In August, Greg and I made our first sojourn back to Canada after moving to Paris. We were so excited to see friends, family and our beloved cottage again!
Our first stop was Ottawa, where we launched our visits with a party with Greg's family "the Moore's". It was delight to see them all again, and share our 'surprise!' baby news, but jetlag caught up with us both; we went to bed and the party continued without us! We fared better the next evening when we went to a BBQ with our Brookfield family (former neighbors) who were also ecstatic about Baby Lamarre.....note to self for next visit, book no evening events until jetlag wears off!
After catching up with our parents, and doing some much needed retail therapy at 'my' mall (Billings Bridge) we headed up to our cottage in Henry Ford, our aging pickup that we have bequeathed to friends. I'd held the cottage in my minds eye so many times since leaving it that I wondered if reality would dissapoint....but it did not. The pine tree still frames the view of the cottage as it hugs the lake, and the grass and garden were in pristine condition thanks to our wonderful caretakers. However our cottage life has changed already with the loss of both our lovely neighbors to cancer; both cottages had been sold, but our new neighbors seem to be 'kindred spirits' and we look forward to getting to know them better when we return.
My brother Mark and his wife Judy arrived shortly thereafter bringing our new nephew Kyle to meet us. Kyle is 3 now, and cute as a bug. He immediately took to his Uncle "Gwaic" who took him kayaking and played cars with him for hours; Auntie Meg was merely the carrier of "Gwaic's baby"...chopped liver indeed! Mark and Judy had little holiday from caring for Kyle and working on Mark's budding business (he's a marriage and family therapist) but we managed to catch up on naps, make a few trips into Westport and play speed scrabble!
Greg needed to head back to Europe to attend a wedding in Russia, and get back to work. I took full advantage of being a lady of leisure and stayed another week at the cottage (spending time with Tracey, Jen and Avery and Ethel) before flying out to Victoria to visit my family.
It is always wonderful to go back to the sea: the salty-sweet winds tickle my nostrils on landing and let me know immediately that I am near the ocean once again. My Dad and stepmum took me under their wings as soon as I arrived, but I was getting overtired....and ended up in ER as a result with lots of abdominal pressure. Baby turned out to be fine, but it was a warning to slow down....which I was immediately forced to do by coming down with a nasty cold. This delayed my drive up to Powell River to see Grandma, but the R&R was needed.
Once recovered I hopped in my little rental car and hit the road; was it ever fun to drive again! I hit all my favorite up Island haunts and views, and even a few kids consignment stores. I love the ferry ride to PR: the blues of the water blur into the deeper blues of the mountains, and the smoke stack from the paper mill rises up like a salutation. In Powell River, Grandma and I swam in the ocean (cold!) got a pedicure and made the required trip to Cranberry Pottery. I also visited with my oldest friend (we've known each other since kindergarten).
I had a few more days, and more visits, in both Victoria and Ottawa (so many dear people) but I was begining to tire of visiting and wanted my own routine again. I had been warned by friends in Paris that I would probably not feel that I belonged at home anymore (and yet you didn't belong in Paris either, leaving you feeling a bit driftless); but I slipped right back into my old life like I had never left. It was such an exquisite relief to be able to communicate easily once again, to know where to shop for things, to regain my autonomy and direction, rather than feeling hesitant and strange. And yet my husband, my apartment, and my baby's birth were all awaiting me in Paris. While I was not longing to go back, I realized that I wasn't dreading it either. Visiting all my homes-Ottawa, Victoria and Powell River-made me realize that leaving each of them in turn had been hard, and it had taken me time to adjust to the new place (clearly I do not transplant well!). And yet, I had adjusted. Each place, over time, had become important, had become home. And while Paris is not home now, maybe one day it will be, or at least not feel quite so strange.