Life on the Homefront (Caitlin)
Updated: Feb 19
I suspect that life in Kingfisher Lake looks a lot like life in most places, with a few superficial differences. That said, I thought I’d try to give ya’ll a glimpse of what our days here look like.
Outside is just gorgeous here. We’ve often remarked that it’s like living on the Sayward lake chain. A two minute walk in any direction will bring you to the water where you can watch the storms roll in. There are lots of thunderstorms here in the summer, and now that they’ve stopped triggering my migraines so badly, I love them! I love how when it rains here it doesn’t drizzle, but pours out buckets and buckets, enough to get thoroughly soaked in! Hazel likes to go out in it with me, so if Eli is sleeping then we go play. Sometimes we put on jackets and sometimes we just let ourselves get soaked (the temperature has been around 30 a lot of the summer so no chance of getting too cold in the rain).
There are wild raspberries and blueberries and several types of wild flowers dotting the landscape. The trees are tall and green. There are garter snakes and mice and lots of cool bugs, as well as little rodent things I haven’t been able to identify. There are tons of fish. Oh, and bears. Lots and lots of bears. They hang out at the local dump but also wander into town to pillage the garbage bins.
Our inside environment continues to change every few weeks, it seems. We spent 3 weeks in the mission house when we first got here, then 4 weeks in the teacher housing, and now we’re back in the mission house. It’s a public building and you can probably picture it best if you picture a church basement. There’s one big room and a kitchen and multi-stall bathroom and then bedrooms all around the outside of that main room. It’s a public space and we share it with anywhere from one to twenty other people. Visitors/outside workers stay here for a week or so at a time, but we’re the only family who lives here on a regular basis. Being that it’s a basement and there are no windows to speak of, it encourages us to spend lots of time outside.
We have two bedrooms for our family, so Hazel is in one and then Matt, Eli and I are in the other. We’ve made an effort to make these two rooms “homey” spaces, so we have our own quilt on the bed, we put curtains around Eli’s crib, and we put up some pictures and my calendar on the wall. We’ve found that just a few familiar items to look at goes a really long way.
Matt works in the office upstairs — it’s probably the shortest commute ever! I love that it lets him “come home” for lunch and his afternoon break. So he works upstairs and I hang out with the tiny humans downstairs. Hazel is 2.5 and Eli is coming up on 7 months here. Some days I feel like there’s no way I’m ready to be done with this phase of life because having small kids is just so much fun, and some days I’m not sure how I’m going to just get through the next 3 hours. haha
So Hazel and I like to go exploring outside, sometimes with and sometimes without Eli. Hazel loves to have Eli on her lap in the wagon when we’re all going adventuring. We like to go throw different sized rocks into the water to watch them splash, or throw random stuff and guess beforehand if it’s going to sink or float. We go grocery shopping. We blow bubbles. We are starting to try to visit people in their homes. We go look at fish. We make dinner. We pick berries. We speak any Oji-Cree phrase we can think of to anyone we see. My personal language goal for this season is just one new word a day. It’s very very basic, but at least it keeps me motivated and moving forward, even if it is at a snail’s pace.
In the evenings, sometimes we’ll go fishing after dinner, or even just for a walk. If it’s Thursday I go to craft night with a bunch of Oji-Cree ladies (I’m looking forward to learning some beading soon!).
On the weekends, we go to whatever community event is happening. Sometimes there’s a fishing derby, or games down at the beach, or garage sales. I’ve taught Sunday School a few times. We go to the afternoon church service (which is a mixture of English and Oji-Cree). There are community kayaks available for use whenever and we’ve managed to to go out on them twice (but would like to more!).
So, in general, we are well. My migraines haven’t been too bad (I’ve been functioning fine through most of the summer). I do feel tired, though. We continue to move around every month or so, it seems, and although we are quite efficient, it still takes a lot of energy to pack up our family every 6 weeks. Add to that all the “new” that surrounds us every day, and it’s no real surprise that I am tired!
Elijah is a happy, relaxed baby who just wants to move these days! He’s up on all fours and rocking back and forth, trying so so hard to figure out how to go forward. Currently he can only go backwards, so it’s rather amusing to put a toy in front of him and then watch as it gets farther away the harder he tries to get to it. hahah
Hazel is a joy. She loves to sit and listen to stories and she’s gradually starting to wander farther and farther from us at community events, which we take as a good sign that she’s starting to feel more secure here. The rotating door of people in her life doesn’t seem to faze her much. We talk about it lots and it seems to make sense to her that people come and go. She’s starting to talk more and has also started showing us the finger-spelled letter that corresponds with the beginning of whatever word she just heard (which was a surprise to us).
Overall, we are slowly learning the rhythms of the community, learning how to show love, be friendly, be kind/generous, etc, in ways that make sense here. Matt and I celebrate the small victories, the times we’re able to say a relevant Oji-Cree phrase and it’s understood, or when something that’s been puzzling us since we got here finally makes sense with a newly-gleaned piece of information. So we keep on leaving the house as much as possible, trying to be present, trying to learn, to keep both eyes and ears open, and just take it all one day at a time.