Do you say eh or huh?

If you walk into a coffee shop in Canada, and order an Americano, and then meander over to the counter where you doctor your coffee up, you won't find a container of "half and half" like you will in the States, you'll find a container of "cream." What Americans call half and half, Canadians call cream, and heavy cream is called whipping cream.

What Americans call a stocking cap, beanie, or various other words, Canadians call a "toque". It's french, like serviette, which a lot of Canadians say instead of napkin.

On a sign that indicates a place to use the toilet, you'll see that it's called a "Washroom" here in Canada. This has caused a lot of confusion as I've asked for washrooms in department stores in the States and they look at me as if you say, "You want to take a bath?" Now I know to ask for the restroom.

The thing in your living room may or may not be called a chesterfield if you are Canadian. This word is fading with progressing generations, but every Canadian who speaks English as his or her first language will know what you mean if you say, "The magazine is on the chesterfield."

Canadians take out the garbage. Americans take out the trash.

When an American says he's pissed, he means he's mad. When a Canadian says he's pissed, he means he's drunk, really really drunk. For angry, he'll say pissed off.

I'm in my musing, sort of melancholy, philosophical world of being in Canada, trying to figure out what is so different about this place that I can literally feel it in the air as soon as I cross the border, and why it makes me so sad to be here. Sometimes I feel like an imposter: I say "huh". I do, all the time. I say trash, I say restroom, and I say "Sem-eye" instead of "Sem-ee" when I'm talking about a big truck.

We are in Victoria, and as we drove past the Parliament Buildings for British Columbia (Victoria is the capital of B.C., not Vancouver) it was night, and the old, beautiful building was lit up with thousands of little white lights.

There is a song by The Innocence Mission (I'll probably be quoting them a lot) from their Small Planes cd, and I'll just quote the whole song here, since it pretty much exactly describes how I'm feeling.

Song About Traveling

A man said Why, why does traveling
in cars and in trains make him feel sad,
a beautiful sadness.
I've felt this before.
It's the people in the cities you'll never know,
it is everything you pass by,
wondering will you ever return.
The colors of rowboats, the greens and the blues.
Orange grove side streets you only see halfway.
And beaches in winter
and when kites are flown.
It's the people in the cities you'll never know,
it is everything you pass by,
wondering will you ever return.

A sweet and sad song, and add to that the sorrow that I sometimes feel about not living in the country of my youth, and you have how I feel. Well, add some relief and joy over being with my family right now, some adoration of my kids as well as some general frustration about the little crying party they all decided to throw at six this morning, some desperate missing of my superstar husband, and some real homesickness for, (can this be?) America- gasp, my home now, my Redwood cabin, my community. Life is so strange, all the little loves and hurts, the way I love my family and I love my community. The way my home and my husband are intertwined, the way I miss Canada, miss British Columbia, but have come to adore Northern California where I met Chinua, where we have our life together.

And then there are those pangs of nostalgia for India, for Thailand. This earth is vast and there are homes everywhere for me. And yet it is not my home at all, and that is why this constant search, under tables, in lit windows as I'm passing by, this search for home is not futile. It's as if God holds my home in His cupped hands.