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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Going Home

Per and I in Gimli Summer 2007 Isn't this absolutely surreal?

I come from the prairies, from the "land of the big sky" as the Natives called it. The prairies of Canada are vast and seem endless. They stretch on for days with no apparent variation. Most people not from the prairies find them difficult to understand and they fail to appreciate the beauty of the space and sky. The violent thunder and lightening storms, the sun rises and sunsets that absolutely gush flaming shades of red, orange, pink, and purple all over the sky, the golden wheat fields, the heavy scent of the sun scorched earth in summer, the unbearable whiteness of winter when for months on end, you see nothing but the glare of sun on snow and pale green northern lights moving across the star filled sky at night. There is no where in the world like it except parts of Russia.

I need space around me, it's how I feel most comfortable. When I was 21, I spent six months living in Banff, Alberta, a mind blowing town/ national park in the Canadian Rockies. It's a fantastic, unbelievable place. I remember walking at night there, seeing the dark shapes of the mountains rising all around me and knowing in my head they were beautiful but feeling in my heart a slight tug of frustration because I couldn't see anything. You know, those cold, aloof, glorious, STUPID mountains weren't my view, they were blocking my view. :) (Now I realize this must sound like madness but thus are the inner workings of the mind of a person from ridiculously flat land.)

My parents now live in Gimli, Manitoba which isn't really the prairies but an interlake region. It has a statue of a large viking and a wonderful beach and about a million ice cream stands and boasts the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland. For real. It's an artsy little place with live music on summer nights and diverse cultural paintings decorating the long pier. It's cool. It's where I go home to now when I go.

Now enough rambling for one day.:) I am thrilled to say I'm going home on April 30th for six weeks! I haven't been home for very close to three years now! I have seen my mom and sister in that time but it has been just shy of three years since I've seen my dad and my brothers. I need to be home in a friendly open place, I need to relax with people I love and miss, I need to let the tension of the last three years ease gently out of my bones! Three years ago we weren't even in a place where adoption had ever crossed our minds, now we've been through the entire process...having our hearts broken and pieced slowly back together...probably aged visibly...learned to trust and wait...found the courage to move well outside our own hopes, expectations, and comfort zones...journeyed to Sri Lanka and back we simply must introduce William to the rather wild, silly, and loving, Wilson side of the family who are eager to meet and squish and kiss him.

So...two years and ten months...yeah, it's time!!!:) *breathes a big sigh of relief*

Sean and I on the Gimli pier:

Gimli's enviable viking:


kate said...

The prairies have a beauty that is more subtle, and somehow more enduring, I think. Maybe I'm partial. But because the winters are so harsh, -50C, and so long, maybe the summers are more appreciated. Short summers squeezed between long, cold winters somehow ARE more beautiful!
I love big sky. I love fields of wheat and rape and flax! I love violent thunderstorms, which come often on the prairies, and the wind which makes the trees bend........ I love the lakes in the interlake and Gimli is so beautiful, so peaceful......... we have roots here. My dad is buried in the Husavik Cemetary, with so many of his relatives. My grandmother (amma) Rannveig died here in the Betel Home...... and the prairies produce beauty queens. All you have to do is meet our Colleen!

Ine said...

Gimli sounds like a wonderful place, and I just love your description of the adoption process. "Having our hearts broken and pieced slowly back together".. After having Tuva I tend to cry more often, and these words just made me sob. It really was a heartbraking time when we though we might never have kids. And now, a piece of Sri Lanka - a piece that will grow up and call me mamma - is sleeping soundly in her bed. I will never ever ever take this for granted. Life was very tough for a while, and now it is just beatiful, because of her.

I bet your family is really looking forward to meeting William! Most of my family live in the north of Norway (where I come from) so my dad and my brothers haven't seen Tuva either. My mom though, she was at the airport when we arrived from Sri Lanka. ;) We will be travelling to my hometown in July, but Tuva's christening will probably be in June, and in that case the whole family will be coming here.

Hope all is well with you!

Ine said...

