I’ve been in Canada now for as long as it’s taken me to use up half of a tube of toothpaste. And I’m not sharing it with anyone.
The girls and I have seen summer and fall. Fall is new to them – they’re fascinated by the changing colours and being able to play in the fallen ones. We’re back in my hometown where I spent years 0 to 14. There’s a crisp sour fall smell that sends me back to waiting for the bus wearing a Mexican-type feed sack hoodie. Turns out people are wearing those again. And neon too. I like the coloured jeans. I’ve bought some and I’m beginning to feel kinda hip again. Then there’s Songza. I can reconnect with my hipster self of 2005. “Cool Songs for Young Moms” is my favourite. “Just because you’re a mom, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on new music.” So that’s perfect. Not so perfect has been gaining 15 pounds. The constant access to excess calories is trouble. And Blizzards. Blizzards are trouble.
And it turns out, being on a quiet roads with good sidewalks doesn’t mean you’ll go for a walk every single day. Instead, I’ve been sewing. I signed up for a pre-Christmas craft fair. Sewing little bags and giant stockings is the first non-mommy related activity in over four years. It feels good.
Needless to say, being in Canada for this long has been a giant brain shift. I’m proud of my girls for doing it so seamlessly. Zizi bounding out of her first ballet class and the only little girl with a giant grin is etched on my brain. Daggy hugs people freely and loves spending hours with her cousins outside on the “jumpoline”. They both love drive-thru. “Can we get chicken from the machine?”
You know when you’re on the highway, mindlessly doing 100 and then you approach the city limits? You have to slow down to 50 or so and it seems to be incredibly sllloooooowwww. You start to wonder if 50 always felt this slow but there’s so much more to pay attention to – other cars, pedestrians, stopping and starting. Canada is my highway and Addis is my city limits.
I’ve brought a little Ethiopia with me. When I walk into a room full of people, I’m tempted to kiss everyone (friends, family and strangers) on the cheek three times each. I’m a bit more generous in offering to do things for people. Need pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving? Done. And, of course, I’ve pinned everything Ethiopia to my Addis Ababa board on Pinterest.
One of the hardest things is being away from the husband. I miss him in a fantastically terrible way that makes me want to know all of Henry Rollins’ thoughts on love, loneliness and burning up.
Me and my girls and the half used tube of toothpaste are lonely. But we’re busy. It’s a whitening toothpaste. I had to buy it. I just had to.