I’ve always wondered what it’s like for people who take trips “home” for the holidays. When they live somewhere either away from family or the place they’re from, and make their way back to that place at Christmas time.
Now I know.
And it’s simultaneously very nice and very strange.
First of all, I have been trying not to refer to Vancouver as “home” anymore.
Not only does it make it harder to really lean in to our experience in Oxford, conjuring up bouts of melancholy homesickness, but “home” as we knew it in Vancouver doesn’t exist anymore. While we have family and friends here, and enjoy being surrounded by some of the places and things we left behind, our life in Vancouver (the place we lived, the jobs we had) doesn’t exist anymore. We can’t truly go “home” that way.
It’s been really excellent to spend time with friends and family, but there’s also a tinge of detachment overhanging it. The experience is temporary. The gang’s all here, but most members are making plans for next week when the status quo returns; we’ll be gone again.
This all sounds quite melancholy, but it isn’t, really.
It’s (so far) exciting to pack up and head out on another trip. To share the holiday experience of returning “home” with airports full of others.
It makes the experience of spending time with those friends and family sweeter, more intense. I find myself being much more present with friends & family now, because chances to spend quality time with them are fewer and further between.
It solidifies which traditions are really important and worth preserving, despite the challenges of timing, weather, and distance.
It makes it very obvious that as much as so many other things have changed over the years, others stay predictably, comfortingly, blissfully the same.