Repatriation 101

Although the blog has ended and I thought I’d signed off, the reality is our adventure is not really over. Returning home has been more of an adventure then we previously believed it to be. It’s been one month since we arrived and it’s been non stop with Christmas and all it’s excitement, the readjustment and the adaptation to this ‘new’ life. I swear the tag line for this period is everything familiar is strange. Let’s review;

The weather

It’s the most obvious. We have had a drastic swing in temperature. When we left New Caledonia it was full fledged summer. Hot and more hot was the daily forecast. Although we prepared a bit ahead, I purchased snowsuits, hats, mittens, boots for the kids back in October online, we’ve spent lots of time buying more winter gear and getting used to getting dressed and undressed for the cold weather. Seth has become a pro and I have to remind myself daily he has never done this before. We have had new challenges such as getting your thumb in the mitten and where is your hat with Theo. And, I’ve come to realize that it’s near impossible to buy snowpants for women in January?!? Overall I’d say it’s been less cold than I expected but that I become colder faster than previously. 

Groceries

When we arrived in New Cal buying groceries was ultimately the hardest adjustment. The lack of fresh produce and choice was astounding. Now, I find myself lost in the cracker isle. Yup, there is a whole isle devoted to crackers. I’ve gone from a choice of 3 to 300. I find myself staring at the selections and thinking seriously, how do people decide and is this really necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still grinning from ear to ear in the produce section, its just the choice that sometimes gets me. Add to this that our kids are asking for their favourite meals which I am know trying to adapt to Canadian ingredients we’ve had a few fails. After not being able to find yellow curry paste nor coconut cream at any of the grocery stores my attempt at the kids favourite ‘yellow rice’ was an epic fail. I’ve since found coconut cream and my stash of yellow curry paste has arrived in the freight so we are set for a second attempt. We’ve had to also spend time finding similar to New Cal standards for the kids, yogurt that they are familiar with, the crunchy granola bars etc. Overall, it hasn’t been bad but just another unexpected adjustment.

Fast Food

When we came home on vacation it was the mad rush to have all our favourites, it was a couple weeks of badness and then we knew it was back to having none. But everyday it is staring me in the face. There is no question why North Americans are alarmingly overweight, the convenience and availability of fast food is astounding. Even the kids are asking for McDonald’s, Pizza and Tim Hortons (the Timbiscuits aka Timbits as Seth calls them) Keeping it as a treat is definitely become a goal. 

Hours of the day

In our previous Canadian life we went to bed around 10 or 11 and woke up at 6:30/7. Once in New Cal that shifted to waking at 5/5:30 and going to bed at 8/8:30. Our day ran closer to the sun. Here I am amazed that everyone is sleeping later and going to bed later. In general I find we are sleeping less. Another adjustment is the hours that businesses are open. Nothing seems to open before 9 or 10am but everything stays open late. It’s a far cry from Roes’ 5am to 6:30pm!  But is it so nice to be able to go to a store in the evening! 

Driving

I’m driving in the dark again! Lol. My last 4 years were spent driving in sunlight and avoiding the roads at dark. It was dangerous because the roads were so narrow and the amount of drinking and driving. Last evening we returned home from a road trip after dark, gasp! I laughed as Keith and discussed the adjustment and the kids asked us why it was so dark in the car. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about this life nor am I am regretting our decision. Life at the moment is pretty awesome. Watching the pure joy on the boys’ faces as they went sliding for the first time was incredible. Introducing them to a Canadian childhood has been exciting and fun. Having Christmas with almost our entire family was everything I had dreamt of for the last 4 years. The amount of love shown by our family and friends has been lovely. And, there is nothing better than watching the faces of the four grandparents as the kids run to them with open arms calling their names. It’s everything we wanted and more. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can come home, you just might find it strange and not always familiar and you may miss things from your temporary home that you never dreamed of and I guess that’s an unexpected part of the adventure. Well I better go, it’s 5am but here that means I can go back to sleep for a bit! 

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