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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Just over one year ago, I made the decision to move from my small home province to the country’s largest city.

I’d been living in my university city for six years. It was a great place for school, but it was not a good fit for me as I transitioned into being a working adult. Actually, it suffocated me.

When I left both my “real job” as a radio reporter and a long-term relationship last winter, my back-up plan was to move back home. You see, I left my hometown two weeks after my high school graduation and haven’t lived there since. Even though my university city was only 90 minutes away, I never made it back there for much longer than the requisite four short visits a year.

But when my friends in Toronto contacted me about my moving in with them in Toronto, it seemed like just the adventure I needed. Anyone who knows me in real life was surprised by the decision. I’ve always been the girl who wanted to stick close to home. I’m not a big city person. I take risks, but never those that have big consequences.

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I arrived in Toronto in July after a month of travelling to Banff and Ottawa. My sense of adventure was at an all time high. I remained open minded about the experience. Maybe I’d love it and want to stay forever. Maybe I’d get the itch to move on after a year and continue my way across the country – or even overseas!

My first four months in the city were amazing. I adjusted quickly, finding work easily. Work that I really enjoyed. I already had a great group of friends I knew from university, and met new ones through blogging. I became a part of the city’s pulse. I realized why Torontonians think they’re the centre of the universe. The city has so much to offer and so much excitement, there’s no need to look elsewhere for anything else.

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But after four months, the honeymoon period started to wear off. Even though I adapted to the city quickly, I still felt like an outsider just pretending like I belonged there.

I started daydreaming about moving out West among the mountains. Maybe Vancouver. Or back to Banff. My mind even wandered all the way to Scotland. Which apparently has a decent number of personal training jobs to offer.

But when I turned my mind off and listened to my gut, my heart, and my instincts, I knew I still belonged back home. In the city I left seven years ago. With my mom, my dad, my Nana, my step-siblings and poodle.

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The three weeks I spent back in Moncton over Christmas only solidified that for me. I could daydream about living elsewhere, but in the end I truly believe that I am happiest and most in my element when I am home. I need a break from forcing myself to do things because I think they will be good life lessons or learning experiences for me. I want to make decisions based on what I am most comfortable with. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at it as the “easy way out” but come to terms with it being what will make me the most happy. For now anyways.

I remember having a conversation with my cousins when I first moved to Toronto about being displaced Maritmers in the “big city.” They were talking about how they didn’t want to move home because then it would feel like they failed at whatever they were trying to accomplish in Toronto.

I definitely do not feel like a failure. Following your heart is definitely a brave thing to do. I feel a little boring for not moving on to another adventure somewhere else in the world. But in my mind moving back home is an adventure. And will certainly be challenging.

For one thing, I’m moving to the small town where I grew up just across the river from Moncton. 5.5 million people to 16,000. I’ll be living with my dad on the street I grew up on. I haven’t lived with my father since my parents separated when I was 11 years old. I love my mom to pieces, but I’m stoked to spend time with my old man again.

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I’ll also be living with my little sister, her partner, and my brand new nephew Cole. I only hope my arm heals soon so I can hold him!

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All of this will be happening in about three weeks. I was hoping to work at my Toronto jobs up until the end of March. But then the accident happened, leaving me unable to work as a trainer or in my physical retail job for several weeks. I should be getting the cast off in Ottawa in a couple weeks, then starting the long process of learning how to move my arm again with physiotherapy back home.

My original plan was to continue working at the running store and start my own training business once I got home. But the accident has changed that. Or at least indefinitely postponed that. Right now I’m reverting to the only thing left I am trained professionally to do – write. Living at home will at least give me extra room financially to figure it out.

So there is my very long explanation of why I quit both my jobs last week. Why I’ve been Tweeting  about getting a moving truck. Why I have a Toronto bucket list and such a driving motivation to eat brunch at every restaurant in my Toronto neighbourhood so soon.

I am SO excited about being home again. Hanging out with my family and old friends. Living among the mountains for the summer would have been nice, but being at my cottage on the Atlantic waters all summer is something I always dream of.

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Oh, and my dad has an amazing kitchen. I can’t wait to get in there and start cooking for my loved ones. I can’t wait to go hiking in Fundy. To eat cinnamon buns in Alma and lobster in Shediac.To go swimming in the Northumberland. I can’t wait to be amongst Maritimers again. My people. Laid back, easy going people.

I do not regret moving to Toronto one bit. I still maintain it’s the best decision I ever made. I experienced so much while there. And it taught my just how great my home actually is.

When I was leaving my mother’s house in January to return to Toronto after the Christmas break, she said to me “This isn’t right. You shouldn’t be the one leaving. You belong here!”

And I couldn’t agree more.

191 Days.

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.

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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.

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It’s where my mom’s raunchy sense of humour is.

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My favourite furry poodle and wet poodle nose (who still busts through my door at 7am every morning).

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It’s where you fall into conversations with people walking their dogs along trails.

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Where you can go anywhere and see a familiar face.

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A place where you don’t have to fight your way through the sidewalks, but go at your own pace.

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Where baristas take your order without a snooty face.

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Where bacon is always fully stocked in my mother’s fridge. Perfect for maple bacon oatmeal with fried eggs.

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Along with the expensive ezekiel bread I love but can’t afford.

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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.

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It’s where the haddock is fresh and flavourful.

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And lobster rolls are a weeknight dinner.

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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.

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Things I Learned: November Edition

A simple cone filter really does make the best coffee. Better than a French press!

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I need not be afraid of butter. It makes everything taste uh-mazing.

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Well, almost amazing. I also need to double and triple-check recipes. Adding twice the amount of butter to a bread recipe will leave you with a flat, dense, and crusty loaf.

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But there are always ways to redeem myself and turn a #bakingfail into a #bakingwin :)

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Ham & cheese can make anything taste good!

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Fish tacos, where have you been all my life??

Jack Russell Terriers may be small, but I think they can out-run me.

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Blog friends are the bestest.

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I agree with Janetha, we all need to move to an island together.

Do not drink a giant mug of coffee before a yoga class. And if you do, make sure you have access to a washroom close to the studio.

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Working at a running store has become a great way to unload unwanted sweets from my kitchen. Give a group of hungry runners 20 chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and they will have them demolished in less than two hours.

You can never have too many running shoes.

Especially when a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 2 & Brooks Ghost 2 shoes only cost you $25 each. Did I mention I love my job?

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Turkey + cranberry + stuffing makes for an awesome sandwich filling…

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…but only when using real leftovers. Sliced turkey, mayonnaise and stuffing that isn’t my mom’s just doesn’t have the same flavour.

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Working 7 hours on your feet and walking a mile to work still doesn’t equal 10,000 steps.

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But little things, like walking to the grocery store and getting off the bus a stop early surprisingly add up!!

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Yoga, in my humble opinion, is one of the best ways to experience a new city. Better than a tour bus, and more relaxing too.

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Chinese food really is better on the West Coast.

Six months is too long to go without travelling home. I miss my hometown, no matter how small, ugly or boring it may be.

Toronto really does stink. I still haven’t adjusted to the air quality here and find running in the pollution much harder than expected. I miss the fresh air!

And I miss the snow. I wake up every morning hoping to see a white winterland outside. I had no idea I was so attached to the stuff!

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Finally, I learned that while I may not have left my heart in San Francisco, I definitely left it on the West Coast. This East Coast gal still has some exploring to do.

Question of the Day: What did you learn in November?

Don’t forget!!
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