It is Thanksgiving up here in the Great White North. Many Americans don't realize that we celebrate Thanksgiving at all in Canada, let alone that we celebrate it over an entire month ahead of our neighbours to the south. For us Canadians, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with "Pilgrims and Indians", and everything to do with the harvest. Simply put, we celebrate in October because that's when harvest season is this far north.
We may celebrate it earlier, and it may have a different history up here, but one thing is the same:: On Thanksgiving, we give thanks. For pumpkins, and sweet potatoes, and pie, and stuffing, and turkey (but mostly for stuffing). But also for the bigger things: For our families. For our health. For our freedom & liberty. Thanksgiving in Canada, much like in the USA, is all about counting our many blessings, and sitting down to share a tasty meal with the ones we love.
And I'm thankful for my new community.
2 years ago, my husband and I moved from Vancouver to a small town in the West Kootenays with a population of about 7,000 people. Affordable real estate and the promise of a more "laid back lifestyle" drew us in. We got the affordable real estate and the lifestyle, but I had no way of preparing myself for the culture shock, crippling loneliness, & isolation that would bring me to my knees.
The first year here was hard. I mean, really hard. I had a really difficult time meeting people, and the few that I did meet, I just didn't feel a real connection with. My sense of not belonging was palpable and heart breaking. I cried a lot that first year, and worried that I had, perhaps, made a monumental mistake in leaving Vancouver
But at some point around the 1 year mark, things inexplicably fell into place. Rather than feeling like a complete outsider all the time, I started to feel part of something. I started bumping into people I knew at the grocery store. People who would smile genuine smiles when they saw me. We'd stand in the produce section and have 10 minute chats. I made some really kind, down to earth, loving friends. I started getting invited places to do things WITH PEOPLE OTHER THAN MY HUSBAND! I voted on local, civic issues and really cared. I intentionally started doing all of our grocery stopping at the locally owned shop, rather than the big conglomerate one because I wanted to "keep our dollars in the community". All of a sudden this tiny town started to feel like home. I felt like part of something.
I'm not sure if I just managed to wiggle my way into the community... or if something just cracked open within myself, and I allowed the community to wiggle into me. Whatever it is though, I'm so grateful. A huge part of me will always, always be a 'City Girl' and there are aspects of city life that I will always miss. But this is home now. And I am happier than I ever thought possible.
So, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. May you all grow where you are planted, and find joy in the every day.