Jun 4, 2008

Wherein The Author Whines...

They keep telling me it's like we never left. That we've all just slipped right back into Canadian life again.

And for two weeks that's been great.

I've been on the go pretty much since we returned to Canada, trying to nail down our reno plans, getting the kids settled in school, looking at new cars, organizing play dates and sleepovers, fixing things around the house.

It's kept me occupied and darker thoughts away.

But I didn't sleep well last night. I didn't really sleep at all. The reality of the situation could no longer be pushed aside by fatigue after a busy day:

It's all done. The adventure of a lifetime. Our big gift to our children. It's over.

We planned for it and looked forward to it for years. I even dreamed about it, imagining how idyllic it would be. And now it's come and gone. 10 months of my life that just flew by in the blink of an eye.

I know we took full advantage of the time we had, and I don't feel like we left anything undone. But it's still difficult to accept that it's done. Finished. The End.

The air is not the same here. It is hectic. It involves a lot of driving and shopping. Everything is large, the roads, the stores, the portions. It's a little overwhelming after the small-ness of Europe.

My children's lives are different now. Less independent, more organized by adults. Their school is much more academic, for sure. But I'm not sure it's as much fun, and it certainly doesn't involve as much outdoorsy, physical activity.

Mike's life has taken a busy turn, as he's been inundated with requests and offers of new and exciting challenges at the university. He's got important decisions to make over the course of the next few weeks, some of which could seriously impact the amount of time he is able to spend at home.

My work hasn't changed, but my social agenda has. I've had fun catching up with my friends, but I already miss those quiet days, where Mike and I could work for a few hours, then go for a walk. We'd pick the boys up early from school and either invite their cousins over for dinner, or walk up to my parents' house for a glass of wine. Or pack the car and head for the mountains.

Oh, those mountains. They are still there. Waiting. What I wouldn't give to head up into the mountains this weekend. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, and maybe hike that one peak the weather prevented us from reaching last time.

Instead, I'll probably spend some time looking through the photos from the past year. Maybe I'll get some printed out and framed for display around the house. And reminisce about the year we conquered the Vikings.

61 comments:

jenontheedge said...

Can I take it that moving to Norway permanently is not an option?

Assuming it is not, what changes can you make to recreate what you miss about Norway? What can you do to slow down and make life easier?

kimmy said...

What a wonderful gift you gave yourself and your children. It can be tough when the anticipation of it all is over, but the memories will always be there.

Kimmy

Amber said...

Sigh. The fall-out from the adventure of a lifetime would be huuuuge! No doubt you have expended an enormous amount of energy and resouces into the planning, had the time of your life living there and now? Redefining everything.

When I graduated from college, I did a study abroad in the Middle East and then backpacked all over Europe. I was in a hostel in Switzerland and ran into a man from Australia who had been backpacking the past year.

When I asked him how he was going to go back to normal life and enjoy it, he wisely said his goal was to never stop finding adventures in his own backyard. I wish the same for you!

ALM said...

It must be difficult, after all that fun, adventure, change... to settle back in. Give yourself some time. Don't feel guilty about missing where you were & don't feel guilty about comparing the places. Talk about it & process it. When I worked in student exchanges the re-entry was usually more difficult than the initial trip...

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Maybe planning your next adventure would take the edge off?

Chantal said...

The culture shock is hard eh. When I spent my summer in Brazil (in a somewhat remote small town) I found it extremely hard to come back. Everything seemed so loud, so fast. I felt like I was moving around but not really here. Obviously I got over it but I still remember the calmness and quiet of my Brazilian home with fondness.

Amy Y said...

Has it been 2 weeks already?? You sound so homesick... I'm sorry :( Is a return trip a possibility in the somewhat near future? Something to look forward to down the road?

Hang in there, Mama.

LoriD said...

I felt exactly that way when I returned from my European backpacking adventure after university. It was so perfect and wonderful that I felt that nothing else would ever compare to that. Hang in there... you will no doubt cook up a new adventure.

Kathryn said...

And the letdown begins. It is all just part of the adjusting process. Kind of like grieving, I imagine.
But soon you will have other things to look forward too. And with your beautiful boys life will always be an adventure. No matter where you are. :)

Misty said...

That is great advice, cooking up a new adventure. Who says you can only give your children but one gift? Who says that in a few years, the Vikings won't need reconquering?

