As our sabbatical adventure draws to a close, we’ve been having bits and pieces of conversations to help us process what we’ve experienced and prepare for the transition home. (Tim’s grateful to have another couple of weeks off once we get there). Adjusting to all of this is a complex business, even though it’s entirely a good news story.
We have lots of reasons to be excited about heading back to Guelph. I am looking forward to having all 6 members of my nuclear family together for the first time in 10 weeks. I haven’t seen my Mom since December. I’m very ready for conversations that extend beyond the length of a text or email message. The kids are excited to reunite with their friends. We’re looking forward to greeting our dog and to watching Leafs hockey playoffs and Blue Jays baseball live on TV. We’re ready to have some routine and some responsibility. (Some).
I’m not looking forward to not having this trip to look forward to. I think that’s my biggest thing. It’s been an exciting event on our horizon for well more than a year, and the anticipation of it was really fun.
I will also miss not rushing. Getting enough sleep. Not setting an alarm very often. Living in the moment, because my to-do list has been drastically shortened and the noise in my head has been quieter.
We’ll miss eating Tim Tams (I’m not usually one for factory-made food, but wow those cookies are tasty!) and having time to play cards every evening. We’ve enjoyed not just spending time together, but having the full presence of each other with far fewer distractions than usual.
And I’ll miss not having a new adventure every day, because literally every single day on this trip has held something new. (I know some would find that exhausting, but for Genevieve and me it’s usually exhilarating).
We are immensely grateful, both for what has happened and what has not happened. This trip has truly gone from one amazing thing to another, in small and large ways. We’ve tried to notice and appreciate those. Alongside that, we’ve also been spared so much that could have derailed or cast a shadow over this experience — good health and safety here and among those we love at home tops that list, but also countless other “journey mercies” that have allowed things to go smoothly. We haven’t missed a flight, lost a passport, arrived to find a home exchange arrangement less than ideal, endured longstanding conflict with one another, gotten unpleasantly lost, dented a rental car, had plans cancelled by extreme weather that seems to be all around us…when we think of what things could have been like, our gratitude is multiplied.
We know we have densely packed a lot of precious memories and learning and laughs into a relatively short time. These lessons and reminders will gradually be unpacked over the coming weeks and months and years — savoured one at a time in ways that the pace here and the newness of it all did not allow. (Speaking of which, I don’t think we told you about our Lithuanian airplane adventure in Cambodia…)
We’ll miss heated towel racks.
We look forward to having screens on windows. (When you live in a warm country with big flying critters…)
Ed Sheeran has provided the soundtrack for the trip. Literally everywhere. Maybe it’s time to head to Galway or a castle on the hill next.
Or …Toronto was warmer than Sydney yesterday. Must be time to go home.