Something is up this year, it makes me feel like something is in the air and I can feel it as well.
I have 11 first cousins on my mother’s side and three of them are moving between cities this year. One cousin is uprooting after 10 years, moving one province over with his wife and two kids. It was somewhat inevitable that he would end up in Vancouver since his brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew live here. One cousin is moving from “out east” to Vancouver temporarily for a training opportunity. One more cousin has spent almost twenty years in Canada and is moving with his wife and kid “abroad”, back to Asia where they will have both sides’ parents’ support raising their young child.
If it seems that people are only moving westward, that’s not all. A colleague of mine arrived in Vancouver the same year I did and has moved his family (wife and two kids) all the way back to the Maritimes. A friend of a friend just had her first child and the family moved back to the Maritimes. Two co-workers are onto their next university workplaces and those are in Ontario and Michigan. I have a couple other examples of eastward movement but you get the point.
When I was in Toronto over Easter, I met up with one of my quintessentially Toronto cousins. To my utter surprise, he told me he’s moving to Vancouver. Not permanently, though, but you never know. There are training opportunities in Vancouver and he means to take the skills he earns back to Toronto. In order to deflect elder brotherly scrutiny on other parts of my life, I talked about the dilemma of where to live. My sister would later report that he thought I’m quite done with Vancouver. In one of my recent trips to Toronto, my Asia-bound cousin and I also commiserated on the difficulty of living so far from your family. His mother in China actually visits him more than my parents who are in the same country as me.
Sometimes, I find myself looking at Vancouver from a removed point of view, like I’ve decided to leave. Do you know that in nearly seven years that I’ve lived here, my parents have not visited? They won’t/can’t and haven’t taken the five days/one week off you need to come here, but it has been possible to string together three days off and my mother has visited my sister and my grandparents in Toronto several times a year, countless times in nearly seven years. Lil’ Sis who moved to Toronto a little over a year ago gets to see Mum a few times in Toronto, and a couple times in Halifax per year. For me to see my parents, it all comes down to my twice-yearly visits sucking up a third or more of my vacation time. It doesn’t sound fair but I understand, with grumbling.
Sometimes, infrequently, we find a Vancouver restaurant we like enough to return to again and again and I want to show it off to my mother who adores good food. When I have met up with my mother in Toronto, I’m not so sure the restaurants we try will be so good. I get morbid thinking that she’ll never get to try what I have discovered here. I wonder if I will take my parents around as a resident of this city, or as a tourist making a yearly visit? I identify and get nostalgic already about what I would miss.