Today, The Internets will get flooded with mentions about Independence Day. It is not a bad thing, and I think that our American friends can use the worldwide virtual hug!
But July 4th has a totally different meaning to me and my family.
Twenty four years ago, we were moving back to Canada, after spending five years in Guinea. Of all the experiences my parents gave my little brother and I, I believe this was the most life changing.
As an eleven years old little girl, moving to such a foreign country was both scary and exciting. I can’t imagine the conversations Mom and Dad must have had before taking the decision to take their children overseas, to a remote village where nothing we had learnt about life applied.
It must have been frightening, to say the least, but within a couple of months, we moved from our North American comfort slippers to a new expat’s life. I could write a whole book about my five years in Guinea. We learnt so much.
Even after twenty four years, I regularely think about how the whole experience made me a better person. How it taught me of other ways to live than the one we knew in Québec. How to appreciate the little things, how to appreciate time.
I met and lived with people with another God, another language, another skin color. I learnt that we could be neighbours and that difference was to be embraced and not be feared.
We knew it was just a temporary thing. And when we flew back for good we brought back all the memories and the knowledge with us.
I do appreciate having drinkable water from the tap, and electricity at all time. I like being at walking distance of grocerie stores that provide me with pretty much anything I wish to eat. It is good not to have to worry about exotic illnesses and poisonous snakes… But every now and then, I wish I could go back to this simple, slow and worry-free life I left behind, when I came back.
Twenty four years ago…
Today, when I’ll give Mom and Dad a call, to talk about how quick time passes by, I’ll make sure to thank them for taking this life changing decision. Just like I do, every year.
Oh! And a happy Independence Day to you all, American friends, in the U.S. and abroad!
Via today’s Word of the Day: Independence