Going “home", it feels good. The word home now, after three years of living in Alberta, has a slightly different feel and meaning. The truth is I have two homes. My roots are in Ontario and my branches are now in Alberta. I use the word home for both.
I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with split feelings about this reality. It’s funny how as a teen I wanted to leave Owen Sound so badly. I was fixated on being anywhere but that small town at the mouth of the Bruce Peninsula. Then I moved to Alberta. We were planning on getting some work experience in the west and then moving back to be close to our families and our friends. A sort of breakthrough opportunity for our careers. We were pretty confident we’d find work in Ontario after beefing up our resumes.
Upon first moving I honestly thought that was exactly what we would do. I cried a lot. The homesickness sunk in pretty hard after a few months. All I thought about was the day we’d move home. The feelings were very convincing. I thought that moving back was inevitable and the right thing to do. It kinda just felt like moving to university for the first time. I knew I’d be home soon enough. No big deal.
Then we moved again within Alberta. To this tiny little hamlet whose name I figured I was pronouncing incorrectly. The very first time I drove through Lac La Biche I had a hard time explaining to myself that this is where I was going to live. I mean no - no I would not live here.
But everyone we met (truly amazing people) continued to tell us that they never planned on staying... and then the town warmed their heart and they met the love of their life and they found their dream job and there was opportunity... something in me was curious - maybe something in me wanted it to work. So, I made a conscious and solid effort to settle in to the community. I attempted to get involved. I made good friends (like really good friends). I participated in leagues, events and town traditions. I started to feel grounded. And it was better.
When I let my mind adjust to life away from “home” I felt better. When I let my mind accept that this is where I was here and now I experienced an ease of being. Trust in the present allowed me to feel some contentment despite being far from what I knew was home.
Two and half years later I’m still here. And when I reflect on the happenings of this time I am honestly taken back by the growth I have experienced. In this small town I finished school, a task that had been ongoing since I was 19. I realized and followed my passion for yoga and became a teacher. I am co-opening a dedicated space for the practice in just a few short weeks. I have made connections with truly amazing people, making friendships that I am absolutely confident will last my whole life long. I have learned more about who I am as a person in this time than I ever thought possible. And even though I know there is infinite growth to come I am excited for what the future holds. I am ready to live life to the fullest.
It’s still hard at times. I still cry sometimes. I still experience homesickness. I still wish my family and friends were closer. But I know these feelings are normal and they’re not going to go away, probably ever. This is all because Ontario will forever be my home, my root home.
Being ok with the nostalgia and sadness has come from realizing that Lac La Biche has also become my home, my branches-home. A new kind of home that only people who have moved far from their roots and embraced the newness of their whereabouts know. It's a warm and empowering feeling that comes from knowing you left what was familiar behind and made peace with change. It makes you realize that you are capable of adjustment and of finding meaning in your being.
I say I'm going home when I leave Alberta for Ontario. I say I'm going home when I leave Ontario for Alberta. Both are my homes for very different reasons. And what I am appreciating now, sitting at the table in my family home in Ontario, is how fortunate I am to know what it means to have a home and to have people in both Ontario and Alberta that make going home to so beautiful.
The honest learnings and raw reflections of my practice and my life. Unedited.