It’s time to blog again.
How do I know this?
Well, there have been a few signs. First, it has been nearly two months since our last blog. Secondly, one of my students said she thought it was cool that I kept a blog and as I get older I have to take all the “coolness” I can get. Thirdly, I’ve just poured myself a glass of wine. The weather may be different as well as the alcohol of choice but the sentiment is the same; it’s time to write.
“So what has it been like to adjust back to Canadian life?”, you might ask. It’s been fantastic. It’s been really tough. And it’s been everything in between. In other words, it’s been life.
Here are some examples of what I mean.
- I miss the way Sri Lanka challenged me to think about what lies below the “cultural iceberg “of everyday interactions that I just didn’t understand. Canada still challenges me to think about the world from different viewpoints, but I find myself less forgiving of what have become my own culture’s glaring flaws.
- The fact that it only taking 15 minutes to get anywhere in the city is fabulous and driving your own car certainly beats the Sri Lankan bus. So why is it that I find myself rushing in the car from one place to another? Why still the overwhelming urge to fit so many things into one day?
- I really miss “the Sams”. I wish neighbours in Canada were just as receptive to people showing up at their door to chat. Look out Nadine and Mike, we just might stop over for an hour or five unexpectedly.
- Shaun and I were both super stoked to meet a refugee family from the Congo through the Regina Open Door Society. Calvin, Josie and their two sons , Jesse (4) and Joel (2) have blessed us to see Canada through their eyes. You should have seen their excitement when we brought a bag of winter and fall clothes for the boys to try on. Not to mention the boys’ first time at the public library. It was hilarious seeing them drink from a water fountain for the first time as well as running round and round through the automatic doors.
- I have writers’ block here. It’s not that there isn’t anything to write about; it’s that I’m more afraid of offending people. Political correctness can be so over the top.
- There are still really big issues in Sri Lanka post civil war so it is difficult to take some of our Canadian issues seriously. For example when trying to explain to Calvin the Regina water referendum he said, “I like water so I will vote yes”. When Shaun and I explained that he would get water either way, he replied, “Then I don’t understand. What is the issue?” *DISCLAIMER: Now that I have offended a ton of people, I’d like to make the following disclaimer. I educated myself about the issues, I voted on Wednesday and I am proud to live in the nation that has the right to vote about such things.*
- One thing that has definitely followed me back to Canada is paperwork. Thankfully, I still have to fill out forms for every single request I have. Albeit there is one key difference. Bureaucracy in Sri Lanka was all about making things followed the correct hierarchy and in Canada it’s all about protecting yourself from being sued. Some new paper work additions to Regina Public Schools include a form for having an animal or plant visit your classroom, a form for teacher access to student records, a form to transport students, and a form to to get the form for reactivating my medical and dental insurances. Basically my first month back to work has been spent filling out forms (most of which are PDFs on websites that I have been asked to print out , fill in and mail via post).
- I’m also pleased to see that the man who installed the door on my classroom is not the same man who installs the doorknob so even though there now is a door we will be waiting for the doorknob for an indefinite amount of time. I guess there is a little Sri Lanka in all of us.
The point is that no matter where in the world I go – there I am. The environment I’m in and the challenges I face each day might be different but how I chose to face them can be the same. I’m going to do my best to keep the temporary, pretend life attitude with me and see the humour in everything.