So, here we are. The end of the visa, time’s up. (Except not really, I’m still here… and not going anywhere even if I wanted to. Thanks COVID-19.)
It’s been three years now, since I first stepped on British soil and embarked on my journey, navigating my way through different accents and trying to understand why these people have such horrible grammar. Update: I still don’t understand it, I still hate it, and still refuse to say crisps instead of chips.
And yeah, I still love it here, with all its history and quirkiness and cheap travel options. But oh, how I miss home. I miss the ocean, the landscape, the food, the people. I miss the comfort of home.
It’s funny, when you move away from home, how things can unexpectedly trigger memories and things you never found yourself reminiscing about before; you start to miss things you never thought you’d miss. I mean, I never really got the hype over Kraft Dinner ’til I moved to England and couldn’t get it anymore.
And the smallest things can overwhelm you with homesickness, while some random treat from back home can put a smile on your face and give you so much comfort… Sipping Sleeman’s Honey Brown in the sun on the back deck made me feel just a little bit closer to home last weekend. It can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster sometimes, being away from home.
They say home is where the heart is. And most times, mine’s in two different places. I think Miriam Adeney said it best:
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
But right now, my heart’s fully in Nova Scotia. And it’s been heavy.
23 people were killed in a senseless shooting spree in Nova Scotia. Then, just ten days later, a Canadian helicopter goes down in the Mediterranean with two Nova Scotians on it. One of them a great guy from my hometown. And by great, I mean one of those genuinely good people who can put a smile on anyone’s face just by being around him.
As if these two tragedies weren’t enough on their own, we’re also in the middle of a global pandemic. What is 2020 even?
I read this quote the other morning,
“If you’re only given what you can cope with, Nova Scotians must be able to handle a lot.”
and thought, sure, but that’s enough now. K?
Now, I don’t know about you, but this quarantine lockdown stuff is messing with my head. It should be really easy, to stay at home and do nothing. We’re not being shipped off to war, we’re just being told to stay the blazes home. And at first, it was a bit like, sure. This is easy. I’ll catch up on my spring cleaning, or I’ll finally read that book that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand, or hey, let’s try those thousands of Pinterest recipes I’ve been collecting for six years and never actually using.
Fast forward to week 6 (or is it 7? who knows) of the lockdown and here I am staring at the wall thinking about how bloody homesick I am. Which you may not understand, if you’re not living in a different country while this pandemic rages on. But let me tell ya, if there’s one thing that living abroad has taught me, it’s how much you crave home in times of trouble.
It’s hard to believe, but it has been three whole years since I landed here, and somehow I’m longing for home now than I ever have been. Maybe the novelty is wearing off, maybe it’s just these crazy times, or maybe it’s just the fact that I can’t go home now even if I tried, but dang, homesickness sucks.
The worst part of this pandemic for me is not knowing when I’ll get the chance to go home again. I know, I know, it’s not like it’s going anywhere. But one thing that helps being away from the people you love is knowing you’ll see them again soon. Or that you can see them again soon, they’re just a short flight away.
So, to combat this homesickness, I’m making a list of my favourite things about Nova Scotia; everything I’m looking forward to on my next trip home.
1. The Beaches
They say you’re never farther than an hour away from the ocean in NS. I love beaches, they’re my happy place. And NS has tonnes and tonnes of ’em with views of the best sunsets. From the white sands of Carter’s Beach to the pebbly shores of Joggins, Nova Scotia’s thousands of kilometres of coastline are one of the province’s best features. And one of my most missed things since I decided to move to a place in England where I couldn’t be farther from the sea. Oops.
2. The Bay of Fundy – World’s Highest Tides
There’s nothing like a good long walk on the ocean floor, or having a bonfire on the beach while watching the tide go out like someone pulled the plug on the ocean, or river rafting when the strength of the tide coming in creates rapids to have fun in.
3. The Landscape
From the Cape Breton Highlands to the Valley’s vineyards, Nova Scotia has some beautiful natural scenery. The lakes and rivers galore make for plenty of kayaking and swimming or tubing options, and there’s oodles and oodles of hiking trails to get lost on while hunting for waterfalls.
3. The Food
The Maritimes are well-known for their seafood… the UK’s fish and chips are no match for NS lobster and scallops. But it’s not just seafood; Nova Scotia restaurants serve up some of the best grub – no other place can do garlic fingers and donairs like NS.
5. The Pubs
Halifax is rumoured to have the most pubs per capita in all of Canada, where you can find live music ranging from traditional roots to modern tunes. And there’s a special every day of the week… Miss you, Split Crow Power Hour. Every single night you can find at least one bar with drink deals happening.
6. The East Coast Lifestyle
No, I don’t miss seeing East Coast Lifestyle clothing everywhere. I’m referring to the relaxed and laid-back pace of Nova Scotia. The world seems to be more calm there than many places I’ve been. Maybe it’s the clean salt air slowing the pace, or maybe I’m just biased and making it up. Either way, I miss it every day in England, when I’m being tailgated my entire trip no matter where I’m going, or bumped into by people on the streets in a mad rush to get wherever they’re going.
And so, until next time. I’ll be thinking of my next visit to Canada’s Ocean Playground. See you soon, Scotia ♥