This summer would have been my twentieth in Ottawa. Imagine that. In 1990, my parents promised that we would move here "ONLY FOR A YEAR OR TWO, WE PROMISE," and here we are (well, I am, momentarily), twenty years later. Despite living here for more time than I have ever lived anywhere, I have never once called it home. Halifax is home. Heck, Amsterdam and Hong Kong sometimes felt more like home. But now, as we pack the last boxes, dig up the plants we can't bear to leave behind, and get ready to take cheezeball photos of us waving goodbye to this city on our soon to be not-ours front porch, it feels like home. And I'm going to miss it. I have to confess that I have been finding this move-to-montreal thing rather stressful. Not in a hugely oh-woe-is-me sort of way, or as if it's caused me to have anxiety attacks or anything, but they say that moving to a new city is one of the most stressful experiences you can have, other than getting married or divorced or starting a new job, and man, they weren't kidding. I do not recommend giving this a whirl unless you are well and truly serious about standing in a lot of lineups and doing a lot of nailbiting. I especially don't recommend the version of this where you decide to move AND start a new job in that new city at the same time (and just for kicks, throw in a six day vacation with your immediate family about five days before the movers show up). Bonkers is what that is (but the vacation part was delightful. Hi mom! That was fun!).
It hasn't exactly felt real, these last few weeks. I mean, we've been talking to people for ages about this; "we're moving to montreal!" has become the rallying cry for drinks and lots of celebration, hugs, tears, and a fantastic excuse to see favourite friends and people that we haven't seen for a while but it felt remarkably uncelebratory while a mountain of empty boxes invaded our dining room just waiting for some treasured objects to fill them.
In truth, I'm not totally sure I'm ready for this. Not quite at the point where leaving the comfortable confines of our front porch and our quiet familiar streets that I know like the back of my hand feels ok. I mean, rationally, I know that it's going to be all right, but last night while I sat on my sofa, with my terrified cat who couldn't figure out what we did with his cat house and with no lights because they're all packed, it felt less than exciting. Terrifying, might be more like it. And exhausting, too. I really hope that exciting is the stage that comes immediately after the part where I have to sleep in my empty apartment because *apparently* it takes moving companies at at least twenty-four hours to make a two hour drive. That is SOME detour.