Happy Birthday, America – 100 Day Blog Challenge – Day 94

A Special Day

Today is Independence Day.  America’s birthday.  This day in particular is very special for me.  On this day 17 years ago, my Mom and I were sworn in as American citizens along with hundreds of others at Hofstra University.  I grew up in the States, since I left Jamaica when I was 3.  I’ll never forget the day.  The weather was beautiful and there was the right amount of breeze.  Being surrounded by so many people who were there because they wanted the same opportunity as others.  Having that recognition made it all valid.  Proof that we belonged and had a right to be called American citizens.  It’s an amazing feeling.

Now, I am living in Canada.  Today, the boys played “O, Canada.”  They wanted to make sure I start learning the national anthem.  Right after playing the anthem, my oldest asked, “What song did you sing when you were in America?”  That one question spoke volumes to me.  I played the “Star Spangled Banner” for the boys and to this day, each time I hear that song, I get choked up.  Fully understanding the validity of the song and what today means to me, I can’t help but get emotional.

So, as the day is winding to a close, I hope all my American friends had a great 4th of July celebration surrounded by family, friends and love.  A friend of mine sent a great note today and a particular section sticks out the most – “We think freedom not as the right to do as we please but as the hope to do what is right.” It is my hope that we always remember those who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Enjoy your weekend, be safe and all the best to you and your families.

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Celebration and Reflection – 100 Day Blog Challenge – Day 73

Celebration and Reflection

Today is a special day.  It’s hard to believe it’s already been 11 years.  On this day 11 years ago, we arrived on Prince Edward Island in Canada.  The journey actually started the day before on the 10th; actually it really culminated at the beginning of the year and finally came to fruition on the 10th and 11th.  Wow, moving from the biggest state in the United States to the smallest province in Canada.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!?

I remember the whole trip like it was yesterday.  Leaving Anchorage on a wet, rainiy day from our crappy apartment on Lake Otis Parkway.  There was construction going on and traffic was a mess. We called 2 cabs trying to figure out which one would get us to the airport in time for our 6:30pm flight.  One said it would take 45 minutes, the other said 40 minutes.  Well, in themidst of all the craziness, I forgot to cancel one of them.  I can’t remember which cab showed, but when we got to the airport, I got a call on my cell from the other cab.  Oops – my bad.

We get to the airport with minutes to spare, need to check our bags and we’re told we have to pay for extra bags.  I thought we were going to miss our flight, but thankfully, they accepted checks and we made it just in time.  There’s something about traveling and cutting it close that seems to follow me wherever I go.  Our first leg went from Anchorage to Atlanta, and when we landed that morning, I understood why the city is dubbed “Hotlanta.”  Goodness gracious, as soon as we stepped off the plane, my hair went “POOF,” instant afro.  From there, we headed to Boston and from Boston to Halifax.  

We landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, just after 4pm and had to go through customs.  That was the longest, most grueling event that whole trip.  Add to the fact, our bags were “randomly picked” for search and they cut the locks on the suitcases.  I was NOT a happy camper.  I think there were still some high alert post 9/11 and I think there was a level Orange during that time, too.  Anyhow, we went through customs, finally got the green light and were the LAST ones to be released from the flight.

I met Jean for the first time, and she looked just like she sounded.  She was all smiles, inviting and exactly how I pictured her.  I think I told her she looked younger than her age (she still does.)  The 4 hour drive to PEI was scenic and it was slowly sinking in that I’ve made another transistion in my life.  I really wasn’t sure what was in store, but I was looking forward to it.

Fast forward 11 years later, and my goodness, what a life we’ve created since being here.  We went from a 1.5 room cottage to a trailer to a 2-bedroom home.  We got engaged, found out we were pregnant, got the process going to get me a Health Card, got married, had a few pregnancy scares, almost lost our first born, had to leave the country (that’s a whole other story); moved into our new home, had 2 more babies, adjusted to life as a part-time Mom while hubby works out West (dubbed Alberta widow); endured a few hardships, experienced some deaths; have been tested time and time again and wondered if we wpuld come out fine on the other side.

I went and looked at my 3 boys while they’re sleeping (which I do every night), and I cannot believe how blessed I am and what we’ve accomplished.  I’ve learned a lot about myself as well.  I realize that I CAN handle more than I give myself credit.  I’m a pretty strong gal packed in a bite-sized chunk.  I’m very determined and when I set my mind on something, you better believe I’m going to accomplish it.  I’ve still got a lot of growing to do and I’ve met some amazing people along the way.  I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, sister, friend and much more in between.  

July 2011

We’ve still got a lot of unfished business, but we’re just getting started.  Everything that we’ve seen, heard and lived through is preparing us for greatness ahead.

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.