The Worst of Times

Frozen Burrard Inlet

It seems appropriate, in the grim long days of February, to talk about when emigration is at its worst.  Is it the first confusing, jet lagged days? Or when you realise you haven’t had a coffee with your best friend for 2 months? Or when you start to lose your starry, open-mouthed wonder at everything new?  Here’s my opinion…

We had excellent advice from our friends Frank and Sue Gerryts, realtors and relocation agents (, who suggested we stay at Rosellen Suites, right by Stanley Park, when we first arrived.  We took a suite for a month, and that gave us the breathing space we needed to find a house.  It was a holiday, but scary.  A holiday with real life thrown in.

Then the first six months – still a holiday feeling, but more scary as the months keep rolling by and the money keeps rolling out.  Starting to miss friends and family, but excited by all the new stuff to be discovered.  Realising that the kids have settled quicker than you, and you might be passing the point of no return.

Then the upswing – a job! New friends! Summer! So much to see and do and so much fun to have!  First visitors!

But the hardest by far, for us at least, was Year 2.  When the shine has worn off, and the little annoyances have been chafing like sand in your shorts for a while, when real life has reestablished itself, and you realise that you are no longer on holiday.  You may be surrounded by Super, Natural British Columbia, but you haven’t got time to get out and see it because you have too much work, commitments to school and kid’s clubs and your new social network.

So now what?  Well, the same old story – balance.  Emigration is about swings of great joy and deep loneliness; wonder and panic; confidence and doubt.  Gradually, the balance is restored, as work and home become manageable, and the wonder reasserts itself.  Remind yourself, you would be managing the same issues if you had stayed in the UK, but you have challenged yourself further than anyone who stayed.  You have disrupted the old familiar routine, thrown it all up in the air and made something new.  It takes time to settle and find peace again.  Be kind to yourself.


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