For a brief description of our experience continue reading below….for a pictorial look at the places we went and people we saw, follow this link to our “Summer 2012 in Canada” photo album (warning: Rick told me I posted too many pictures, but I couldn’t help myself!).
So what will it be like to go visit Canada after living in Mexico for 20 some months? I had increasingly pondered this question since the calendar turned over to 2012. Now four days after returning to San Cristobal I find myself sorting through pictures, reminiscing of good times…..but also quickly needing to reengage back into our home and life here in Chiapas. Two worlds….both now familiar, but different; both feeling like home and close to our hearts, but yes far apart in distance. I remember when we landed in Vancouver, and while walking in the airport Ezra says, “I can’t believe we are in Canada!”. Just a mere five hour flight between D.F. and Vancouver and “bam”, the “Chiapacanadienses” have returned. I said to Rick on the plane, “I’m glad this is a visit and not our final return, that would have been too short.” My first feelings were how familiar and yet strange so many little things felt, the water bottles being so cold, everyone seemed so tall, and why is everyone speaking English? A few times I started speaking in Spanish to strangers we happened to meet and realized wait…they can’t understand me. I could never quite get over drinking water from the tap, or how quickly and on-demand hot water is available to wash dishes, or how nice it was to take in the view of the surrounding town/country while eating breakfast. In the end perhaps what struck me most was the ease of things – hopping into your own car, putting dishes in the dishwasher – and the variety of options available whether that be things to eat or snack on, or places to go to play – open and free parks, beaches, pools, playgrounds.
And while I know our own families, friends and millions of Canadians have their own real struggles of all kinds, the one word that came to my mind was luxurious – so many of these little things felt quite luxurious. Yet at the same time I did not feel the need to judge my fellow Canadians – just hope that they fully do appreciate all that so often is available to the majority of who have been born into or chosen to live in Canada. And the key I felt to really being able to enjoy it is to be content, as the apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
And so, while it certainly was hard to leave such a fine and wonderful country, along with many of our beloved ones who live there, I also feel very content to return to Mexico. It too is beautiful, it is the place of our home, our friends, its where we have chosen to serve God at this time in life, it is where we are learning much from its people and culture. So thanks Canada, well British Columbia, for a great summer, and thanks Mexico for welcoming us again so openly, we are glad to be back!