• Go to university.
  • While not looking for a boyfriend, meet a guy.

  • Be friends together; rock climb, hike, trail run, hang out, decide to date.
  • Get married!
  • Realize along the way that one of us is Canadian and the other American and that it's easier to immigrate north (especially when you are young, volunteering, and each have no income). Plus, there's the health care (again, we have no money). ;)

- - - - - - - - - -

It's been almost 5 years since I drove a van full of our possessions across the border of Montana and Alberta at 11 pm and immigrated to Canada. Although Mikey and I always knew we would likely settle north of the border, we didn't think it would happen so fast, but his caner diagnosis five months after our marriage cut our time in Washington state short and north we went. To be honest, I always had a feeling that I would move away from home and have essentially been away since I graduated high school, spending summers working outside at different camps and choosing to go to university in British Columbia.

But the process of moving *really* away from family and living in another country (albeit still North America) has been a wonderful, hard, and interesting process. So here's "A Day in the Life: A Californian in Calgary."

[Miss my first installment? Catch up on "A Day in the Life: A Wife" here!]

There's a lot I could say on this topic so I thought today I'd give it to you Lindsay and Janetha style (aka in list form!), beginning with:

Family:

  • You know what's tough? Being away from family. This is probably the hardest part for me, but it's more on my mind after a recent family vacation and due to the fact that as I age, family becomes more and more important to me. It was more of an adventure to be away at first, and we were going through such a crazy time adjusting to chemo treatments and hospital visits for Mikey that we just jumped into life and rode it out. There wasn't much time to process the move and change but things didn't feel too different because I had been to school in Canada too. But it's hard to be away from the goings-on with extended family members and just missing the day-to-day events with my mom, and dad (and perhaps even the crazy antics of my brother too). ;)

  • However, there is a pro to this. I've loved getting to know Mikey's family and taking part in their family traditions and daily events too. We've lived with Mikey's parents 3 times (this currently being the third time) and I don't think I ever anticipated being so close to them. But the events we've gone through together have made us vulnerable, honest, and real with one another and we are so grateful for their generosity and hospitality. Plus, being away from my family makes me appreciate them more! I really do think absence makes the heart grow fonder. And I can't WAIT until September when my cousin Becky (who was like my sister growing up) gets married to her Spanish man, Gerar.

Friends:

  • It's tough to stay close with people over long distances as my life changes and their lives do too. There really are only a few people in California who I stay in contact with as we've drifted apart some. In some ways this makes me sad but at the same time I do think there are different seasons for friends and sometimes it's okay to let life and friendships happen. I'm a terrible phone person (literally the ONLY person I phone is my mom!) and I know I need to make more of an effort to connect with people who are not only in California but in Washington, B.C., other provinces in Canada, and around the globe (I am blessed with amazing friends all over!).

On the other hand, moving here has forced Mikey and I to get out of our comfort zones and get to know others. It's been so neat to watch our community grow and the people we're involved with become such loyal, kind, loving friends. Our "Fat Tuesday" group is our once-a-week time of connection and those are the people we know are always there for us in prayer, for felt needs we have, and for cheering us up. ALL of our friends, both in Calgary and abroad, have proven to be huge supports to us; we truly are blessed.

Stores:

  • Alright, this is not as deep or as important, but I MISS Target, Trader Joe's and good (cheap) department stores! Everything from wine to cereal to clothes is more expensive in Canada; when I go home I marvel at the price differences, even being from California (more expensive than other places)! So if you have access to these fine establishments, appreciate them. ;)
  • Not much of a "pro" to this one, except for the fact that there are some iconic Canadian things that are fun to experience, though perhaps less in the way of stores and more in the way of foods. Think: beavertails, poutine, etc! YUM.

Location:

  • I certainly miss the California coast. There's something about the vibe of the west coast that I love and miss and will always feel nostalgic about! The smell of sea air, the Golden Gate Bridge, the access to hiking, to desert explorations, to lakes and mountains - it really is a unique place to be and will always be a big part of who I am!

  • ...but then there is something about the Rockies. MAN they are stunning! If you've seen the Colorado Rockies, they're about as big but much steeper and sharper and less round. Your head is out the window if you're driving through them on Highway 1 and you'll want to get to the top of them if you're hiking in them. If you haven't visited, you've got to come - we've got a place for you, food to eat, and are good tour guides. ;)

This just scratches the surface of some of the differences, but I will say this: only people count. What I miss the most from home is: people! What I love the most about life in Calgary is: people! Community matters. As I've reflected on the feeling of being somewhat uprooted as I've left my family, my home, and my country to be with my man, I'm thankful for community. Mikey learned at a conference this statistic that is backed up by empirical evidence (based on several meta-studies) and we use this quote often in presentations and talks:

"Not having a supportive community is equivalent to smoking one pack of cigarettes a day."

