It has now been over a year since we got back. We left London on January 17, 2008 and arrived the same day back to a world unknown - Canada.
We had no idea - nor did we speculate - what was in store for us when we got home.
What we knew for sure was that we needed rest, calm, stability, quiet, same old same old for a good period of reflection.
We didn't need adventure or escape or incomprehensible challenges. We knew we needed to be able to sleep in a bed for more than 3 nights, to not have food dictate our daily itinerary, to not have to wonder whether we would be understood.
Home gave that to us. We were surrounded by wonderful friends and supportive families that were willing to help us in any way they could reintegrate back into this world that seemed very far from home.
I think I've always called it home. This year has taught me that it is, in fact, home and that even though lots of places around the world felt like home, this is the one place that really defined that word for us.
We had some trials. Starting from scratch is never easy and though we had more help in this part of the world then we had elsewhere, perhaps we relied too much on that assistance mentally and just assumed it would be easier. In hindsight, the physical was easier. We had family to help to find a place, support us when we did and even let us stay with them when we didn't.
The mental, however, was just as hard, perhaps harder because of the expectations we had on it being easier.
My sister C was the one who got me thinking about expectations. My workmate F said that happiness is actually about managing expectations.
There were many things I did not expect. I know people close to us expected many things as well. And perhaps, this was the hardest part of the entire 're-entry'.
One by one, watching friends and family be disappointed or have to alter those expectations about us being home. It was hard for me not to feel like I was letting people down and yet I couldn't change who I was or what I wanted and I knew that those around me didn't want me to be anything other than me.
But we have overcome many things. Just as before, we managed to find a home and jobs within the span of 7 months. We managed to find time for cultural journeys and quiet days at home, weekends at the cottage and weeknights on the patios, holidays with family and group dinners with friends.
We rebuilt relationships with people - big and small - and learned the value of being close proximity to those who have known you for a lifetime.
There are days when I just want to get up again. When I feel so deeply in my bones that I was meant to fill this life up with exploration and discovery. When I want to just jump into another culture, soak it up and really become one step closer to understanding the nature of human beings.
And I know there are other ways to learn this. Some people have children, watch them grow, observe in wonderment how the human spirit is so versatile and resilient. Some people take up teaching to inspire and engage. Some people climb the ladders to the top to help empower and motivate people to be the best they can be. Some people master a task and focus their energies on doing things perfectly.
All of these are ways to discover more about the human spirit. And I'm trying new things everyday as this urban Canadian person to see just how else I can discover.
But I can't say that the desire to educate myself about the world by being part of it has not gone away. Many people will think I've "gotten it out of my system" and should really "settle down" into a world that perhaps was not meant for me.
For now, I'm really giving it a chance. Because the benefits of being close to family and friends, living amongst a diverse community, contribute to the happiness I feel.
But I will always maintain that what we set out to do, what we hoped to achieve was about creating a lifestyle. To never feel stuck, never feel trapped, to always set out in life to do things you want to do and not things you have to do.
Right now, I think we're doing that. And no matter where we go from here, we must always remember why we gave up so much in the first place and use that as a guide to direct us down this crazy river of life.