Friday, January 30, 2009

Dreams of Lace

Next to my senior picture in our high school year book there is a caption... Follow your dreams. This is the message I decided to leave with all of my fellow classmates for them to gaze upon anytime they were feeling nostalgic and wanted to dust of that year book on the top shelf and pull it down to reminisce for a moment.

I still stand by those words today, however with much wisdom gained. I must admit that following ones dreams is risky business. Dreams in life are much like dreams in sleep. They remind me of lace, lace is transparent yet the view of the other side is some what distorted and vague. That is the truth to dreams, once they become reality, it is never as you dreamed it would be. I have been very blessed in my life to have the opportunity to live many of my dreams. I realized the other night during prayer that I am granted just about every prayer or wish that I ask for. That was a bit of an overwhelming realization, basically discovering that many of the things in my life I am not happy with I have brought upon!

We long for spring. We are so hopeful that with springs arrival all of these challenges will fade away and we will be left only with a fresh outlook. So many of the reasons we moved here will hopefully come through to fruition, especially seeing as so many of the core reasons for our move have been plagued by this depression we face as a world and other unforeseen circumstances. The move so far has not been anything we thought it would be. If it were to stay this way the only aspiration we would have is getting back home, because unfortunately this is not home to us yet. I know we are all hoping for the day that feeling changes. There are so many things about living here that we did not realize ahead of time and there are many things we romanticized in this "dream" of ours that when they turned out to either not exist or be no where near wonderful it was heartbreaking. We ask ourselves if we regret the move. There are days when we do, but how would we know if we never tried. And how will we truly know if we do not give it a fair shot. Therefore, we will not run home crying, not yet anyway! No we would not be crying if it did come to that. We would actually be holding our heads high and proud that we did it! We tried it! We have known since day one that this venture might not work. The truth is there are very few families anywhere right now that are not struggling. It just so happened we immigrated to another country in the middle of a world wide collapse. Well, Gabriel and I have always tended to do things the hard way. We also tend to take the path less taken and always come out on top. So experiencing this adventure and its outcome should prove interesting.

We are starting our planning for spring...that little ground hog better cooperate! We have started looking through the seed catalogs, talking about chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, cows, horses. Trying to find books from how to make cheese to how to restore a 100 year old home. I have taken a break from painting, 75% of the inside of the house is painted, so I guess a rest is okay. I am contemplating making all of the curtains in the next few weeks if time, health and money permit it. We desperately need furniture, but I think that is going to be a pretty long scavenger hunt seeing as I am so frugal and Gabe is now 10 times worse than I am. We have realized that all of the floors in the house are thrashed. The odd part about that is we can not figure out how much of the damage the renters did and how much was actually here when we purchased the house. This house is so elegant that she can be very deceptive. When you first walk in you are so taken by the beauty and grace she has that you often overlook her imperfections. We do love the house, I must admit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Day That Sparkles

The bad run seemed to start on Sunday:

- Sunday: Too cold to cut wood at -26C, but no choice. Then the problems poured in: July fell on the ice and bruised whole left side of body. Gabriel smashed his hand between the 8ft logs and then managed to have a chunk of split wood fly at his leg cutting & bruising it. The good part was the burgers on homemade buns and the homemade fries we had for dinner.
- Monday: Gabriel is really sick from cutting wood in such bad weather, he calls in sick which is just as well because it is a Snow Day and would be bad to drive in anyhow. So we spend the day as a family watching movies and recuperating from the day before. Later that night we realise Will has brought home GERMS from a friends house and is now sick too. The good part was the mashed sweet potatoes, glazed ham and fresh green salad we had for dinner, not to mention the homemade churros.
-Tuesday: Gabriel is still not well, but heads of to work, unfortunately he can't get out of the drive way and in the struggle gets the car stuck in the snow ditch (there is a snow ditch along every ones property...for real), So in he comes to call a tow truck. Will is still sick, Sam is either sick or faking this chaos who has time to figure it out. Winny is the only Edgcomb at school and the whole Island seems to be covered in a thick layer of ICE. After many hours of dealing with the tow truck and scraping the driveway the best we can as well as spreading salt everywhere (which by the way is pointless on that thick of ice) Gabe finally goes off to work hours delayed...(Thank the Lord we live here and not in the U.S. where he would have been written up, warned or even fired). July realizes the extent of her injuries and how much pain she is in now that the adrenalin has fully worn off. The good part was watching Obama officially become The President of the U.S.A. and the the chicken stew and butter biscuits didn't hurt either.
-Wednesday: We are all tired from the past few rough days, everyone is slightly slow to get out of bed, but we pull it together. Gabe heads of to work. Winny is up and cheerful. Will is still sick, Sam...oh.....Sam is having a frigin' nervous breakdown about going to school. Suddenly in the middle of eating his eggs with tears pouring out of his eyes he starts screaming of a stomach ache. What do I do? I know what I would like to do! I send him to bed. after things have settled down and he has woken the baby with his wailing noise, I venture to his room (the only finished room in the house) I talk to him and lay down the line. Part of why we moved here is so he could go to school, so if he is not going to go we should just start packing... harsh??? Yes! You have to be with Sam. Finally we agree I will drive him to school, just this one day and he will be good and cheerful there! Oh, how I pray this works!

