02 August 2012

Connections Across Distances

Legislature in Regina before a run around Wascana Lake
Being in between has its ups and downs.  I get the best of small town and big city life.  I get to experience long, lazy summer nights on quiet walks around town parks and go out to some of the best restaurants on crowded and tourist-filled sidewalks.  I get to hang out with friends in Canada and the United States and I am reminded constantly that I live a pretty incredible life.

Dave and I have spent this week thinking about our future, taking walks and just catching up on "us."  You know, the us that is us as best friends, husband and wife, partners in life and so on. 

I've had a chance to slow down this week...taking some long runs through Wakamow Valley, getting over a nasty cold and just listening to the sweet quiet of our Canadian life wrap around me like a cozy blanket.  I think I was overdue for a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy travel schedule.

Canada holds a lot for me.  When my parents were up here, I was commenting that, for me, Canada is the one place out of all of the places we've been (military kid - moved around a lot!) that I truly feel a sense of belonging.  The culture, the people, the space the approach to life all seem to fit me in a way that no other place has before.  I am very lucky to have found Canada...in more ways that one.

I think about myself growing up...
I considered myself to be shy and awkward.  I didn't have very many friends and oftentimes was better friends with my teachers than with other kids my age.  We moved often enough that forming close friendships was a struggle and making a connection to any one place felt, well, out of place.  My sense of belonging was tied to my family.  We were a four-person unit that trekked across the country and across borders together - always having each other's backs and making sure we - all of us - were doing okay.  I was tethered to my family in a way I can't really describe...it was close, and warm, and comforting.  We were each other's best friends.

That being said, I was terrified of being separated from my family unit! 

When I moved to Ohio from Germany to go to college, it was a huge transition for me.  The tether was lengthened across the Atlantic.  I was sepearated from our four-person unit...and, for the first time, had to go it alone.  My freshman year was intense (as it is for most!), but I started coming into my own.  I began to recognize that you don't need your unit right by your side in the physical sense...they can be there for you across the miles as well. 

As I continued to come into my own, I began to realize that my family, and our ability to remain close despite our distances from one another, was incredibly unique.  It taught me that relationships built on physical distance aren't the real ones that matter...the ones that are lasting are those that can withstand the gaps of distance and time.

And that's where I find my comfort.  I know that my long-distance marriage will succeed because our love is stronger than a border separating one country from another.  I know our friendships with those in Denmark, Italy and England will endure because there is a tether there that the Atlantic can't break.  I know as our friends and family journey from one end of Canada and the United States to another, we will always pick up right where we left off when we see one another again.  It's just the way it works (and it gives us a lot more exciting places to visit in the future!).

As my two weeks back in Canada wind down, I find myself reflecting on these things.  What I'm doing now, how I'm living my life and what I want things to look like down the road.  At the same time...I am taking stock of the awesomeness I have right before me and how lucky I am for the bonds that keep me connected to others across the way...

2 comments:

Noa / www.noablog.com said...

holy crap, I feel like you totally crawled into my brain...... Wow! While I wasn't a military kid, I was born and raised in Israel. We moved to Cape Cod MA when I was 6-8 years old, then I came again at almost 18, and then moved here at 20 after a 2 year long distance relationship with my boyfriend. So I understand about how it feels to feel your heart and soul all over the world.... To have an amazing bond with family even when not being physically close with them.... To have a little bit of home spread on different continents. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts - I LOVED reading this!!! xoxo Noa

travelwoman said...

Noa - Thanks so much...I have to say, reading YOUR blog made me feel like you had crawled into MY head! I wish you nothing but success and I am really enjoying reading about your journey! Rock on!!!