Roughly one hundred days ago we said a tearful goodbye to Alberta – my home for 24 years and the only home my husband and three daughters have ever known. You can read about why we made the decision to move to the east coast, but the TL:DR version is that we wanted a life that had more outdoors, more space and more leisure time than the one we had in Alberta. This move wasn’t the only way we could have reached those goals of course, but it was the start of a long-held dream for Keith and I.
The drive across Canada was incredible, and I’ll never forget it.
We drove up to our new place on March 30. The property was knee deep in snow, the house and outbuildings more decrepit than we remembered. But within weeks the snow had melted and the crocuses were out. The kids were jumping off the neighbour’s dock despite the ice still in the middle of the lake. Keith and I spent weeks cleaning, unpacking and renovating at a frenetic pace to get it to an acceptable level of functionality and cleanliness. We do still have a lot of work to do to turn the bare land into a seasonal RV resort and create the nice-to-have things like a beachside gazebo, new cabins, etc.
“Are you as happy as you look on Facebook?”
A lot of people have asked us this. They’re friends who know we were worried about how much we would miss our family and friends, if I’d like my new job and long commute, if the kids would be ok without their little urban troop of buddies, if the distance to school and shopping would be a problem, if we’d be too broke to buy groceries, and if the blackflies would make us crazy.
I’m happy to report that we are even happier than it looks on Facebook. We are happier than any family has any right to be. Every single day Keith and I say to each other – I can’t believe we waited so long to do this. I’m so happy we did this. It’s so much better than we thought it would be. The kids love the lake and their new friends and the chickens.
Yes, we miss our family terribly. I call my mom daily and the kids FaceTime her every night. We miss our friends, and can’t wait to see some of them who are visiting us this summer. We have had hard days with some tears about those relationships that are different now, but we’re making new friends here too. There are all-season homes within a few minutes drive, and lots of people out in the cottages for the summer or weekends and we can walk or bike to them. The kids are having playdates and sleepovers and loving it.
My job is fantastic, and I love what I do. The commute is 45 minutes, and it’s a gorgeous drive through a wild landscape of greens and pinks and purples and rivers and lakes the whole way.
I frequently see turtles, pheasants, raccoons, rabbits and more on my drive. It really flies by, and beats staring at another car’s exhaust in stop and go traffic for sure. I can see myself happy in my work for a long time. Which is good, because when you get a good job here, you keep it. There aren’t many other options.
The bugs are bad, but you work around them, and they’re only bad for a couple of weeks.
Keith is really enjoying being in charge of his own time. He has a massive to do list, but he’s taking the time to capitalize on the great weather by fishing and relaxing too. I’ve really learned that the to do list is perpetual and never-ending, so I might as well take and appreciate much more leisure time than I had in Alberta. I spend hours reading in the sun, watching the chickens and the hummingbirds, playing cards with the kids in the screen room, napping in the hammock, etc.
We feel like we stepped out of the rat race we were in, and into a more holistic way of living that really suits us. We have all the fun of camping without the work of packing up a trailer, driving, outhouses and ice melting too fast in the cooler. The beach, campfire and wilderness are at our doorstep. It’s perfect for us.
My heart has always belonged at the water’s edge. I feel so lucky that I can live where my heart belongs.