Moving our whole lives from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Where do I even begin the story of the biggest change and adventure of our lives? I suppose it really all began when my husband and I met, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll skip over the early years of our romance and save that story for another time.
When the pandemic began, our son was only a few months old and we were living in our beautiful heritage house on Vancouver Island and we had a plan to keep our roots close to home and close to our family for the sake of our son. But, like so many other people we knew, I began to feel the stress of isolation: isolation from the outside world, from new mom groups and play dates, and from our own family. My husband, though, was a different story. He, being a delivery driver, was working 12 – 14 hours a day, six days a week. And while he was working, he saw people flagrantly opposing the lockdown and the distancing rules that all the rest of us were following, all while delivering unnecessary luxuries to those who were fortunate enough to work from home. Needless to say, with each passing day, he would return home in a worse and worse mood and I could tell that we were both nearing our breaking point.
Months went by and our little boy hardly saw any of his family; his grandparents were all but strangers to him and, although we were socially distancing from everyone, we still could not ask for anyone’s help and my husband and I were slowly taking our frustrations out on each other. Sometime around January of 2021, after yet another fight and another toddler tantrum and another mess to clean up, we both agreed that what we had been doing for all these months was no longer working. That’s when we started thinking about how we’d right the situation.
For many years we had discussed moving somewhere else. There were so many places that were on our shortlist and our longlist of locations, but the circumstances were now different: we had a son and my husband wanted to go to university to fulfill his dream. The latter detail immediately eliminated most of the Kootneys of British Columbia, a place we both had fallen in love with when we explored the area on a road trip in 2018 (the last great adventure pre-baby!). It also eliminated most of the East Coast of Canada, another place we, but mostly I, have been fantasying about for years. What did that leave us with?
I’ll be honest, I never once thought about living in Saskatchewan. I had heard the stories from all the people who left and, believe me, there are A LOT of people on Vancouver Island who fled from Saskatchewan to live the Island life. “The winters…,” they would say and, “the bugs!” Those words were never said in the positive, always in the negative. It was enough for me to write off the entire province as a destination. So, imagine my shock when my husband threw Saskatoon into the mix. I remember I laughed. “We’re not moving to Saskatoon,” I said. “What about Calgary?”
Now, I like Calgary. I like Calgary a lot! Those mountain views, the foothills, the stampede. I love it all. But, Saskatoon? I knew nothing about the city except for the berry it takes its name from, and I knew it was cold. Very cold. Like colder than Russia sometimes cold. How could my husband even consider moving there? Surely, he must be joking.
Well, don’t ask me how it happened, but he convinced me to take a week long trip out there in the middle of winter and, to my shock, I loved it. I went in with an open mind, knowing that we didn’t have many options, but I was still pulling for Calgary. But, after spending five days walking through the beautiful parks, seeing all the other young people with kids and all of the family friendly activities, I began to see the appeal. In fact, I was awestruck by the city’s beauty.
And, the rest is history. Okay, not really. The rest is that we sold our beloved century old house with all its character back on the Island, we left all of our family and friends (seriously, all of them!) and we took a HUGE leap of faith all for the sake of our family. And the truth is, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. When we were faced with the question of what would be best for our family, really what would be best for our son, it wasn’t difficult to make the decision to uproot our entire lives and move to a completely unknown city without any friends or family. What was difficult was letting go of everything we thought we knew about ourselves and the life we had made to together. We are still the same people, but now we’re trying to figure out just exactly who we are.