Last night, I went out to play board games with the Cree Health Board crew, right after dinner with the Adult Education staff. This afternoon, I played badminton at the high school, then left at 3 pm to help a teacher with some science lesson planning and then went for more board games in the evening. I even left my board game* with my buddies, since J. left for vacation with the car and I didn’t want to lug it around.
I have to say, my first year up here as a full-time teacher was lonely. I had worked for Elephant Thoughts and been used to living with 2 or 3 roommates at a time. I always had someone to speak with and do things together. When I moved in with J., I wasn’t used to how lonely it was. It didn’t help that the only 20-somethings at work wouldn’t invite me out much either.
Three years later, I can say I have no shortage of friends or socials to go to. In fact, I find that it’s a nice balance now. We’re not very busy that we feel exhausted at the end of the weekend and going home early or when you’re not feeling well is easy when the town is so darn small.
I’m not sure if I have mentioned but I am considering this to be my last year up north. I haven’t decided if I will put a sabbatical in yet. There are lots of benefits to living up here; the amount of free time, the disposable income for car payments, the short commute and not having to wait very long to get a check-up at the clinic … these are definitely things I will miss when I do leave the north.
Having said that now, I am more appreciative of what I’ve got. I have a fairly decent job, financial security, reasonable access to food even as a vegetarian and extremely affordable rent (~$1000/year per person). I know when I move back to Ontario, I will have to go back to struggling for a bit. But that’s okay. I’ve taken the time to practice better physical health routines, as well as mental health care.*
Will I miss the lifestyle up here? Of course.
Will I come back to the north? Who knows.
As much as I complain about being isolated and far away from family and friends, city lights, shopping and bookstores, the north has grown on me. I can honestly say that I am starting to feel at home here. But I guess I’m funny that way; that’s often when I feel like it’s time to leave.
*We played Agricola tonight, one of my favourite board games, but also one of the HEAVIEST of boxes!
**Now if only I could afford weekly massages!