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Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

Old Apr 17th 2023, 10:32 am
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Default Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

I posted the following in another thread, but I'm now using it to start a new thread at the kind suggestion of another BE member. Thanks, Shard!

Many of us were born in one place but have moved to one (or sometimes more, surely in my case) another part/other parts of the world during our lifetime.

Recently I had the thought that for many of us, the lure of Canada, whether as it is now or probably more so as it was when we were there, can still be very strong. I know it is for me.

Often it can be something haphazard or even quite inconsequential. Good lunches with freshly brewed dry 'Cidrobec' in Montreal and Quebec, shopping in the glorious open markets in Toronto (the old St Lawrence was my favorite hangout in the '70s, I miss it to this day), walks in Stanley Park in Vancouver, drives along the coast in any of the four Atlantic provinces, a day at the Shellac Lobster Festival, a leisurely stroll along Barrington Street in Halifax on a warm winter Sunday afternoon or in Point Pleasant Park at any time of the year... my list is a long one.

As well, some items bring back nostalgia. Maple syrup and candy from my grandfather's shack, lobster just boiled in NB or PEI, or biting into a Lowney's Cherry Blossom. I could go on, but it's making me hungry...

Now on to my earlier post.

Where were you born and/or where did you grow up in Canada?. This often makes an important difference to one's happiness and well-being, as it surely did to mine when I lived there.

During the brief summer, few places in that country would qualify as not worth being in - I can think of several, but I won't list them here as I value my life.

To give a 'selfie' example, I'm a New Brunswick boy, born in Chatham and grew up in Shellac Cape. Did my early schooling in Moncton. And then moved with my family to Montreal at age 9. After which New Brunswick was a few weeks in July and August, mostly at my grandparents' farm in Kent County, now sadly no longer in family hands. (In the '70s I lived in Toronto and Vancouver, and I also spent time in New Mexico where I then had relations living, but that isn't in Canada, and we'll let it go for now.)

I had family in 'the Maritimes' to visit in June and July when the weather is at its best, as staying in Montreal or Toronto during the summer months almost always meant cloying heat (if one can call mid-20s that) and high humidity. Likewise I had three uncles who were nickel miners in Sudbury, and on the two occasions we were up there to visit I recall mostly flies and mosquitoes in great swarms. One 'oncle' had a cottage at a pleasant enough lake and two motor boats to play with, but at age ten I disgraced myself (and cost my parents a fair bit of repair money) by managing to ram one of their boats on a low bridge and sinking it. As such things happen to children out in the 'bush'...

New Brunswick was a wonderful place to be in summertime. My grandparents lived on a small farm out of Moncton, and as my grandfather stayed active and worked every day until he turned 90, there were many enjoyable things to do in highly congenial company. All the 'rels' visited in July and there were many cousins to play with. As a foodie, I took great delight in the amazing variety of interesting dishes on the table every day from my grandmother's kitchen. June was strawberry month, July for raspberries, August for blackberries. By September and Labor Day it was all over, but oh, gosh, those summers.

For me, winters in Canada meant long, boring periods at home, doing mostly indoor things as I wasn't really a sports type, I didn't even care for hockey which made me a sort of Saturday Night Alien to everyone. I skated and did a bit of skiing until age 12 when I had an accident (I seem to have been prone to mishaps) and fell off a hill and landed on a tree, damaging my back at the spot where the spine connects to the pelvis, fortunately I wasn't crippled for life but it has left me with a legacy of pain. So as I said, the winters were long and boring for me.

I finally left in 1973, again to New Mexico for two years, then to Southeast Asia and eventually to Australia, where I've lived since 1976. Like the OP in Canada, the time (in my case 47 years, almost a half century, woo!) passed quickly. Now in my mid 70s, happily settled with my SO in regional Victoria (Australia, not British Columbia), I hang out for a few months at a time in Indonesia and Malaysia and then go back to Oz for some home comforts. It's a good life.

Part of me still misses Canada. Not so much New Brunswick where I no longer have many relations, most having pulled up stakes and moved across the country to BC, first the young'uns and then their parents when the latter retired. Those who lived in Ontario and one lot in Connecticut (USA) sold up in their 60s and went back to NB. The pull of home can be strong. even I have felt that 'call' at times even if I've never been one to reminisce too much about how good (forgetting all the less than pleasant aspects) it was back then.

By comparison my much younger SO was born in Malaysia and went to uni in Australia but returned home to a Malaysian civil service post. We met by chance in Ipoh in the '90s and have been together in Oz for almost 30 years. The same old nostalgia is at work here, Ipoh still exerts a pull but neither of us cares for the effort involved in pulling up stakes and start again. So in my case I have three distinct pasts to deal with, Canada (NB, Quebec, Ontario), New Mexico (mostly Santa Fe, one of the best places I've had the privilege of living in, if for too short a time), and for almost 50 years, Australia.

Like in Australia, there is so much to see and do in Canada. The distances are about the same, but travel there seems to be better organized. The cross-country train journey is a delight, I last did it in 2006 and while it was expensive it was well worth it. Not sure about now. I also did Australia Sydney to Perth in 1976 when the going was better and it was all more affordable. Now I would have to remortgage our house for the two of us to indulge in this journey. Oh, well.

I've been back to Canada a few times with four extended visits to deal with family matters in 1979, 1982, 2006 and 2014. So I've seen the changes, probably more so than those who live there. Being me, each time I've wondered if I could go back to live there. But I've not dared to take the necessary steps to make the final move. Too much on the to do list, and I know it wouldn't be the same anyway.

The thought lingers. I wonder if the OP after two decades in Canada, has ever felt the same.

The here and now are important. But a lifetime is a short period and I can't help but think it's up to us to make the most and the best of it. Is all this a conundrum? I'm not sure, but it could be.

Last edited by scrubbedexpat143; Apr 17th 2023 at 10:35 am.
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Old Apr 18th 2023, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

I think we all have nostalgia about where we grew up, I'm often nostalgic about parts of the UK. But the reality as you allude to is that our childhood versions of the countries are not really the same as present day. Nostalgia is emotional rather than rational, so I think the question is is there a rational reason to move to Canada, or is it all emotional?
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Old Apr 18th 2023, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

Originally Posted by JDWoowoo50
. . . the lure of Canada, .
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Old Apr 18th 2023, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Born in Canada, living elsewhere...

Not the kind of lures Oink is used to
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