Note: This may or may not come to a surprise to you that my ‘I’m in Canada’ post has come before my 4 month, and 5 month update, as well as any other small posts that were going to fill them in between. However, I got this up, so the others to follow will be nice little throw back posts. Gotta keep you on your toes.
I have to say that anticipating and preparing myself in coming back to Canada scared me more than going to Thailand. Having to find where I fit back into Canada is more unsettling than how to adapt and shift my way into a different culture. Not even being a square peg in a round hole, but a hexagon peg in a round hole. It feels like I fit back in, but really, there’s all these gaps and empty spaces surrounding me. Or in some other senses, I feel like I fit, but my sharp edges and corners keep me from fitting in. So you could say it’s basically the same, but it’s not.
However, contrary to my displacement in Canadian culture and life, being completely honest, nothing feels out of place… yet. It’s almost as if when I left for Thailand I hit pause, lived out 5.5 months in another country, became so apart of this new life, then landed in Canada and hit play. It actually made me so uncomfortable. Not only did the fact that I didn’t know who actually worked at the airport when I landed in Vancouver because of the diversity that I forgot is Canada, but I got so much comfort out having a Thai family be on my flight back to Calgary.
I had gone through so much and yet my room, actually, was in an awfully messy state thanks to having sisters and leaving a vacant room that was up for grabs, but besides that everything was as I had left it. I actually went through a small crisis(?) where I actually doubted and wondered and questioned if I had even left and did anything. Sure, I came back with a language I knew, but no one else understood. How I am the only one who internally freaks out turning into the ‘wrong lane’ of traffic. The one who doesn’t know what to do with toilet paper in the bathroom. The one muttering Thai under my breath, but still looks and appears as if I am asking them to say their name again in English. That the sun is setting and gets dark at 10 pm and not 6:30pm. That I have these stories to tell, but just the fact that they’re not just stories but real life experiences I had and am now actually only reliving through memory.
In coming back to Canada, to make the trip seem even less real I almost had two full days of transit which kept me in this floating frustration of not wanting to go to Canada, but knowing that I couldn’t just turn around and fly back to Thailand, but still being ok with going to Canada. With delay, after delay, after delay, feeling like I was blessed, which I was, to have had BOTH of my bags checked, have window seats on BOTH of my long flights, I thought I had won. Then Air China came and extended my transit by 15 hours.
Im going to be honest and say that I haven’t even had the time to fully process the fact that I’m in Canada. That I spent 5 months in Thailand. Beyond the nights I just feel like crying and don’t even know why because I’m here, but not there, and it doesn’t feel like I was anywhere and just being wrapped up in mass confusion. The day I landed, I slept in my bed for one night and then shipped myself off to youth camp for a week. It was then that I was slowly realizing I was gone for a good long time because friends were saying how much they missed me, and how ‘right’ it was that I was back. When in the back of mind I couldn’t help but think “sorry, but I didn’t miss you, also, pretty sure I saw you like, 2 weeks ago.”
Being away in Thailand just felt so natural and so right. My friend wrote me a letter before leaving saying it felt like they were sending me home rather than sending me away, and she was right. I felt like I had a place there, and, although as much as everyone says I have a place here, Thailand felt more like home than Canada ever has. Yes, sure, I occasionally missed my family, trying to recall if I missed friends, but again, it just felt normal. And now being back, I don’t even know what to do. I don’t know how I fit back in. I haven’t given myself time to see where I ‘fit’ back in. God revealed so much to me through his timing and learning how to honestly trust him with not just the knowledge of the mind, but with the knowledge of my heart. From shutting off google maps to find my way back to the cafe that was my home for a month in Bangkok, to seeing how my own choices of getting over a situation could actually lead to a relationship with an organization in the sex trade industry when I go back long term. Eventually I’ll have a post on all the changes and growth I experienced once I get back into the Canadian life and Canadian ways of things, but know that I’m in Calgary, Alberta, surrounded by familiar faces, familiar language that I fully understand, and an environment that makes me believe I’m allergic to Canada and should really just go back to Thailand. A place where I’m so uncomfortable in the place I left because I felt I had gotten comfortable.
There’s so much I miss about Thailand that I haven’t even had the time to think about. The moments and days that I have forgotten about and only remember in random moments. However, I am content knowing, really knowing and trusting in the plan God has for me for my time in Canada. Even as that looks like taking another freakin year to work before going to school, but having the opportunity to volunteer with an organization in my city that works with women from the sex trade. I still plan on visiting Thailand every year until I go back long term to visit friends and family 🙂 there.
Thank you to all of you who sowed into the work that God did and chose to use me for in the last 5.5 months. Thank you for praying for me and for all of your support financially. As much as my heart aches in leaving the kids, families, friends, and community behind, I know full well that God holds them in his hands and that just because I have left doesn’t mean he left and isn’t loving them.
With much love and thanks,