Canmore Alberta

Home Is Where Now?

Oh I have been quiet for quite sometime now haven’t I? Well, let’s be honest. I’m not one to ever be described as “quiet.” I have, however, not been posting to my blog. Sorry about that.

Mostly because it’s summer and summer means that I am moving around. From one home to the next. Leaving Marrakech, going to Toronto, on to Banff and back again the other way. I’ve been busy with things and businesses and life and stuff. It happens.

I also am renovating this space as you can see. As with all technology, I have been having challenges. Nothing ever seems to work the way it is supposed to for me. Just when I was migrating this site over, and it all broke apart, I was getting called away to do other work and priorities shifted. Pretty Kamel, not currently being an income generator, naturally falls to the bottom of the heap.


I’m home, in Banff, as I write this. But also I am home in Canada. Mostly in Toronto. Before I know it I’ll be home again in Marrakech. I apparently have a very fluid image of home. And its a little weird.

Technically, I can’t finish this sentence. I was about to say “technically, home is…” and then I stopped. Because home is not one place for me. It just isn’t. I am home. Me. Myself. Where I am, in space and time, that’s home to me. I have nowhere else to go but this place, this body, this mind. This is home. And this home of mine moves around to places that are arguably on my “home” list.

I find “home” to be contextual in the same way that Moroccan names are contextual. I mean, I know who I am referring to when I say “Fatima” in a sentence to some of my Moroccan peeps. Although I could be referring to mom, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, or niece. All Fatima’s. But in context there is no need for further explanation. So for me to say “home”, I am really referring to a few places that top this list in the category of “places where I belong on a deep, cellular plane.” It might include: Canada in general, Morocco in general, Toronto, Marrakech, or Canmore. All those places are places where I belong.

Oddly, not on the list is Waterdown. The place I grew up and spent nearly 43 years of my life associated with. Although that might be because I did a deep dive when my parents home was “in play” and came to the conclusion (again) that where I grew up was not home. That’s a weird revelation. I dealt with it years ago. It sets you afloat in the world for awhile. Talk about being untethered.

Now I am in Canada. Home. Truly my home. On one of my first weekends back here I was driving to my nieces house and my navigator took me into Hamilton and up the Queen Street hill. Hamilton you see, rests on the Niagara Escarpment and to get to my nieces place “on the mountain” (ha), I took the exact same route I took every single morning for 7 years on my way to school. “On the mountain.” As I was driving up this very meaningful route, with the trees hanging over the road all green and shiny from the sun, Chantal Kreviazuk was singing away…”feels like home to me, feels like home to me, feels like I’m all the way back where I come from…”

One of those “spiritual, other worldly” moments that was. Tears. Oh my goodness its weird when Auntie Kathi shows up on your doorstep in full emotive sobbing….(I pulled it together before that and walked in all smart ass and giggles, don’t worry.)

I was just texting with a friend the other day, who is also “at home” and not “at home” for the summer. We both agreed its weird, but we are homesick. And I really am. For all that I look forward to leaving Marrakech and having a good, long break. I’m HOMESICK. My home in Morocco is never far from my mind. I am well and truly missing it this year. That’s a first. My 4th summer “away” and I’m homesick. I can’t wait to get home. I am actively looking forward to being home again.

But first, I am enjoying being finally “home” in Alberta. Back to Canmore for a good, long, lazy, loping, multi-week visit in the Rocky Mountains. My home. A place where I lived for many of my formative years. A place I have come to, almost without exception, every year, several times a year for the past 30 years. Even now that I live in Africa, this is my 4th summer back to Canada and my 3rd trip to Canmore. I am so fortunate and grateful that my bestie lives here so I have a free place to stay and given her 5 little circumstances, I doubt she’ll be going anywhere soon.

But then I also get to spend time in Toronto, and that is where my apartment is, and my storage, and my “stuff” and my routine, and banks and accountants. And my family. And my Kuz family. And my Daisy. It’s not my favorite home (I did pack up and leave there with great intention after all.) But it’s home still.

And then there is Canada. The more I am out in the world, meeting new people, exploring new places, observing other people from various nations, the more I learn what it is to be Canadian. I lose my mind, daily, out “there” in the world when people don’t show manners and common courtesy. And then I come here and I remember. I can’t expect everyone to be Canadian.

As I was walking along a trail this morning, a biker approached from the rear and shouted “on your left,” (SO polite) and I laughed and tossed out “I have to figure out which is my left first,” and she laughed as she passed by. We had a grand old time being polite to one another. People say “excuse me”, “pardon me”, “Oh, sorry,” in the drug store and on the street. Its pretty delightful.

The more time I spend abroad, the more I truly appreciate my home country. I missed it sometimes. Not enough to move back full time, because I miss my home in Morocco. But I feel immensely proud to be Canadian. I am so grateful that I can be out there in the world, knowing that my lot in life is a great one and I can always come back here. To the polite and overly cautious, organized land of “tap” debit cards and clean, fresh mountain air.

But then I can also go home to the chaos and disorganized madness and tolerant acceptance of my adopted home in Morocco. I am so grateful that I came to a place where I can design a life I love. One that suits me so well.

And hopefully, in the months to come, I will add another spot to my list of “homes.” But that’s a topic for another day.