Friday, June 11, 2010
I love Canada.
Whenever I make something into a theme song , I make damn sure it’s true.
But I love America, too.
No matter how much I love a new home, it will never replace home home.
My parents just came up to visit for the week. (Stay tuned to Sunday’s podcast for an earful of those two!) It seemed like they were here for a microsecond. And they almost didn’t make it.
Two days before they were supposed to leave my brother checked into the hospital. He tore his esophagus after choking violently on his lunch. Jokes aside, this was obviously a serious injury. But, George Clooney be praised, he’s O.K., and as long as he sticks to a liquid diet for a while he’ll be back to normal in a few weeks. (Hm, think poutine’s mushy enough, Ei?)
“Back to normal.” My life has a very fortunate default setting. With family safe, everyone at home again, I can keep watch on them from up north.
Well, I have a confession. I’m not my gung-ho-Toronto, eh-hoser-loving self today. Maybe I’m just under a little cloud. Maybe I’m a little homesick.Is that the bane of being a foreigner? One of the aspects of Toronto I’ve come to love is being part of a multicultural community. Various cultures integrate and collide all over West Bloorcourt. I wonder if all immigrants feel far away from their roots at times. Do they struggle with assimilating too little - or too much? Or is Canada’s progressive culture enough to put most immigrants completely at ease?
Ei just got to see her family, too. Her brief but beautiful tour of home, took her there and back, smoothly 'cross the border. Behind the wheel of her rental car – coffee in hand – pedal to the metal – married to the road and her itinerary – she conquered the trip like a marathon runner who doesn’t sleep. Old friends. New friends. Family. Milkshakes….And back again. (You blasted Sweet Potato Banana on the open road, didn’t you, Ei?)
It’s bittersweet to see loved ones – to have a reunion with an expiration date. And let’s scale “homesickness” down from immigration and national borders. Even moving a few hours away from someone is long distance. In today’s techno-crazy blogosphere, it’s “easy” to stay connected. The world is globalized and best friends chat from across oceans. This accessibility lets us get lazy. When we’re a click away from each other at all times, do we really connect meaningfully? Some people are diligent, thoughtful, thorough emailers. But what if I don’t have time – or need twenty pages to actually explain my life?
I realize my whiny contradictions. I chastise blogs – in a blog. I complain about technology… on the internet. I appreciate the world-wide-web, and take full-advantage of its net. But no form of contact replaces seeing, hearing, hugging, or smelling (Ei, remind me to talk to you about your new deodorant…) someone in person. When I get homesick I miss America - her people - her Fahrenheit - her mountains - her miles - her freedoms - her jokes - her traffic - her honkers - her Chipotle - her obesity - her obscenity - her trash bins. Nothing will replace being there. What’s an American in Canada to do?