I got hired to teach and woke up every morning feeling like I’d been handed tickets to Disneyland. My district was on the cusp of giving me a continuing contract, and who walks away from that? The contract came and offered security, stability, pride. My Lacombe was full of friendship and belonging. Impossible to leave.
The company Steve started with a year ago has a Vancouver office. This has whispered what-ifs since he was hired. Knowing that upon arrival half of us would already be employed prevented me from shutting down relocation conversations with a list of impracticalities.
We went to London, England at the beginning of May, and that’s where it sparked, my renewed desire to be part of a tingly, electric, city atmosphere once again. The many visits to my hometown, Calgary, never had this effect on me. Calgary was like visiting a friend who moved on since my departure. I felt out of sync with the place I called home for 25 years.
But London! My wispy, invisible-blond arm hairs stood at attention each time we made our way to the Tube. On the Tube. Off the Tube again, wandering those spaghetti streets. I was wide-eyed and giddy, tapping on the door of endless adventures. I was drunk on culture and activity.
Days after returning from London, I stepped off a plane in Vancouver and took in the familiar ocean scents that have seduced me since 1994 when I discovered their existence. Our week in Vancouver was spent with a bunch of Steve’s web geek colleagues, mostly from the United States and the UK. Seeing Vancouver through their eyes reminded me of how gooey I used to feel when the floral, salty-wet air tickled my nose after a long separation. At the end of the week, my heart suddenly turned, took Vancouver by the shoulders and said, “Let’s do this.”
I surprised myself. I surprised Steve. Our Emma is (temporarily) devastated. We’re intermittently terrified and high on excitement. We’ve almost called it off about 5 times in the two months we’ve been exploring the idea. With each step we solidify the decision and make it harder to reverse. This is scary, but ultimately good, I believe. I want adventure. I want growth as a result of pain and the unknown. I want to face fear. I want to experience different places and people. I want to build new friendships and love up my present ones. I want to be uncomfortable and know that I’m tough enough to see it through.
I WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND LONG, SNOWY MONTHS OF MINUS THIRTY CELSIUS.
And, yes, I know it rains. A lot. But rain isn’t snow.
And maybe the rain and the endless days of grey skies will get to me. But maybe they won’t. I’ll never know if I don’t try.
We bought a townhouse two blocks off Boundary Road on the Burnaby side that will have the conditions lifted in 5 days. We have renters lined up for our home in Lacombe until the market recovers and we’re ready to sell. I informed my employers that I won’t be around this coming year. I’ve applied for close to 50 jobs in Vancouver, teaching and non. I’ve narrowed in on which school Emma will attend. We’ve lined up the moving truck.
I am (mostly and tearily) ready to go. Ready to uproot my little family and leave behind everything we know (including a relatively tax-free existence) to start fresh in a new (tax-happy) province.