On “family”.

After all that talk about adventuring and hiking last week, I broke my foot.

It’s my first ever broken bone, and I hope to God it’s my last.

Day ten into this very inconvenient “crutches and moon boot” sentence, and already I want to go back to my waitressing job.

I’m a little surprised this didn’t happen sooner, though.

I’ve now got two (seemingly G-rated) Canadian winter seasons of snowboarding under my belt, and the worst thing that’s happened to me until this point has been an injured rib. It made sleep very uncomfortable, but I survived.

I’m sure I will make it through this injury, too, but the level of inconvenience is far more significant right now.

Last Friday I was “hiking” the (unconfirmed) easiest trail in Canada, Tunnel Mountain, in my Nike trainers with my buddy Sarah. She hadn’t done the trail before and asked if she should wear hiking boots. I assured her it was a super chilled hike and that kind of footwear wouldn’t be necessary.

Looking back, I should have equipped myself with shoes that ideally had some kind of traction or ankle support. I’m confident it would have prevented my foot-roll-bone-snap incident on the way down.

“I’ve got bad news,” said the doctor at Canmore’s Emergency ward the next day.

“You broke your foot.”

I definitely thought about crying. There were instinctual tears filling up my eyelids.

“Noooooooooooo,” I responded, trying to not look like a near-on blubbering idiot.

“I’m gonna prepare you for the worst,” he said, “some people take months to recover from this injury.”

Fuuuuck. This sucks, I thought. I’m going to Europe in October. How am I going to work? How am I going to save money?

‘Jess, if you would like to come home then I am very happy to put in,’ texted Mum in the middle of the night.

I appreciated the offer, but I have been fortunate enough to visit Australia twice in the past six months already. Still, I considered it, and asked my best friend Josh for advice.

Of course, he told me I should take her up on it. He suggested spend my birthday with the ‘people who love me most’.

I know that what he said wasn’t intended as an offensive comment by any means, but I was a little taken aback. He couldn’t be further from the truth.

Family and friends are not defined by blood or time to me.

They are the ones who unquestionably drive you to the hospital the day after you break your bones. They pick you up right after, push your trolley around at the grocery store and take you out for coffee afterwards. They are relentless in gathering a crew to drink margaritas on a patio. They catch a bus from the next town over to bake some bread and spend time with you. They invite you around to potlucks out on balconies with incredible sunset views while they play some guitar.

The only live a block away but will still drive over to your house to pick you up and bring you back to their place for dinner. They offer to shotgun a beer with you at the bottom of the stairs because you’re intimidated by the 4-flights ahead. They laugh at you going up/down stairs. They invite you camping and make sure there’s food that suits your dietary requirements.

They drive you to interviews for front-desk jobs so you can still work while you’re mostly on your ass. From afar, they’re checking in often. They’re facetiming every couple days, though the background rarely changes from your living room. They’re sending well-wishes.

All in a week of being down a body-part.

So, not to sound arrogant, but I feel pretty humbled by the amount of love that is all around – especially without a fully-functioning foot getting me around. I’ve got family here. I’ve got family there. The level of care is not to be measured or compared in any aspect, especially not by any distance. Whether I’m in Australia or somewhere else in the world,  I know it’ll always be there and wholehearted.

Family’s not what you think it is until it changes and adapts in ways you won’t expect.

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