Chapter 3: Canadian Soil (continued from Super-Dog)
The decision to return to Canada was in many ways obvious and necessary. That didn’t make the decision any easier, however. By the time we made the decision, we’d been gone more than three years and by the time we’d return, it would be over four years that had passed. Fundamentally, we knew that if we didn’t return at the end of the year and, especially, if we didn’t leave Poland, we ran the real risk of becoming émigrés.
There would be nothing inherently wrong with being an émigré – but choosing to leave the country that at its core was the womb of my inception, the mother of my culture, the teacher of my intellect, and the cleric of my soul … and the place of my family. That was not a choice we made when we acquired a Chinese visa four years previously.
When we left Canada 4 years ago, the country was in the midst of recession and we were new graduates who had just spent 19 straight years in school. However, in my lizard brain, there was a voice shouting that there was a world that needed exploring. The intention was to leave for a year, get a solid year of real univeristy teaching experience under our belts, and return to grad school and complete our doctorates. But one year was all that it took to shake loose my infatuation with academia and to entrall me with a world a world of possibility. I loved my books – and indeed I still do love my books – but I was now compounding the knowledge I had asynchronously acquired from paper by adding to it life and experience – and I was drunk with discovery.
One year became a year plus a season of adventure; a year and a season then became two years and, before we knew it, we were four years gone from everything that was home and familiar. To do nothing more would have meant that I had simply accepted a new life and its routines and idiosyncrasies as I floated passive in a European stream that was now effortlessly carrying me along.
It was amazing – it was a doctorate, and then some, and it changed my life forever.
It gave me possibility … and it gave me choice.
It gave me Ben.
I loved and still do love Poland. And through it all, I fell thoroughly in love with Europe.
But it was the wrong place, and an impossible place, to make the decision to leave behind a nationality and a place.
We made the decision: we would return to Canada and, from there, we would see where home really lay.
And we would return, from whence we had come, having traveled 360° in the process, as new people, with new knowledge, with a new outlook on life, and with Ben ….
Continued next … Chapter 3: Canadian Soil — Perspective