This is not an easy time for us - we miss our good friends and family. At this time of year we spend many hours visiting, celebrating, and giving back.
The decorations in this city are amazing - more lights than we have ever seen at Christmas. We rarely heard Christmas carols until the second week of December, but they are everywhere, now. Attending a carpet auction at the Canadian Association and then their annual Christmas dinner was great -Darlene won a lovely Indian carpet as the door prize.
I love to hear the Canadian accent, as I can understand all of the words! We met a couple from Cochrane. At our table was a man named Richard Duke -- He was on the Board of Directors at AARC for many years.
We have had to reach out, beyond our comfort zone, and find other souls that are willing to connect. We have gone to traditional church services and to Alanon meetings. We have called people whose "name" we were given, as a means to connect, and we have visited places where there was a chance to make connections. Darlene started "Tai Chi" classes at 7am every morning at the Botanic Gardens, and she meets a new person or two every day - usually someone helping her create the right moves. Her "master" speaks not a word of English and recently won the Silver Medal for the international Tai Chi competition in China. Darlene finds this mental and physical workout good discipline for her body and soul.
What is happening is that each day we make another connection, we hear another kind word, and someone offers to help. Every day, there are more people we know and we both recognize that we will ultimately leave these people here when we fly on January 1. It will be another sad time for the losses of this time and place -- until we connect with others on this journey.
We have planned to go to the local alcohol and drug treatment centre on Christmas eve morning. Although we simply have not yet visited, it is particularly appropriate that we go there, that day. We were asked if we would come and share part of our story for 30 minutes or so. What a gift this is, for us -- we do not know these people -- yet we know them so well.
Singapore is a good place for us, for today. We have had an opportunity to disconnect from the resentments hurled in my direction, and we have had an opportunity to work in a functional and reasonably healthy culture. Not everyone is happy, but the culture works. Whining is at a very low pitch, the government is valued and supported, and people do what they need to do to survive comfortably. Education is highly valued, health care is accessible and of reasonable quality. When we reach out and say, "Good Morning" to a passing stranger, inevitably there is a smile and a connection.
For today, that is sufficient.