I have visited home before - but not during winter. I think any person who has permanently left their homeland and relocated can understand the depth of feelings it is to leave one world and have it absent completely for a long time - then suddenly return to it. Just the chill in the air - that's something I haven't felt in ten years - when you come out of a warm space like a car or a house and come out to a colder chilliness - brings back my entire life of memories and experiences until 27 years of age when I left here.
Here is Calgary (said CAL-gry).
Snow crunching, air chilly - memories of air frigid and the cold despite dressing really really warm. All sorts of memories have been flooding that sometimes play through my mind at random times in semi-tropical home. The satisfying crunch thin ice over a puddle of water in the park - just the freshness of home. To be honest, not usually freezing but fresh and sunny. Snow melting, bright, fresh days.
My family's home was overwhelming - as I thought it would be. But having grown up in a heritage home and having thought it was normal at the time - since then I have lived in newer houses, and I can feel the history of the wooden steps, everything far more handbuilt than now. Switches that push in with a loud click, they don't flip, beautiful wood and wallpaper. Like a farm cottage, really beautiful. The shape of closets and spaces all over the home - original 1913 bathroom with old taps and a bathtub with claw feet. But as different as it was at the time - my family bought a run-down "haunted house" at the time and completely restored it - but it took 20 years and alot of effort. The kids grew up helping our parents. Now it's a gorgeous historical home - even more bizarrely in the middle of sweeping change of this neighbourhood around it, like a beautiful stone in a river. I hope they never change it. Many little box homes remain on the streets around it, but about one in 10 has been transformed into a monster multiple living plex - rising up like the future around it. But enough remains of what I knew, the old, which is also new again to me.
My favourite was when the garage door raised up, returning home for the first time - and even more from the old world was exposed. A completely wooden garage inside, hung completely with tools - many old but kept in perfect condition. The floor, wooden - the window - the same from when this garage was built to keep the cold out. The garage is not that old I don't think, as the house, which is from 1913, but it's still such an old way of living inside it. There is even a cellar under floorboards of the garage - the "greasepit" for working under the car. But my family stored potatoes in it for a family of 10 to live off of all winter long. Which we grew here on this city property. So not a normal City of Calgary residence at all. A special, special place.
I will take photos tomorrow in the light - it got dark here at 5pm! But I will disturb people now. I did photograph one very small thing. My dad has built many things around this place - every wooden chair shines, every bookshelf made into a better one - and now he has a masters woodworking shop in his garage. In fact I am besmoggled by their management and care and just the strength of their "good husbandry" - I think it's a term that means they look after things well. Everything is clean, fresh, painted, simplified, organized. I feel extremely intimidated, or besmallered - my way is very small in contrast to the strength of their organization. People who used to run a ship of 2 adults and 8 kids - who now just manage themselves. Anyways of the many other well-maintained tools about this place, shelves, quilts, etc, this is the little wooden structure my Dad has made just for drying small plastic bags he has washed. I will take lots of more photos. Just for us all to learn from, including myself! I want to remember.
I really really want to paint our home, and not be lazy - there are so many tiny unfinished projects I have not even bothered to finish. A kids dresser half painted, a fairy dress unsewn with pattern and material ready, a unicorn stuffed animal cut but not sewn. Kids room unpainted. Whole house unpainted. Hideous curtains.
See why it's overwhelming to visit home? For now - besides documenting it all - I will enjoy that long missed experience of the crunch of snow. And helping my NZ family to not slip and break any legs on that slippery ice!