By the way, isn't Gimli the dwarf in Lord of the Rings?? ;)

Anonymous said...

It will be so good to come home again, Colleen. I`m so glad for you!!! I can imagine your mom waiting for you and Per and specially for William - and I have to laugh (don`t know whhy) imagine good old Kelly with your baby boy on his knees.
Hope you can meet your friends again. Is it far from the Winnipeg area to Gimli?

Colleen said...

I agree, it is a subtle and enduring beauty, I like that description. I feel there is so much beauty on the prairies and I understand it. Maybe that is due to having roots there. I read a quote "You can never really understand a person unless you understand where they come from." and I think this is so key. Otherwise one's ideas, ideologies, ways of thinking and acting are judged out of context and become strange or hard for others to understand. But once you really understand where a person comes from so much about them makes sense.

Ine your comment is so beautiful. I understand you so well when you write that life was hard for awhile because of thinking you may never have children, it was like that for us too. Incredibly so. It just didn't make sense at all and I think this was an issue that was very difficult for a lot of people to relate to. I don't mean that arrogantly, just truthfully. Many could not see why this hurt us so much or caused us so much pain and it was often put down to us being "selfish" or worse. One instance (of many) was that one month after we had found out that we absolutely couldn't have children for sure, I was a little down one day and a woman I knew asked me why I was upset. (I had already explained our situation to her previously.) When I said "Oh, I'm struggling with what we found out last month.", she asked me incredulously "Still?!" as though dwelling on this was just unbelievable and after a full month the fact that our dreams and hopes had been completely shattered should be well behind me. We saw a lot that this issue was not comfortable or easy for others and I have had to work through A LOT of my own anger at this. (I have managed to I think but I still remember the sting of feeling like it was just Per and I and a handful of others who truly did care about us during this time.)

If it was a death or illness, they could have related. If it was loss of a job or home, I'm sure sympathy would have been evident. But it was infertility and that, for most people, was better left unmentioned as though it were something very shameful. So anyway, the anger is gone but the the memory is still alive and well apparently.:) And I don't mean to sound like no one cared, there were a few who did and who showed it, not just said easy words.

Anyway I think that Tuva's christening will be beautiful and a wonderful celebration for your family! And yes, Gimli is also the dwarf on Lord of the Rings!:)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Colleen you are fast becoming my favourite writer...enjoy the way to describe Manitoba and everything in her...I was born in New Brunswick, lived in Quebec for 10 years, Alberta for awhile, BC too...but Manitoba is my home...I love the change of seasons, the sky forever...and the where else in Canada have I experienced plain nice folks...can't wait to see/meet you! Judi Dudek

Colleen said...

Marlies we must have posted at the same time! I wasn't just ignoring your lovely comment!:) It will be wonderful to be home and see my beautiful family and you know, you're right, it will be fun to see Kelly with William, although I shudder to think what he might teach him!!!:) Remember how he was with Anna Lena?:) If that's any indication, I think William will be very used to being teased as he grows!
Gimli is quite close to Winnipeg, only a hour or so away. It's lovely there!
Hope that you and your family have a beautiful Easter! Will you be at home? I was just talking to Per this morning about Langeoog and Easter there and he said he would love to go there or one of the other islands one day!! You just might have visitors one of these years!:)

Colleen said...

Haha, I cross posted with you too Judi!:) I must say you are one of my favorite commenters! You have lived all over Canada Lady! I had no idea!!! I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to meeting you...can I bring you anything from Norway? Chocolate? Viking horns? Mead? Just let me know.;)

Ellinor said...

It is when you leave your family to go live far away that you truly understand how much they mean to you :)

Olga Marie og Jan Henrik said...

Åååå så kjekt!
Håper vi og får besøkt Canada en gang i fremtiden =)
Den egoistiske kommentaren min er: Jej, dere er hjemme på bursdagen min ;) Og den mindre egoistiske kommentaren er: Jeg gleder meg masse masse til du skriver om Williams første møte med Wilson-familien <3

Crown of Beauty said...

