I have to confess something: When I listen to the radio, I'm listening to the livestream from CBC Radio One in Calgary. I know there is something ridiculous about listening to the Calgary Eye-Opener morning news and traffic reports when I'm fixing dinner for my family in Al Khobar, but I'm fond of the program hosts and it feels good to keep up with Canadian and Alberta news.
Yesterday evening, I made pizza from scratch; layering pineapple and turkey (none of that haram ham in this place, of course) over my pressed-out dough and sauce while listening to the hosts talk about how it was two years ago that the Bow and Elbow rivers overflowed and parts of Calgary flooded. And the flood of 2013 is an anniversary day for us; two years ago we came back to Canada from Vietnam.
That was only two years ago. And – good grief – we're not even there anymore!
Sure, there were a lot of days in the last two years when I really wanted out of Calgary. I'd be quite angry over how no one de-iced their sidewalk on the way to school in the winter, how kindergarten was even less than half-day, how it felt like I was always busy in a car going somewhere (even when I wasn't). But we landed at the airport two years ago thinking that we were home for three or four years, at least. We bought a car that I love, we lived out of suitcases for six months while our house underwent both repair and renovation and turned into something structurally sound and aesthetically ours , and I fell in love with the local elementary school. We were able to be a normal Canadian family for eighteen months, and even though I missed the slower pace of my former life, there was something comfortable about slipping on my Canadian coat (ahem … goose-down parka) again. It was good to see my kids doing the things that kids in Canada do. It was good to live a life less temporary and just more ordinary.
In all the important ways, I'm happy that we came to live in Saudi Arabia, but I also feel that we were a little bit robbed of our time in Canada. We meant to enjoy our house a little longer, and the same goes for the public schools, the farmers' markets we'd frequent, camping trips in the prairies, and our barbeques and roasted marshmallows in our backyard.
I think it's okay to miss the Calgary future that we thought we'd have, but actually don't.