A combined life of being involved in the world of minor pro hockey and having lived abroad in several spots has led me to find many friends who, like me, have married a man from a country other than their own native land. After many lengthy discussions over honesty-inducing bottles of wine I have come to realize that it is normally their accent, whether the man in question be English, German, Scottish, Brazilian, whatever. Seeing as Dave is Canadian, and his accent is specific to the prairie region he is from, I am not sure this could be said to be true. But can I deny that I find it cute that he says serviette instead of napkin? Or that he had to explain to me what a Chesterfield is? I’m a sucker for the semi-exotic, I guess. Can you back me up here Nell? Jenn? Many a Yankee woman has fallen for a Canadian cadence. And you may think, is a marriage between someone from northern Michigan to a Canadian really international? Trust me when I say, the people at immigration think so. You can be from Canada or Uzbekistan, if your passport isn’t right you risk a conversation in a windowless room.
From those same wine fueled conversations I have also heard the sentiment from many women in inter-national (many of which are from nations much more far-flung than Manitoba is from Michigan) marriages that, in another universe, an alternate life, knowing what they know now, the might choose a mate from somewhere closer to home. Because as much as many of these women have proven that it is possible to forge a beautiful relationship through nearly impossible circumstances, that doesn’t mean it is always easy or glamorous or fun.
For Dave and I, the main side effect of our union in regards to international relations is that no matter where we are, one of us is not at home. And most of the year, most of the time, neither one of us is. We have done a bang up job, if you ask me, of making sure that being together is what makes us a family, not being together somewhere specific. But that doesn’t change the fact that we both love our homes and hometowns and are very close with our friends and families, many of whom still live in those respective places. So time is split as best as it can be to make sure we show each other that we value their need to be home. It’s not always easy, we can’t always make the trip together, but have always worked it out and I am sure we will continue to do so. Even if negotiations sometimes involve eye-rolling (me) or heavy-sighing (David).
What I find comforting as we near the 4-year mark of our marriage, is that the chore of divying up time is getting less chore-like. Dave likes going to Marquette, he has his own friends there, loves the lake, likes the abundance of pubs, even appreciates the oddball ways in which my family shows affection for each other. I like coming to Brandon, to the oasis of my mother-in-law’s impeccably maintained back yard, to sister-in-laws who get my jokes, a niece who doesn’t but laughs anyway, friends of David’s who now, it would seem, know me as I would like to be known.
I write this knowing that there will be times when, while visiting one place, one of us will have our heart in their own hometown. Knowing that it is possible that in the future my sister will probably get married, probably to someone NOT from Marquette, complicating things further for the timing of our pilgrimages home. Knowing that we will occasionally have to get through some eye-rolling and heavy-sighing. But feeling hopeful that as our family grows, as time passes, as people who love each other show the required compassion, we’ll continue to take the pain out of this process.
Also, Dave’s mom lures me home with baked goods. My mom lures Dave home with free golf. There are more than two players in this game.