Comforting Words: Finding Home, Anywhere

Monday, September 04, 2006

Finding Home, Anywhere

One of the most annoying questions that Canadians, whether they are first, fourth or fifth generation, love to ask of recent immigrants is “Where are you from?”

We could go into a long discussion about where in their hearts or minds this question originates but let us not get into that conversation or debate. Not right now.

When told that my ‘country of origin’ (my polite way of saying I am now a Canadian like you, with roots, like you, in another place) is Jamaica, the follow-up question usually is: “Why would you leave Jamaica, home, to come to Canada (or Alberta)?”  

I am more empathetic towards this latter question, as I have asked it of myself many a time.  This summer, in more places than one, I got the answer.  

That is what I would like to share in the next few posts, “Finding Home, Anywhere.”Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

As I mentioned in the post previous to this one, my partner and I got up to a few outdoor activities this summer.  You must understand that I am not the ‘outdoorsy kinda gal’ so the fact of me going to the park, having and going to a few BBQ’s and, get this, going on a hike is major!

My decision to try out the great outdoors came as something warned me that my relationship was at risk of falling into depression. The still small voice advised me that if I did not find it within myself to participate in activities other than church meetings, book reading, television watching, browsing the Internet and, of course, eating my partner might find ‘playmates’.

One Sunday after a church service that she actually attended with me, we saw what was an innocuous notice of a “Women’s Adventure Weekend.”  I thought I had died and gone to heaven when Juds said she would be “into that” – going on this weekend trip with a group of ‘church women’.  

You would have to have known her late father and his oft’ heard comments about “the church woman dem” (dem' being the word that pluralizes in Jamaican patois), to fully understand the roots of Juds’ abhorrence of being in such a group.  

Thankfully, for me, it seems she is chopping at those roots as she interacts more with this new, more progressive and free-thinking church woman dem’. In fact, I hear her making plans with one to go circle and folk dancing!  That is for another post.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What the notice for the Women’s Weekend did not say was the level of expertise among this group of ‘church woman dem’ at tremendous levels of elevation!   We found out the hard way, sitting on the side of a cliff, terrified to move after stopping to rest when the trek was in its fifth hour. Juds and I were ill-equipped, to say the least, both physically and gear-wise for this “Adventure.”

In the end, I have no shame in admitting this; I begged them not to take any photographs of me coming down one-too-many-for-me hillsides on my butt.  

We did take photographs, however, of the scenery and it is those that I share in this post and that bring me back to the original point – finding home, anywhere. Alberta, Canada, for all its shortcomings in terms of true diversity, genuine welcoming and celebration of those who are not Caucasian, conservative and well-to-do, is beautiful country!

Although it is part of the prairies of Canada, the mountains like the one in the picture are breath-taking.  As I trekked and dragged on my buttocks through those hills with these mountain goat-like women, the awe-inspiring waterfalls and rivers were my only reasons for continuing the search for my adventuresome nature.

I must confess that I did not find it.  Maybe it requires more than one Women’s Adventure Weekend?

What I found, however, in those mountains, by the waterfall and in the company of my dear beloved and woman-friend dem’ was home.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This was a summer of home-coming and I can truly say that I agree with Christian Morgenstern who said: “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

The question is: “Are you at home right where you are?”




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