Friday, October 1, 2010

Looking Back

28 years.
no, not since I posted.
but almost.

no, it's over 28 years since we arrived in Canada.

we arrived with six suitcases, two little boys aged 8 and 4, two teachests of 'stuff' and 200 dollars.
items not listed in order of importance.
it just seemed like such an adventure.

we arrived with nothing.

and still have most of it left.

mr. clippy had been here for 3 months.
he was the 'advance' party.

we had no family here.
no friends.
no home to come to.
just an apartment on the 'bad end of the street'.

it was the end of january 1982.
it was freezing, snowing, blowing and icy.
we had never experienced weather like it.
the weather did not suit our clothes.

we had no car.
we had little furniture: hubby had found an apartment and we bought beds and bedding and a couch and chair.
we had 2 teachests full of 'stuff' from england.
we had 6 suitcases containing all of our worldly goods.

soon we bought some second hand stuff;  a table and chairs etc.
I honestly thought we would give it a few years and if it didn't work out we'd just go home again.
as we know,
you can never go home again.

at first we couldn't afford to go back.
it would be 5 years before we did.
and then when we could, it felt like it was too late.
the kids were settled in schools, had friends, sports, teams, grades.
then girlfriends.
and then got married.
and now they have their own children.

after 3 years here we had a Canadian kid.
just to cement the deal.
SHE's the one that went to live in England a few years ago.
figure that one out.

at first me and the kids were only here on visitor's permits and we had to lie to immigration officials at our interviews applying for permanent status.
mr. clippy had a temporary work permit.
we had to tell them we had assets - as in things such as houses and goods worth money which we would sell and bring to Canada.
that was the furthest thing from the truth.
with no assets we thought they'd be sure to reject us.

we knew that we had to leave england.
our prospects there with maggie thatcher were dim.
only the dole queue to look forward to.
and we'd already had enough of that.

sometimes I wanted to go home.
but then I'd think, 'where IS home?"
28 years.
it's longer than i lived in england.

in fact i was not quite 28 when we left.
married woman with two boys, aged nine and four.

we missed out on a lot of things in england.
most of all, the family things which only happen once; births, weddings and, inevitably, deaths.
life continued without us while we started a new life here.

anyway, it just seems like yesterday in many ways.
the time has flown, as time will do.

you never know which way life will take you.

the worst thing about living here?
the winters.
i will NEVER get used to them.
the best thing?
the other 3 seasons.

i never thought that i would still be here after all of this time.
i still get homesick.


TechnoBabe said...

You are practically a native! If you like the three seasons, that is better than lots of places. Twenty eight years is amazing.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

My dahlink Clipstress, I know your family might tell you, what we have ahead of us is 10, perhaps 100 times worse than Maggie's Farm...

Be safe, be well where you are, home is where your heart and your close family is, here and in Canada - the heart is wide enough to contain both shores.

My love to you this weekend, and I never knew that you had a DD stationed here! Incroyable... xox

Expat mum said...

Oh, oh, oh. I have something in my eye. I have "only" been in Chicago 20 years but I could have written that. Except for the fact that all my kids were born here, but ye knaa worra mean hinnie.
We will probably move in about four years, and one of the options is back to Angleterre, - and I'm scared. It suddenly dawned on me that two of my kids will be at college here - and that means that MY family will be Stateside. It appears I am stuck here.
And then there are those friggin winters...

Sancta Maria,...Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Immauculata, Immaculata
O ra pro nobis
(Deep Part - Miss Carpenter conducting) - "O ra pro nobis".

Sorry folks - a Sacred Heart private joke.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

You know, you can feel that way, even in the states, from one state to another. I know I do. I feel like someday, I will get back to the South - but, like you, we have 2 kids putting down roots here in WV. I've been here 27 years and I still want to "go home".

Busy Bee Suz said...

It is just so nice to see words from you clippy. You are missed.
Home? where is Home?
I still think about that....I think it rests in our minds; in our hearts.

Glad life is going well.
Oh, and those winters? I could not bare them....would you like to winter down south??? we have room.


