It's all fun and games... until somebody gets homesick

I fell in love with Canada the first time I ever went there, aged 17. I felt an affinity with the calm, majestic, clean beauty of a country that seemed to have it all: opportunity, progressiveness, natural beauty, people who talked like me... It was inevitable that I would move there and I think I knew it, even back then. It would be 13 years later when I made the move, and by then I had a husband and two children. We sold our little house in Brighton and moved to the suburbs of Vancouver. We bought a 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom house with a double garage and a built-in vacuum cleaner. What more could anyone want?

Turns out that "anyone" might find happiness in a walk-in closest and a stainless steel fridge. But not me. I was homesick with a capital H. I was so homesick that for the first 3 years, I went home every 6 months. And so began a pattern in my life that has not stopped.

I loved my life in Canada. I had plenty of friends, a good career, my kids were happy, but I just could not drag both feet into the country. One of them stayed firmly behind, in Brighton. Eventually, after 12 years in Canada, I came back to the UK. Essentially, it was family that brought me back - my dad being ill specifically; I just couldn't face not being around when he died. But that decision cost me dearly. Not just financially - let's not go there, shall we? Put it this way - it was financial suicide. But, worse than that; my whole family life has been disrupted. My husband stayed in Canada - he has a business and his own family there. My son stayed there too. He tried to live in England, but after living in Canada from aged 5 til aged 17, Canada is part of his soul. He can't let it go, like I can't let England go. And so now, my daughter and I live in the UK, and my son and husband live in Canada. We are split right down the middle, and I now have a long-distance marriage. I am permanently broke and permanently jet-lagged. It is not what I signed up for all those years ago.

If I could do it all again, would I? Yes, I would. I have given my kids the opportunity to live in two countries; an opportunity they have both taken full advantage of already. I have experienced the culture of two continents. I have a set of friends, and a life, in both countries. I feel very, very lucky. Exhausted, but lucky.

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