We have been back in Canada for just about a year now, some days this feels like an eternity (especially on those long -30C winter nights) and other times I think "where did the time go?" It has been a year of reacquainting with old friends and family, and for me an odd turn of events that saw me gain employment at the school I went to high school in. But ever the vagabond, I have itchy feet and it is time to move on. We had been more or less static in a place that we loved for nearly four years, and really, I felt no burning desire at the time to leave, but was also not ready to settle down anywhere either. Also, being away from family takes its toll. We felt that we should at least check in with them for a while before taking off again. Now that this is done, it is time to go.
Living in New Zealand was amazing because even though we were away from family and friends, it was such a place that there were so many others who were in the exact position as us. They had left family and friends behind to forage a new life in a new land. These fellow expats were in many ways closer to us than the friends we had known for years, something to do with the shared experience I expect. Having such friends brought the world closer, it has been more of a culture shock coming home to the rural Albertan mindset after having been away for so long.
So now we move to Colombia, and the preparation has officially started, and with it the subconscious apprehension. So many questions, so little hope of answers until we are down there experiencing it.
My concern is primarily for my daughters. They are about to be uprooted for the second time in the span of a year, with the very real possibility that it will happen again this time next year, although we are heading into this venture hoping that this will not be the case. In my head I tell myself that this will be an amazing experience. A proper cultural immersion, where we will all be forced to learn a new language (here I am mostly worried about me). The girls will be starting at a new school in a Spanish immersion program, even before they were born I wanted them to have some kind of second language, but it has just not been possible so far. Now, it is being forced on them. I hope they are ready. In my head I tell myself that it will all be fine. We will all be richer for the experience. More worldly, bilingual, culturally aware, and open-minded. Some of these elements, I tell myself, could sustain some real damage if we stay where we are (I will perhaps expand on that in another post).
In my heart I am scared that I am damaging my family and robbing the girls of a normal childhood, routines, sports clubs, primary school friends etc. I worry that the challenge ahead of them will be too much. Aurora is at an age where her brain is a sponge, and she is doing so well at school. Will having to force her brain to learn a new language hinder her growth? Brynn too is so excited about all of the things she does at school. She now starts her second year of school in a second language at a second school. I fear I may have ruined her educational foundation before it was even constructed. I must confess that I am not really worried about Clara, except for how she will manage the change, she is still quite young and my biggest hope for her right now is that she will be potty trained by the time it is time to go.
Packing up to go
Regardless of how it will work out, we are going and the wheels are officially in motion. On the weekend we moved out stuff back into storage, and for the ten days we have left here we will be squatters in our own apartment. The girls are sleeping together in one room as they have all year, but now we have taken their beds and they are on the floor - and loving it! Such champions! This above is the sad scene at breakfast time. And afterward, only lego and empty boxes to play with.
The biggest move of our lives to date is for me one month away I am equal parts excited and apprehensive.
Colombia aquí venimos!
Happily married to my beautiful wife Stephanie, and proud father of three beautiful girls, Aurora, Brynn and Clara. Master student, working in South America as a Social and English teacher: writing when I find time.