It’s another freezing cold day in dystopia; in Edmonton this morning, the temperature was staggering, miserable, windy -32 with windchill. This is something I complain about often and much despite that I don’t really have a right to necessarily — I’m nestled in what is a very safe place to live while Japan suffers an immense damage, devestation and loss. So I’m keeping this in mind as I know it’s not a wonderful time to discuss the weather and my own life plans, while others’ entire lives have been halted by natural disaster, including possibly, my own family and friends.
And yet… yesterday, I was thinking about my life here in Edmonton (as you do); I was thinking about the memories it has afforded me and the friends it has given me and the life it has rejuvenated in my often-beaten down universe. I think about the first sentence I wrote in my journal on my first day of living here: “Here I am. I have a bed and a chair and a desk.” That was all I had, and I was excited about just those three things; to me, they were representative of the beginning of my real life – NOT my Jasper life…
Before I moved to a new city (from a small town especially) I didn’t know what life could be and I didn’t know what opportunities I could be granted just simply by the influx of people. In Jasper, I spent all of my school life, from Kindergarten to my graduation, with essentially the same unchanging group of about 35 people. They were all I knew. And with such a small pool to draw from, you don’t have anyone else to lean on or glean from if or when you need to. That mircocosm was so happily replaced with everything and more. Edmonton has done me nothing but a wealth of the kindest favours anyone could be offered by a place this cold (or any place at all).
But… this winter’s been too much for me. It has been without a doubt the worst winter of my life. After being away in the South Pacific and feeling the sun on ym shoulders again and seeing a sunset again, feeling warm humid rain even and seeing green plants… I simply cannot go back to seeing this city the same way. I felt that too when I came back from the Dominican but moving away from here then, when I still had a year of school to go and no money at all… seemed unfathomable. Now, I’ve made a decision that whatever it takes and however I struggle to get there… I will not – I will NOT – live here in the 2011/2012 winter season.
I’ve always felt – probably ever since the very first time I went to the ocean – that I belonged to the coast. That I would never be as fully satisfied with my own personal life until I could go to the beach on summer evenings and go for runs and see the ocean while doing so. While all very romanticized, this is just the truth; the east coast and the west coast have both felt like belonging places for me. I don’t belong in the landlocked prairies, despite them being an amazing (more than amazing) stepping stone for me. I’ve, like winter, overstayed my welcome. I’ve come to the very strong, very REAL conclusion that at any cost to me, it’s desperately and intensely time to go.
There is so much that I’ll miss about this place, however; most importantly, one of my best friends in the whole entire world, who nobody could ever compare to and who is one of the last of my close friends to still be here after 7 years of other close friends who have since moved away. Life without her is almost unimaginable and the thought of missing someone I’m so close with is absolutely the most terrifying prospect of all when I think of moving away. Also, it’s the little things: when you live in a place for a while and it’s the first place that ever felt truly like home to you in all aspects (not just familial), you grow afraid to leap out of those safe boundaries; you think about your hangouts, your neighbourhood and all the other aspects of your life in a city whose familiarity you take for granted after a certain point — of bus routes and the way home and just how far everything is from where you live. You know all of these things about your own life and suddenly, there’s an enormous shift and that adjustment period is incredibly disconcerting.
I’m not someone who jumps into change without thinking of the reprecussions and my own fears and reservations first. I’m not someone who embraces change when it does happen; in fact, change makes me incredibly edgy, nervous and uncomfortable and sometimes in worst-case scenarios, angry or depressed. In that regard, I’m surprised to be so keen on making this life-changing and extremely uncomfortable decision. But I wouldn’t make this decision if I didn’t know or feel that it was right or would be so in the end. At this point, I could be entirely wrong even – I could realize once I get there how isolated I feel and how I was wrong in determining just where it is that I belong.
But… you don’t know where you really belong until you know where you don’t.