On big cities and the smallest city

Say It Like It Is column, by Kathleen Saylors, April 28 Boundary Creek Times.

Having just moved here, I get asked why I chose Greenwood pretty often. My answer—I moved here for my job —always seems to surprise them.

I’d lived in Ontario my whole life, first in a suburb of Toronto. There wasn’t much of anything to do in Brampton, but I was always about 45 minutes on the train away from great food and the bustle of a big city. But on the other hand, I was also perpetually stuck in traffic and I could go a year at a time without seeing actual stars in a night sky if I wasn’t careful.

Shortly thereafter, I moved to Ottawa. I got my chance to immerse myself in everything the nation’s capital has to offer: the best museums, art galleries, and a commute that took me right past Parliament every day. There was a lot to love about Ottawa … but my non-existent French skills and the number of fully staffed news outlets (you couldn’t throw a stone downtown without hitting a newsroom window) made living there difficult.

I started thinking seriously about where I wanted to spend the next several years of my life. I needed to work somewhere, so it might as well not be where I’d spent my whole life so far.

I’d been around Ontario, and nowhere seemed to grab me. I nixed the Prairies because of the winters, and I’d never wanted to live out east. I started thinking seriously about a move to B.C.—after all, what was stopping me? If there was ever a time to move cross-country, now was it. I’d always admired the mountains (like pretty much everyone else) and from what I’d read online, Greenwood seemed like a pretty good place to live. It was a small town, but I’d never been especially in love with living in big cities. So I decided to give it a shot.

I’d only been out this way once in my life to date (I spent the entire month working in Vancouver), and never to the interior of B.C. I’d also never lived in a small town, but that was about to change. How job hunting has changed in the digital age: from the comfort of my apartment in Ottawa, I found, applied for and accepted a job in B.C.

People told me I was crazy, that moving this far was going to be more trouble than it was worth, that I’d be moving home three months in, homesick. That could all still be true, but somehow I doubt it. Sure, I’ll miss home sometimes. But that’s what plane tickets, my mother’s apple crisp recipe and a telephone are for.

For now, I’m content to be right where I am. It’s different, but the people are lovely—you all have been so welcoming—and I’m still not over the view from my window, or the drive through the mountains every day. After being here only three weeks, I can say for sure it’s going to be hard to go back to smoggy, crowded Ontario.

The opportunities to pick up your life and start somewhere new are relatively few and far between, especially with a job waiting for you. I figured I better take this one, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed.


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