Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bitter-sweet Maple memories

It's  hard to think as I look about the coffee-shop and the cold, wet rain hitting the sidewalk that it's been a year since I left Canada. In some ways it feels like a million years ago, other times it feels like yesterday.

This week as the Indian summer sun that made us forget we were in October, gave way to the blustery damp, the weather seems to have been a reminder of the ups and downs that life throws us.

Sub-consciously, the events of the past year must have been playing its own subtle games. It's not as if I have had yearnings about returning to Vancouver, but more that life has thrown little messages telling me not to forget. A mood -a feel- of being in Vancouver; random thoughts that make me stop and remind myself where I am.

It has been little things; strange things. The colour of the light as the grey rain-clouds mask the sun. The huge, cold raindrops that aren't sure whether they want to fall, as they make you guess whether to take your jacket. A song that comes on the car radio that makes me remember journeys on highway one. A car that reminds me of the one my friend used to drive. Even the smell of pumpkin spice latte's -which made me shudder in Canada- make me pinch myself. It's like I am being covered by an old blanket, that when I close my eye's, makes me feel like I am in Canada. A blanket that is always with me, and when I move sends little wafts of maple memories.

Even this weekend, for some reason, it felt important to create a Thanksgiving dinner. Strange as in Canada it seemed like an alien holiday -- one that had no meaning to me. We were always invited to friends for Thanksgiving, as the thought of cooking a turkey dinner in October seemed nonsensical. However, as I scoured the shelves for a turkey -what is wrong with the British? Don't they realise that people celebrate thanksgiving?- and cranberries, it felt essential that I make my first Thanksgiving dinner. Like there was a need to cling onto memories before they evaporate.

These memories should be painful -like a gash on the leg that smarts every time you walk- but instead, I am coveting the ache. Every time my mind wanders and I feel I am back in Canada, the sudden smack of remembrance mellows to a small smile. My mind doesn't want to forget and so I am enjoying these painful reminders as I am shown that the line between pleasure and pain is a very blurred and a fine one to walk.

In a sudden fit of enthusiasm --albeit slightly alcohol fuelled-- I began placing paint colours randomly on the wall. We have been in out house about ten months and for some reason the ache of Canada manifested itself into a need for change. Why? I am not sure and that is leading into questions I am asking myself.

For the last decade I have travelled through the world, only pausing briefly to lay my head before I head off again. This decade has been full of change; personally as well as geographically. I have definitely lived these last ten years to the full. Changing my role in life from partner to mother. Combined with the four international moves and the numerous local moves within that, I have never managed longer than a couple of years in one spot. It seems as if I have lurched between one life change and another. Now, that we seem fixed, I can't help but feel the urge for change again.

As we moved across the world, I believed that I was reacting to what life was throwing my way. The visa decisions, financial considerations and the personal changes were thrust upon me and I was making the best of it. Now, as I feel the wünder-lust manifesting in my gut again, I am wondering if its me creating the tumult instead of myself reacting to it. I am beginning to consider that inherently I am a person that craves dramatic change -- as if I need a huge impetus to produce my best work. I cannot content myself into staying in one place for long. I need new adventures, new friendships and new experiences to feel alive. Accepting this is one thing, but finding a way to channel my restless legs without up-heaving my family every couple of years is probably the biggest challenge yet. International moves are easy compared to the channeling of a wandering soul into a stationary body.

It has to be done of course. The constant travelling is financially and emotionally too hard for my family, and they are my world. They would be the only people I would gladly give up my need for constant adventure.

Perhaps, that's what these maple memories are. Not so much a painful reminder of the past, but my minds way of containing my wandering soul. Maybe the re-decorating, along with reminiscing about past adventures are my way of embracing change for what it is and gladly holding onto the constant and unmoving. I think it's about time to experience a new adventure --a dramatic break from the past-- and stand still for a while. Okay life. Lets do thjs. Paint-brushes at the ready.

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