Thursday, July 31, 2008

A few little updates

I am typing from our new home. Moving was not as stressful as it could have been, and it felt so good to sleep in our own bed last night. When we first got married, I had trouble sleeping because I was just so excited to be sleeping next to my hot husband (did you need to know that?) and last night I could not sleep because I was just so happy to be in my own space (and still sleeping with my hot husband!) This is my 16th home (if you count home as 3 months or longer). That's a lot of moving. I wonder if I will be one of those people who keeps moving or who eventually wants to settle in one place. It's one of those "how will being a mother change me?" questions I have!

We had a level 2 ultrasound and we got to see our baby! The ultrasound lady said everything was "textbook." That has to be good, right? The baby gave us the thumbs up again, so either s/he has only the one finger, or s/he is really happy in there and wanting to reassure me! There is lots of kicking, and that is wonderful.

Just saw in the news that Zimbabwe is cutting off 10 zeroes from their banknotes tomorrow. 10 zeroes!!!!!!! 2.5million% inflation will do that to you, I guess.

Happy Anniversary to Mom & Dad, who gave me a good example of a loving marriage. Congrats to Dave & Denise on little Benjamin!

Friday, July 25, 2008

To be honest...

We just had a blessed few days in Kingston. It was great to see Bram & Anita and we fell in love with baby Wesley. It's hard to imagine how much love we're going to have for our own baby (although I have an idea from the way John kisses my belly and says "I love you! God bless you!" to our baby through my ever-expanding stomach every night!)

Let me share honestly. I had some mild panic attacks in Kingston. While we were there we saw and met many young couples with young children, beautiful houses, huge t.v.s and gorgeous backyards. We got a lot of advice on babies and what babies need. In Zim, if you are expecting, you save money in order to get a towel (to wrap the baby around you) plus some cloth diapers, a blanket, maybe some bottles... Here it seems like you "need" a mountain of furniture and supplies, and thinking about all the stuff we need made me panic. I cannot really explain how different this world of middle-class Canada is from the life we have been living in Zimbabwe. Although I have seen it with my own eyes, it is hard to conceive of the fact that both of these places are on the same planet. I am struggling mentally and emotionally to figure out how to "be." How to live in Canada while having experienced Zimbabwe. I know that God sent us to Zimbabwe and I know that we are not supposed to forget our experience there. I am just mentally straining to figure out how to incorporate those life lessons into the Canadian way of life. I am terrified of getting caught up in the consumerist rat-race that is North America, but I don't want to be a social recluse/bitter missionary either. "Stuff" is fleeting. At 4am yesterday we started wiping up water with towels because our friends' place (where we were staying in the basement) started flooding. Anything could change in a moment and all of our coveted "things" could disappear, so John and I have always valued people and experiences above things. But you need some things. A baby needs some things. How much? Right now, I have no idea!

To be honest, when we came home at Christmas, I had mild panic attacks the few nights before we were supposed to go back to Zimbabwe. At the airport, I was literally making myself sick (which I'm sure was a huge comfort for my parents!) I'm horrified that I'm admitting that to the world, because I know I shouldn't have felt that way. I love Zimbabwe and I loved our life there. But it was hard - physically, emotionally, spiritually, ethically. It's hard to watch people you love suffer. It's hard to see the place where you live get worse and worse and to know that it's a mad-made disaster. It's hard to feel helpless. It's hard to stress all the time and to know that you shouldn't stress because if you were a better person you would just trust God completely and not worry about "minor" or selfish issues like having water/electricity or finding food.

I am thankful for some friends who have been "defending" us on our blog about whether or not we should have left. These friends (and others who didn't comment) are being empathetic and not wanting us to feel worse than we already to about leaving. But I'm not upset that someone anonymous asked the question or whether or not we should have "retreated." It's a great question - something we wonder about every day. We have to live with the guilt associated with privilege. Privilege that allowed us to walk through those airport gates to an easy life, waving to people we love and care for who are struggling to survive in a place that gets worse and worse, day by day, week by week. It was heart-wrenching. Period.

And now it's: what now? what next? Now that we're here, how do we live our life? What impact does Zimbabwe have on my choices in Canada? And that's what we're trying to figure out. I guess I want you to keep remembering Zimbabwe and praying for people there, but we still need some prayer too! I'm wondering whether it's worthwhile to keep up this blog (since we intended it to share our life from Zim) but maybe it's helpful to someone somewhere to know some of the thoughts/feelings of someone coming back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back from B.C.

Well, we are back in Ontario after a lovely vacation in beautiful British Columbia. If you haven't been to this province, try to go (even though there's a crazy fuel tax on flights...) We had a chance to go to Vancouver Island to see some of John's family. We enjoyed Victoria, Nanaimo and Protection island. One of John's uncles (Ron) looks just like Robin Williams (I will try to post a photo soon) and he is funny too.

I loved spending time with my Nana, and I was blessed one morning when I went in to see her and through the crack of her bedroom door I could see that she was praying earnestly. My Nana is a prayer warrior and I know for sure that she prays for us daily. I can't tell you what that means to me. It was also good to play Rook and -crabble on the beach with Auntie Barbie and the crew and to have Moby Dick fish & chips and Andy's ice cream. Spending time with my beautiful, passionate, fun and sensitive sister Kirsten was also great. Family is great. The older I get, the more appreciative I am of everything... family, health, good marriage, food, electricity, water, life experience, mental health, being able to walk and see and hear and hold...

