Feeling at home

by Alissa

We’re a week shy of the two-month mark in Oz, and I am gradually settling in.

My checklist of things to do from month one is starting to show some progress:

I’ve taken Octavia to the dentist, twice. “He’s Canadian like me. And Raffi! And Feist!” she says. With much practicing from Ace, we’ve happily managed a couple of sealants on some vulnerable molars.

In defiance of the snakes and spiders, I’ve finally started clearing a garden in the yard, aka, a veggie patch in the garden. I put this off for weeks after Ace laughed at my protective cotton gardening gloves and told me about the spiders that can bite through boot leather. We’ve seen a few small lizards and a few small spiders. The good news is, none of them has been interested in my boots and they mostly scramble away from us as quickly as possible. Even the worms I’ve uncovered do a frantic wiggle before slinking back into the dirt. One of the great things about our new climate is that there really is no penalty for starting the garden a month later than intended.

I’ve emptied the boxes of books onto the shelves. Their familiar spines and plots and pictures make me feel more at home than I would like to admit. Among the books, Octavia has started finding old favorites and new favorites. Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever is our go-to book this week. I hadn’t looked at it since I was little, but we found a copy at our amazing thrift store in Waterloo before we left and I am so glad to have it again now.

It hit me when I opened it that Richard Scarry’s art is in large part why Europe felt so comfortable and familiar.

And why my dream house looks like this.

I showed it to Ace, and he said, “Isn’t it a little small for us?” Meaning, eventually we’ll need more than the corner of a page to make a home.

Some days are still lonely and rough, but more days are feeling all right.

The cupboards still aren’t sorted, but at least the doors close.

For now, I think we’re doing okay.