Isn't that unbelievable? So I hope that today, whether you are living where you grew up or somewhere very different, either by choice or not, that you are invested in a community. Even your physical (besides mental, emotional, and spiritual!) life is affected by it. If you're not, take a step out of your comfort zone and get plugged in somewhere - a hobby group, a sports activity club, meet your neighbors, connect at your local church. If you are, be intentional! Love others and pursue that deeper community with them because in the end, even if you're a California girl at heart, all that matters are those around you.

Thanks for stopping by for today's "A Day in the Life" series post! Have a great rest of your Thursday and go love others well. Catch ya on the flip side!

-Bonnie

19 Comments
  1. May 31, 2012 at 22:08
    Reply

    I think you wrote this post for me (at least that's what I'm going to tell myself) - what perfect timing as we get ready to move across the country. Pros & Cons, I know there will be a little of both, I'm just trying to focus on the pros right now and keep the stress level as low as possible!

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:46
      Reply

      That's the best you can do, Heather - and embrace the unknown and trust God in the process! God bless you guys on this new adventure. :)

  2. May 31, 2012 at 22:25
    Reply

    I can relate to your post a lot about moving away from family and making your own community in your new location. I moved from Ontario to Alberta in 2008 to be with my then boyfriend (now husband). Even now, it's still hard to be away from my family and miss out on those things I used to take for granted. While we don't have any family here (his family is in Edmonton), we have each made new friends who have adopted us and included us in many things. It's what you make it :)

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:46
      Reply

      Couldn't have said it better myself. :)

  3. May 31, 2012 at 22:29
    Reply

    Oh man, I'm jealous of your stores in Calgary! I'm in Regina and we have nothing! Not even a lulu. I moved here after growing up in BC and I feel you about missing the coast. My heart belongs near the ocean but the prairies are so beautiful too. Great post Bonnie!

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:45
      Reply

      ...the grass is always greener, hey? ;)

  4. June 1, 2012 at 01:49
    Reply

    Funny how I was thinking of myself AND Heather while reading this post. It's hard when your heart is in two places at once. But I think God blesses us daily with little surprises no matter where we are! As long as we have Him at the center, who cares where we live.

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:45
      Reply

      That's right - Christ's calling is more important than our desires to be in specific places, hey? And I'm so thankful for his NEW mercies EVERY morning; he is faithful!

  5. June 1, 2012 at 04:54
    Reply

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! P.S. I am a former "Alberta Girl" myself. I miss the Rockies!

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:44
      Reply

      Yes, the Rockies are amazing! Come back and visit and we'll connect! :D

  6. June 1, 2012 at 11:32
    Reply

    yes. YES. I cant do anything without my community it varies depending on WHAT Im doing---but for this misfit everything takes a village. xo

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:43
      Reply

      Community - it's such the backbone for everything!

  7. June 1, 2012 at 16:17
    Reply

    I have a lot of the same feelings! I was born and raised in CA, somehow ended up in Boston, and as of 3 months ago, have moved to Calgary and got married. I miss my parents in NY, my friends in Chicago and Seattle, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Dunkin Donuts, and dollar bills. But, I wouldn't trade this for the world because I know there are plenty of wonderful adventures that lie ahead!

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:44
      Reply

      What an interesting story! Much the same for sure. Thanks for sharing a bit of it with me - and cheers to the unknown adventures ahead, Jen! :D

  8. June 1, 2012 at 19:24
    Reply

    Hmm, you seem to have struck a chord here. I, too, read this and thought that you wrote this for me. We've moved a lot already in our 8.5 years together. Each move has had its share of difficulties, but you are totally right when you say that it's all about people. As much as I missed certain things from home (Seattle) when I lived in Virginia (independently owned coffee houses for one!) once I had a group of supportive friends, I was good to go. As we transition to living in Nicaragua I'm more than a little weepy about leaving wonderful friends and family. I'm certain, though, that God has been guiding us and preparing our hearts as well as some hearts in Nicaragua so that we can make new friends. We already have a bundle of kids we love down there, so we just need to add some adults to the mix :) Also, workout related, I haven't worked out regularly in for-EV-er, but I did run (if you can even call it that) twice this week. It was only about 15 minutes each time, but I did it. What kind of workouts do you recommend for someone who hasn't worked out regularly in a long time? Happy Friday, and happy June!

  9. June 3, 2012 at 12:00
    Reply

    great post!I love hearing your story. I lived out west (DENVER) for a little bit a few year ago, and loved the vibe out there. Sometimes I miss. But a Florida girl I could not handle the winters!! xoxo Michelle

    • June 4, 2012 at 04:43
      Reply

      Ahhh Florida to Denver would be a tough move (much like California to Calgary? lol)...the things I do for love. ;)

  10. [...] 2012 in Photos, VFFs, Weekly | No comments In case you missed instalment one (wife!) and two (an immigrant!), check them out before enjoying today’s A Day In the Life: My [...]

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