Sorry not Sorry

I have to apologize.  At least sometimes I feel like I should. I love it here. Florida is like paradise. It’s sunny and beautiful the majority of the time.  It’s barely 8 am and it is warm enough outside to be comfortable in a tank top. Most days, it’s that warm at 6am.  I sit outside on our patio with my coffee and my dogs and watch the sun light up the yard, shining through the Spanish Moss that hangs from the trees and making it more beautiful than it already is. And I love it. 

I am all about being warm. In August when everyone starts to complain about the heat and humidity, I am in my glory. That’s my weather. So being here is perfect for me.

I love that pretty much year round we can get in our boat and head out to Shell Key or Egmont Key and spend the day on the beach, soaking up sunshine, surrounded by blue skies, clear water and white sand. I love it even more when I know that at home everyone is bundled up and it’s cold and wet and snowy out. That’s why we moved. We’d had enough of taking a half hour to bundle up the kids to go outside for 5 minutes in winter and realizing that none of us really wanted to be outside in that weather.

Being here gives me the chance to do more fun things with my kids. We can ride bikes in December. We can build sand castles on the beach in January. We can swim and picnic and play outside and it doesn’t involve being cold or hanging up wet coats and mitts and touques when we are done. Not to say that winter isn’t great. I like winter for about 10 minutes on Christmas Day. And for lots of people, I’m sure they love it. Just not me.

Sometimes though, I feel guilty. When I post a picture or make a comment about what we are doing for the day and then realize that at home, everyone still needs winter jackets on I feel bad. I feel like I should apologize for choosing sunshine over sleet and snow. Then I realize that nothing is stopping anyone else from making the same choice we did. It was a huge decision and one that we didn’t make lightly.  And sitting here on this beautiful morning, I know it was the right one.  

  

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The Hardest Thing

So, we moved away and there are lots of things that are hard about being away from home.  There are the general things,obviously, like missing family and friends, different places to eat and shop (can you say Tim Horton’s and Loblaws!?), but one of the hardest, if not the very hardest, is being far away and helpless while family drama unfolds.

To be specific my Nana is old.  87 years old to be exact.  And up until very recently she has been in pretty good shape, given that she is 87.  She still lived in her own place and looked after herself, for the most part.  My brother lived with her, but he works nights, and she had a cleaning lady who came to help out, but generally speaking, she looked after herself. Until she fell and broke her shoulder.  This is where I am really beginning to feel the strain of being far away from my family.

It all started with a group Facebook message from my brother, letting us know that Nan had fallen and was on her way to the hospital.  And that was it.  Let the waiting for information begin.  Only I’m not patient.  Particularly in situations like that.  On one hand, my rational mind is telling me, they don’t know anything yet, they’ll be waiting to find things out themselves and as soon as they know, you’ll find out what’s going on.  On the other hand, I was barely able to restrain myself from booking the first flight home to be there and see what I could have done for my Nana and to know what the  heck was going on.  Sitting and waiting is not my strong suit.

Now weeks later, she has been in and out of the hospital a bunch of times, and in an old age home in between.  She never did make it back to her apartment.  She has had ups and downs, pneumonia and several “minor” heart attacks.  I’m sorry, a heart attack is not a “minor” thing if you ask me!  But I digress.  My family has been incredible about posting daily updates with Nan’s condition on our family Facebook group.  They have done their level best to make sure everyone (since we are not the only ones who don’t live close by) knows what’s happening.  And yet, I feel so far away from it all, and so helpless and so useless.  It kills me.  I want to be there to hold my Nan’s hand and read to her, or just be there with her.  I want to be there to help with her meals to give my parents a break.  I want to be there to know what’s happening, and not have to wait at the mercy of other people’s schedules to know what’s happening.  I want to be there. Period.  I need to be there.  And I can’t be.  It is so hard being here.

My husband has been wonderful through this.  He checked with our lawyer to make sure I could go if I had to, it wouldn’t cause any problems with our Green Card application and has told me to go if I need to.  But, we have lives and work and the kids have school and just taking off and going is not as easy as it sounds.  Plus, flying, sadly, is not free.  So for now, I’m here.  It sounds like Nan is going to pull through and have be fine, which is a relief.  But being away in the midst of family crisis is by far one of the hardest things I’ve encountered since we moved.

The Long and the Short of It

Like the name says, I’m a Canadian girl in a Floridian world.  My husband and I have always loved Florida.  When we lived in Canada, we spent a lot of time visiting Florida.   I mean, A LOT of time visiting Florida.  We have had the luxury of being self employed for a long time and luckily most of the work could be done over the computer.  That meant that as the weather turned colder, we headed south to  our condo in Florida and started spending more and more time avoiding the weather in Ontario.  It started with a week here and there and turned into a month or more at a time.  You could say we were addicted to Florida.  When we would go home, the winter weather in Ontario really got to us.  Leaving the sand and sun and rich colours of a warm world was difficult.  Especially when coming home was to cold weather, sleet, brown grass and bare trees.  It was like the world was devoid of colour.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am 100% a Canadian girl.  I am proud of being Canadian and it is often one of the first things people find out about me.  I am constantly pointing out all things Canadian to whomever will listen, to their constant annoyance, I’m sure.  Music, movies filmed in Canadian locations, Canadian actors, you name it, I will point it out to you.  And there are SO many things I miss from home.  SO, SO many things.  That we definitely be a post all to itself.  Probably several posts.

But I digress.  Back to how this all happened.  We were finding ourselves spending more and more time in Florida, and our babies were getting bigger, and approaching the age where they were going to have to start going to school.  We talked about moving to Florida full time, and decided we’d take the leap.  We both wanted to avoid winter.  We knew we couldn’t spend months at a time in Florida once the kids started to go to school, so we bought a business, got a visa and took the plunge just in time for my son to start Kindergarten.

It was nerve wracking.  It was scary.  We asked ourselves if we were crazy.  I’m sure other people thought we were crazy, although all of our friends and family were nothing but supportive and never mentioned anything about us losing our minds.

So we packed our things, sold all the things to big to bring with us, and headed south.  Driving away from our home in Ontario was one of the most poignant experiences of my life.  It was exciting, starting on our journey South, but it was so hard leaving behind everything that was familiar, our families, and our house in the country that we’d planned our wedding at, brought our babies home to, and up until we decided to head South, the house I’d planned to grow old in.

Now, here we are, nearly 3 years later, in our little slice of paradise.

Hello world!

Hello World!  Here I am.  I’m a Canadian girl from the heart of Ontario, but for nearly three years, my husband, 2 kids, myself and our pets have been living in Florida.  It’s taken me a little while to get a handle on things, but now that I have, I figured I’d give writing about our experiences a shot.  I know we aren’t the only ones out there who have moved far away from home, so maybe I’ll reach some people.  Maybe not.  I guess we’ll see where this goes.

So far it’s been interesting.  We have had a lot of ups and downs, from getting our visa approved (nerve-wracking!) and getting our business up and running (stressful!) to enjoying the beautiful Gulf Beaches of Florida (incredible!) and no snow (fantastic!!!) Not to mention getting accustomed to living in the South, which is a whole other ball of fish.

I’m going to keep this first post short, since really it’s more of a general “Hello” kind of thing and not something with a specific topic.  Not to say that there won’t be posts where I ramble about nothing.  There will be those kind of posts.  For sure.

Thanks for tuning in.  Hopefully you’ll make it back again.