Returning home to Canada for the summer holidays got me thinking about all the things that make HOME special. As it turns out it is all the little things that I miss and started to get excited about especially after 11 months away. Family and Friends are of course top of the list, but what else did I look forward to?
1. Food –especially Tim Hortons Coffee. As I walked through the arrivals hall I could see the long line and smell the coffee in the departures section below. Hmmm deep breath. It was too late in the day to savour a cup, but first thing tomorrow morning.
2. Blue Sky with Fluffy Clouds and Sunsets – sounds silly, but when the majority of your days are the same dull gray it is something to get excited about. A few weeks before I came home I saw a picture of blue sky and clouds and I caught my breath. I knew that sky; a distant memory. It was something I started to look forward to. Every day there is blue sky and colourful sunsets. I take a moment like little Frederick in Leo Lioni’s book to soak it all in.
3. Wild Life – Living in a large city you are not going to see anything other than birds and maybe dogs out for a walk. Living in a small town and heading to my brother’s place out in the country we experienced more than pets and birds in the last 4 days. Just today we saw a squirrel scamper across the back yard and a bunny munching on clover. Luckily I caught a glimpse of 2 very shy deer across a farmer’s field, at the edge of the forest, nibbling away on seeds or fresh shoots sprouting this year’s crop.
4. Fresh Air, Water and Green Grass – deep breath in… with the poorest levels of pollution, since we arrived in Shanghai, this past year it is nice to go out and not worry about checking the Air Quality Index. It has become part of my daily routine, as much as I check the weather. Levels this past year hovered around 150 with a few days less than 80. The worst was a 4-5 day stretch with the pollution levels getting close to 475, or higher. When day looks greenish and inside is hazy, you just know it is bad. To compare the worst I saw Toronto was 10 and people get excited about that. The World Health Organization state anything over 20 is poor. Then there is the water. A young passenger on the plane was quite surprised when I told him it was OK to drink the water from the tap. Oh the little things we take for granted.
5. People and Speaking – Coming home I can speak and be understood. I don’t need to worry if others will understand me. It is a little stress that I never really thought about, but it is there. Trying so hard to say something I practiced, but can’t get the tone quiet right or the difficult zzz and dzz sounds. It then becomes a frustration on both sides. A few times we have been thrown out of cabs because they cannot understand us. At home people are friendly, take a minute to talk and say excuse me, or move out of your way rather than be preoccupied by a smart phone and bump into you instead of taking a step around you. Just last night we were at Wal-Mart and the line was getting longer, but everyone waited patiently as we chatted to the cashier, a lovely woman nearing 75 years of age. Even though it was busy she took the time to chat and enjoy the conversation. That is what I miss most… friendly conversation. Tuesday we were in a Canada Day Parade for the Shriners. People called out “Happy Canada Day” and tears sprang to my eyes. I was home and all the little things I missed for the past year were right here to be enjoyed. Oh Canada, how I miss thee.
What makes your country or HOME special? What would you miss most if you moved away? Maybe it is your favourite restaurant, or park? Maybe it is a cool tourist attraction, or site to see? No matter what it may be share it in a post during the month of July and be sure to link back to this blog. Place your link in the comment section below so others can find you too. This theme will run for July and come back early August for a new theme (usually the first weekend of the month). We are in the height of Festivals and Gatherings, last month’s theme, so if you have anything to share of an event you attended or one about to happen let us know. Maybe someone travelling to your neck of the woods would like to check it out.
Looking forward to seeing you. Stay tuned… summer is just beginning.