The still waters of the Charlottetown harbor
The beautiful beaches at the North Shore
The quiet of Clyde River
DayOne has reminded me via their “On this Day” function that it has now been just over 2 years since I moved back to PEI, a place that I have always referred to as home, despite spending much of my life elsewhere.
With a pandemic, being a single parent for a year, trying to find my way, and adjusting to what at times seems like a foreign culture, it’s been a dramatic couple years, to say the least.
It was a risk for us to move here, particularly due to the lack of employment for us both, but a life with risk is a life worth living and I think there have been many positive experiences since I/we have arrived. It doesn’t feel like I come home yet, but that may come if we put down more permanent roots. Also, despite being born here I feel a little like an outsider, it’s like you can only belong on the Island if you were born here and never leave. There is no place where who you know, and being a part of the system is more important than PEI.
A friend recently asked if I planned on staying. In retrospect it was a bit of an odd question, but perhaps he knows my nomadic nature. My answer was and is, I don’t know. Last year, I would have unequivocally said we are staying, but that we would be returning to my children’s home for extended stays. A somewhat reversal of my long held plan of spending time on PEI, while living elsewhere.
These days its teetering towards leaving, due primarily to the afore mentioned lack of employment. I’m fine with my almost lifelong quest of avoiding stifling work environments, unless they are of my own making, and some days I like the personal challenges that working independently bring. This has meant our lives have been primarily about rich experiences vs. equity and ever more stuff. But Sheryl wants to teach children until the day they lock her out of the building, and our way of life has often depended upon the stability that her life’s work brings. Risk is easier to accept when you know there will still be a roof over your head and something to eat. We knew it would be challenging to find our way here; patronage and arcane union rules are frustrating to navigate (imagine running a business whereby you are not allowed to interview a talented recent graduate, or highly experienced professional, or someone from abroad because they haven’t worked as a temp and paid union dues the requisite number of days) and PEI is not near as diverse and inclusive as it might wish to be.
When I get aggravated by situations like this invariably something will happen to stem the tide of negativity. Like running into an old classmate, or yesterday when a young child said hello and wished me a happy day. Or the fantastic blue skies, clean air, and serene countryside. Or the idealistic talk of a 4 day work week.
The coming months will be key, but with the pandemic and all, staying put might be the only choice.