Far from home…

It’s interesting how things affect you when you’re living far away from home in a foreign land, your habits change, your point of view changes, and some things that aren’t so important when you’re at home suddenly become very meaningful. Probably this is part of adapting to life in an alien environment, but it doesn’t help when you wake up to things like a news article about a shooting in your hometown. Of course what happened in London was shocking, but to me it was moreso by the very fact it was in London, and I am far away, so everything that happens there seems somehow magnified from my perspective.

Actually, that shooting may be connected to me in more ways than just it happening in London, because I noted that the people involved were all immigrants. I’ve noticed that when crimes like this happen it often seems to be immigrants that are involved, whether in Canada, the US or England. I don’t think this is because there is anything wrong with the immigrants, per se (although obviously something was wrong with this man), but I do have to wonder if the stress of living in a foreign country might not have something to do with events like this. People who never leave their home countries will never understand the subtle stress and pressure that you are under all the time when you live abroad. You are not at home, you are adrift in an environment you can neither control nor understand (interestingly enough, one article about this case I read notes that the parents only barely spoke English after 15 years in Canada) and you cling to whatever you can find.

If I have to guess, in this horrible case I would suspect the mother had a boyfriend (with another lonely dispossessed soul) while her husband trucker was away, and decided to break it off with him for the sake of her family. The boyfriend lost it, and this is the result. Given that the mother was very likely stuck raising the kids alone for long periods of time in a foreign environment where the loneliness can be crushing, I can sympathize with her. She probably started the relationship out of desperate loneliness with her husband away all the time and no other Polish speaking adults around her, and things got out of control.

A sad story that repeats again and again…One which could probably be cured if there was more community support and outreach for immigrants trying to struggle with a new life in a new land. Sure, they chose that life, but oftentimes they got more than they bargained for.