Canada Day was almost two months ago. Since then I’ve been missing my homeland a little bit.
It’s easy to miss Edmonton in the summer. The sun is always shining (in the top 5 sunniest cities in Canada, what up), there’s a different festival going on every weekend, and the rooftop patios on Whyte Ave are calling. Plus long weekends mean camping in the Rockies.
I wish I could say I did so many interesting things in the summer when I lived in Edmonton. But really, since 2010 I haven’t spent an entire summer there without travelling on the other side of the world at some point. I’ve gone to my favourite festivals, and I’ve had a pint at O’Byrnes, and occasionally I’ve climbed a mountain for a day. Yet it wasn’t until I left that I realised how much more often I should have been doing all these things.
Sometimes you have to be away from home for a long time before you start to appreciate what you had. The Rockies always seemed so far away, but is a four-hour drive really all that daunting to visit one of the most remarkable natural sites in the world? I miss the Rocky Mountains so much now even though I never went when they were practically on my doorstep. When things are just there in front of you you’re in no rush to enjoy them.
I go out to eat here and enjoy the patio, and I go to the lake to swim and sometimes bring a beer. But it’s not the same as going to a bar with my best friends and catching up over a few craft beers while people-watching all the strange beings that appear in the downtown of big cities. I miss the Pint. And Hudson’s. (And nachos, holy shit. I mean I know I could just make my own but it’s not the same as sharing a huge plate of them with other people and watching Sportscentre.)
Sure I miss the environment of summer in Edmonton; I haven’t gotten to enjoy it properly for the past five years, so it’s felt like something I’ve been missing for a lot longer than the time I’ve been in Germany. However, lately I’ve been finding myself missing very random things. When I cut up my canteloupe I miss the Tupperware I used to use for it, sitting somewhere in a cardboard box. I miss standing up to open a big fridge instead of crouching down to reach in the back of a mini one. I volunteer to do dishes at work because I just want to enjoy the fact that I can do dishes without heating water on the stove first. At that point, am I really missing Edmonton, or am I just missing familiarity and my old routine? I didn’t miss those things when I was in Sweden. I built a new routine and made do with what I had. And I’ve partially done that here as well. The difference is in Sweden I knew familiarity was waiting for me back in Canada (though I had a bigger culture shock coming home than I did leaving), and here the routine I once knew has been packed up in boxes for so long that I’m starting to forget it.
The house will be done in a couple of months which means we finally get to move in somewhere and unpack our things. I’m honestly going to be surprised to see some of the things I own, because I just can’t remember everything after fourteen months. We gave away so much stuff that I’m worried I’m going to be expecting to find something only to realise I decided over a year ago that I didn’t need it anymore.
I don’t think I’ll be moving back to Canada soon. It’s been a long fourteen months but they’ve been somewhat of a trial; it still doesn’t feel like I’ve properly begun my post-university life. I think that at least deserves a go before I decide I’m going to run back to what I know. After all, the things that irk me about Edmonton are still there and the things I love about Europe are still over here. Who knows. In the meantime I’ll be working on my teleportation machine.