Monday, July 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

When I first moved to the US, almost exactly 16 years ago, I didn’t exactly settle in right away. I lived in Raleigh for a year, then moved back to Canada for Teacher’s College for a year. After that, I moved back to Raleigh again, then moved to another apartment in the same complex, then to Cary, then back to Raleigh, then to Knightdale, then to Durham… I think at one point I realized I had moved 10 times in 8 years, or something stupid like that. I’m an organizer at heart, so I don’t have all the trauma that some people do about moving. I like to make lists, and design color-coordinated room-box systems. However, the last time I moved, I was 7 months pregnant, which was not only a lot of physical effort but was emotionally taxing as well. I figured I’d be in this house for a while. It’s a nice house – people who come visit for the first time always tell me I should shut my stupid yap and quit complaining about it. It’s a lot of space for two people. If I could just pick it up and move it, I’d be very happy.

Going to visit my parents, even after 16 years, still feels like going home. Even though they themselves have moved a few times since I left for college, the comfort and familiarity of the small town I grew up in envelops me as soon as I get within about 5 miles of it. Stores have changed, but the neighborhoods and people are largely the same. In high school, me and a friend were totally stalking this one cute guy and we got stuck in the snow in his farmhouse driveway, right before his parents arrived home. I still remember the blind panic and girl-stupidity-hilarity of the moment. He now runs the Bulk Food place. I also ran into a friend who said she might see me at the Canada Day celebration, 'if the milking was done'.

I wouldn’t want to live in Lindsay, Ontario, but it’s a great place to visit, especially in the summer. Referred to by Toronto folk as ‘cottage country’, it’s where they all escape to on the weekends. Lots of clear, cold lakes, homemade butter tarts, and card games in the cabins on cool nights. Winters mean snow, and skiing, and toasty fireplaces. It’s about as opposite of Raleigh, NC as you can get. I was looking at pictures from last January, and there we are, me and Jelly, outside in the sunny yard in light sweaters.

Going to Lindsay means going home. My two youngest siblings are still in the area, with sister N on the coast of Nova Scotia. We all cram into my parents' 2-bedroom with squabbles about sleeping arrangements, who’s eating in what shift, and why for god’s sake the stupid World Cup is the only thing on the TV. My mom plans the meals weeks, even months, in advance - my dad tells us to go relax and he’ll clean up after dinner. There’s no rushing Jelly out the door to daycare. Cool evenings mean we go for a walk around the block, almost every night. We go past the neighbor’s cats, and the park, and the fire station. She loves it. Sometimes we walk the handful of extra blocks to the playground, which happens to be at the Elementary School I attended.

The weather was far from vacation-ideal. We didn’t get to swim as much as anyone would have liked, especially Jellyfish. There were things I wanted to do, places I wanted to go, that just didn’t get done. But I did manage to not pick any fights with my sisters, and there were no political arguments with my father, and Jelly had fun with her cousins and her aunts and uncles. And most of all, her beloved Nana and Boppa. We’ve only been back for a few weeks but it feels like months since Our Big Trip.

We're on vacation! Happy!
Jelly tests the water. COLD.
Our view from the cabin. BEAUTIFUL!
Aunt N reads stories to the cousins. Very cute.
Jellybean gets a cabin nap. Delicious.
We celebrate Canada Day, chocolate-ice-cream-in-the-lap style. Cold AND delicious.
Nothing like watermelon on a (look, the sun!) hot summer's day.
Leaving. Sad.


MommieV said...

Oh, what sweet vacation photos. Your eyes in the last shot say everything.

I moved back to my hometown after 18 years. This morning while driving I passed a girl I went to high school with an my first instinctive thought was "wow, she looks old." (Wonder what she thought when she saw ME! Old ... and fat, probably!)

I'm struggling with the fact that while I have changed, this place never aged in my mind, nor did the people I hadn't seen, so it's a mental adjustment to make.

I visited plenty, but there really is a difference between visiting and moving.

There was only 100 miles distance for me. Yours is a major climate change too!!!!!

MommieV said...

Me again. I was just going through your old posts looking for the one where you did a review on the onesie extenders (any idea on what month/year that was?) and I came across your post on your date with the tattooed guy that couldn't eat.

Hysterical. I don't know how I missed that. Priceless.

Too bad it was real life for you, though !

Jellybean Mama said...

If you want to send me some sort of sturdy self-addressed mailer I'll send the ones I have to you no charge, I was just getting ready to consign them. Lemme know. I am so over onesies.

Genkicat said...

Looks like a great vacation! And it is always good to go back home isn't it?

Love the photos.

What is a onesie extender?

MommieV said...

Sorry, been busy, hadn't had a chance to get back around. I would be interested in them. I will email you.