This past week Joey and I left on a trip that felt all too familiar. We flew back to Edmonton- our “home away for home” for four years- a trip that we first took nearly five years ago when we had no idea what we were doing. Without a whole lot of thought and planning, Joey had accepted an offer to a masters program, and my heart told me to follow him even though I had no plan of my own. We laugh sometimes at the carelessness with which we made a major life decision, but I am so grateful that we took the chance and am very proud of how it all turned out.
It had been almost a year since I left and I was filled with a lot of mixed emotions when we landed. Everything was familiar. The roads, the buildings, the sunny skies and the friendly faces. It felt as though we had never left, but I also felt like I was getting a glimpse back into a life that feels far away now. I was reminded of just how happy we were and how much I had grown since my very first flight to this city almost five years ago.
I remembered the night we landed, and how hard the first couple of months were trying to navigate through the biggest city we ever lived in, and knowing only each other. I thought of the time Joey joined me to sit in on an information session about a nursing program, and how he was there when I graduated two years later and landed my dream job.
I remembered the fun things we used to do in the city, we walked past our old building and ran into friends on the street. As big of a city that Edmonton is, I have learned that the longer you live somewhere the smaller it becomes. We ate gelato at our favourite cafe. We drove through downtown and stared in amazement at the tall buildings that used to be the backdrop to our lives. We spent time with friends who made our lives so wonderful and I visited my Edmonton family who still holds a large piece of my heart.
I remembered my mixed emotions when I accepted a job back on the east coast, and how bittersweet it was to tell our friends we were moving back. I remembered crying as I drove away from Thea and Ava that last time, certain that I would be quickly forgotten as “their past nanny”. I walked the streets I loved, took photos like a tourist, and mustered up the courage to leave a city that I had grown to love and to call home.
Now, I am already back to my “new” home, which is becoming just “home” the longer we have been here. I am writing this post on my front deck, listening to the birds and the sounds of the fog horn that is a constant reminder that we are minutes away from the ocean that I missed so much in Edmonton. I am looking at photos of my trip, smiling and happy that I had the chance to visit with friends who I miss dearly. I am filled with nostalgia and am grateful that I was able to go back to a city that helped shape my life today.
As hard as it was to move away from Edmonton, I feel an even stronger sense of conviction that it was the right decision for me, for our life, now that I am back living and working on the east coast. I will always miss the people we met while there, but I am certain that I am meant to be here, on my front deck, in this exact city, at this time in my life. Joey and I have been through so many changes since we first met and I feel so lucky that we can always go back to visit our past together and feel grateful for where we have been, but to be even more grateful for where we are now.