8 Lessons I Learned While Living Away from Home

1. At first, you’ll feel pretty unsettled, like you’re drifting, and have the urge to go home where you belong, but eventually you’ll find your places. For me, something as simple as a Chinese restaurant that makes wicked Cantonese Chow Mein and Honey Goo Loo Shrimp, and being a regular there, made me feel rooted. (Also, Tim’s for coffee, ’cause #teacherlife).

2. You really will meet people. It’ll take a while to get to know them, but soon, without having realized it, you’ll have this whole other community and family that are familiar and wonderful and you are so blessed to have met them. For me, this came in the form of the staff and students at my school.

3.You need to find the courage to say “yes” to new invitations and opportunities. During the first week at my new teaching job I ended up sitting next to two other young teachers at Mission and Ministry Day. We laughed, we chatted, and then one of them invited me to her Mom’s house for a party that evening. I said sure, and we exchanged numbers. I was SO nervous, and I really did not want to go. (Thanks anxiety!) I told myself that I had to make friends in this new place, and forced myself to attend. It turns out the other girl had just moved to Vermilion from Ontario, we all hit it off, and Rachel and Kaitlyn are now my lifelong friends.  As Brene Brown once said, “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”

4.You will find parallels between characters in each community. Doug Jingles wandering the streets of Beaverlodge with his shovel and his old red work coat with the silver zipper is the equivalent of Jimmy Cryderman biking around Vermilion with rainbow suspenders over a plaid shirt and his brown cocker spaniel on a leash. You will also find this strangely comforting.

5.You will find new interests.  In Beaverlodge, I always played hockey, and had just won a provincial silver medal before moving to Vermilion, which unfortunately had no competitive ladies team. Several months after my move, I really embraced running, and made the goal to run #16racesin2016. It gave me a place to go consistently (the gym) and was a great activity I could do solo when Brian was busy at work. Since then, running has become a HUGE positive, energizing and empowering part of my life, which probably wouldn’t have happened without the move.

6.Having space away from your friends and family will allow you to grow, in a big way. You’ll have room to move away from the constraints of your identity, from the person everyone thinks you are, or should be, and into a place with room for self-discovery. I also became way more comfortable going out and doing the things I wanted to do, even if it meant doing them alone, like hiking at Elk Island National Park, signing up for a wheel class at the pottery guild, and taking my SCUBA certification.

7. You will gain so much confidence from having the strength to create a life, home, and community in a new place. You are strong. You can do hard things.

8. One day, you will have an epiphany: Both places are now home.

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