Saturday, November 18, 2006

Home

I just went to the biggest Wal*Mart in Canada. Well, technically it's tied with two others, but still. THE BIGGEST WAL*MART IN CANADA.

I just moved to what some consider a "smaller town", and the biggest Wal*Mart in Canada just opened here. What on earth do they need something that big for here?

When I first started coming here four years ago to spend the summer, it was still somewhat of a smaller town, cute streets, not quite suburbia. Wheatfields and cornfields around the outskirts of town. But the convenience was you could drive ten minutes to the south and hit city and all of the conveniences that that provides.

Then my next summer, south suburbia was creeping in. Some farmers' fields were gone and replaced by fields of houses upon houses upon houses. Every year it increased. It's growing more so now. Blah. Right now I'm at the library at what was once I think the edge of town, and directly outside the window in front of me behind the computer I'm sitting at, I can see several half-built houses in various stages of completion.

It takes longer to drive anywhere, there are people everywhere.

I'm not so sure this town's slogan of "Country Close to the City" is so apt any more.

Since moving here I've been trying to figure out how exactly I fit into this place. It's changed so much it's not the town or area that I fondly remembered.

A friend asked me this week what province I would choose to live in if I had that choice. I suppose we always do have that choice, but I did think about it for awhile. Having lived in four provinces, one territory, and two states, I've had a bit more experience living elsewhere than most others I know. I don't think I'd choose to move to a province I haven't lived in as my first choice. And I wouldn't pick Alberta. Ontario is has a lot of my favourite people and many good friends, but it still isn't home (sometimes I wonder if it will be). Saskatchewan was of course my birthplace and where I spend the first ten years of life, and returned for 5.5 years of schooling later on, but it was time to move on. I spent eight and half years in Manitoba, and sometimes I do miss it's endless fields, flat lands, and how you can see forever. But I'm not sure exactly what it would be like to return.

I've been thinking lately about what is it that people choose to move somewhere for when they really have the choice? Is it that they want to return to their childhood ideal of an area like the one that they lived in, or is it that they are searching for the complete polar opposite? They choose the country because they lived in the country (or city becuase of city), or they choose city because they lived in the country (or vice versa)... I suppose it's different for everyone.

The photo at the top of this entry is a self-portrait I took in Saskatchewan, in early September 2003. It encompassed for me, much of what I loved about that time period and Saskatchewan and somewhat of being trapped in or between two worlds. I knew that I was on the brink of change... beginning my last year of post-secondary education and not quite sure of what was to come after that, and at the same time having finished a complicated but wonderful summer.

The concept of "home" has always been an important one to me. Now, three years and a bit after that photograph was taken, I wonder really how much closer I am to finding it. Or creating it? Or is it possible that one can exist and never really find a true home in life? Or is the concept of home a fleeting ethereal one of sorts?

2 comments:

Neely said...

Hmm, not Alberta huh?

It's interesting that our generation is so mobile; the freedom we have today to just pick up and move across the country is astounding. I hope you are able to find 'home on earth' wherever it is :)

Marco said...

Michelle, those are good questions -- many of us have the same questions and have not yet found answers. I heard one person say that "home" is more connected to language than geography. I guess that's more applicable when the languages between your various "home" cultures are also different, but maybe "language" doesn't so much mean English, Spanish, French... but more like where there is a deeper communication with your surroundings.

But yeah, I think it's fair to say that some of us never find a "real" home.