Pfff I hate goodbyes. I am so not good in them. I do not get used to them. They are so tough. I always loose the fight against tears.

I am homesick for Canada. I miss Lisa. The house is too empty right now. I am sitting in the sofa here where yesterday Lisa was still typing her e-mails next to me. The inflated mattress needs to be deflated. There is no more pink Hippo on the table here! There is still good goat cheese left that she bought on the market!

I wish we could continue our good conversations together. I wish we could hug again very soon. I wish we could try on our newly bought make-up together and do girlish stuff together as before. I wish I could hug all my other friends and family in Canada.

This morning after Lisa left , I had to go to work and I had the feeling I came from another planet. After a week not listening to the morning radio, not watching tv, ...the familiar programs sounded weird in Dutch. I was still thinking in English.

In the last days so many memories came back, so many familiar faces showed their face again in my mind, so many people of whom I wonder how they are doing.

My sister has a big glas cup from her exchange "I left my heart in Alberta". Well, I definately also left a piece of my heart in Canada. I wish I could clone myself so that I could live on both sides of the ocean at the same time. Because don't get me wrong.... I also really love living in Belgium. I am not unhappy here. But I'll always miss Canada.

I have to think about the times that I did a spam carving contest in Calculus class, that I chuck a can of root beer over my head during the "Impaired Olympics" at school with the other exchange students, that we went up to the elementary schools to get children's drawings "think of me" on the paper bags of the liquor store, I remember my first attempts of skiing in Kimberley, my Greyhound busride to Trail, my visit in Fort Mc Murray,..... The day that I spent up with the avalanche patrol team up the summit, I remember fishing on the lake, washing dishes on the senior's camp in Salmon Arm (central BC), I remember doing homework with Lisa, learning the internet from Mark, travelling around with the exchange students.
I went with my slideshow and presentation about Belgium to all Grade 5's in the valley even up to Kaslo and a douzen of local organisations. I had a little stand in the fall fair in the Rec center.
I sold raffle tickets at the doors of Overwaitea for Rotary. I loved going to the hockey games. I saw Showboat in Vancouver. I went to the TALK youth camp. I remember so many teachers at PCSS each with their own personality. I did the brewery tour at the Kookanee brewery (little did I know then that I'd start to work for a brewery.... for the competitor of Kookanee/inbev).
I love the incredible beauty of the Rockies, and of Kootenay Lake.
I went goldpanning in Canyon and found some gold dust! I played the flute with Rita during our graduation ceremony and we went on a bandtrip in Idaho. I hiked up and down Grand Canyon. I ate for the first time chili con carne, corn on the cob, hamburger helper, Kraft Dinner, corn nuts, hot dogs grilled in the free nature, .... I slept for the first time in a tent outdoors. I learned to speech in public. I was Herod's wife in the Christmas play. I learned to iron my own clothes. I went to a drive inn movie theatre. ...

Gosh I tell ya: I had an incredible and busy year and I met through all these numerous activities very incredible people!

I guess I am very homesick for Canada right now and I miss all the people that were so nice to me and made my exchange into an incredible unforgetable experience 10 years ago. I miss my host families! Thank goodness we live in a global world with internet, msn, skype etc... so that I can stay in touch. But it's not 100% the same. It is still so much nicer to actually meet each other again even when it's very tough to say goodbye afterwards. Very tough.

So please, come and visit again!! And a keep a spare room for when Jan and I will return to the west.


Anonymous said…
I share your feelings, Ellen. Even after about 20 years I recognize and feel what you are describing. It is missing what we’ve had : a beautiful time with beautiful people. Maybe it’s good that we still have these feelings. It means that we really enjoyed it. Thanks to our parents, thanks to the host families and friends over there who all made it possible for us. Homesickness …. A chance to understand the greatness of the gift it’s been and be grateful for it. Big hug from your one and only Belgian sister ;-)
Allie said…
But Ellen, Canada received the greatest gift of hosting you. You have made a positive impact on so many people's lives, especially with your dedication to keeping in touch.

I for one will be forever changed having met you. You are a beautiful person who has enriched my life and I truly look forward to the day that I will have the opportunity to come and visit your beautiful country, family and people. Even though you did forget to mention Ryla ..... :)
Jenn said…
You did a great job of describing some of the highlights of Canada.


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