In exactly one month, it will be my three-year wedding anniversary.
But it’s been only three years? Really? Why does it feel like Mr. Rafia and I have been married for longer?
Is it because when I reflect on where I was before getting married, I cannot recognize who I was and who I have turned into?
Personality-wise, I am still me. But physically and lifestyle wise, I’m a different person. The most obvious example: four years ago, I wore skirts exclusively; and now I’m thinking of maybe signing up for a half-marathon next year (THINKING. That does not mean that I have or even will).
I am however still dealing with the same 10-pound year round weight fluctuation though. THAT has not changed.
I just returned from a too-short trip to Toronto (Mississauga, really) a few hours ago. While I do miss my fellow Brownies and not being the only hijabi at the mall/work/etc., I honestly don’t foresee myself moving back anytime soon.
I’ve lived most of my life in the States, like it or not. And while no one can take my birth country from me, my parents kinda did when we moved to B-town, Illinois that summer in 1998.
My sister and mom like to say that if we had stayed in Toronto, things would have been different for me. I’m sure they would have. Maybe my adolescent years would have been easier. Maybe my early adult years would have been easier. Maybe my late 20s/early 30s would have been easier – ha!
But all that happened in that span of twenty years had to happen to bring me to where I am today. I know I am stronger for it.
I am glad that my sister lives in Canada and so I can at least relive parts of my childhood and reminisce about the life I could have had. Had I lived in Canada my entire life, would I feel the way I do about my childhood? Probably not as strongly. There’s something almost romantic about visiting a neighbourhood you no longer have ties to and imagining who lives in your old home and what your former classmates are up to now. And I wonder, does so-and-so ever think: “What happened to that Rafia-girl who moved down south twenty years ago? Is she, like, a redneck now?” The fact that my parents still live in my “Chicago” home means that I have a different feeling when I go back to visit (I’m using quotes for Chicago because I lived in the ‘burbs 16 out of the 18 years I was in Illinois).
I remember my adolescence vividly and most of the memories are not so great. But my memories of Canada are fuzzier. And the fact that they are fuzzier makes them pleasant. Kind of like waking up from a good dream. You don’t really remember the details, but you know it was a good dream. Ya just feel it.
Life in Canada was not idyllic, I know that, but there’s something about being a child that makes everything seem like it was. Yeah, I was a chubby kid — and was made fun of for it. But in retrospect, chubby kids are cute! What’s NOT cute is when you’re chubby, going through puberty AND are the new and only Indian kid in your new school hundreds of miles away from the home you wish your parents never made you leave.
I honestly did not want to come back home today. I liked suspending reality for a time. But I am home… and I guess it’s good that I am, because holiday/vacation eating needs to stop.
At least until the anniversary ;)