While Dave is sunning himself in Vancouver (or, more likely, injuring himself – he is going mountain biking, after all), my mind keeps wandering to the year we spent in Canada. After a summer that most people could only dream of (the end of the Tour de France; Wimbledon; the Olympics; then the Paralympics; at least he’s not at the Ryder Cup!) Dave is lucky enough to be back in our dream home town. I, however, am holding the fort in Nottingham, as I have been all year since his relocation to Salford. So, as I anxiously scan the Canadian Immigration website, waiting for the announcement that yes! British Columbia have an opening to emigrate so long as your name is Nicola!, I read an article on relocation with both interest and sadness.
The writer told a tale of relocating to the Pacific Northwest – Seattle – before returning to the UK to settle with her partner and kids. The paragraph that got me was this one:
We had been ridiculously happy overseas, especially in Seattle, a city whose magical blend of literature, technology and heartstopping nature couldn’t have suited us better. We kayaked from our lakeside condo to the coffee shop, hiked in the wilderness through whispering cedars to glimmering glacier lakes. But it always felt like a life on loan, a life that would have come to a natural end when nappies and sleep deprivation took over from flinging the top down on the Beetle and heading up to Vancouver for the weekend. Much of life felt like a holiday, free from decades-long habits.
Dave had often commented that the reason I’d enjoyed living in Vancouver so much was that my life was like a holiday. My work was infrequent, unusual shifts and didn’t take me anywhere near a computer; I was able to spend the long days of August relaxing on Second beach, listening to podcasts, enjoying the sunshine, and reading my way through the mountaineering section of the library. But perhaps it wasn’t just that. Perhaps the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver and Seattle, just feel that way? Hiking in wilderness, the beautiful outdoors, the big city in the beautiful place…
The sadness came when the author talks of “a life on loan”. She willingly returned to the UK, for “nappies and sleep deprivation”, leaving behind the delights of Seattle. So I was left with the question – was that all that Vancouver would ever be for us? A lovely long holiday?
I’m no closer to answering that question, at least until Canadian Immigration realise they’re missing a trick. But in the meantime, there have been one or two brief adventures, even for a Vancouverite-in-exile. More of which coming soon!