An English woman, a Scot and and an Irish woman walk into a pub

moving truck

An English woman, a Scot and and an Irish woman walk into a pub. No really, they did and it’s not the lead into a bad joke, it’s how I researched this post.

For as long as my husband and I have known each other (17 years) we have been talking about moving. We love living on the West Coast but, for my husbands work, opportunities are pretty limited here. First it was Memphis, then Boston, then Seattle and now Ottawa. Or maybe Seattle again. None of these discussions have come to fruition yet but it could happen any day and I want to be prepared. While I completely support him and his choice of work, I have never lived anywhere other than the North Shore of Vancouver (other than a couple of years working in Banff) so it’s safe to say that I’m a bit apprehensive of loading up the moving van and starting over. With a young daughter.

So I asked some friends who have made big moves with children to meet me for a drink so that I can get the skinny on what it takes to move, not just to a new city, but to a new country.

(This is where the joke line comes in)

I have to say, I got a bit more than I bargained for though.  The conversation ran from moving to kids to traditions to religion to shopping and sports and back to moving. As I struggled to keep up with three different accents and three different stories, I got some great insight into what moving with a family is all about. But I also got a bit of a lesson on what it means to be an ex-pat. Each of these three women has moved from the UK to Canada either for work or for a better family lifestyle. “If we didn’t have kids we would still be living in London.” And make no mistake “I am going home (to Scotland) to die.” Clearly they love their home land.

Moving to another city within North America may seem like a momentous change for me, but realistically not a lot would be different. Perhaps some differences in local terms may pop up. For example, on the West Coast you spend the summer at the “cabin” but in the east you spend the summer at the “cottage”. Really, a first world issue. Moving to anther country can bring vast differences. Religion, while for some an important part of life in Canada, is woven into everyones upbringing in the UK. One of my friend’s son hasn’t been baptized yet and she thinks that when her mother finds out that she may just stick him in a sink full of water just to make sure he’s covered.

“You have to do what you have to do”.

While life in Canada has its traditions, hockey for example, nothing can compare to the rich traditions of the British isles. It’s what one of my friends misses the most if she stops to think about it. “Shared history” is something that can not be reproduced when you start fresh in a new place. A ceilidh, I learned, is a traditional social gathering which usually involves Gaelic music and dancing. And telling somebody to “stick it up your jumper” is not a term of endearment. John Lewis is a store not a person. And real hockey isn’t played on ice, it’s played on a field of grass.

“Moving from the UK to Canada was less traumatic than moving from Scotland to England”. So, I learned, it’s not really about how far you move but how different the area you move to is from what you are used to. Yes, things will be different and you will miss the “shared history” of where you have come from but if you go with reservations and close yourself off, it can be horribly lonely. If you go with an open attitude and are willing to put yourself out there and meet people and experience new things, then it becomes an adventure. Especially with kids.

“They will be looking to you for help in adjusting and if you are anxious, then they will be too.”

As usual I have gone into writing this post with one thing in mind and come out with insight into, not only that subject, but far, far more. I have a new respect for these women who have let behind a comfort and history in order to move their families forward. I know that if it comes to that, I will be able to do the same. The Best Thing in Life is having inspiring women to help you along the way.

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7 thoughts on “An English woman, a Scot and and an Irish woman walk into a pub

  1. lovetotrav April 14, 2015 / 3:01 pm

    Best of luck if you do move again. I am busy trying to mentally prepare myself to move from Cobourg (outside TO) to Cairo. I honestly don’t know where to start. Seems so overwhelming… a post that I am trying to write today but am too overwhelmed to make much headway. Have a great day, Cheryl

  2. PositivelyUnbroken April 14, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    I think kids generally follow the lead of the adults in their lives. If you think of it as an adventure, your kids will too. (Well, your daughter will. Maybe not the teenagers in your life….)

    • bestthingsinlife1964 April 14, 2015 / 3:18 pm

      Yes, well I didn’t touch on that as the reality is that he probably wouldn’t come with us. His life is here and he could stay with his dad. As much as I would miss him I know it would be best for him.

  3. candidkay April 14, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    I love the beginning of a new adventure as much as I hate it:). Am trying to learn just the love part. Wishing you the same!

  4. camparigirl April 15, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    I moved countries twice, sans kids, very different places from my native Italy (UK and US). I have now lived out of my home country for half my life and, while I retain a love of Italy and I will qualify myself as Italian if asked, I wouldn’t go back. A happy life is where you make it. I do miss my family and it gets harder and harder as my parents get older (the only thing I would encourage you to think of if you decide to move cross country) and yes, I miss some of the traditions but you are moving with your whole family unit and that will make things easier. Embrace the adventure and don’t forget that when parents are happy, kids are happy. She will miss some of her habits and friends for a while but don’t underestimate her resilience (while I don’t have kids of my own I have stepchildren that we uprooted in their teens).

  5. mariner2mother May 13, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    Well, since you’ve lived in B.C., if you decided to come down to Seattle (I’m halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, BC), you’ll be able to deal with the weather. Although, around Puget Sound there are so very many micro climates. I’m at the foot of some mountains, just 20 miles from the ocean, and we have noticeably more rain than people who live close to the Sound.

    Thoughtful post! Inspiring women are important to have in your life, indeed.

    • bestthingsinlife1964 May 13, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      We currently live at the foot of a mountain so we are no strangers to rain. LOL.

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