The past few months have been a whirlwind between the end of term in June, summer trips, applying for jobs, and packing. Suddenly September is upon us and I’m right back in at the deep end, teaching high school Maths, Science, and Outdoor Education; albeit for just a couple of weeks as I am more determined than ever to move back to Paris come October.
Summer passed by all too quickly with a family visit to the UK, a week in Paris, a friend’s wedding in Sweden in July followed by a week in Kelowna, BC. Kelowna is a beautiful town on the lake surrounded by valleys and orchards but I confess to having spent most of my time lounging poolside with a book, soaking up some rays. It was pretty-much the only sunshine I saw all summer.
As my last few week’s of Canadian-living are in full swing I am embracing the outdoors and the beauty of the Pacific north-west coast. With the arrival of some scorching weather at long last we felt motivated to take the kayaks out and I have been getting to grips with paddling on the ocean. There’s something so relaxing about being on the water. Discovering some of the hidden, untouched beaches that are otherwise inaccessible has been amazing.
This is the Canada that you see in movies: Snow-capped mountains, pristine oceans and lakes, private beaches, bald eagles soaring above and crossing paths with bears on rugged trails. Around the time I made the decision to return to Canada in 2011, I watched a movie co-produced by France and Canada called Voyez Comme Ils Dansent which was perhaps what tipped the scale in favour of Canada at the time. I was already considering moving closer to family and the cinematography was simply stunning. My friend commented that I seemed incredibly happy just watching the images of Canada flash across the screen. I realized I was ‘homesick’ for a place I had not yet grown to love. The Canadian story-line ended up in a logging community in the mountains, not unlike Port Hardy but with a whole lot more snow! I was drawn to the wilderness scenes throughout the film despite my usual preference for city-life.
Over the past six years I have been lucky to experience six distinctly different provinces, three of which I have called home (MB, ON & BC). Sometimes I think the universe has a way of giving us what we ask for but in such a way that we don’t fully appreciate it at the time. I ended up spending most of my time in Canada living in rural areas. I experienced the worst snow and freezing temperatures I could possibly imagine and then finally I got to live in a place where you can go lake-swimming surrounded by mountains and forest. It truly is the stuff of dreams and I forget that too often.