Clippy Mat said...

TBabe: 28 years is pretty amazing. I never thought past the first five years when I thouht about leaving.

Fhina: I can't imagine England being in a worse situation than under Thatcher's tories. Say it ain't so.

EPMum: As Mother Mackin used to say "Foolish Virgin" and 'amabam, amabas, amabat, amabamus, amabatus, amabunt' springs to mind. So glad I learned to conjugate those verbs back in the day, they've been invaluable throughout my life! *sigh* another demerit for Duchesne.

ETW: It doesn't matter how far you go, or how long it is since you left, you always want to go back.

Packing my bags as we speak. Should get there for Thanksgiving, get that turkey ready.

Steve said...

The wife and I often talk about emigrating... Oz, NZ... but the sheer irrevocable upheaval of it all scares us. But each time the UK goes a little more down the toilet the thoughts of flying away return...

Clippy Mat said...

Steve: All I can say is, Don't Leave! The UK needs you. I like to think that there's good people back there taking care of things.

Attila The Mom said...

Where does the time go?

Shammickite said...

The story of my life, too! more than 40 years for me.
I went back for a holiday 2 years ago after a long absence, thought "this is lovely, I could live here" but it's too late, I couldn't afford it any more!

wor vron said...

remember those tears at the airport so well....and the tea chests!But so proud of the life you have both made for yourselves and your family and how it has grown! Glad we've also managed to stay so close -you've never forgotton your roots sis and you all remain close to our hearts always.The worlds such a smaller place now, thank goodness for webcams,,blogging,facebook,phones and blackberrys.......ah but I miss the letters xx
little sista x

Clippy Mat said...

ATM: I only know that as I get older the years fly by and the past sometimes feels so distant. Better I should remember to savour every day. :-)

Shammickite: We are in the same boat I see. (Where is Shammickite? It sounds wonderful.) I checked out your blog and saw you dancing to Michael Jackson. Good for you!!

Little Sista Vron:
When I think of the hours and hours I spent writing letters home. The turnaround was about 2 weeks if both parties repsonded promptly. Even so the news was already stale by the time letters exchanged. Today it's a whole different story as you say. I think those letters kept us down to earth and kept our hearts open. I still have them, every one.
Love you lots
xx big sisa

Kee said...

Tears in me eyes thinking of what you lot gave up and what I would have missed out on had you not stayed! Something I will never forget is the look on your face when I told you I was in labor with Owen and you said "thank god, I need him to come so I can get home to my dad as he is not well...bless. Torn between waiting on new grandson's arrival and jetting back to England to spend a few of your dad's last days with him. Thank-you for coming to Canada 28 years ago...xxxx

karen gerstenberger said...

What a lovely, true-life story. Thank you for sharing it. It's the immigrant's tale, isn't it? You were all very brave and adaptable. It's good to do such a thing when you are young and flexible.
Sometimes I fantasize about doing the same thing as you did: Britain, Canada, France, (Hawaii -oh, wait; that's part of this country!) =) You know what I mean. It sounds as if your adventure has yielded spledid fruits for your family. Congratulations on your anniversary!

Clippy Mat said...

Kee: thanks for the nice comments. We gave up a lot but we certainly gained a lot of great things too. I couldn't have imagined that the 'new world' would include wonderful daughters in law and amazing grandchildren. Hugs :-)

Karen: thank you. It is the immigrant's tale for sure but I don't know if we were brave so much as a bit naive... Never mind, it was a good move in many, many ways. Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

awww i love this story, its my favourite

you've done so much. i have a lump in my throat from reading it. its such a hard choice, i do think u can go home though. maybe not you but me haha

not too far but not too soon just yet

missing you all the time, would be so hard not to be able to keep in touch in all the ways that we do thanks to techology now. the hand written letters, how sweet and how hard that must have been.

love you and dad for doing it though. xoxoxoxoxox

Clippy Mat said...

