This time last year, I was likely wearing sandals and a sleeveless top as I began my Christmas decorating. I was in our lovely apartment in India and for the first time in nine years, we were not returning to Canada for the holidays. Instead, the boys, girlfriends in tow, were about to make their way to visit us. I was filled with anticipation.
My usual zeal for Christmas decorating was kept to a minimum. I improvised; homespun, local crafts and imagination. Perhaps a string of delicate origami lights on a palm tree and a rather charming ‘book tree’? I admit, there was something special and refreshing in the simplicity of it all.
Now here I am, cashmere warm in ‘winter wonderland’ at our mountain home in British Columbia. And, as I rediscover all of my forgotten lights and wreaths, decorations and a tall, tall tree, I have to admit – it has been quite a year.
We’ve lived on three continents; planned and fretted, packed and unpacked (still in progress), travelled and explored. We’ve spent some glorious times with one or more of our children in places like India, Nepal, Slovenia and The Netherlands. And through this transition of moving from India in April, we have cried (most certainly that was me), we’ve been joyous and often anxious. Yet wonderfully, we’ve watched our children find their path and the direction of their dreams. Sometimes it felt as if we were the ones faltering and that they stepped into the role of offering their loving support and solace. I cherish that they were there for us.
So we have transitioned from a long-time expat wife and a husband in a corporate career, to a ‘post-corporate’ couple, each in pursuit of their next chapter… now together every day of these past seven months, save for a week or two apart here and there. Surely, I could write a book on this alone!
My usual emotionally stable self, gave way this year to a gamut of emotions; fear and doubt, sadness, to thankfulness, to positive expectancy. And as I’ve re-established a new home, ironically in the place that is meant to be home, even that usual emotional haven has taken time to find once again. At last it seems that I have, but let’s see what the new year holds… you can understand where this might get a little vexing!
Yet still, I’ve realized a thankful truth as I returned from Europe this past trip. I discovered that I am still me. I am Canadian, and I am that traveller, that global citizen, even though I might no longer be in those other countries.
I’ve also been reminded that my friends, both here and dotted across the world, are there for me, to offer richness and perspective to my life. I am humbled by this and certainly hope I return the same in kind.
But despite these trying months of transition, and the many joys, as I decorate this mountain home – seemingly made for Christmas decorations with tall spruce pines to festoon with lights, with a fireplace mantel to hang those stockings, and with a tall vaulted ceiling to frame that glistening tree – indeed I am reminded of how very much I have to be thankful for.
But oh, it’s been a maelstrom of emotions this year, many indeed attached to the expat life that is at the core of Monday Morning Emails. Yet I know with absolute certainty that one reason I have coped is through the power of writing. Jo and I have faithfully written our ‘MME Twos‘ since April and these poignant missives have helped and healed. Sharing through writing has lightened the cloak of heaviness.
There will soon be holiday guests and family aplenty, but for now, there is time for a tranquil tramp through the snow. Let it remind me of what I’ve come to know to be true…
Be thankful and mindful for today…
It is all in the mind-set, have patience, have patience…
But gosh darn, I just don’t remember having this many Christmas decorations!!!