And it’s official. We’re leaving home.
Since June of 1998, Hamilton Ontario has been my home – I have life-long friends here, I met and married my wife here, I bought my first house and my first car here, and now, after fifteen years, it’s time to go.
My life has been a strange book full of distinct chapters. I was born in Arnprior Ontario, a little town just west of Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. My parents were pastors and then missionaries and then teachers and their professions kept them moving around fairly regularly. Throughout my childhood we lived in Cambridge, Fort Erie, Paris (Ontario), The Dominican Republic (for six months) and then to Hong Kong and eventually back to Canada. My brother and I were constantly changing schools and got very used to being the “new kid” in class. It wasn’t easy but it was one hell of an experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
The almost decade long chapter of my life that I spent in Hong Kong was and is one of the most central experiences of my life. The years I spent there were among my most formative – growing from a young boy into a young man in a strange place that grew to be very familiar and very much my home. Even now, when I’ve lived in Hamilton for longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else, I still identify Hong Kong as my hometown. The word “home” has always been strangely elusive for my brother and I and when I was younger I envied those friends of mine who had a very distinct and identifiable “home”. But I feel differently about that now – I feel like a citizen of the planet, someone with friends and family literally all over the world. My heart belongs to many places and more to the people than to the geographical locations. I’m blessed with a passport full of stamps and a life full of experiences.
I’m already feeling the separation anxiety. I’m already feeling sad and lonely and I haven’t even left yet. I’m also excited, and nervous, and overwhelmed, and determined, and ready. I’m so excited to be going back to Hong Kong, one of my favourite places in the world – but I also know that lots has changed in the last fifteen years and that the future holds new roads, new buildings and new faces. Most of my friends from Hong Kong live in other countries now and it is a very different place that I’m going to than the one that I left.
But God is with us and He goes before us – and I know the friends and family I leave behind are praying for me and supporting me and they will always be here for Christmases and holidays and visits.
If you’re reading this and you live in Hong Kong – lets get together! We’ll be arriving in mid-July and we’ll be like fish out of water – finding our feet and putting down roots (Sorry for all the mixed metaphors).
If you’re reading this and you don’t live in Hong Kong, please feel free to come and visit us – Hong Kong is an amazing city and should be on everyone’s bucket list; our door is always open (not literally, mosquitoes etc) and we will be craving visitors, friends and familiar faces. At the very least keep us in your prayers and keep in touch on Facebook, email etc.
And now, in the world’s most cheesy outro – enjoy one of my favourite Beatles songs – one that pretty much sums up exactly how I’m feeling.