For 24 years I always lived in my home province of New Brunswick. Population: 730,000.
I grew up in a town of 16,000 people.
In high school I moved to a city of 100,000.
At 18 years of age, I moved to a city of 60,000. It was a mere 160km away, or a 90 minute drive.
Six months ago I moved to Toronto, 1200km away and home to 5.5 million.
It’s been 191 days since I was last home to my small Atlantic province. The longest I’ve gone in all my 24 years.
After 6 months away in a bustling urban centre, I thought my small home city would seem too dull. Too small. Too ugly.
But you know what? It’s still home.
It’s where my mom’s raunchy sense of humour is.
My favourite furry poodle and wet poodle nose (who still busts through my door at 7am every morning).
It’s where you fall into conversations with people walking their dogs along trails.
Where you can go anywhere and see a familiar face.
A place where you don’t have to fight your way through the sidewalks, but go at your own pace.
Where baristas take your order without a snooty face.
Where bacon is always fully stocked in my mother’s fridge. Perfect for maple bacon oatmeal with fried eggs.
Along with the expensive ezekiel bread I love but can’t afford.
Home is where even after torturously bathing and clipping my dog, he’s still ready to be my best friend a mere 15 minutes after being dried.
It’s where the haddock is fresh and flavourful.
And lobster rolls are a weeknight dinner.
My friends and co-workers in Toronto keep asking me if I’m actually going back after Christmas because I miss my hometown in the Maritimes so much.
The answer is yes, I’ll reluctantly return. But I’m now officially back to plotting operation Grand Theft Poodle.