Ode to Home: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

I come from a small town. A small town in the Middle of Canada. With a Population of 120.000. A town that most people in Canada don’t know it exists. Tourists don’t often visit, and when they do, it is only as a place to stop for the night before they continue 715KM West to Winnipeg or 1400KM East to Toronto.

Thunder Bay Ontario

Thunder Bay. Right on the tip of the wolf shaped Lake Superior.

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The Robot That Longs

People often refer to me as a Robot. Why you may ask, and to clarify it has nothing to do with my dance skills. It is because, compared to most people, never mind the female gender, I do not share/express/have strong emotions. By Strong emotions I mean, I generally do not share how I feel or discuss my feelings. This is perfectly acceptable in my home land of Canada where we shake hands or wave as formal greetings and sit on our own independent chairs while talking to other people. Here in Argentina, where the average distance from another human at all times is touching arms, the warm, open, friendly culture is truly enduring, but at times awkward for a robot such as myself.

And, although I have these robot tendencies, there will always be things I miss from home. And by miss, I do not mean I have a sadness inside of me which wishes I had these things near me. It is more of the “Comfortable” and “Pleasant” memories of the home country, which brings happiness when I think about them. It does not bring sadness to me. So what are these things the Robot longs for?

1) Giant Bookstores such as Chapters in Canada

For me, to walk into a giant bookstore, with all the knowledge, with that lovely smell of paper, and the warm, comfy chairs calling me to lounge on them for hours, is an extremely happy sensation. I can spend hours in a bookstore. Wander the different sections, reading the summaries, sometimes sitting down to read a book, which inevitably leads me to buy the book. The huge size of the buildings with their high ceilings, their leather chairs, the sound of pages being turned. They are something I miss.

2) Convenience of the one stop shop

This is the only time I will praise the large box stores which make life a one stop shop. I do adore walking around the tiny locally owned shops, and in general, they are preferred. But, those big box stores are always guaranteed to have all your needs filled in one convenient location, and usually and a handy low price. This is the biggest advantage when, after searching 30 locally owned stores, you cannot find what you are searching for and you just cannot figure out where to look next! For me in Buenos Aires, I’ve spent hours looking for various household products such as needle&thread, and cue cards, to no avail. I enjoy the search in the small stores, but I would like to have a purchase as the end result. This usually does not happen when I need it to. I find things when I am not looking but am left frustrated when I do not find things when they are needed immediately. One Stop Big Box stores are good for the emergency situations.

3) Grandma’s Meals

Every year for my entire life I have been with my family for Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. By family I mean my entire extended family, who all heads over to Grandma’s house for an afternoon of snacks and chats and a lovely feast in the evening. Everybody partakes by bringing food, helping to set up, clean up, and talk. Since it is a rare occasion, I have learned to appreciate the time I spend with them. Especially the delicious Grandma perogies and cabbage roles. It is something that, no matter if I eat them elsewhere in the world – they are still not as tasty or as comforting as Grandma’s food.

4) My dog

My dog is the only thing that breaks this robots metal exterior and I feel longing from within. My husky Scotia is a beautiful animal who makes me smile. I miss having her around, but I also just miss having her as an animal; her presence, her playfulness, her humor. She is a super dog, and living without any animals in my house in Buenos Aires, is even harder to be without her. Dogs do not live forever. I wish I could spend that time with her. But she is happy in my parents home, and international vaccination and quarantines are not an experience any dog should suffer.

 

This Robot will be happy all day after thinking of Home.