Well, folks. I did it. I moved back to British Columbia. Sort of. Until I’ve given up my Quebec status by being gone more than 5 months and 29 days, I could technically return. It sounds a bit cowardly, though, doesn’t it?
Making the Decision
It wasn’t the first time I’d considered this dramatic life-changing event back to the Okanagan Valley, where I lived for a dozen years before moving to Montreal. Before I walked the Camino, I’d considered putting my Montreal condo up for sale and returning. But I hadn’t done anything concrete. Thinking about it was enough.
Have you noticed?
When still in our heads, ideas often present themselves as glamorous. We are courageous, heroes to our inner narrative and to those we love. Everyone applauds, our resourcefulness, our success.
It’s when thoughts become action that life gets really interesting. And what we imagine is rarely what actually happens.
Without the last push of what really got me here, I could easily have justified a return to Valley. Two of my children live here, and they have children of their own; gorgeous little people. Were I not to return, I’d never get to know their little foibles, their moments of glory, their joys. And maybe, just maybe, I could also be there to help – or maybe help them evade – some of their difficult moments.
But the real decision, when thought became action, wasn’t made until I returned from the Camino. As soon as I landed from Spain, I knew I had to go. It felt right. Just like with walking the Camino.
Decision By Intuition?
The whole thing has had me wondering how often we close down these moments of intuition that lead to major decisions. I too could have come up with a million reasons not to move. Maybe the timing hadn’t been right before? I don’t know. I do know I learned to listen to these directions more carefully on the Camino. And maybe to heed them without being so afraid of the consequences.
Won’t You Miss Montreal?
Friends and family have asked, aren’t going to miss Montreal? What about the friends you’ve made? And the other two children who live in the city?
The answer to most of those questions are yes, I will dearly miss Montreal. But it’s amazing how quickly we adapt. I’ve only been here three weeks, and already, Montreal feels like a million miles away. Unfortunately, so is my favourite Thai restaurant.
The children who live in Montreal? They are grown-ups and self-sufficient. They no longer need Mom, hanging around. In fact, they’re probably not unhappy to see me gone. I say this in the nicest possible way. I’m proud that they are so happy and successful at creating the type of life they want.
The Universe Has Its Own Plan
Remember how I never really thought I’d finish the Camino? Similar unexpected results happened.
Initially, I thought the condo would sell immediately. It’s a great space, and the location couldn’t be better. But the end of November and December are the slowest months of the year for Montreal real estate.
Christmas was just around the corner, and I still didn’t have an offer, so I decided I’d go visit the kids and grandkids, and then come back to Montreal until it was sold. Then I’d move. The last two weeks of February sounded like the best time. I’d be tired of the Montreal winter, and the warmth of spring should be returning to the Okanagan Valley. Best of both worlds.
First Phone Call
Early January, my son phoned and asked if I’d look after their two children for a few days. Their business had won a week-long trip to Mexico. There was no way the other grandparents could watch the kids by themselves.
I booked a flight for end of January, to return mid-February.
A few days later, my youngest daughter, who owns above business with her brother, told me she had to have an operation, in March. Could I stay and give her hand? She wasn’t sure how long it would be before she was fully functional, and she had an 20-month old. Of course, I’d stay.
The lease for my house in West Kelowna had ended at the end of November, so my house was empty. I was glad. I needed my space, especially if going for a long time. How long would I be there? I had no idea.
I cancelled my return ticket without buying a new one.
I Need A Mover!
A few days later, I realized that I might as well take some things with me to BC. I’d originally planned to take no furniture, but if the proceeds from the sale weren’t in my pocket, and I didn’t know long it would take to sell, I didn’t want to be shelling thousands and thousands of dollars for new furniture. So I googled moving across Canada.
The first sites were filled with horror stories: people who’d paid tens of thousands to get their belongings across the country, precious items, lost along the way, shipments held hostage for more money upon arrival, valuable art, disappeared, and on and on. A lot of the problems were because the movers at one end of the country sub-contracted with movers at the other end to get shipments across, hence the hostage situations, missing items, late arrivals, etc, meant little or no accountability.
I walked away from my research, totally disappointed. What was I going to do?
What I usually did with a big problem. I slept on it.
The next morning, I used the internet and found U-Ship.ca. I decided how much I’d take, posted the shipment, and movers sent me quotes. I chose one, mostly because he’d sounded more conscientious, even if another was a bit cheaper.
It took two weeks, but with the help of some furniture from my youngest and what I brought with me, I am now living a minimalist existence and getting to know my grandchildren – not to mention my own children – better. Although I live in a different town than before, I am, once again, in the Okanagan Valley. Full circle.
Sometimes, I feel a bit off-kilter, and a bit like I never left and haven’t lived in Montreal for the last sixteen years. But deep down? I push away the occasional burst of fear. I know the right decision was made. I’m just not sure how big of a part I played in it.
Featured photo was taken from my bedroom window. The lake is Okanagan Lake. The mountains are still full of an unusual amount of precipitation. But down here, the grass is turning green. And I’m already planning the baskets for my deck.