As I stood looking out on Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park last Saturday I literally had to pinch myself. I couldn’t help but exclaim out loud. “I live here, I live HERE”.
After almost two years of our expat life I’m finally starting to feel more content with our new lives, dare I even say settled? The bad bits are still there of course but the bouts of homesickness are now becoming less severe and shorter. Chatting with my family on skype now seems as normal as popping round for a cup of tea would have felt two years ago.
It’s been quite a journey to get this far and I admit there has been many a time when I wanted to get off the expat emotional roller coaster, I wanted to throw my hands up in surrender and say ‘I give up, I can’t cope with living in a different continent to my family and friends’. There are still days when I would give anything to have Sunday dinner at my parents house surrounded by family or have a glass of wine or five with my friends and chat into the early hours.
As I stood on that beach looking at that spectacular place, that is only a couple of hours from our new home, I began to reflect on our journey and how far we have come. Little remains of our former lives now and for the most part that is not a bad thing. I don’t miss the days of 12 hours in the office and trying to juggle the needs of our business with the needs of our boys. I don’t miss barely keeping up with the housework or running out in the middle of sports day to take a call from an important client. I am a ‘stay at home mum’ right now, I am there to take the boys to school and pick them up afterwards. All four of us have dinner together every single night. We are relaxed and calm and spend more time together than ever before.
I have discovered more about myself in the last two years than I ever thought possible, when you live outside of your comfort zone your strengths and weaknesses become so apparent. I have surprised myself with my own bravery and realized I can live perfectly well without constant reassurance from my nearest and dearest. I have become more assertive and more decisive.
The boys are blossoming in a newfound confidence. Something that happens with migrant kids is they develop skills to cope with change and the experience of living in different cultures broadens their horizons.
Emigrating was the toughest decision of my life but it has been the most exhilarating journey