I am now back in Canada and have been for about 5 days. It was surprising to me how much I missed it because when I was actually in China, I didn’t feel homesick like I thought I might. Here is what I have learned from coming back for this summer:
-We are very, very lucky in Canada and the USA. We have things that people overseas don’t have and don’t expect/miss. We have bathtubs, clothes dryers, ovens, clean streets, clean water, stores packed with food luxuries most people don’t even know exist, air conditioning in every building and every car, health care we can rely on, medicine that is safe, a food supply that is closely watched for safety, toilet paper in the washrooms, soap next to every sink, paper towels, and many other little things that I noticed since I’ve been back.
Bathtubs in China are seen as a luxury that costs too much not in monetary value but in water supply. Toilets (if you are fortunate to find a “western toilet) have very little water in them because conservation is very important. Same goes for paper supplies. I haven’t been able to figure out why there is never any soap, maybe businesses want to cut expenses…
So we are very lucky here to have these excesses and to not think about them as excesses. However, I will also note that it is very expensive to live here. Food is very pricey and so is gasoline, rent and other necessities of life. Poor people in Canada have a very difficult time to afford both housing and food. On the other hand, the poorest of Canadians would be considered rich in most parts of the world because they have so much more than the truly poor in other lands.
All that being said, I missed my home. I missed air that wasn’t smoggy, streets that werent caked with dirt and human body fluids, stores that are filled with things in my own language so I know what I’m buying, and my son REALLY missed bathtubs. Before I left I was thinking that maybe after this year I would stay another in China but after coming back and some reflection, I think it is best that we move on to the next adventure after this coming year in China. It leads me to wonder where I will be heading off to this time next year! I have even considered coming back here to Canada for a year or so in between but if I am honest with myself, I would get bored too fast and walk around like the rest of my countrymen, just trying to amuse myself, instead of really learning about the world like I set out to do 10 years ago when I first got my teaching degree.
We set off in our camping trip in 3 days and I am excited to see a part of the country that I only vaguely remember from my teenage years. We are planning to cross this great country to the Atlantic Ocean to a small province called Prince Edward Island. Along the way I am going to visit all the people I have met in the past 20 years in all my Canadian travels. I also get to see my best friend in Manitoba, my daughter in Ontario, and my father’s family in PEI and Nova Scotia. I will try my best to keep you updated.