It is sad when things end and I really feel for you. But it doesn't have to be over. Part II can be just down the road.

Alpha DogMa said...

And you gave us all a gift because we got to tag along on your journey. So thanks for that!

She She said...

Maybe it's time to start thinking about your next adventure?

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Aw honey, I have been thinking of you. I can't imagine how strange all the transitions must be. You jumped right into our crazy, busy Canadian urban life. I say, let yourself be a little sad and homesick for a bit, give yourself some time.

Mary Beth said...

I'm with Misty - I think those pesky Vikings are going to need restructuring soon - although maybe in another country because you don't want to try and recreate your first adventure, which I think I tend to do. Remember all of the good, none of the bad, and then get upset when the 2nd doesn't measure up to my memories of the first. So back to the drawing board and decide who you're going to conquer next:)

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I think these feelings are very normal. I feel like this after family trips...especially the more extravagant ones. I was a little blue when we returned from Disney World...as I had planned it for a year!

(Okay....not exactly on the same level....but that's the best I have!) :)

Hang in there!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

oh that must be hard! And I totally know the feeling. When I moved back home from England it was so hard being back, but fun. I missed so much... everything from thr food and sites to simply the feeling of walking down an old street. YOu just can't get that Europe feeling in the US. But it was an amazing time and it is good ot be back... but I am going to GO BACK :)

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I agree with Amber, hopefully you can find joy in your current adventures. But, oh, I feel your pain. I'm already missing the photos and posts of your adventures. When you left we all had to leave with you.

Rima said...

Oh, wow, that has to be difficult. But at least your adventure of a lifetime was all you had hoped it would be, and you will always look back with fond memories, right? I know it's a long time away, but you could always retire to Norway, right? A few of my relatives moved back to Lithuania after retirement and they are loving it.

Robyn said...

I say its time to plaster your house with photos of your adventure. Who needs dry wall when you've got pics of boys jumping off roof tops?

Kellan said...

It has got to be hard to leave it all behind - it was such a wonderful time for you and your family. You'll continue to adjust - I'm glad you are staying so busy, helping to distract. Frame those picutures - that's a good idea!!

Take care - Kellan

Ginaagain said...

Change is so difficult. Even good change is terribly hard. Keep looking for the balance between your two lives. Perhaps there are some things you can change to make your life in Canada more like it was in Norway? Keep writing because you have a beautiful voice.

Cathy said...

I can already tell you'll be heading back for another visit, even if it's a short one!

Annie said...

I've always despised the let down after a wonderful vacation. It will get better and as everyone else has pointed out, adventure is just around the corner...

Victoria said...

Oh, Heidi - I can feel your emotion. I always feel like that after a grand adventure (and yours was grander than all of mine combined). Clearly, you need to start planning a new adventure!

jen said...

and with that, a quiet reality sets in.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I guess this would define "bittersweet."

Cheri said...

I've been thinking about how to make The Great Escape for a while. I want to live in Europe for six months to a year. But I'm wondering if I just need to change some things around here. Maybe figure out how to take out some of the rushing around and structure. I don't know, I'm just thinking about this stuff and your post has my thoughts down on paper . . . or on the screen as the case may be.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Go ahead and whine...it's okay. I am still mourning our move from England. I think the thing that makes these moves so difficult is knowing that you will probably never live there again. It's like a perfect dream that you wake up from and spend the rest of the day wishing you could close your eyes and return to it. Chin up...smile...and have a glass of wine :)

Laura said...

The "first" adventure is completed - but the memories last forever and the life lessons learned will last forever.

To the people left behind in Canada during your trip, to them it feels like you never left...because they did not experience the greatness that you did...and now your task is to incorporate those life experiences and lessons into your life here.

Plus, who knows what the future will bring - life is full of adventures - and now you know you are brave enough to take those challenges and adventures on... and you know the benefits of such adventures - lessons many of us cannot chalk up (and wish we could).

Cheers!

Karen MEG said...

Aw, Heidi, this must be so tough for you... I tell you, being here and following you on your journey in Norway, I know exactly what you left and what you came back to. It's a great life for sure, but it's definitely not your Viking Adventure. But you did it, you have it, and so do your boys. A very special time with wonderful memories.

You whine away, girl... and we've got to do the wine thing soon too. NEED to see all those pix. Just NEED to.

