April 2008


Or at least as close to home as I will get on this visit. With Sara, Milan and Mateo nesting in our condo, we had sort of wondered how it would all work out when we needed to be home.

But our Master Planner was once again preparing the way and I have a beautiful, comfortable and very convenient place to call home for a few months.

It is wonderful to be here but I have to admit to feeling a little lost, especially with Steve still in Malaysia.

 

However, there is nothing to compare with the joy of seeing

Ben and Abi and even getting to babysit.

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As you age, your sleep patterns shift. When I was younger I thought nothing of sleeping until noon. A steady job cured that. I still liked to sleep in on weekends, though. Then kids came along and cured that. Once the kids were old enough to want to sleep in themselves, my back made sure I didn’t lay around long enough to ever get breakfast in bed.

These days I set my alarm for five thirty, but if I wake up earlier I get up, ‘cuz I figure if the Lord wanted to talk to me that badly, I’d best hear what He had to say. He got me up at four thirty this morning, and as I looked around, it was pretty clear what He wanted me to do. Clean up!

I am normally a pretty clean guy, but things pile up when your working steady 12 hour days, and the place did need going over. So I put in a hour or so before I got ready for work, and I must admit the place looked better for it. Round about noon the rental agent for our apartment called. Could she show the place to a prospective client? “Sure,” I said smugly. About an hour later the rental agent for the apartment we are moving to wanted to know if she could come over after work so I could sign an agreement for the place we are moving to (that has an actual kitchen, instead of a sink and a tiny counter). “Sure,” I said, even more smugly than before.

She has just left; a lovely Christian lady, who will in fact become our neighbour. She left with glowing words about how clean the place was and how we were going to make such good tenants in the new apartment and of course anything that needing fixing she would look after ’cause we obviously were going to look after it. Neat how that works, huh? It cost me one hour, it secured us a good witness for years to come. I like the deals the Lord gives me. They are always to my advantage!

 

 

Calgary is an awesome city, even in the snow.  It is so wonderful to be with Dave and Liz and see their home and their community.  They have chosen a condominium in a very quiet residential area of the city but they are very close to a mall and all the services.

I have heard it said that grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your teenagers but actually I think that having the privilege of sharing your life with your adult children is the real reward.

We are so thankful to live in this period in history when technology has made the world so accessible. 

The flight from Hong Kong was a little gruelling with many long hours trapped in a tiny, uncomfortable seat.  In order to move I had to ask two little, old Chinese folk, with some rather disgusting personal habits, to move.  Just to get to a standing position was no small feat for them and it  involved them repacking several bags of food and old clothing that they were carrying with them,  Clearly they were planning on Canada being very cold and short on food supplies.  They were able to augment their food supplies considerably, compliments of the airline, Fortunately for me, they did have to get up once for the bathroom and I also jumped at the chance.

On the plus side, I saw three movies, two epidodes of My Name is Earl and even got an hour or so of sleep.  Made my connection to London with no problem, Syl was at the airport  to meet me and were home at their place by 9:30.  Dad did shuffle out for a hug but he is very sick and it was shocking to see him looking so poorly.  Finally hit the bed at about 11:00 to spend the next seven hours staring at the ceiling,

Up early to settle dad for the day and headed out on a marathon day.  Picked up tons of mail from the mailing service, purchased a cell phone and had coffee with a couple of friends before heading off to Waterloo to pick up our vehicle.  I am so grateful for our friend Cyndi, who so graciously drove me down and then waited with me for several hours while the dealership resubmitted and the paperwork for yet another credit check, the change of ownership and insurance, this time in my name as originally requested.  It was almost funny because I practically had enough cash in my purse to pay out the lease on the spot but with my limited income, since Steve’s income could not be considered in the equation without his original signature, it wasn’t looking too promising for a while there.

Went skidding into the License Bureau ten minutes before closing and finalized the transfer of ownership and bought new plates.  Back for another hour at the dealership to complete the paperwork and install the plates.  We assumed the lease from a very lovely couple of about our age who were so helpful and waited out the process with me, drove me to get the new plates and saw me safely on my way back home.

By the time I retrieved my suitcases from my brother’s, checked in again on dad and made my way into my beautiful new temporary home (thanks to yet another set of wonderful friends, Al and Shelley) it was 8:30 and I was exhausted and wide awake and raring to go again.  Gave me a chance to unpack, dig out some sweaters from our boxes stored in their basement and get caught up on email.  The memory foam mattress felt great when I finally hit it at 10:30,  Five day forecast for Calgary is promising snow on the weekend and that might be nice!

 

Well, it is 1:45 a.m. Ontario time(1:45 p.m KL time)  and I am sitting in Hong Kong airport!  I am waiting to board my 17th flight since I left home on April 23/07.

This is a 17 hour flight, non-stop flight to Toronto with a connecting flight two hours later to London.  If all goes well I will be home by 9:30 tonight.  Probably will be feeling a little cramped since I am in a middle seat with strangers on each side of me.  Sure hope they are friendly!

One downside to this way of life is that we always seem to be saying goodbye to someone that we’ll miss and may never see again. In this past year we have met and had the privilege of getting to know a really fine group of people.  Some of the most dedicated teachers you could ever hope to meet are working here in Kuala Lumpur. Some, like us, are staying on for another year, but most are going back to their lives in Ontario.

For the past year they have been our friends, neighbours, co-workers, travelling companions, support network and surrogate family.  We have experienced much that was new together, shared meals and adventures in several different countries, struggled through the frustrations of trying to live in the East, developed curriculum and drama projects, cleaned up the neighbourhood and just had good fun together.  Last night we even went bowling (not my personal favourite!) and then had another fun evening together at Bill and Kim’s apartment celebrating a couple of birthdays and my departure.

Many of them  will be gone before I get back to Malaysia in July.  We know that wherever they go they will take the richness of this experience with them to enrich the lives of others they teach. I will sure miss them but count it a blessing to have known them as friends.

Finally, after almost a month of discussion with our employer, we have a flight plan and tickets in place!  I will be returning to Ontario next Tuesday.  Steve has less than three weeks between semesters so will join me June 14th until we return to KL together on June 30th. 

Quick stopover in Ontario and then I will be flying out to Calgary on Thursday with my sister-in-law, Sylvia.  I am so looking forward to some uninterupted time with her as she is a precious friend and in many ways has enabled us to be here.  With her three teenagers and very busy life, uninterupted time is a real gift.

In my two days in Ontario, i will be picking up a vehicle that we have arranged to lease for the duration of my stay- a van so I can manage the moving of our possessions, which are currently cluttering up a friends basement.  Hopefully this will come in handy to help with Jon and Nic’s move home as well.

I will have five days in Calgary with Dave and Liz!  I last saw them April 23, 2007 and have never seen their new home or met any of their Calgary friends.  It will be awesome.  By the time I get back to Ontario, Nic, Ben and Abi will have made the trek up to Ontario to begin their move home.  I will finally get my hands on Ben and Abi and I can’t wait.

Our condo is currently occupied by Sara and Milan and little Mateo (who was born on Easter), so other wonderful friends have given me the use of their home while I am in London.  Al and Shelley have just accepted a position in Switzerland so they too are roaming the earth and we are so grateful for a Master Planner for all of our lives who looks after details in ways that we could never even begin to fathom.

But the first place I am heading is Tim Horton’s – I am sure there is one at the Toronto airport.