The palm trees down the middle of this small city’s main street still seem surreal to me. It’s not California, but Tsawwassen, north of the 49th parallel but just barely, tucked into the southwestern corner of the B.C. coastline, and somehow, in spite of our visits to our son and his family over the years, I’d forgotten about the palms. And now I’m walking by them nearly every day and they’re disturbing my notions of Canada. The cold north and all that.
It’s not a bad adjustment, I don’t mean that, just an adjustment. We’re here and more or less moved in, books unpacked, numerous trips to IKEA behind us, some pictures hung. Car insurance and driver’s licences and healthcare applications and internet installation are done and when I complained to our son about one of these procedures, which managed because of a system error to last several hours, he reminded me that these are things we only have to do once. Right.
And our daughter texted (following some other since-forgotten dilemma we were trying to solve), “Settling in may have challenges, but there is no deadline for it. Take all the time you need.” Right to that too. Things have switched up: I have to listen to the kids. The longer process of feeling at home, which involves friends and connections and sense of purpose and belonging, begins now and is not automatic. I hasten to add that we do quite like it here so far.
I’ve recently enjoyed reading Nino Ricci’s 2008 The Origin of Species (I can still remember reading his Lives of the Saints but had not kept up with his work; my, he’s good) and the poignant The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by the late Jean-Dominique Bauby.
Best of all, post the move and all that, I’ve got my Writer-self back on. I have an assignment for an anthology, about which I can’t say more at the moment. Settling in may not have a deadline, but this assignment does, so that will be my September work. And speaking of writing, I want you to know that my personal essay “Return Stroke” is in the current issue of The New Quarterly. If you can get a paper copy, you’ll be glad, because TNQ is a great journal. Otherwise, my piece is online here.
Bye for now.