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Pat Dryburgh

In a little less than a month, I will be packing my belongings into the back of my Toyota 4Runner and making my way east from my current home in Vancouver, British Columbia back to my hometown near London, Ontario.

I first moved to Vancouver in 2012 for a job and moved back to Ontario in 2013 to be with Mom. When she passed in 2014, it was only a matter of time (246 days, to be exact) before I would move back to Vancouver. I’m not sure my reasons for moving back to Vancouver were entirely logical. I just knew I loved BC and wanted to get away from the grief I was feeling in Ontario.

(As it turns out, grief isn’t limited by geography 😄)

These last 5 years in BC have had their ups and downs. I fell in love for the first time in a long time, got engaged, then wound up single again. I worked on a number of amazing projects and a couple less-than-amazing ones. I made a few new friends and lost a few others. I got to live in Uganda for 6 months, an opportunity that only presented itself because I was living and working in Vancouver.

I was lucky to be able to return home often for holidays and summer workations, and once to attend a dear friend’s funeral. Being able to fly home at a moment’s notice made being so far away from the people I love somewhat tolerable.

As soon as the country went into lockdown in March, I knew flying home was not going to be possible for a very, very long time. It was clear that I needed to move home to be closer to my family.

I wasn’t sure when or how I would move and uncertainty around SARS-COV-2 meant I had to wait until I knew I could travel safely. I’ve been planning my strategy through the summer and think that by preparing meals ahead of my departure, camping in my tent along the way, and limiting my exposure to other people to only when I am buying gas and can’t pay at the pump, I should be able to avoid unnecessary contact with people.

I’m excited to be closer to family again, to be able to help my father with chores and errands, to spend time with my brother and his wife and their daughter, and to only be a day’s drive instead of a day’s flight away from my sister and her fiancé.

With the way things are now, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to visit BC. I know I will miss the mountains and the ocean, Lynn Canyon and Sloquet Hot Springs, I will really miss the few friends I still have here, and—of course—I’ll miss the sushi.

I am hopeful there is still time to see people before I go (I’ve only seen two friends in person since March and am open to socially-distanced outdoor hangouts) and that one day soon I will be able to visit this beautiful province—my second home—again.

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