I am a transplant. A geographical transplant, that is. I was born and raised in Alberta, and moved my life across the country 10 years ago (10 years already? Really?!) for post-graduate studies to become a Doctor of Chiropractic- and I ended up staying.
I have always identified myself as an Albertan, and likely always will; but it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really started to feel at home in Burlington. I mean really ‘at home‘. The this-is-where-my-life-is-and-I-feel-content kind of home. Having my children here did that. Buying a house here did that. Growing roots here did that. And while Ontario is home, there are still times when my homesickness gets triggered by a rough day, a family celebration in Alberta, or my birthday. Christmas gets me too. When I close my eyes…
…I can see the familiar white lights on my parent’s Christmas tree.
…I can taste the love in the caramel popcorn that my mom makes.
…I can smell the warmth of the fire crackling in their wood-burning fireplace.
…I can hear the nostalgic sounds of my cousins laughing.
…I can feel the comforting crunch of Alberta snow beneath my boots.
Now with two young children of my own, I’m trying to nurture their sense of home and cozy familiarity with our own family traditions. And in the process, I’m creating a a new sense of home and cozy familiarity for myself. My homesickness eases when I see the excitement in their eyes and the magic in their smiles. My nostalgia lessens when I see the lights on our tree and the fire in our fireplace. And the love of my husband and my in-laws goes a long way too. I hug them more during the holidays.
So this Christmas, if you have a transplant in your life, be sure to remember that the holidays may bring feelings of loneliness mixed in with feelings of happiness. Be sure to ask them how they’re doing. Be sure to ask them what their Christmases ‘back home’ were like. And be sure to listen to their answers. It makes them feel more ‘at home’.