Word is getting out, so let’s make this official: the Party has landed in Ottawa. On July 31st we moved into our new home in Barrhaven. It was sad to leave the Crieff community behind. We arrived in March, travel weary and unsure of what the future held. We left in July, ready to live in Canada again and confident of where we were headed.
With the help of the Presbyterian Church in Canada we have bought a house. Because we sold most of our possessions before leaving for Malawi we needed to find and buy lots of things. Friends and family have been very generous and we now have almost everything that we need. One of the spiritual disciplines we’ve been trying to practice is to only acquire those things we need. It’s been a worthwhile exercise.
We have been settling well into our new home. The thing that we struggle with the most is making a new community. Perhaps it is partly cultural differences compared to Malawi, and perhaps it is COVID, but we find it is almost impossible to meet people. It makes moving lonely. The kids each wish that they had at least one friend. We’ve been here for three weeks, and they still don’t have any friends. (Our children normally make friends quickly: when we moved from New Jersey to British Columbia, Bird Boy had three friends within the first hour.) That will come, we hope, when they start back at school. Although it may continue to be a challenge, given the restrictions they will face. Patience is hard when it feels like you’ve been waiting for months already.
We feel blessed to have found a (temporary) church home pastored by someone that Blair knew from 20 years ago. The church is currently meeting in-person on a limited basis but it is enough for now. We are also re-connecting with family and friends and look forward to many back porch times together.
Work wise, Blair has signed on for another 2 years to do much of the same things that he has been doing. Theological Education by Extension Malawi (TEEM) has him reworking college level workbooks and Zomba Theological College (ZTC) has him doing various activities connected to curriculum and research. Once it is feasible, he will return to Malawi for 4-6 week stints to work with both schools and to close out our personal finances.
One reason we chose to move to Ottawa is so that Vivian can find fulfilling work. The dream is to combine her international development experience with the skills she has from her environmental policy work. While the family is settling, she is not searching in high gear but soon she will be looking for work.
The phrase, “these uncertain times” has a special resonance for our family. With our arrival in Ottawa and beginning to develop a normal routine in our own space, some of the uncertainty of leaving Malawi amid the COVID-19 pandemic is receding. We are thankful for that.