Funny thing about having a blog is the assumption that someone will read what I am writing when maybe they won’t. To write into an empty vacuum, or diary is strangely less satisfying. There needs to be a chance, however slim that these words will be read in order to give them a voice.
When we first decided to move here I was strongly against it. A huge magnet was pulling me away from this place and keeping me safe in Montreal. I was at home for the first time in my life. Having never lived anywhere for more than 4 years, Montreal was the first place that had broken the spell. I couldn’t imagine the pain it would cause to peel myself away. Now I am no longer hungering to go back. I miss it terribly and sometimes have days that I am so homesick it hurts, but I don’t want to go back. Not yet. This wander lust has crept inside of me and it feels terribly familiar. I grew up like the kids that I teach, tectonic plates of their lives constantly shifting, not knowing where is home. I am defined by moving and yet I long for a home. Right now I am day dreaming about my dream house. It is a place I will return to each summer to put my head down and call home. It is where I will grow roots and my children will play outside on their land. It is a little patch on the planet that is all mine. It cannot be in city, it must be in the country and it must be by water.
I want to be in Quebec, by a lake, close to people I love.
Problem is this is an emotional choice. It doesn’t take into account the weather, the freezing lake, the other warmer choices that would be fabulous destination choices for all our loved ones. It also doesn’t take into account crippling taxes, expensive lives, job opportunities and beurocracy. How does one choose where is home?
When I was growing up I had no idea where home was. I always longed for something that I didn’t know but could sense rather than feel.
When I lived in Winnipeg I felt very strange for a long time. I couldn’t explain it and just sensed that something with my soul was off kilter. It wasn’t something related to Happiness. One day it came to me in a flash that I felt land locked. I was just too far from the sea. I never felt this in Montreal because living there you are constantly aware of the water surrounding you. We were always crossing bridges over the st. Lawrence that I knew led directly to Europe. Now here I live on a small island and I don’t really sense the sea. I know it is there but I sensed the lack of ocean far more than I feel it.
So I need to be near the ocean, or at least a stone’s throw from it.
Next I worried about how spoilt I was being regarding cold weather. Can I really not put . up with it anymore? Am I not just being ever so slightly precious? Living in a warm climate enables you to live outside. It is the quantity of time out side that measures the difference with no outside dining or liming spot. In a Montreal summer we would never eat indoors. With the right house I could do that forever! 9 months a year is spent indoors in Montreal. I do not want to live that again. I find being in a warm outdoor climate much healthier. Much happier. Much freer.
So it must be warm, or at least very mild. Tropical is good too.
I want to be close to culture. If doesn’t have to be Western Civilization but it must have something to keep me interested and alert. How ever gorgeous a desert beach might be, I would get bored. I would especially like to go to art galleries and a museum now and again but I don’t need to live next door. A short train drive or even flight would be fine. There must be a good bookstore. I do not want to have to rely on Amazon every time I need a book. Understanding the language helps a lot in this regard but I don’t want to exclude any beautiful Italian and Spanish places. But French or English is best, if we are talking long term. Also, some body there must be creating art and it can’t just be some 60’s throwback Hippie who never left. Not that those people can’t paint. Some can.
So a decent amount of culture within close range.
My children must be safe and well educated. This is a must and none of the above makes it if this one doesn’t. I do not want to be on edge all the time, looking over my shoulder and feeling just a little nervous and on guard. I feel that here and perhaps knowing that is knowing I could never stay here a life time. Every so often you arrive in a place and feel at peace, like you know you could stay forever, if you were asked to. I think the safely issue can stop this happening. A decent hospital and a strong rule of law helps. If the police simply do not answer the phone we are in trouble.
So obviously safe.
I must love the people. I want them to be warm and welcoming and secure. If I can compare two nations I can always make some generalizations about the people. I have noticed this from being around so many different nationalities in my life. This does not mean they are not lovely, it just means I don’t work with them. Warm blooded Latinos or Italian Americans have always been my cup of tea. But Canadians are the kindest people in the world.
Need to like the Kind, warm people.
Now it comes down the tricky one. Food. Can I really live in a place where I hate the food? I know I can cook for myself and I do but if I know that most of the restaurants serve sauwerkraut and sausages or Russian fish and potatoes it is hard to feel inspired. I do not need an American chain and would actually prefer not to have any but the local food should taste good, This is a bonus.
So now it should be simple to choose where is Home, right?