Sunday, July 17, 2005

My Calgary Family

After a few days in Vancouver I felt so happy to be connected with my family here that I decided I should stay and work in the area for a few months to get to know everyone better. Then I went to Calgary.

My good friend, Ted, met me at the Calgary Airport and gave me a place to stay while I visited. At the airport he said, Steven, I have some work for you to do. We dropped my bags off at his place and I worked five hours on his client’s basement. Then we worked together the whole next day too. Finally, on Thursday, I told him I had to take a day off to connect with my family in town.

In Thailand it’s easy to describe these two women. I would simply call them my daughters. In Canada we’re supposed to say: ‘these are the daughters of my ex-girlfriend’. I don’t mean to imply that I am their father, although I would be honored to be. But I love them as if they were my daughters. They are both extremely bright and confident. U of C has just accepted Rachael where she is looking at a career in journalism. Rachael is the one I was talking about when I met an American student in Laos. She went to school in San Antonio Texas for her first year and got the highest mark in American History, even though she has spent her entire life in Canada. Rachael was surfing the Net a couple of weeks ago and on a whim, entered a contest on the U of C site and won a free year’s accommodation.

Sarah is working in the accounting office of a printing firm here in Calgary. She actually runs the company but some of the management just hasn’t realized it yet. She’s looking for higher challenges and is thinking of working in one of the Oil Companies downtown where there are more chances for growth.

Rachael and Sarah took me for dinner when I arrived in town and they brought Michelle, who they seem to have adopted as another sister.

On Thursday morning, Ted left for work and I was just starting to hunker down to get this Blog written and sort out who to see next, when Ted’s land lady and dear friend, Lillian, poked her head downstairs. “Oh, so you’re not working with Ted today? Well would you mind looking at a job for a friend of mine?” The next thing I knew, I was installing basement windows. Lillian took me for lunch and told me of her adventures as a schoolteacher in Zambia from 1970 to 73. She is a very sweet woman with Jai Dee, a smart heart.

By the time Ted got back from work that night I realized that we should be working here in Calgary together. Ted has been working for the last 14 years doing smaller construction jobs by himself. He has a truck and tools. Lillian agreed to rent me a room with telephone cable and Utilities for $300 per month, so I was all set. Except for two things.

Millie; my niece in Vancouver; was making arrangements for me to take my first bungee jump and my Mom was busy planning our meals for the next month in Waterloo. So I did what I always do when I have a dilemma. I phoned my sister.
Melbah, I said, “I don’t have the heart to tell Mom that I will be in Alberta for the next four months. So this is what I want you to tell her…”

So I booked a ticket back to Waterloo to get my tools and finish some home repairs for my favorite sister and my Mom, and I will head back to Calgary for the first of August to start work with Ted. Then I plan to go to either Vancouver or Waterloo for Christmas. January, I head out to Asia again. I’m planning to meet up with Ted and visit his wife, Bee, in Malacca, Malaysia. Then it’s off for a tour of Vietnam. So the journey continues.

The one thing I never envisioned when I began this odyssey of discovery was how lonely it would make me feel. I thought that when I visited my family and friends it would just be fun and I would move on. But what actually happened was I renewed such strong ties with my Mom and my sister and my brothers and my dear friends and adopted families that now I miss them all, all the time. I feel such love for all you guys. I just don’t know what else to do about it except to keep traveling.


Bozoette said...

So travel you must, until your heart finds its home and everything falls into place. Live and be well!

Anonymous said...

Hi from Benson Rd. in Calgary on January 24. I finally found your Blog and read the most recent one. Very interesting photos of your travels. I heard from Malacca today. We e-mail every once in awhile. She is planning a family celebration for her son and his wife.