Cal's life,  Canada,  United States of America

Veut, Veut Pas, I Say Goodbye

Hey friends,

I hope you are well. It has been an emotional roller-coaster for me.

First, I visited my mum and her family in Washington DC. My sisters and Michael, my brother-in-law, surprised me by coming as well. While revisiting some of the big institutions of the country, we also reconnected with family members we never really knew. We got very lucky to spend time with some wonderful women who shaped who my mum has become and impacted our lives without us knowing. Spending time in this country, with people who had met my grandparents and who loved my mum as their daughter, was a very intense identity reconstruction for my sisters and me. We were welcomed with open arms and treated with such kindness because they loved my mum. One of the biggest demonstrations of love I have lived.

Growing up, our family’s biculturalism was undermined by the only language we spoke at home: French. While I sometimes felt off within the French culture, I surely did not feel American in the United States.  In college, this girl, who was also half-American, told me I was less American than she was because she had an American accent and went to visit her family in the country every year. With time, I started saying I was a fake American. 

It is only by being here, in this country, surrounded by my family, and understanding where my mum is from, that I realized I am not. Language is not the only enactment of culture. We developed ways of interacting which are a mix between my American mum and my French dad. We created our own blend of cultures. It is still hard for me to define which trait is French and which isn’t, which trait is American and which isn’t. Because it is only when faced with the abnormality of a trait in one culture that I can link it to the other. And who is to say I have or have not been impacted by one country and its culture? Who is to entirely deny the feeling of displacement I feel in either country? 

I lived in Ireland for 4 years. My sister still lives there and is marrying an Irish man (love you, Michael). A lot of my best friends are Irish. I love and take pride in that country, and always seek Irish people wherever I go. So, yes, I am not Irish the same way people who grew up there are. But can anyone state, without a doubt, that who I am wasn’t shaped at all by the Irish culture? 

Anyways… I left DC and came back to Squamish after 24 hours of sleeping on the plane, in the airport, on the bus, and at a McDonald’s. I spent two marvelous weeks with the Primos, who deserve to be introduced: Lisa, Felipe, Martin, Matt, and James, officially. Unofficially, Simon and Lucas. All slackliners. I got to see them on high lines 23 meters above the water, surrounded by mountains and sunsets. We also made lots of food, laughed a lot, and drank too much coffee (thanks Felipe for the addiction I am leaving with). I put a hole through Eileen and installed a ventilation system, which thankfully has not been leaking yet. I got help from Dan, the neighbor, to fix my door and let the caulk dry inside. It took me two weeks of being completely lost in life and four days of “I’ll leave tomorrow” to finally set sail. And it was heartbreaking to leave such a heartwarming place to go towards a new unknown… But isn’t it the lifestyle I chose? 

So, about 1,000 miles and many many songs later, I got to Utah! The drive took me through two snow storms and some beautiful views. I got to meet a fisherman from Alaska in a random marina and was welcomed by two sweet people who helped me fix my tires in Salt Lake City and a lady who let me park by her house to be safe at night. I also reunited with Ryan (from the Athletes Convoy ;)) and finally put a face to David’s name, a lovely human being who’s been helping me and dealing with my indecision for the past year by email. 

Yesterday, this 75-year-old lady on the bus told me she was proud of me. Somehow, it moved me a lot. I had told her about my project and my doubts. With such kindliness, she told me I have a lot of time to figure it out. I felt like she was proud of passing the torch on to the generation of women I am part of. Her few words were very powerful and meant a lot to me. While I do not remember her name, I remember her face and voice and I would like to thank her very much. 

All to say… I am still slowly overcoming my last heartbreak, but I am sure Utah will work out great! (It’d better be! I  went to every single business in Alta, Snowbird, and Brighton to find a job, hehe)

Thank you friends for the support through the tears and for always being there through my unsolvable dilemmas. 

Love,

Cal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *