After growing up and living most of my life in the United States, I had come to take certain things for granted. It was only after moving here to Canada six years ago that I began to realize that things are sometimes different in other places and that there is a much bigger world out there. Now that I am in communication with others from all over the world, it is even more evident to me that these differences exist.
Since I have been here in Canada, I have found that the people here are generally warm and welcoming. I have met so many wonderfully kind people here that have made me feel quite at home. Bernie and Ellen are among the many friends whom I consider as part of an extended family. There are others too, who have been true friends in both good times and bad.
It is nice to have friends from different places. With computers and phones being what they are, communication isn’t difficult and keeping up friendships is something that can be easier than ever. I sometimes think of how it might be if I didn’t have my computer and lived where I do. I think my attitude would be quite different. Although I enjoy my peace, I do very much enjoy my interaction with all my friends around the world. (That was evident a couple of months ago when I couldn’t log on here to Lumberjocks for a couple of hours!) We also hear bad things about Facebook all the time – how it is a breeding ground for predators and such, but I found it to be quite the opposite. You just have to use common sense and take certain precautions. Through Facebook, I am able to keep up with family and friends on a pretty much daily basis much more than if I were to have to call them each time to see what is up. I love seeing pictures of trips, events in their lives, and projects that they are working on. I am free to comment on things, but don’t always find it necessary. I think it is a fine way to be connected to others in a casual way and I do enjoy it. As with anything, it is necessary to remember that any information placed on the internet is something that you don’t mind putting ‘out there’ for all to see. I think if you keep that in mind when posting, you shouldn’t have a problem.
As many of you know, today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. As an American, it is one of the most significant holidays of the year for me. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the beginning of October. To me, that was one of the times when I was well aware that I was a newcomer to this country and lived in a different place. I already celebrated two Thanksgivings this year – one with my partner’s family and the other with Bernie and Ellen, who were away for the ‘real’ Canadian Thanksgiving. Now it is time to celebrate my own tradition and have my third.
Since coming to Canada here, I have tried to keep this holiday in my heart. Perhaps because of my roots and the thought of keeping my own memories of both my childhood and the times when my own children were growing up alive. The first couple of years I felt particularly strange because the day just came and passed here like any other. I didn’t have many people to share it with and it was a time when I felt quite isolated. But as my new friendships grew here, I found that having friends around to help me celebrate was a fine way to perpetuate the holiday and thus the memories that I had in my heart. I believe I had spoken before about the time a couple of years ago when I had all my painting group over for a turkey dinner. There were nine of us and it was loud and busy and there was plenty of food and I found it was a wonderful day – in the spirit of what I wanted the holiday to be.
This year, in my little apartment I am hosting a nice little dinner for myself and Bernie and Ellen and a few friends which will also be wonderful. I have a nice turkey ready to go and yesterday I made two kinds of stuffing and some dessert and some vegetables. It will be simple, but good. I am looking forward to it a lot. While I was making each dish, it brought back memories of holidays past and all the warm feelings that came with it. It is funny how certain foods do that. I made a stuffing recipe that my aunt made every year. I also made a cheese ball that my grandfather and uncle loved. And the dessert is a Kolocky recipe that was my grandmother’s trademark.
I also talked to my friend for a while whom I haven’t spoken with in several months. She and I have been friends since we were 14 years old and through the years our lives have been interwoven like fabric. Sometimes we would go for years without actually talking to each other, but when we did, it was like we just saw each other the day before. Good friends are like that. She has five children and now a beautiful granddaughter and her son is in the marines and there was a lot to catch up on. It felt wonderful. We still play Scrabble with each other on Facebook almost every day and although we don’t speak to each other daily, it somehow makes me feel close to her by doing that. It so good to hear her voice and hear how things were going in her life. I know that no matter how far apart we are, we will always be friends.
It is times like this when I sometimes get homesick. I think back to when my kids were little and our own little family was together and reminisce about the time we had together. Life’s circumstances do change though. I am so happy to have those memories to look back on. The important thing is that my kids are happy and healthy in their own lives and even though we can’t be together, we are always in each others’ hearts.
I am sounding old as I read this. I realize that. Perhaps it is just because it is such a reflective time for me. I think it is good for us to take the time and reminisce once in a while because it helps us appreciate all the things we have done in our lives and also what we have now.
I am very grateful for my life. For all my friends that I have – both here and all over the world. You have all enriched my life and made it what it is today and I feel that it is in a good place.
For all my American friends and family – I wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. For my other friends in all parts of the world, I want you to know that I am grateful to know you all and that you add a lot to my life and I wish you all the best, too. I am very thankful to have you in my life.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"