Am I Really Leaving?
As the move date gets ever closer (17 days from now), many of my conversations with friends and coworkers revolve around my leaving. People keep asking the same questions: am I excited? Am I nervous? Am I sad?
The answer to those questions is...sort of? The reality of it all hasn't really set in yet. Even when I'm selling off my worldly goods, even when I'm packing my parka into a Rubbermaid tote to take a much-needed rest...it just doesn't feel real. I feel like I'm packing for a long vacation. But even then, the distracting excitement isn't there. Oh sure, I am excited, but once I'm back in Ontario, my journey is far from over. I have to find another job, I have to buy another car, I have to stuff to do related to my visa. I'm only in the midst of the hard work required to make it to the end of 2010. It's been a long year already but it's far from over.
To be honest, I don't really remember how I felt before I left Ontario. I think I was pretty aware of the fact I was leaving, though. At the time I was excited to quit my much-hated job and experience a different way of life. I know that once I was in Rankin Inlet, I never really felt like I was in Nunavut. I'd stare at a dot on a map telling myself over and over, "You live there. That's where you are now," but it didn't made sense. It took about a year for it to really, really sink in.
Now, as I prepare to leave, it just seems too weird for words. It's happened so quickly. It seems like just yesterday it was January and Anthony and I were discussing when I should move. July seemed excruciatingly far away. I had a hard time just making it to the end of March, when Anthony came up for a visit. Those 3 months dragged so slowly, I thought March 27th would never arrive. Somehow in my agony of waiting for March 27, it became July.
I realized that once I've left, it's just going to feel like I'm on vacation. I will wonder what's going up here and try to stay on top of local news and gossip because I'll feel like I'll be back soon. I don't know how long it's going to be like that for, I'm guessing a few months. I am a bit scared of the adjustment period and I'm scared I won't like the south anymore. I'm scared things will be so busy and so hectic that I'll long for the days of gazing out my window and seeing 1 car drive by in the span of 15 minutes. However, there are so many things I'm looking forward to doing, seeing, and eating that it masks any kind of worry I have about the adjustment factor.
I've been a proud northerner for 4 years and yes, I am sad about not being a northerner in a technical sense anymore. However, I believe I will always be a northerner in spirit. You become a northerner and then it becomes you. I've embraced this place and I've loved it and taken in as much as I could and I know somewhere in me, Nunavut will never leave. The lessons learned here cannot be unlearned, the people cannot be un-met, and the memories will certainly linger long past the day I'm still appreciative of 24-hour convenience stores.