I’m finishing up a spontaneous 12 day visit back home in Saskatchewan. It was a last minute decision to leave Sydney, but a good one. My brother is in the midst of moving from Pakistan to Nigeria, with a brief stop back in Sask, so when another bureaucratic error meant I’d have to leave Australia on a visa run, it seemed a good opportunity for a family visit.
Being home – as in family home – is always a different experience, regardless of whether a lot or a little time has passed. There are always things that have changed. With people, with places, with myself.
Whenever I go home I catch up with my childhood bestie, Megan, and her three daughters. Our lives could hardly be more different – Megan has a family, a farm, a business, and at least 15 chickens. I, on the other hand, live in a city on the other side of the world, and am barely responsible for keeping myself alive (Sean does a lot of the cooking in our house). The girls are getting older, as apparently is normal for kids, and as I see them grow I realise I’m getting older too. This is weird because I don’t feel much different than last year or 5 years ago, but the girls are entirely new people every time I see them. Other people’s kids really stick it to me with the way they reflect the passage of time.
It’s a bit ironic that never having felt I had a home in any other place I lived, I now have two. It’s nice, but at the same time when I leave Sydney for Saskatoon or Saskatoon for Sydney, I can’t help but feel a bit adulterous. Sydney could never understand what I see in the quiet, living plains and skies of Saskatchewan, while Saskatoon couldn’t relate to the temperate, bustling, ocean life of New South Wales. They are two extremely different lifestyles, but somehow it really works. I’m really lucky that both of them take me.
This was my last trip home to Sask as an unmarried woman (dun dun dunnnn!). Before leaving Australia, people pointed this out to me as though it was significant, as if this particular trip should have a deeper meaning than an excuse to burn things in the fire and eat Saskatoon berry pie for breakfast. I didn’t think of this once while home, but now that the time is over and I remember their words, I suppose it is a good moment to pause, and reflect on the shape life is taking. In some ways, it’s a bit depressing – it’s become impossible to deny that the time-space continuum applies to me, just like everyone else on the planet. Life, with its growing, changing, ageing, dying, involves me too. That’s kind of heavy. But at this moment, I’m grateful for the pause to see it – at least for a very small moment – and appreciate the perspective.