Friday, September 08, 2006

From one familiar to another

One thing about living here is that it forces more space into my life. I have to take time to walk to the bus stop, to sit on the bus, to buy groceries, to cook food, to wait for our slow kettle to boil water for tea… all things I didn’t have to do in Saskatoon. Space is good but it tends to foster a lot of thinking.

So during these spaces, I’ve been trying to sort out how to describe my state of mind in the last few days. I’m generally content, occasionally excited. I haven't cried at all yet. But I have felt a little... strange. Maybe my problem is that I flew. Sam and I once discussed airplane travel, how you jump so quickly from one bubble into another and don’t get the sense of distance. That’s what happened to me. I jumped from one familiar into another familiar, and it’s jarring, like skipping from one plot line to another. From a lake to an ocean.

It doesn’t feel like it did last time I arrived in Vancouver. Then, it was new, dazzling, something to get used to, something to feel my way into. Now, it feels too normal to live here, too easy to slip back into. It’s little things that haven't changed…like the fact that we still don’t have enough spoons. Our living room is still cold and my room is still hot. We still have the crazy patterned rug on the floor from whence nothing dropped shall ever return. One of our bathroom sinks is still plugged and drains slowly. The number 4 bus runs on the same schedule as before. My rock is still there, and the seal, the heron, the kingfisher, and other friends have already stopped by to welcome me back. Talking to Chris on the phone, with plenty of silences – that felt familiar too. My Regent friends, my Jacob’s Well friends… they’re here, and they don’t seem to have changed much. It feels like I’ve jumped back in time to last April, and this whole entire summer was just a brief dream I had one night.

Maybe that’s why I keep forcing this summer back into my mind. Forcing faces to appear, half-believing that person sitting in front of me on the bus might be Rachel, or Chris, or Robin, or Sophia or Lesya or Olya or Terice or Claire. Remembering them and praying for them. And I’ve been reminding myself that even though Vancouver feels familiar, I am not the same as I was in April. It was no dream - I have had experiences and conversations and developed relationships over the summer that have changed me and caused me to discover new things about myself, hopefully for the better. The old Vancouver will have to catch up to the new me. And I will have to keep learn that my identity is not tied to where I am but to whom I belong to. I will have to work to love people, near and far. It will be a difficult and sweet adventure.


Here is my paradox: can I really have two homes, Andrea? My soul is more tied to Saskatoon than ever and my soul is more at ease in Vancouver than ever. I knew I was missed and loved in Saskatoon, but now I return to find I was missed and loved in Vancouver, too. This brings me a melancholy combination of pain and joy no matter where I am. Each “glad to see you again” is counterbalanced by an “I wish you hadn’t left”. If one of you had the chance, you might tell me to stop living with one foot in each place. I don’t think I can help it.

6 comments:

ajt said...

I have three or four homes. Perhaps that isn't encouraging. Some of them are less home now than they once were, but I have often had two at once, and sometimes three.

Calgary. Camp. Seattle. Leysin (Switzerland). Vancouver.

And I would not be surprised if I ended up adding at least one more spot to the list.

Also, even though we may appear to be just the same as when you left us...we may have changed too...in fact, I'm pretty sure we did. :) So we ALL have catching up to do. With ourselves as well as with each other.

Should be fun - and adventurous!

Anonymous said...

Beth,
I love reading your blog for many reasons, but one of them is that you seem to find beautiful, poetic ways to express what you are thinking and feeling; and often these thoughts and feelings are parallel to mine...it's sometimes weird.
Thanks for another great blog and for again putting some of my thoughts into words (and I totally agree with the flying thing).
-Alexa

Rachel Malena said...

i miss you i love you, you will always be at home in my heart.

Sarah (Hawkins) said...

Beth, you are such a loving person, I could never see you letting go of so many wonderful people. And I don't suggest it. When you let go of a home you don't miss it any less. It changes and you disconnect from its present, but you long all the more for its past. You don't stop loving, but what you love is, in fact, lost because you are no longer connected to what now exists.
I have never tried to keep two homes, so I can't tell you which lifestyle is more painful, hanging on or letting go. But I will say that every time I see pictures, or here stories of people from my first home, part of me hurts a lot.

Scott Fitz said...

Hey Beth! I don't think there is one answer for everyone on this. All I can say, is give everything you can wherever you are. I don't always get a chance to go back to saskatoon and visit, but my heart is always in Saskatoon. I love making building relationships with friends wherever I go, but in no way am I leaving behind the friends I already have. They will always be my friends, and I will love them all the same when I am there with them.

I have been in places where I moved that I was always coming back to visit on weekends, because I missed everyone so much, and didn't want to lose touch. But I didn't get a chance to build any new friendships where I was, and I was always lonely where I was. I learned that for me, Saskatoon will always have a huge part of me, and I believe I will be back there at some point because of those wonderful people, and the beautiful city it is.

In your case, I think you do have 2 homes because you are making a temporary residence in Vancouver. Many times the city of schooling becomes the permanent home afterwards because of the quality of friendships made, due to the amount of time spent building those relationships in community.

The hard part can be maintaining those friendships in both places. You aren't going to be able to give as much to the friends back in Saskatoon, and that will hurt you, and others. Just don't be discouraged, and give everything to that friendship when you are with them or communicating(phone, email, blogs), and make the best of those times. There are some friendships that will drop off a bit, but there are others that will remain forever. If you linger on all the friendships all the time, it will drive you insane. But if you focus in the places you are, the true friends will always be there. Some of my best friends I only get to see every couple months, or a few times a year, but I make the best of the times we talk or spend together, and we just pick up where we left off.

So in conclusion to this novel, Love with all you've got, wherever you are right now!

Matthew 6:34
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

sophia said...

bethhh... i just want to say your name again and again.. lol.. first of all.... you take home the BEST quest-morning-lake-sunrise photo award.. WOW.. second... i am loving that book that you gave me, and i think you knew i would..because it's so familiar to me, her writing style... i could see myself penning those very words.. it really reminded me of things that i used to see lots, but the novelty of the beauty of them wore off a bit.. that's terrible..so with that said, i had the most awesome SEEING day yesterday.. i'll write you about it soon.. man, it was cool.. but yeah, piano is going good..very interesting and happy and stressful and frustrating and enlightening.. i have your visuals+poetry installments all over the cork board over my desk..lol.. and lastly, on the topic of familiarity, strange, but i cant identify myself with that adjective or state of being, at this point in my life, hardly.. everything is so new and different, but the sanity remains in spite of it, because somehow things dont phase(sp?) me much, like i have often said.. but okay, just writing this, i realize i have so much to tell you, i'll just go pick up a pen and paper right now, and get off this computer... i love you, beth. and i thank God for making a person with the combination of qualities that compose a Beth Malena...
til next time, bye-bye from:
sophia