July 6, 2007

I’m not sure when but at some point someone set the dial to fast forward.

Yesterday Adele turned three. WHAT! Last week she was born and the week before that I got married.

I shake my head to think that I have been working at my current job for over four years. My previous record was eight months.

Now I intuitively understand that having a familiy changes your priorities but I never though it would happen to me. Not that regret a single moment of anything, not that I would change a single decision. I just wish it would slow down a bit so I could enjoy it more.

I seem to be play with Eden and Adele in little 10 minute chunks. Stuffed between getting up, dressed, fed and to daycare and getting from daycare, fed and to bed. I impose my world order on them. Why do we have to rush off, why can’t we go to the park. I would love nothing better than go to the park, than work, clean, fix, visit and sleep. But that is life. I don’t even mind the extra burden of my wife going back to work. We have to sacrifice if the girls are to get any kind of financial help from us when they need it. Perhaps they will make a better go of it than I have, professionally speaking.

Last week when I took the bike out for a test ride after adjusting the valves I had a Twilight Zone moment. For a minute I was back in the Frasure Valley, no job, no money no responibilities. Throwing the bike into corners and sorting it out on the way out, Jaques Villeneuve style. Was a nostalgic? Hell yes. Did I want wish to go back to those days? Absolutely. It was only in the quite of the night lying awake did I remember the crushing lonliness, the fear of an uncertain future and quiet creeping of death as I continued to say yes to ever more dangerous activities.

So was I ready for my African Experience? You are never sure until you are in the moment and I was only very sure when I stood on the shore in Port Elizabeth at sunset, standing on ground that a glacier has never touched! This land was so foreign, yet so familiar. I was a white, first world male visiting a black, 3rd world nation. I could not have been more out of place. But there was the feeling, that aching feeling of belonging. Here was the family I never knew, yet understood completely. And more importantly, understood me completely. So was I ready? Yes and no but one thing is for certain. When I got home I realized I was forever changed.

It was from that certainty that my confidence and direction stemmed from. Its amazing that you will know where you are going, if you know who you are. In fact its quite easy. I went from believing that I would not make it to 30 let alone have a family. Now here I am….

So where am I? I am devoting my whole self to three tasks. Raising two girls, being a husband and working hard at my job. I try to balance these three but fail miserably constantly. At least one and usually two of those suffer as I focus too much on one aspect. And what of friends and other family? They usually get the scaps of time in between everything else which is not enough and not fair.

And I go back to Africa. And I see my life through their eyes and they are laughing at me! I know they are because they work on africa time, there will always be time. And they are right. But I am plunging down a river of rapids with no boat let alone a paddle. How am I supposed to work in african time? And I am not alone, and that is sad. Where are we all going? And why? In the end we look at africa and say what a poor backwards unevolved place it is. But what if they are right and we are wrong? I think we might be, I really do.

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