriend .... hmmmmm

she fell? oh yeah! not to worry she was fine, and has had much worse inflicted on her (co'ed soccer and all)

p.s. great meeting you! sorry I'm not so impressive in person.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Ripping up your roots is really weird, isn't it? I've moved many times, but all except two, were in the same state, so that doesn't really count. The other two were my move from Michigan to North Carolina, where I felt like (and was: Southern Culture is a disease, not a lifestyle!) a fish out of water, and then down here where we're currently at, S.C., where it's immensely better. But it still isn't "Home" like "home" was forever. However, I traveled back up to Michigan several times, and upon driving around I said "hell, I don't fit in here anymore; this doesn't even feel like home anymore." So while I have no answers, I sympathize with your dilemma, and wish you well!

Maybe "home" is when you can walk in your Doctor's office, and he doesn't say "And you are....again?"

Callooh said...

all my docs have been women... and they all remember me (what can I say I make an impression...)

one day I'll find home, likely as a little old "cat lady" in a small house by the ocean....