I’ve avoided this website for three months now. I figured nothing would be as exciting as the life I left behind in Australia, and, to be quite frank, I was afraid to leave it for a new life I’d have to create in Canada. I don’t want to disappoint or upset any wonderful people at home who’ve stood by me, but I was pretty content in Melbourne. I had friends, I had a good routine, I was in the love with the city and love with someone I’d met recently. Things were good. Being pulled from something like that is hard, and more, being forced to begin again and re-create when you’d rather stay…. I was in denial for months. I booked my flight home on some crazy whim I’d get to see Brittany, and actually, it was before I met Nick I think, so I was living from a viewpoint that August in Canada would be fantastic. Thing is, time moves quickly and so do our feelings.
I believe I’ve already commented on my month in WA and my last weeks in Melbourne. I flew home into Toronto, spent a night there thanks to a sorority sister (thanks Julie!) and got picked up by my twin soul Britt. I was a mess of tears from Sydney-Vancouver so I was really glad to see her the day after my arrival. My sorority little, Anna, was living in Toronto, and graced me with her presence my first night. Her, and the sight of 2$/pint blueberries were the highlight of my arrival home. I spent two days in Sudbury with Britt and her partner Kenny. We took a day trip to Killarney and she showed me her dream wedding venue (this has changed) It felt so good to see my best friend, to talk in person with someone I love, to see a LAKE and feel the real “Canadian feel”. I love Australia, love love love love love…. but I never grew up by the ocean. The ocean is beautiful, but she doesn’t have my heart. Give me Manitoulin Island, with its limestone shoals, or Murphy’s Point, with its’ loons, calm waters and many lake-bound islands… Ontario is home.
As stated above, I was in a way, terrified of coming home. Terrified by how I might feel. I was emailing Nick my first week home desperate for any visa to take my back. I’m not saying I wouldn’t or won’t still go, but there’s something different this time. What’s that quote?
I’m very fortunate that I had my friend Brittany when I came home. I saw my mom and stepdad, went to a wedding, then came home to my dads’. My friend Ken lives so close to us and so I got to see him quite a bit in those first few weeks, a time I saw as a readjustment period. We went boating on the Rideau which made me so happy! I grabbed lunch with Kevin, got to visit my best friend Jessica and her partner in Kemptville, and just spent a few days revisiting old haunts with my parents. I checked out a few houses in September and was sold on one of the first – sharing a house in Westboro south with two other teachers. The mom of the owner is someone who I used to work with, such a small world.
So, really, I thought it would be hard but I’m adjusting. I hate on Ottawa ALL THE TIME if you know me, but I’m starting to see it from a more open perspective and realize it’s really what you make it. I’m not super sporty, but I looked at OSSC and other clubs. My friend Scott met a bunch of people in the OCRC who are mad fit runners (cough, Natalie, Naz) and I’ve started doing the couch to 5 k and zombie 5 k to force myself out running. Ken is a big biker so we go about once a week, more when I wasn’t working and it was warm. We just had our first Novice Learn to Curl session at the Navy Curling Club. I’ve even been on the BFF section of Bumble (yep, it exists) looking to make new girlfriends and I finally met a few this week. I met Apollina, a doctor from India a few weeks ago, then invited her out with my friend Kristin and a few others this week. We played pool and ended up chatting for a few hours – such a nice group of girls! We’re talking about having a wine craft night soon. I cannot say enough how good it feels to reconnect with good friends, even just one or two, after a time apart. I missed Britt and Kristin so much and you’ll know, if you’ve been separated by distance, it’s hard. I saw Britt and it was so comfortable. I had Kristin for dinner a few weeks ago, and it felt like no time had passed. All the guilt I had over time distances and busy schedules fades, and you realize, when friendship is real, its real.
Last weekend was our Canadian Thanksgiving and Scott had organized a cottage weekend in Montebello. I got to know a bunch of his friends and we had an awesome two days of bacon-wrapped turkey, hot tubbing and drinks. I met some of these people at Beausfest and Hintonburg fest. I had a lovely friendsgiving #2 on Friday thanks to Ken’s sister Hailey, which is helping me realize Ottawa isn’t so bad after all. It’s really how you get out, involved, and who you meet. I still miss Melbourne all the time, the events, food fests, the friends still there, and Nick, but I am also witnessing a softening of the heart on all things Canada. Things might be going crazy around the planet, but in my heart I feel so proud to be Canadian. I’m not there yet, but Ottawa, or Canada anyway, seems a good place to settle down or start a family. Who knows, really. I went up to the Shipman cabin last weekend and spent a few hours wandering the woods, taking photos, and absorbing the feeling. I forget it was my favourite season. I dread the cold, but do know my bones are used to the change of seasons, and I do find beauty in all of them. Nick sent me a care package this week with my bulldogs (woog) hat and I figure it’ll get a serious work out soon enough.
I had a job at Chapman Mills PS for 3 weeks. The first two weeks of September work-wise were depressing. I got CMPS and loved the kids- seriously the nicest classes I’ve had. I saw there were partial contracts on offer and if you know anything of teaching, getting permanent contract in the board could take awhile, so if you get a partial, you take it. I took a 0.49 (don’t know what difference a 0.5 makes) at my old school, Broadview. It was nice to see so many familiar old faces, but weird it’s not in a new building. I’m a bunch of weird bits – CF, phys ed, DPA, health and art to grade 4 and 2/3…. I can’t say I LOVE my schedule, and I need to apply for a second job soon, but you do what you can. I’ve spent the past 4 years between life here and planning for or living in Oz, so I need to get serious. I’ve always said if I met the right person, they would set the chart for my future home, but for now, I’m making smart decisions for my career here in case this is where I finally end up.
I have old travel contacts ask me when my next adventure is starting or where I’m going. Some mock my age and say I should be having kids. Thanks guys. Turns out, I’m neither here nor there. I’m a sort of in between, and that’s okay. I’m in love with my past, and miss it every day, but I might be seeing her someday soon. I don’t feel lost and resentful of my present in Ottawa, which I know I did the first time I came back from Australia. I’m not yet fully convinced this is where I will settle down, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? Ken & the gang had us swimming in the Rideau at the end of September. The geese are still hanging around. I’m looking into getting used XC skis and snowshoes to make the most of the winter, and a slow cooker to fully adopt the season. I’m still in a process of discovery, and just taking life day by day. For me, right now, that’s okay.
Much love from (surprisingly) Ottawa