I am writing to tell you how much I love you.
I fell in love with you the moment I first stepped across your border. For these past eight years, you have filled me with wonder, with joy, with pride, with love. Even though I never ended up getting citizenship, I’ve always called myself Canadian because that’s truly what I felt I was. I truly believe I was led here because I was supposed to be here.
I’ve done so many things, seen so much beauty, and learned so much that I feel whole in my experience with you. I learned to make friends, I learned about my mental illness and began to heal from it, I gained another family, and I lived my life with happiness. I immediately grew to love the area I lived in. Sure, it wasn’t always perfect and there were some really bad times, because that’s just how life goes, but it was still MY life, and I cherished it beyond measure.
My life here was not once taken for granted. I belonged wholly, gladly, to you.
I’ve not seen you in person outside Ontario, so I’ve only seen a small fraction of your powerful, incredible beauty. I’ve listened to the deep blue Georgian Bay shushing against the shoreline of the Bruce Peninsula. I’ve walked on the striped red and white dunes of the Cheltenham Badlands. I’ve waded in the cool lakes of eastern cottage country. I’ve seen the sun set over Lake Huron. I’ve seen the graceful power of Niagara Falls. I’ve explored my beautiful Toronto as well as many towns outside it. I’ve listened to the calls of loons echo across the lakes, I’ve seen bald eagles and osprey and I saw a bear one moonlit, snowy night in the north. I’ve seen the endless farmlands of southwestern Ontario and I’ve seen how Nature can exist so strongly even in the depths of a city. I’ve seen seasons change again and again, all dramatic and beautiful and each one appreciated for what it was. Hell, I’ve even walked in a blizzard, because what Canadian hasn’t? 😉
I’ve loved my Timmies, I’ve embraced the first snowfall, I’ve cried while singing the national anthem, I’ve said “Eh” quite a lot, and I was at one point so eager to get citizenship that I studied for the test and knew more about Canada than some of my Canadian-born friends did!
I’ve learned so, so much from living here. While I’m far from perfect, my mind and soul have absorbed every lesson given to me, every ounce of experience and growth and friendship have been added to all the cracks and dings in my facets until they smoothed out and began to shine. I’d like to think that I have become a far better person, and what I have learned will go with me wherever I am in the world. You’ve given me the best years of my life so far.
For a while, I was fearful of relocating to the UK. It beckoned to my soul and I felt driven there, just as I was driven to you, so I always knew I was supposed to be there to live the next stage of my life and learn whatever lessons it has to teach me. But I feared losing you forever. And even now, with my UK visa finally in hand, it feels so bittersweet. I woke up this morning to look at the gorgeous gold and orange leaves outside the window, and the sun rising burnished and bright, and I breathed in the cool morning air and I sighed a deep, trembling sigh of love and gratitude. Maybe sadness, too.
But great things are coming.
As I make the journey today to Pearson International Airport to leave for my new home across the ocean, my heart still belongs to you, and it always will. This move does not mean the end for us.
I leave here strong, radiant, and far wiser than I was on that day I arrived in June 2008.
Farewell for now, my beautiful True North. You will always be home to me, no matter where I live and no matter how long we’ve been apart.