A great start to 2018 with a tropical -15 C
I’m sitting here at my IKEA desk in the living room of our home in Guelph, Canada. Outside it’s -22C and I seem to spend a lot of my time sharing just how cold it is with my family and friends. One of my brothers lives on the other side of Lake Erie. We joke about how temperatures will become tropical again on soon at -15 C.
My sister in the African country of Swaziland boasts about her +33 C and the European clan wisely remain silent because European weather at its best is just mèh.
All around my desk are reminders of the busy-ness of the weeks to come. Next to me is my paper appointment diary, above me hang several calendars showing school events covered in an assortment of different fancy fonts and clip-art. All of them reminding me about the fact that 2017 is now officially no more, and 2018 is what it’s all about now.
As the memory of the holiday period we’ve all so been looking toward shrinks with every yawn and cold cup of coffee, I slowly realise that 2018 is going to be different than anything I’ve ever known.
2017: a life-changer
Life changed drastically for us over these last 3 months.
In September 2017 my husband, Sam, our two boys Misha and Eli and myself moved to Canada, leaving behind friends and family and selling our apartment in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Although the tiredness that life with 2 young kids brings doesn’t allow for deep contemplation of new experiences I feel mainly greatful that we’ve been able to do it. This big thing that we’ve been preparing for for so long has finally come to fruition.
At times (read: when my boys generously grant me a full 15 seconds to myself) thinking about it all seems almost too vast and the consequences of our – me and my husband’s – choices too enormous to fathom. But on the plus side, life with little kids seems to force me into adjusting to a new normal at lightning speed.
When people ask me, ‘Why did you move here?’ I tend to start off giving just one of the many reasons at random. I’m never quite sure how much ground to cover in answering.
Is it enough to say that we sold our apartment in Amsterdam because it was getting too small for a family of 4? That we were getting tired of city life and were looking for a garden (gasp! am I becoming Suburban?).
Or, should I mention that we/I needed a change from me working in corporate jobs for 12 years and that I longed to do something more creative? Trying to focus on the kids’ cookbook I started writing 5 years ago as a way to somehow have more fun with my then 2 year old?
True, all these weighed in on our decision, but I’m not sure we would have moved for just those reasons. Even if we had, it would definitely not with he same sense of finality if it hadn’t been for Sam’s family.
Over a year ago, my family-in-law had to leave their homes, church and community for much more obvious reasons than mine. From one day to the next they left war-torn Syria and with that gave up everything they had ever known.
Leaving the country, they had no way of knowing what was going to happen to them. They had nowhere to go and no hope for a future. It wasn’t until two amazing churches in Canada were willing and able to sponsor them to come to safety through Canada’s unique refugee program.
Teams of volunteers have since helped prepare the way for people they have never met before. They have given their all to help them settle into life, a generosity too overwhelming to think about too much without getting emotional.
Ultimately, it was the circumstances of our family in the middle east that forced us to make a decision to move, but every day I spend here in Canada I’m more certain that this was the right thing to do for my own little family too.
(As of January 2018 the family are not in Canada yet, but they will be soon)
2018: falafel & laughter
I’m a Christian and much of my decisions are shaped by my beliefs. The knowledge that God directs my path is a guiding force and source of comfort in my life. It was that way in 2017 and it will be in 2018.
And so I don’t know what this year will bring, but I know we will be enjoying settling into life in Canada. Greatful for the kindness of other people and hopeful that this will be a year of Middle Eastern falafel and lots of laughter.
What are your 3 hopes for 2018? Leave a comment below.