It feels like making this choice, to live in Scotland, in Ireland, to go to live in as many places as I can, never staying too long, feels like some sort of rejection of so many things. Like a rejection of my mother, who at this age already had my brother, was trying so hard to have me. A rejection of the person I was a few short years ago, who could see nothing better in the world than having a home of my own, a white picket fence with a garden in the back, a couple of kids and a dog. It feels so much like deciding to do this is a rejecting of a lot of my friends here, friends I want to stay close with but at the same time I just don't understand how they don't feel this wanderlust, this need to see the world in a way that tourisim doesn't.
I still remember being so annoyed with the only tourist I really met in China, the one who stayed at only the highest class hotels, only hit the major tourist spots ("We were in Beijing yesterday, today we're going out to see the Terracotta Warriors, after that we're off to Hong Kong to do some shopping"), and insisted that my view of China was just wrong. That there must be other foriengers in Jiangyan. (There were, about a month later, but not at the time.) I don't want to see just what you can see in a quick jaunt through a country. I want to see what it is to live there, to get to the point where Canadian accents sound strange, and being on a bus full of people just like you seems far more overwhelming than the first busride in China ever could. I want to live like that, and somedays I don't understand why other people don't.
I talked to my mother about this a few days ago, and she told me that she couldn't help but be jealous. She wanted to do the same things I do, but it wasn't done when she was my age. She grew up in a small town in southern Manitoba, went to a one room school house for most of her public education, wore her jeans under her skirt to keep warm in the winter. Some days it feels like my mother and I have nothing in common, other days it feels like it's only a few years difference, that we could have been friends were we the same age.
I feel trapped by time right now. I'm giving in my notice at work, but I still don't have the 3000$. I should have it by Monday, but the idea of being trapped at that job an extra week makes me ill. As soon as I have the money, I get a letter from the bank, drop my application in the mail, and wait impatiently for 2 weeks for it to come back. In those two weeks, I finish off everything I need to do, visit my friends and family back in Vancouver, say good bye to everyone here, so I can purchase my plane ticket and be gone, and spend the rest of my life missing Edmonton in the spring, when the river valley is more beautiful than anything I've ever seen.
I was asked in an email from an old friend: "What is so wrong with Canada that you don't want to be here anymore?" I struggled with that, because some days I feel like this choice is a running away, a refusal to deal with life in the long term. And not too long after receiving that email, I went to see Pier 21, which is where so many people came to start their new lives in Canada, some dying with the need to get here, and I want to run away?
But it's not that.
Canada is beautiful, and I love it here. But it's easy to say your country is beautiful and wonderful if you've never experienced life anywhere else. I remember, still, thinking Manitoba was the most wonderful place in the world, until I fell in love with Alberta. It's easy to think some place or some person is perfect if you've never experience anywhere else. And I came back to Alberta after going to school in BC.
I want to see the world. I want to see it all. I want to touch the pyramids, walk along the Great Wall, go shopping in some out of the way place in Scotland, see the Parthenon with my own eyes. There are so many things in this world, and it's only miles and time that's keeping me from them. I can come back. Canada isn't going anywhere. And although I've been living with the knowledge that Edmonton isn't home anymore, that it hasn't been for some time, I know I can come back here, walk in the River Valley late at night and look up at the stars.
For me, at least, home only comes after a struggle, and I want to see where that struggle is going to take me.