Almost exactly a year ago I was sat in a tent in southeast England half way through a mountain bike race feeling completely dumbfounded. I went to the next tent to see a friend, told him everything and cried a little with joy, excitement, nerves, fear and a whole bunch of other emotions. On the Monday morning I went into work and told my boss that I was leaving, that I had just received a job offer and work permit in Canada.
It was the final major hurdle in a move which seemed to take forever but, looking back, was lightening quick. It’s also one of a series of anniversaries that have already got me staring into the bottom of a beer glass, thinking: “What the hell just happened?”* The year since I got that phone call in that tent has been the fastest, most exciting, most positive year in my (our) lives for a very long time. Looking back is almost frightening. Was that us, doing this or that, so recently? There was noting wrong with our lives before; but after a few years of v1.0 of being a grown up it was time to rejig and try again. So far so good.
It has all been thrown into sharp relief this past weekend with a seventh birthday and our first all Canadian Canada Day. Back home, I cannot imagine the boy asking for nothing but a skateboard, a full face helmet and a BMX for his birthday. Or for a birthday party at the BMX track. On the off-chance that had happened, I cannot imagine the BMX club agreeing to let us use the track and I cannot imagine 25 kids showing up. We knew it before we moved, but this is what it looks like in its day-to-day reality – people here just love being outside and being active. And it makes life so much… bouncier?
Yup, the guy on the right is way cooler. Damn kids.
Two days later and Canada Day hits us. Hard. Hot sunshine. A parade that must have included almost every business and organization on the North Shore. Free candy! An afternoon in the pool. Jumping in at the deep end for the first time. Kids from all over the world playing together. A barbecue for everyone in the complex and anyone else that fancied joining in. Marshmallows on the barbecue for every kid in hollering distance. Our two very tired, very happy kids snuggling down to sleep.
We got lucky. v2.0 of being a grown up seems to be working, but now I feel like I will never be able to justify the story of how four very British Brits got from a tent in England to this kitchen table in North Vancouver with such big smiles on our faces so quickly.**
*Be warned: this is likely to be one if many very reflective posts as a whole host of one-year anniversaries approach
** Be warned again: I may well try to tell the story. A lot. For a long time. To those of you who I meet in 40 years’ time and repeat the story to I can only apologize.