Friday, January 10, 2014

Missing Canada, Missing Curacao

My parents came to Canada when they were very young. By very young, I mean twenty and twenty one years old. They didn't know the language. They had no idea how and where they would be living. They just wanted a new start in a new land. It was a great decision for them and for me.

I have come to realize that there are choices we make in our lives that affect us dramatically. Where we opt to live is often such a choice.  As it turned out, the climate in Canada was not so hugely different from Germany. There was at least some common ground. After a very short time, my folks discovered the multi- cultural nature of Canada as they made friends with people from many parts of the world who had also moved here with their hopes and dreams. They all faced similar struggles.

Sometimes, we like places because they are beautiful, have mountains, water, beaches, glaciers, cacti, wide open spaces, cities, farmland, art, music and culture. How amazing is it that we live in a safe land that has all of that? How lucky are we to have all the benefits this country affords us?

Lately, I came to appreciate Canada even more. When I was away visiting my daughter prior to Christmas, I didn't realize how much I missed the whole "winter scene" that goes along with the season and the preparations leading up to the event. I came home to discover that many things that I enjoy had passed me by. In fact, I wrote about it in my column.

Northumberland News columnist asks, is Christmas really too commercial?

Unfortunately, the terrible winter weather, ice storms, the freezing cold and power failures did not pass us by. The darkness at 4:30 and the inability to go anywhere and do anything made me feel like a bear in hibernation. It didn't take long before I'd had enough. Besides all that, I have come to dislike having to wear real shoes and boots. Perhaps it wasn't the "winter scene" I missed as much as my friends, family and the snow globe type images I had in my head of what I thought November and December in Canada were about. Don't get me wrong. I love this country, just perhaps not as much during this particular season as I once did.

It's interesting how different life is in a country where everything is the same. In Curacao, the weather is always the same...warm, sunny, 28-30 C. with occasional rain. Daylight hours are always the same 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Holidays are not celebrated as they are cupids, Easter bunnies, Santas or Halloween...Christmas, carnival time and Easter. That's it. Although it seems bland, everything from buildings to clothing to flora and fauna is beautifully vivid and colourful. As a bonus, most people speak a familiar language.

My daughter was home recently and commented on the clothing as soon as she got to the airport. "It's depressing," she said. "Everyone is in gray or black. I miss the orange pants they wear in Curacao."

I laughed. The funny thing is, that I miss the orange pants that they wear in Curacao as well. I think that before this winter is over, I'll go back.

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