Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Truth at this point

It's usual. I had no idea that the exchange for lush green summers would be 5+ months of bright white! And from what I am told a 2-3 month growing season. We are all wishing we could walk on the beach, or for that matter just step outside without freezing. I grow more sure with each day that we should have listened to the advise of everyone around us and paid attention to their concerns about this move. This is extreme weather, nothing I have ever lived in. The children loved it at first when it was still mild and they could play in the snow, The snow is now actually giant ice blocks and it is too cold for these California bred kids to be out in the 10F temperatures for long. The temperature range from -10F to 38F, It is rare that it reached 38, but when it does it is bitter sweet. On one hand it feels warm...yes...warm, but on the other hand we now know that if the temperature goes up the rain comes down and that is not good. This Island truly is a block of ice right now. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing about a study that has been on going for the past 5 years or so, it indicates the winters will continue to get colder and more intense, Fun! It's sad really, things that I used to think were so beautiful have lost all of their glory in my eyes, because of this experience. I used to love the way the sun hit a tree that has been coated in a layer of ice and it sparkled and glistened. Yesterday I pointed this phenomenon out to the children, they were not impressed and said it hurt their eyes, wow! So I had to ask myself why did I think it was so magical as a child and they don't. In Connecticut this happened a couple of times a winter and the ground was rarely covered in snow for more than a week...maybe two. Then it would melt and be a while before another snow came along. It does not melt here.

Gabriel actually has been much more effected by this weather than I have. He hates it..he is tolerating it right now, because there is no other choice, but he does not like the cold and just the over all hassle of the whole thing. Many people who know us are probably thinking ...I told you so...and many of them did. The worst part has not been the weather actually. The worst part has been the illness, poor Winny has only had 2-3 weeks of health since we arrived. Her immune system just can't seem to cope with the new germs, the extreme climate and even perhaps the house. Last time she became ill she had only been well for 3 days and then the Flu hit her and she cried and cried. Will too has cried, he has never been sick for more than a week a year his whole life, he has missed weeks of school and been sick with 4 or 5 different viruses. Honestly, I have lost count at this point. There is nothing that bothers me more than the children being ill. When we nearly lost Sam at 2 years of age, it triggered something in me that I don't think will ever go away. I just can't handle them being ill, especially very ill as they have been. I hope now that we are almost done with the Flu, we will take a turn for the better, I pray.

The Canadian people are an interesting bunch. They are very friendly, if they feel like it. They are actually so friendly at times that it seems fake. This Island is a different story, they are a culture of their own no question. If you are not born here you are not one of them. It does not matter if your parents are Islander and you happen to have the misfortune of being born off of the Island, you are not an Islander and never will be. I have heard stories about some of these poor people, the Islanders do not seem to let them forget that they are from 'away' a day of their life. So how do they treat true outsiders, hard to explain actually. They are a very curious bunch and this curiosity seems to be our only hope. Honestly, I think the fact that we have children has helped us a lot, they love children. But the fact that we are from California has given them the impression we are wealthy and because we are not wealthy it seems they are starting to get annoyed with us. This is the smallest Provence in Canada with a population smaller than that of the little town we were all born in. It is also the poorest Provence in this country with the lowest housing cost, but the highest cost of living. They do not have proper health care for children, you have to travel 3 hours away if you want your children to have proper care. They have the highest unemployment rate, because many people only work about 4 months of the year. they have a small French population that seem to keep to themselves and with good reason. They have a small native population that seem to keep to themselves...again with good reason. The majority is an Irish/English mix. The religions here are predominately Catholic and Protestant, and these two are still bearing the grudges of the centuries against one another. Gabriel and I have started doing church at home, "Pancakes with Jesus" we are calling it. Because our faith is such a large part of who we are it is very hard being here around those that feel if you are not Catholic or Protestant you have no place. There are some non denominational churches, they have very irregular services every 2-3 weeks at different locations. So far it seems they do not like new ideas here and they do not like people who do things the slightest bit differently from them.

Gabriel has a very good job, one that pays very well for here, he does have to commute 2 hours a day, which is a big change for us. I spend my days alone caring for the sick children, trying to make plans for the garden, and debating if farm animals should enter our lives at this point, when we can not see ourselves being here any longer than 3 years maximum and honestly I just don't see that happening. Gabriel wants to return to California and he wants to be very active in the community of the town he was born in, he says he'll join every committee and group he can when he returns. I spent years thinking I was not happy in California and now that I have had time to step back and look at my life I realize that California is my home and will always be my whole life I always ended up back there no matter how far we traveled we always went back to the Monterey County. As a teenager I was so angry for being taken away from Connecticut the only 'normal life' I had ever known. And then I married and years later was offered an opportunity to carry out a childhood dream to live on this Island, a dream that I had long forgotten about...who would not have taken an opportunity like that. I realize though that the life I have left behind was the 'normal life' I had really wanted as a child. Gabriel and I find family to be the most valuable thing in life, and we now realize that family is much like marriage is filled with love but very messy at times it is hard work and sometimes it hurts. Maybe things will change, but I somehow know they won't. I was mostly concerned about the mosquitoes come summer...I had not given much consideration to winter and it's, I hate mosquitoes. I sadly after all of this time have more compassion for my mother than I ever did, there are things that you must experience as an adult (not a child) to truly relate to your parents, and I now might even understand why when my parents came back from that winter in Maine (I did not go on that trip) my mother seemed further away than she had ever been. These conditions would depress anyone who did not grow up in it. And from what I hear it depresses many of them too.

Too much for a blog...I know... This is mild compared to my journal though. And this blog is supposed to be about our experience, so I am trying to be honest and not sugar coat it. If anyone asked me if immigrating from America to Canada is a good idea or worth the trouble and HUGE expense I would say no...don't do it. There is a reason why despite all of it's problems, people want to immigrate to the U.S. still more than any other place on this planet. America is still considered the land of most opportunity. Thank God we were born there.

1 comment:

  1. Oh July, I'm so sorry this has turned out to be such a struggle for you and your family. The most wonderful, positive thing though, is that you have learned some very amazing things. You have seen that you can take on a challenge such as this, face it head-on, and KNOW that you will come out ahead in the end. And the insight you have gained about parenting, marriage, what it means to be a family, and a deeper understanding of your own mother's struggles - these are gifts not to be taken lightly.

    On a selfish note, I can't wait for you to move back to Cali, haha. I miss you and think about you often.

    Love, Rhiannon