Requiem for a Home

I am a British Columbian, born and bred.

I came into the world during a snowy Northern B.C. winter.

I was born in a quiet town, famous for white mounds of frozen flakes that grew to reach up towards the heavens.

I learned to walk on the mossy pathways of the forest valley, and played with my friends in the shadow of Fire Mountain.

My childhood was filled with the smells of pulp mill and salt water.

Kitimat.

Powell River.

We played on the rocky beaches of the icy fjord, swam in pristine alpine lakes and marvelled at the crystalline raging rivers that teamed with spawning salmon each summer.

When I left my home in the Skeena, and moved on to the Big City to go to college, I remained in B.C.

The Royal City, with it’s Sky Trains and shopping became my new home. It brought me a husband.

I grew up roaming logging roads and learning bear awareness. My husband was knit from the fabric of Vancouver and molded by a childhood in New Westminster.

He thrived in the urban streets of the Lower Mainland, where his lullaby had been a cadence of traffic and voices.

Yet, he too knew the smells of salt water, the daily sight of towering snow-peaked mountains and earthy smelling rain-forests.

We married on the shores of the Fraser River. The back drop for our union was a mixture of drizzling May rain, and tugboats pulling endless skeins of logs.

We did a stint in Toronto. We took on northern Ontario and northern Manitoba.

We returned to BC.

Home.

Our babies were born in a hospital on Lulu Island, where the mighty Fraser delta crashes into the Pacific.

Home.

We bought a house on a mountain, soaring high over the patchwork quilt of green fields in Chilliwack.

Home.

We intended to give our children the best of small town and urban living, for Chilliwack is a city in the country: close to nature but teaming with amenities.

I immersed myself in the culture of the Fraser Valley. I networked. I befriended. I got involved. I fell in love.

I was content to finally be home.

This is my home today:

Do you see the problem with this photo?

Home….isn’t.

Home is up for sale.

Home will soon belong to someone else.

It won’t be mine. Ever again.

We’re leaving B.C.

Not by choice.

Oh, no. I didn’t pick this abrupt exodus.

Economics. Politics. Corporate decisions.

My spouse was tapped on the shoulder, and his employer said “MOVE.”

So we’re moving.

To Winnipeg.

There are no mountains in Winnipeg.

No salt water.

No rainforests.

There are prairies. There are plants I do not recognize. There are insects I’m not familiar with.

I don’t know what to do if there is a tornado, or if angry Lyme Disease carrying ticks burrow into my child. We don’t own a snow blower.

I loathe the hot and humid Eastern summers.

I’m scared of the brown flood-prone rivers, the reputation for violence, and the unknown.

So I cry.

I cry and I cry.

Grief. Remorse. Anger. Helplessness.

I am powerless to change my own destiny, and like a stick floating with the current, can only bob along where the future takes me.

I can only hope that the current doesn’t suck me under, and that I float into the calm of an unexpectedly pleasant shelter.

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6 thoughts on “Requiem for a Home

  1. Ahhh, home….fear not my long lost friend….I too bobbed along that river and wound up in the great vastness, not of the ocean, but a sea of wheat fields….the wide open prairies are not as bad as I originally feared…homes are cheaper, seasons are more defined, bugs are smaller, people are friendlier, and when all else fails, if you have pets you will inevitably never lose them, for you can see them running in the distance for days! So…with open arms and a smiling face, a dear friend will be waiting to greet you to the “middle of nowhere”.

    • Ah yes. Interestingly enough, Kelly will be in darkest Saskatchewan soon, so between us, we’ll cover the expanse of the mighty prairies with our Kitimat-y awesomeness. *snort laugh about pets*
      We did live in MB just before you guys got settled in in Brandon. That said, the north by Thompson is a different kettle of fish than Winnipeg. We’ll have to hook up when I get out there and get settled and pack Rick off for a business trip.

  2. Hey there chickie,

    I moved here from London, England 7 or 8 years ago (I forget which). It’s effing hard. At least once I had booked a ticket to return home because I was so unhappy – but never went. I cried. I mourned my London losses. The best advice anyone could have given me if they knew what was good for me was: Suck it up baby. Like isn’t greener. Give yourself a year or two and then write another post like this one. Except put in the stuff you like about Winnipeg. I promise you’ll have a lot to write.

    • You are right. I was writing posts like this 2 years ago about leaving Richmond for Chilliwack. It’s all relative. I’m looking forward to discovering Winnipeg, and hopefully falling in love. But not too hard, as I know that this isn’t likely to be a permanent stop on the highway of life either.

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