Thursday afternoon around here is pretty sacred. It’s our Friday remember, the end of the long week and the only time of the week I feel guilt free in doing whatever I want. Fritter it away, do something fun, sit in a vegetative state in front of the T.V….nap….it usually involves a nap.
A couple of Thursdays ago we left work at 2:30 sharp, headed home, changed our clothes and headed north to the beach to enjoy the last few hours of daylight by the seaside. Dave took his ritual after-school-nap in the car and I drove.
We passed a camel farm along the way. It’s still very surreal to see such a thing and it tends to jolt me into the reality of where we are. Oddly, seeing this camel farm choked me up a little. I had a similarly strange moment in the afternoon at school that day when I walked from one building to another and the warm, dry breeze jolted me again into the present and filled me…with something…or maybe just filled me.
As I drove and Dave slept I had some time to consider why these two things were evoking emotion.
The rhythms of life around here are beginning to get a little steadier. A major adventure does not ensue every time we leave the house. When I am reminded of where we are and what we’re doing I feel intensely grateful and a little like I’ve narrowly escaped some kind of tragedy.
One of the biggest fears I have had is getting to the end of life and regretting that I didn’t do something I really wanted to do. I’m really hoping never to say, “you know what we talked about often but never actually did…xyz? What a disappointment!”
To some of you I know it sounds like we’re on a light and breezy adventure that more resembles a holiday than real life. This is the danger of blogging and FaceBook and the like. You can’t tell whole stories via social networking. For one thing, ongoing current stories usually involve other people. You can’t just go blabbing other people’s lives. Suffice it to say, we’ve had some pretty incredible (read: challenging, read: not happy-go-lucky) times. We’ve been through things that were unexpected, unwelcome and frankly unfair. We’ll be happy to talk to you in person when we get home this summer, but they won’t be written about here. It’s not all been a picnic. Not by a long shot.
Even so, as we walked the beach that Thursday night and childishly stuffed our pockets with beautiful shells, gorgeous little treasures from the sea, we felt deep gratitude for the year that has been. Even with all the things that have not gone even remotely to plan, we wouldn’t trade this experience and we haven’t once regretted coming. None of us. Even Honour (who has been most affected) said the other day “if I had to go home now I’d be sad. I love it here.”
When I see camels, and feel the warm dry breeze and walk along the beach collecting shells on a Thursday afternoon I feel like we narrowly dodged a mistake. I say ‘narrowly’ because when we decided to pursue this road seriously we didn’t know that as you progress past 50 years old (Dave turned 50 this year), there are less and less international job opportunities, and as the devolving world economy spreads, there are less and less opportunities for teachers with non-teaching spouses (they really favour teaching couples). So on a number of levels I think we have realized one of our big dreams just in the nick of time.
Thank you to the Spirit of the Dry Breeze, Camel Farm and Sandy Beach for the Thursday afternoon epiphany.