Jenn: I HOPE that that saying doesn't apply to you; i.e. 'you can never go home again', because of course there is nothing further from the truth in your case.
Love you,

C said...

awwww so meloncholy of a post.. you are exactly where you are supposed to be pat. trust that. i for one, am glad you are here...

Clippy Mat said...

C: and I'm glad you are here too -
well not 'here' exactly, because you're not actually 'here' you're far away, but I'm glad that you are 'here' as in 'here' at this place, i.e. blogland. Right?

Sara said...

"you can never go home again"

I think about this all the time . . and I hope it's not true, in my case. And yours. And Jenn's. We're having great adventures but I'd like to think we will go home one day. Hope so.

Thank gaaad for the internet I feel like we're all so close!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I'm creasing up with your banter with expatmum. You see those Latin verbs do come in handy! Tee. Hee.

Sorry to do this to you but I went on a coach trip from Wallsend along the Wall on Saturday. The crack was champion bonny lass! Missed you!

Super post. Hxx

Clippy Mat said...

Sara: If we didn't have the internet we wouldn't be so 'close' that's for sure. Thank Gaad for FB so I can spy on your exciting life.

Salve quid agis? ;-)
A coach trip from Wallsend? My heart leaps. My daughter txted me from Longbenton chip shop one night and said the patter was brilliant. She thought it would melt a few Canadians who would run in fear. So glad she's getting an education in Newcastle.

Tempus valedictionis :-)

the fly in the web said...

That was a super post. It came at the right time for us, too.

We've been twenty years in France..and now we're off, with our suitcases and a few bits, to try life elsewhere.

Mark you if and when we sell the house it'll need the QEII to bring the rest!

I don't think we can say anywhere is the home we'll never go back to...home is where we are at any one time...but all these things like internet and skype make keeping contact so much easier.

When we were first in France it was the weekly it's the to and fro of e mails.

Clippy Mat said...

Leaving France? That will be a major change for you. I look forward to hearing of your new adventures.

Grace Matthews said...

I felt the same way when we moved to NC although we have only been here a few years....I still keep thinking we will get use to it. Thanks for dashing my dreams. LOL

Clippy Mat said...

Grace: oops sorry 'bout that. Of course you can go home again. It's just me. I'm not allowed. But you can go, honestly.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

smashing post. The things you do when youre young!

Clippy Mat said...

Thanks Ken, I agree. I can't imagine making a move like that now at this stage of the game.

the fly in the web said...

Award for you over on don't have to do is a small thank you for my pleasure in reading your blog.

Snowdrop said...

That seems quite a story - curious to know more - just shows what you can achieve if you follow your dreams and see where they take you

Gill - That British Woman said...

I can so relate to this.......we have only been here for 21 years. Canada is home for us.....


Lakeland Jo said...

I absolutely loved this post and I love the picture. Hope you don't mind Clippy but I have pinched it and intend to put it on my blog and facebook today.
Your post reminds me so much of Paul and I coming over to the Lakes in 1993. Not as far or scarey by any means but it was a huge adventure for us and we had nothing either. We gave up good jobs and company cars to start a life and a business here. Just married, I was pregnant, no work. And here we are. And as you say- whereever you are you will always be a Geordie XX

Clippy Mat said...

oops it's been a few weeks since I posted this so I'm delighted that people are still commenting...
fly, snowdrop, gill and jo.
thanks for dropping in.
thanks for the award too Fly, must put that up.
jo, you are welcome to the post. i will come by and see it. LOL
cheers all,
pat :-)

Mark said...

I loved this post; it reminded me that it is twenty two years since I came to Wales from Tyneside. Not as far as Canada I admit, but in a way the same sentiments apply. My children have no sense of connection with Tyneside - they certainly wouldn't know what a Clippy Mat is.

I have adopted Wales as my home and I'm sure I will stay, but a part of me yearns to go back

Clippy Mat said...

Mark: thanks for the kind words. I agree about adopting a home land but still feeling the affinity and pull of the place of your birth. It doesn't matter whether you move to the next town OR the next country; it's the fact that you leave a part of yourself behind and somehow you always seem to look for that part ever after. I'm sure you know what I mean.