See you later hopefully?

katydidnot said...

time to start planning for next time?

katydidnot said...

time to start planning for next time?

katydidnot said...

time to start planning for next time?

Aliki2006 said...

The let-down was bound to come and you will, many times over feel it again. But it doesn't have to be The End, or the close to an adventure of the lifetime. There can still be many, many more.

MamaGeek said...

It seems so reasonable to feel this way. I'm guessing like most things in life, it's just one more readjustment. Hope that goes smoothly my friend. Else, we know where YOU'LL be moving to next year. :)

kim-d said...

Awww, Heidi, I do know what you're talking about. It's a pit-in-the-stomach type of melancholy loneliness, and it doesn't make any difference that your present life is just fine--you are lonely for what was. That can happen to me if I've just had an exceptionally good day; can't even imagine the "re-entry pains" after conquering those mighty Vikings :)! I'm not going to give you any advice because it takes different things for different people. For me, I have to just feel what I feel until I get acclimated to the present.

Here is what I AM going to give you (((BIG HUG)))!!!

gmcountrymama said...

You gave your family such a wonderful gift and they will remember it always.
Time to plan the next adventure.

thirtysomething said...

Aw, I am sorry Heidi. You know, I think I would be feeling the same way too. It must have been an amazing adventure and definitely the experience of a lifetime.

Maybe it can be compared to what we go through during the holidays, just on a larger scale of course. The preparing, the excitement, the anticipation, the days spent with family and the enjoyment, then it is all over...

Let yourself just move with those feelings, don't try to push them away, and treasure the memories (and we know you have many amazing photos!). Your children will undoubtedly be talking about it for years to come, helping to relive the experience and keeping it alive.

Hey, come by my 'place' and read some important info for all of us parents to know.
Have a great day!

MadMad said...

Aw, man. Re-entry into the "real" world is tough, isn't it? Especially when the "real" world is so ... fake. (In terms of what's important, etc.)

dkuroiwa said...

Even though our vacations in the states are never as long as what you had...the "let down" after coming back here is always so strong. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get myself back into my regular schedule and way of thinking. It's so much fun to live in a completely different lifestyle for a while..even the boys mention how much they love going....but Issei (10) said last summer that it was really good to be back home (Japan).
Hang in there....whine all you want...it's all a part of the process of getting back!!!
My theory is....a little wine with whine is always good!! :-D

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Sounds like it's time to plan the next big thing.

Nadine said...

Hugs to you! I can imagine this must be difficult.

I am sure you'll make yourself a new dream to realize and look forward to and blog about.

Steph said...

First of all, I need to figure out why your last couple of posts didn't show up in my bloglines....

So, sorry for the late response :) I am sure that "re-entry" must be difficult. I am also just as sure that you will continue to plot out new adventures in the future. Hang in there!

Barrie said...

I've got to imagine there's a bit of a lunch-bag letdown after a huge Viking adventure.

E said...

I've got just the thing and it works on your do nothing relaxing weekend too.
Have everybody make a list of the things they'd like to do in the next five years, you know for a twelve year old it might be first kiss, learn to drive, etc.
You might pick weekend in Paris or something wildly extravagent. You need to beef up your dream list that's all. Then you can get right back into living with intention and choosing which ones to do first .....

katiez said...

While you can't back, that year is forever over, you can go forward and plan another... Maybe in another 7 or 10 years...
Start planning now. And maybe it won't be Norway...
But start planning anyway!

Stomper Girl said...

I'm sorry to hear you've fallen flat, but it had to happen. Never mind, life's big adventures will catch up on you soon. And maybe it won't be the last time you conquer those Vikings...

Dana said...

Hey Heidi. After a hiatus from blogging, I'm back and I see you've returned to Canada and dealing with culture shock. I see your post was written 6 weeks ago now so I hope you're getting aclimatized.

Your Norway adventure sounded amazing but you know what? If adventure is in your bones, and clearly it is, I predict alot more fun and amazing adventure opportunities for you and your family. Canada isn't big enough to hold you down. :-) Welcome back.

BeachMama said...

I can't imagine the difference between Norway and Canada. It would seem such a dream to live overseas. We just had our week long family vacation to the beach, but coming home to another week of vacation hasn't been as fun. Somehow nobody minded walking for miles every day when we had the ocean in our sights and the salt water in our hair, but come home to no boardwalk and only cement sidewalks things easily slip back into the usual. It is like we never went away.

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