I was down in the US for a week visiting my family. As I crossed the border I felt awkward re-entering the US, especially because Emilio is still not allowed to go back there until our lawyer works out some more details. The trip started out very badly because on the ride down I was stuck in Bath, NY with a bad tank of gas on a holiday weekend with nothing open. I spent the night in a Super 8 where there was nothing really super about it at all. Luckily I took our pooch Katie with me for company. The following day the tank was drained, refilled and I was on my way.
I arrived at my parents on Monday and felt that nagging ache of familiar surroundings I haven’t seen in a year. I decided quickly I would not be nostalgic. I would not be looking back with misty eyes at the good things I left in the US for a better life in Canada. This revelation was quickly reinforced as my Dad and I took my Mom for an appointment with her breast cancer specialist the following day. We arrived at what I assumed was a large hospital, very new and valet parking to boot. I was impressed with the quality of the building. We entered the Doctor’s office and directly in front of me is Fox News on the waiting room TV with a note “Do not change the channel.” I smirked and said to my Dad, “Propaganda TV with a captive audience”, we both laughed talking about the fake news channel in the hope we made others who were enjoying the channel as uncomfortable as those forced to watch it. As we left the hospital I noticed Fox News on in other waiting areas and I commented to my Mom that a hospital should probably have something like HGTV on instead. My Mom said, “this isn’t a hospital, it’s a private facility owned by the doctors”. My mind raced to the thought of for profit health care strikes again! Americans, greed is what is keeping you from universal health care for life.
Moving onward the week went great, I got to see two of my brothers, their wives and my nieces and nephew. The family time is always fun for me. Many times our discussions went to politics, all the family on this visit are Obama supporters. The Republican faction live in North Carolina and were there the week prior. We hit on the subject of abortion and that is when things went off track. I am the only ardent pro-choice member of my very Catholic anti choice family. It got pretty heated with my Dad getting very upset and yelling. I maintain my stance that abortion is better left to be between a woman and her doctor, not politicians and churches. My Dad thinks it’s something to vote on, to which I replied that tactic works really well with equality for people like me. (Prop 8).
On a good note, my Dad read "The Deserter's Tale" in two days while I was there and already passed it along to my sister in law. We had some great discussions about it.
On Thursday I went into work at my old office in New Jersey. It’s funny how memory plays tricks on you. I spent 7 years in that office and didn’t remember how the gray office cubes are so damned claustrophobic and how small the building felt. I laughed at how I used to walk around the parking lots of the office complex at lunch, now I get to walk around a very exciting downtown Toronto. On the ride home from the office I drove into our old neighbourhood and past our old house and again reminded myself not to look back, not to be nostalgic and it worked for me.
That two-hour commute from NJ to PA quickly blew over and the rest of the time was spent simply enjoying the comfort of being in my parent’s home. I sleep so well in the Poconos, it’s very dark and very quiet. It’s perfect for a light sleeper like me. My Mom was constantly trying to determine what I wanted to eat and telling me they usually don’t have so many sweets in the house (Yeah Right!). My Mom and I shopped for things the US offers that we cannot find in Canada. Things like: Vigo Paella Rice, Fluff, Aleve, Tylenol PM, Corned Beef Hash and reasonably priced pants for work. Feeling defensive of my wonderful Canada and thinking I slightly betrayed her with these purchases I also talked about all the great events and things we did in Toronto over the year and it hit me how much our lives took a 180 degree turn for the better.
The long trip home to Toronto, to which I miraculously did in 6.5 hours, a new record! I concentrated on just getting home, one gas fill up and a quick pee break. I crossed back into Canada and for the first time crossing the border I knew and felt in my heart I was going home. My adrenaline kicked in with excitement as my city rose up the horizon of my windshield. I smiled passing Pearson and just being on The Gardner, passing The Exhibition, Tip Top Lofts, City Place, Royal York Hotel and seeing familiar street names on signs Spadina, Yonge, and Jarvis. I was downright giddy as I passed St Lawrence Market, St James Park, The Grand, Allan Gardens turning right onto our Wellesley St. For the first time in adult life I got to feel what others take for granted after trips away. I am home, my family is safe and I live with equality. I love living here.