I’ve had a theory for many years now that I’ve tested amongst my friends, but last night I received confirmation of my theory’s validity from an outside (and famous, so that counts even more) source.
My theory is quite simple: in order to appreciate Vancouver, you have to spend some time in exile; living far away in another city, another province, another country.
Then, and only then, will you be able to truly appreciate what a spectacular place we live in and never, ever want to leave.
For the sake of science, I extended my theory to include Victoria because I grew up there. I liked it well enough – Victoria is small, quiet, full of old people. I loved it because it was my home, but I didn’t LOVE love it – I thought I could move away and be perfectly happy somewhere else, because it’s just a city and your home is where you make it, right?
Not even a little. When I was 23, I decided that I was done with Victoria and I needed a change of scenery: I moved to Calgary. My plan was to be there for only 6 months, but I think I knew deep down that wasn’t possible – I didn’t have the means to move back, I had nowhere to go, and I was dating a guy in Edmonton. Before I knew it, I had a grown-up job and a car and settled in to a comfortable routine, thinking I was as happy as I was ever gonna get.
But .. every time I visited home, I’d spend a good chunk of time sitting by the ocean and crying. Leaving was terrible; I’d be wracked with a deep aching sorrow that felt like I was going to dissolve into sobs the further I got away from the city. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t even remotely happy in Alberta, and needed to move back to BC quickly before I went crazy (a deadline I missed by several years). It wasn’t going to be as easy to relocate the second time around – I had a boyfriend, an apartment full of stuff, two cats, and no money. Eventually I was able to leave Alberta and come back to BC, but it took 7 years; a period of time I refer to as my Exile.
Now that I’m back in BC, I’m never ever leaving. Sure, I’ll go somewhere on vacation or to visit people, but I know that I get to come HOME and home is Vancouver and it’ll never be anything else. I’m not going anywhere. If Ed wanted to relocate for work, he would be doing it alone. I’m not going. You can’t make me. I belong here, and it gives me a panic attack to think about packing up and moving away from this city, these people, my home.
I never truly appreciated everything Vancouver (and Victoria, but at this point in my life I need to not be waterlocked) has to offer until I was forced to spend time away. Honestly, I think everyone should have to do an Exile – maybe not seven years worth, but enough to realize what you gave up. I try really hard not to complain about things like the rain or the cost of living in this city, because those are a part of living in Vancouver. Yes, it rains – but not as much as people think. Yes, it’s expensive – but I’m so much happier here and honestly, what else would I be doing with the money? Yes, Vancouver is full of hippies and hipsters – but I am okay with that, because it is so funny. I want to slap the people who complain about this city, because they don’t know how truly awesome it is. Spend some time in Exile, THEN tell me how much Vancouver sucks.
One person does not a scientific theory make, but I’ve seen this in other people as well. Renee spent six years in Kingston Ontario, and finally managed to make it back this year. Even the rest of BC can’t hold up to Vancouver – Gillian is doing her Exile in Kelowna, and is planning a fantastic escape involving hot air balloons and a Goofy costume. Sure, the idea of the Exile has been proven in my own social circle, but all good science has to cast a larger net than that to prove a theory.
Last night, a whole bunch of us got to watch two tapings of The Hour starring everyone’s boyfriend, George. It was awesome – the guests were fascinating, George is so very cute and full of energy, and my Exile Theory was PROVEN by the director of District 9; Neill Blomkamp. During his interview with George last night, he revealed he moved to Vancouver from South Africa as a teen and hated it – until he moved away for a while, then came back. He did an Exile! My theory, proven by a famous guy! Science is AWESOME!
I expect my government grant and white lab coat to be coming in any day now.