It is familiar, yet different.
Is this feeling of familiarity a result of us moving to an English-speaking country? Is it because the UK system of government, health care, and views on socialism are similar to my Canadian experience? Or could this familiarity be at a more cellular level?
Bear with me while I explore this thought.
On both sides of my family my ancestors immigrated to Canada from the British Isles; Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. My granddad was born in London in 1904 while his Welsh family was in the process of immigrating to Canada.
Perhaps moving to England is more like coming home for me. It feels right in my bones. Or is that the humidity?*
I have never lived anywhere but Winnipeg, and our Winnipeg house is only a mile from my childhood home. Being in a familiar environment has always been comforting and the thought of moving anywhere far from family and friends brought me mild to extreme waves of anxiety, yet now that I am 3,900 miles from my Winnipeg front door I feel at home.
A few days ago I ventured out to explore Hertford with my youngest. I let my 11-year-old dictate our destinations as I want the kids to become as comfortable with their new town as I am. We got lost, found our way back home, and in the process discovered two more candy stores (we are now up to four and the girls are in sweets heaven), the pet store, a WH Smith bookstore, a fish monger, and of course a castle.
We are in England after all.
On Saturday we went to the town centre farmer’s market, registered with a surgery to get a National Health Services number, searched out a clothes dryer (as stiff undies, t-shirts, and jeans are not as cozy as they sound), and ventured to the metropolis of Welwyn Garden City to get shirts, skirts, shoes, and trousers to complete the girls’ school uniforms.
Oh, and did I mention I DROVE for my first time?
Maybe we should get that NHS number, before I take to the roads again…
*Humidity, damp, rain, and more rain to be explored in a later post, because…England. And rain is a thing here. Just like how Canadians do snow and cold, the English do rain and cool.