This summer we were fortunate enough to visit family in Canada. We hopped a plane to Toronto from London...I'm not going to lie, the prospect of a 7 hour flight with a 6 & 2 year old was not exactly thrilling but they were angels. Seriously - total angels! We had lots of food, a couple of glasses of wine (not the kids obviously), some strong coffee, a ton of Disney and suddenly we were touching down in this vibrant city. As soon as we disembarked I had a wish that I'd visited before children - we would've had so much fun!!
A yummy dinner, a good sleep & before you knew it we were greeted with a new day. We took a quick wander round the city...a little spy of the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre (Go Jays!), Ripley's Aquarium, the cool orange signs, the immaculately clean streets...I could go on. As we stepped I looked at my girls and thought how lucky we were to be sharing this moment together. Such a cool trip & it had barely begun.
Later that day we jumped in our hire car and headed towards Lake Huron. 3 hours zoomed past and finally we arrived at a little piece of heaven. Have you ever found somewhere and immediately felt at home? As if all those times of questioning where you fit in, why you've always felt the odd one out, suddenly seemed to dissipate. It was incredibly freeing, in fact it made me quite emotional. Now, before anyone says it, I'll do it for you...we were witnessing Canada (Lake Huron to be exact) in all its blissful summer glory. I know that come winter this place transforms into a sub zero winter wonderland...but perhaps with less of the wonder if you've endured Canadian winters for a lifetime! But, despite those nagging thoughts in the back of my mind, I loved it. I adored how polite people were, the extraordinary level of kindness extended to us, how welcome we felt (despite our British accents - trust me, that isn't always the case when you travel) and the relaxed nature we continually encountered.
During our stay we went to a Celtic Music Festival...one of the beautiful things about Canada is the diverse community. So many families travelled far & wide to North America, to settle, to make it their home. It's what my family did - Irish born but London based, my relatives left for a better life and they found it. For 40 years they have carved out careers, relationships, homes...a new way of living that they have fully & unquestionably embraced, but their Irish roots remain apart of who they are. I saw that history of birth running through the veins of the towns I visited. The Celtic traditions: the music, song, poetry, was evident to see and hear. It was, without sounding crass, magical. All these many nationalities embedded together under one flag, it made me feel proud to be there...& made me feel a million miles away from all the negativity, hate filled problems Brexit has caused in the place I call home. It made me want to stay there forever.
My aunt described it as a 'kinder community'...as a parent of a child who faces the potential of a lifetime of challenges and obstacles, this was deeply appealing. I'm sure if there are any Canadians reading this they will think I'm being too idealistic or viewing their country with rose tinted glasses, and maybe I am but something about it clicked. It felt right. And surely that's what it's all about, finding somewhere that you feel passionately about.
So what now? Do we take the plunge and try a new life? I'm certainly nervous at the prospect, the million and one things I would need to do to make it happen but if there is even the slightest hint that we could give my girls, Bean especially, a kinder and more understanding future then I want to grab hold of that & not let go. It's hard for others to understand that...unless you have a loved one who has an uncertain future then all this might seem silly but I know that we have to do everything & anything in our power to improve and enhance our lives but more importantly the future for our girls.
So...although nothing is certain yet, I hope we have the opportunity to try something new & give us all reasons to be positive for the future.