Reflections on returning home

The only way I can sum up the experience is “familiar but no longer home”. Back in mid April I made my first journey back to the UK since relocating to Canada. The trip was built around a family wedding and offered a chance to catch up with both family and friends. It was over three and a half years since Maidstone was swapped for Metro Vancouver. Many challenges had been faced and overcome in Canada, stability had arrived and the BC way of life was becoming the norm. Was I ready for a return to the old country? I really wasn’t sure.

The actual journey from Canada to the UK was as smooth as could ever be expected and the afternoon after leaving YVR the BC Brit family were heading to Devon for a few days R&R where my family live.

It didn’t take long to get back in to the swing of sitting right, driving on the left. Oh, and how good to see real car design again, not the garbage that is often found this side of the Atlantic.

The weather in Devon and throughout the 2 weeks was wonderful. Summer in April. Beach BBQ, and shorts all the way. We’d left Vancouver amid torrential rain and low temperatures. Having packed for poor weather an emergency summer wear shop was required to make sure I was appropriately kitted out. I certainly wasn’t expecting that to be the case.

It was great to see family again. As was to be expected, 3.5 years made a visible difference to everyone we saw.

The reason for the trip to the UK in the first place was to attend a family wedding, which we duly did. And it was an Essex wedding.

Next stop was back to our former home, Maidstone. That’s where “familiar but no longer home” popped in to my mind.

The town was looking a bit frayed around the edges in places. The global recession has hit the UK harder than BC., Canada, and it shows. What really struck me was the difference in people’s attitudes. Maybe not family and friends, but folks you met in shops or on the street. The only way I can describe it is somewhat down. The hangdog feeling was more evident in the South East. Woolacombe (Devon) as a tourist resort is probably more of an unnatural environment and as such didn’t appear as gloomy.

Although the family enjoyed the visit, we were pleased to come home. And home is BC. The last 3.5+ years have gradually opened out to bring a better quality of life than we were experiencing in the UK. Of course this isn’t utopia, life has its up’s and down’s. The difference here is that mountains, space and on the whole a more positive attitude exist.


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