Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh Canada!

It’s official. We are moving to Vancouver, BC—sort of. While we’ve already taken a number of steps to realize such a move, we’ve yet to really say out loud that, yes, we are moving. I’m not sure if this move started last year when we all gave voice to this desired outcome, or if it started way before then when Jim and I would occasionally joke about one day moving to Canada. I’m sure having planted that little zygote of a thought all those years ago was influential in the sense that it finally prompted Jim to apply for his citizenship, which he was entitled to as a result of his mother being Canadian. We had no agenda when we started  taking all these little steps many years ago, and perhaps it would still be just a little bonus tucked away in our back pocket had we not uprooted ourselves last year and moved to France. That time away not only provided the luxury of getting out of our daily routines but allowed us to think more clearly about how and where we wanted to direct our lives. We enjoyed a reprieve from all the chatter and white-noise that distracts us from carving out the time to think about where we are and where we want to go. I’m sure you know the feeling. It’s so easy to get caught up in the flotsam and jetsam of life and much more difficult to hit the pause button long enough to make adjustments. Our three months in Paris was definitely about hitting the pause and reset buttons and it’s really quite extraordinary to think about how differently our lives will soon look as a result.  I will also be the first to advocate for leaving one’s home turf and gaining some perspective by living abroad. Our time outside the states gave us the opportunity to more clearly assess what the educational realities were for the boys not just for secondary school but for their university education as well. It became readily apparent that their goals exceeded what was available to them in our current home town. We figured if they were willing to think beyond their own borders, why couldn’t we? And thus began our exploration of schools and universities in Canada.
The “sort of” part of this move is that while we will be living in Vancouver and the boys will be attending school there, we are also maintaining our home and businesses here in Eugene. We’ve spent too many years investing in our community to just cut our ties completely.  We will be straddling the border and planting one foot in each country. I know this would never work for some people, but for whatever reason I am completely nonplussed about living in two places. We absolutely intend on making Vancouver feel like home, but we’ll have the added benefit of being able to retreat back to our familiar home as needed. Jim and I will take turns spending time in Eugene to oversee the continued operation of our businesses, which is the only real downside to this whole new adventure. We are fortunate to have employees and managers in each of our stores to keep the day-to-day operations going, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Probably the most interesting part about actually making this move a reality is witnessing people’s responses. We’ve encountered everything from enthusiastic support to head-scratching. Interestingly enough our most encouraging words come from those who have traveled extensively while the most resistance comes from those with fewer travel miles beneath their belts. Not so very surprising when you think about, but interesting nonetheless.
I honestly have no agenda or pre-conceived notion about how this will all shake out, which makes it a little anti-climactic.  Not that I’m not excited to be living in what is considered one of the world’s most livable cities. I’m stoked, but because I don’t feel like I am escaping anything or need a major change just for the jolt, it doesn’t have the energy behind it that one might imagine.  If anything, I feel exceedingly grateful that we have this option. It’s one of those things that you hear people make idle threats about doing, and here we are actually DOING it. So thank you to Canada for heavily recruiting Ukrainian immigrants in the early 1900s and thank you to Olena Grykuliak (Jim’s mum) for always maintaining her ties to Canada and never giving up her Canadian citizenship, even though she’s lived most of her life in the states; and thank you to Canada for recognizing that the off-spring of Canadian born citizens might want to return to their familial homeland one day; and thank you to everyone in Canada who we’ve worked with to make this transition possible-- your kindness and help and humanity remind us with every encounter that this is all worthwhile.