My dreams are easing up and we feel sort of rested (although I painted my toenails today and it took every ounce of energy out of me. That can't be healthy!) :) We are off to Kingston to meet baby Wesley Pearce... Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to my dream-chasing, passionate, loving and talented brother Joel.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beautiful B.C. and a kicking baby

Greetings from White Rock, B.C. We have been in British Columbia for a week, and we are here for one more. It's been great to catch up with John's parents, my Nana, my sister, and other loving relatives and friends. We went to Granville Island, and the Vancouver Aquarium and Pike Market in Seattle. And of course, we've been eating a lot. Vancouver is a gorgeous city, and I must admit that for a few minutes we wondered if we'd settled in the wrong Canadian city. Toronto's nice too, but you can't beat the mountains, enormous trees and ocean! I was reflecting on this article on cities that my mom told me about a few weeks ago. Vancouver (where we are now) was ranked #1 city to live in whereas Harare (where were were 2.5 weeks ago) was ranked last. Life is strange...

I'm having a love-hate relationship with sleep. I get tired easily, which makes me want to sleep, but I'm having bad dreams. They are not the nightmares of Zimbabwe, but they're still not pleasant. Usually they are about people (from here) being angry with me or calling me bad names. Maybe part of me is wondering if people are judging us for coming back early (or I'm just judging myself). There was a big story on the news here about two elderly Canadian missionaries in Kenya who were beaten and raped and macheted, but they say they want to stay and continue to show forgiveness and love. They're the "good missionaries" right? The ones who will stay despite anything... so what does that make us? I know that, all things considered, it was good that we came back. But I guess not all of me knows that...

The baby is fine. S/he is starting to kick up a storm, which is pretty cool (another sign convincing John that this child will be a natural runner). I bought my first maternity clothes on Saturday. The pants have this elastic band that gives you 4 months to grow (John asked if there was a men's section). With everything I tried on, I'd ask John "does this make me look too big?" and he'd respond "of course not - you look beautiful!" I did trick him at one point, putting in the "fake belly" that was in the change room. When he still said I didn't look big, I wondered about his sincerity at the other comments... :) I've put on 15 lbs already, but everyone says I'm still small...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Trillionaires, Afghani food and a baby on the way

THQ hosted a "farewell tea" for us before we left Zimbabwe. It was really nice, and the chance to give a speech of thanks to everyone. We decided to treat everyone to pizza, even though it cost a small fortune ($2.5 trillion for 16 pizzas). It was worth it to know we'd hit trillionaire status, and also to see people's smiles as they had this rare treat. We could use a trillion now. Even a million... Life in Canada is expensive. I suppose it's just because there's so much to buy! I must admit that I love that about this country. If you're hungry, you can go to any number of shops/restaurants and get something to eat. If you need to pay for something, you can do so in any number of forms (i.e. withdrawing cash from the bank, debit, visa). The simple pleasures of life in an "easy" country... Church is more calm here though. I miss the dancing and hoshos and vibrant praise. We need to meet some Zimbabweans.

We found a place to live. It's a 2 bedroom apartment in Thorncliffe Park, and I think this will be a really interesting neighbourhood to live in. Once again, we are in the minority. Last night we had supper at a local Afghani restaurant (the food is SO good - try it!), and we were the only non-Middle Eastern people in there. I like that. Saturday I went to the medical clinic in the local mall, and I felt like I was standing in line for the United Nations instead.

We felt our baby move for the first time last night. I think s/he was doing somersaults. That's got to be a sign of athleticism! I went into the baby section of Zellers to look for a baby shower gift. The baby clothes are so cute! I bawled my eyes out from being so happy. What a miracle...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Canada day!

Happy Canada day for yesterday. Of course, it was a surprise for us to be in Canada for this day, but we proudly wore red and white and ate burgers and corn on the cob to celebrate our nation.
Some things I like about Canada:

- Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, etc.
- We have lots of food here. I mean, LOTS... (have I told you I'm averaging 6 meals a day since being home??)
- No one knows what a Canadian "looks" like - we're a very diverse people
- Pedestrians have the right of way
- There are lots of trees and green space
- Being nationalistic in Canada means that you're tolerant of all people
- I don't feel afraid - even when walking alone in the innercity at night
- Canada borders two oceans and there are lots of lakes
- You can drink water straight from the tap
- You don't have to mix your milk from a powder - they sell it fresh everywhere
- There is lots of electricity
- Women can wear pants without being labeled as prostitutes
- We're not a military state; you don't see soldiers walking around the streets
- There are dogs, but they're not wild nor desperately underfed and vicious
- With your cell phone, you can make a call that will actually go through immediately
- Politics are boring, not life threatening
- etc.

Those are some of the things I'm appreciating about the true, north strong and free this year. As for adjusting... well, it's an emotional roller coaster. I feel new things every day. Grieving for Zimbabwe is a complicated grief, because in a way I loved Zimbabwe (the people, the way I was growing there and being part of something significant and meaningful, the adventure, my friends and family...) and in a way I hated Zimbabwe (watching people suffer, self-censoring all of my speech, feeling stressed constantly about what could happen next, living in a place that continually gets worse and knowing that it is because of poor leadership, ethical challenges...) My family is all so relieved that we're back - they can stop worrying about us. But now I have a whole host of people to worry about, and yet I'm not supposed to stress. Of course there's stress in Canada too. Because we have so much choice here. What cell phone do I buy? Where should I live? How much is reasonable to pay for rent? What type of ice cream do I want? What should I do with my life? The burden of choice - the burden of wealth...