Why did I go into all of this? It's simple, this is our experience. There are somethings in these last few days that could happen to anyone any day sure. But when there is so much that is new and it is so extreme (like the weather) it makes this immigrating so much harder. Because every time we are challenged in life we are vulnerable to weakness. With every challenge that comes in our path we have to make a choice... how will we handle this? Will we fall to pieces and start crying? Will we be paralyzed with the fear? Will we pause and wait for logic? Will we tell our selves, "I can do this", and just keep on going?

When you move children it is tough. I remember moving as a child, I hated it! It is so scary and I was used to it, we did it several times a year. We have just moved 5 children from the only home they have ever known since birth and taken them away from all of their family and friends. Why did we do this? Unfortunately, we lived in a place that was no longer a place to raise a family, the schools were beyond imagination dysfunctional, there was no pride of the community, the streets were littered with garbage, and drugs seemed to wreak havoc on many things people would not even think of. Some people don't care about those things, Some feel they need to stay to try to make it better, Some simply do not see it, because they have never known anything else. We wanted more from life both Gabriel and I, since we were kids. We wanted more. Each new phase in life is full of adjustment, and when 7 people and 4 dogs are adjusting in a new's a lot!

Today when we drove Sam to school the whole Island was at peace. The snow laden fields and evergreens appeared to have been dusted with crystal glitter. Every which way the eye glances it catches a million glistening crystals. The sun is dancing upon them now. It would be foolish not to notice such beauty. such a show put on by nature. To take time to slow down and take in the simple elegance in our world. How blessed am I to be here in this moment to witness this! It really makes the trials of the last few days fade away and reassures me that this is right, and it will all be okay.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My first entry

How odd is it that today of all January 20,2009. I actually find the time to start this blog on the immigration experience. Here I am up in Canada watching my new president get sworn into office and for the first time in a long time I can say, "I am proud to be an American citizen". Today was the first day since 911 that I felt hope for our country and a sense of peace over our country. While here I sit in a whole other country having this experience. And it makes my immigration experience even more so bittersweet.

Immigration to big deal right...think again! We have been here now for 3 1/2 months and there have more twists and turns on this roller coaster ride of a journey than I could even tell you about. As Americans I am not sure how much consideration we give to Canada and the culture of this very large country, second largest in the world to be exact. They have a very rich culture and for as many similarities as they have to the U.S. they also have differences. I did not think that moving up with "our neighbors to the north" would be as big of a change as it has been. This truly is a very different country than my America and I must admit that as of right now I am impressed by Canada and I am especially impressed by these Canadians. They are so different from Americans it is shocking and often times my husband and I do not know what to make of it. We have experienced nothing but kindness, helpfulness and occasional curiosity as well as sympathy for the state of our country and many congratulations when President Obama was elected.

We are legal immigrants (which is a very tedious process, not for the weak of spirit). We are strangers in a strange land. There are only a handful of familiarities and each time we stumble upon one we are so excited. The oddest part about our experience so far is that some of the reasons we moved here are turning out to be some our most challenging aspects of living here. We were disgusted by the waste of Americans, we have moved to the greenest province in Canada and find their waste laws and regulations a chore at times, I am embarrassed to say. We wanted 4 seasons, and yet we find that the winter is not so great after all... more of a hassle really. We wanted to get away from the consumerism of America and yet it is very hard for us that our closest store is a little country store and there is not a single Starbucks on this province. We wanted a larger home and I must is just more work! But despite all of these challenges we are learning so much from the Canadian people: They live life with so much less stress than we do. They do not fuss over the small stuff. They laugh more. They seem to love thy neighbor more and thy Earth. They have a way of calming you with their calm demeanor, because they just don't make a big deal out of the small stuff. They are polite and generous beyond belief. And I hope to be able to adapt these ways into my life, I pray to be able to. I feel blessed to have this experience and no matter how long it last I know that My husband and I will come out of this having changed for the better. And I feel confident that our children will benefit and appreciate this effort we have made in exposing them to a different life.

Will we stay here forever? Honestly, I do not know. Does any one really know what lies ahead? The uncertainty of life is part of the adventure. That statement was so out of character for me "the planner" so I guess I am already changing for the better.

I want to add on this day that our family is still American, we are citizens of one of the greatest nations ever and the affection we have for the country of our birth will never fade nor will our hope for the future of our country. If we do ever move back to The U.S.A. we plan to do so as better people so that we can better serve. Sometimes you have to step back a bit to see the clarity in things.

-May God Bless President Obama and watch over him and his family and may the Lord lay a hand upon him each day in every decision he makes.