I live in a congested city where there is hardly any space left, unless you drive out into the outskirts...then you get the view of wide open fields of sugarcane, and the mountains are far.

So, you can just imagine the noise, and more than the noise, the sense of private space being encroached upon from all directions!

You have described your home place of Gimli so beautifully! I'd probably be scared of the violent thunderstorms... but I have never seen the Northern Lights, and I have longed to experience such awesome heavenly loveliness!

Six weeks! May you and Per and your son William enjoy every minute of it!


Zion said...

Not to mention the fact that Gimli is Akureyri's "friendtown" LOL -

Michael Khatcherian said...

Colleen. I just wanna say that your readings make me read loud, that is the case every time I read your blogg :-)I wish I have the right English to express as you do. It is so warm to think of going back home. I've been lounging to go home for more than 10 years, but one day I will.I'll finish my comment and google Gimli, Manitoba:-)

Colleen said...

I think you're very right Ellinor. You learn not to take them forgranted!:)
Hei Olga Marie, Jeg håper og at dere få besøk Canada i fremtiden! Du sikkert kommer til å liker det.;)
Thank you for your comment and good wishes Lidj! The thunder storms are truly beautiful, although they can certainly sound scary. The key is to be safe and cozy inside somewhere with huge windows and a cup of hot chocolate in your hands and then just sit back and enjoy the awesome display of light and noise!:) I can't imagine what fields of sugar cane look must be beautiful where you are too!
Sæunn, how funny is that!! I had no idea...but there are an awful lot of Icelanders in Gimli in the summer.:)
Michael, I really appreciate that you enjoy my blog! That is such a compliment! I find it so hard to even imagine being away from home for 10 years...what must that feel like? Do you have a lot of family in Lebanon? I hope/ pray that you will be able to return there and visit your country and your friends and family. God bless.

Janet said...

LOL No way! The place that boasts the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland has a million ice cream places??? How is that possible? ;op LOL the Icelandic people will have their ice cream come rain or come shine :o)

Colleen said...

Well, ok...perhaps "a million" was a slight exaggeration considering that there aren't even a million people in ICELAND let alone Gimli to run them. Maybe there are more like...let's say, five ice cream stands then. ;)

Though they do claim Gimli has the most wild vikings in the world...:)

Janet said...

But still 5 ice-cream stands for a population of 10 Icelanders (I mean how many can there be???) is still quite good ;op

Colleen said...

Are you in Thessaloniki today? I swear I'm not stalking you but I noticed that's where you seem to have logged in from. Ok, fine, I may as well come clean, I am stalking you. Sigh...

Janet said...

Where on earth did you see that??? How can you see where I'm logging on from? And no I'm in Athens... sorry your little stalking trick didn't fool me :op

Colleen said...

I have obviously failed gravely in my attempts to stalk you and must no longer peruse such dubious methods of investigation.:)
No, I can see where you log in from on this blog's sitemeter, when someone signs in, it shows where they are signing in from...but I guess it's not always accurate. Enjoy Athens, my dear.:)

Agellius said...

Both places sound like heaven to me. I am stuck living in the megalopolis of Los Angeles (OK, OK, I'm not a victim -- I *could* move -- but it would make my wife and kids miserable, so for all practical purposes I can't) and pine to live in a more natural, less crowded setting.

Count your blessings!

Colleen said...

Thank you for your lovely comment Agellius! I certainly do count my blessings, I do love the vibrancy and energy of huge cities when I visit them but for living I appreciate the peace and beauty of nature. :) Los Angeles must in many ways be an incredible place to live but I understand your longing to live in a less crowded place. Perhaps someday you will! I have never been to California but is there a lot of unspoiled nature there? It must be so beautiful!
Have a lovely day and God bless!

Agellius said...


Yes, there is a lot of unspoiled beauty in California. The problem for me personally is that it's a long way away from where I live.

I must admit, setting aside my curmudgeonliness for a moment, that during the spring it's beautiful even in L.A., since for a short while the hillsides are green instead of brown, the skies are relatively clear and the weather is mild.

I guess spring must be beautiful everywhere.