Its Not Flat

Writing #2

To adapt a saying “you can take the girl out of Saskatchewan but you can’t take Saskatchewan out of the girl” became very true for me in 2014.  In March of 2014 I was so excited and very nervous, I was about to knock the number one item off my very short bucket list.  I was going to England.  My grandma was a war bride that came to Canada from England just after World War II.  I had always dreamed of going to England to meet my relatives and see where my grandma grew up, lived and met my grandad.  I had only left Canada once in my almost 45 years and the biggest cities I had ever been to were Calgary and Edmonton.  I also had never flown so this was a huge adventure.

I arrived at Heathrow Airport in London England, the size of the airport should have given me some clue as to just how far removed I was from quaint little Regina but I was far too exhausted and in awe to take much notice.  I met my cousins and soon we were on our way to their place about an hour out of London.  We took the M25 and it was busy typical highway except they drove on the wrong side.  Soon we veered off on to a secondary road, this is when I had my first I am not in Saskatchewan moment.  The road was so narrow and no shoulders there was barely any room for cars to pass each other.  It was a bit nerve racking to say the least but I soon got used to it.

One of my requests was to sight see in London, my cousin’s son accompanied me and we toured London for two days.  It was an amazing city and I got to see in person, all the great tourist attractions I had only read about and saw in photos or on tv.  By the end of 2 days I had enough, the sheer number of people that were constantly around even at 10pm was overwhelming to this Regina girl.  I was glad to be back at my cousin’s house in a community that was likely the size of Regina.

I spent 2 weeks in England and it was everything I imagined it to be and more.  The whole time I was there, though I had this small niggling frustration and tiny bit of tension in my thoughts.  I couldn’t put my finger on it. I attributed it to being away from my husband and boys and out of my comfort zone.   The source of the frustration and tension hit me in a big way as I was flying into Regina on my way home.  I looked at the window as we were coming near the city and even though it was dark, I could see the wide open spaces.  I could see the farm yard lights with nice wide spaces in between.  In the dark I could somewhat make out the straight lines of the grid roads. Upon seeing the wide open spaces and straight lines the small bit of mental frustration and tension I had been feeling the entire time left me.  England is not flat, there are no long straight roads that you can see what is coming for miles, there are rolling hills that you can’t see over, it is twisting and turning.  The whole time I was there I could never exactly see where I was in relation to anything else.

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6 thoughts on “Its Not Flat

  1. Hey Pam

    Great story. I can totally relate. I went on a missions trip to Los Angeles a few years ago. It was massive. You could barely see 2 blocks and people were everywhere. It was a huge relief landing back in Calgary after a week there.

    One thing I felt is that this may be something more attributed to Saskatchewan and not all of Canada. I have friends from BC and Ontario who call Saskatchewan flat and, compared to where they live, they’re right. So while I suppose it could be a Canadian thing, it would probably be more true of the prairies.

    Another thing was that I didn’t quite feel with you. I couldn’t visualize what you were doing and I don’t think I could have related all to well if I hadn’t been to LA and shared a similar experience. Some more descriptive language or perhaps describing a particular moment on the trip where you really felt something was off might work a little better

    Overall however, I liked your story. I think It reflects the feelings of many when they leave where they’ve lived for all their life and experience a knew place. You definitely conveyed the feeling of confusion and discomfort well and the relief of seeing the wonderful wide open prairies again.

    – Brandon Bezanson

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    1. Hello Pam,

      I really enjoyed reading your Saskatchewan moment. Do you still are in contact with your family in London and if so are you planning another trip with your family? I would love to know more about your trip like: why have you never flown before your trip in 2014, did this trip make you grow as a Saskatchewan person, how was learning about where your grandma and granddad met and did you get to go to their old homes?

      I can relate to the extreme change in the roads from different parts of the world. That excited nervous feeling is very relatable. It too made me feel like I was very far from home.

      In closing, my favorite line you said was,”The whole time I was there I could never exactly see where I was in relation to anything else”. I like to be aware, as you are, to where I am in a situation. Be it in my surrounds in land or with my company.

      Thank you for sharing,
      Shania

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      1. Hi Shania
        Thanks for your comments. In response to your questions, I am still in contact with my family in England thanks to technology and facebook it makes it so easy. when I went there I met family I didn’t know I had so that was a fabulous part of my trip. I never flew before I went to England because I simply never had the opportunity, I grew up a welfare kid, and then my husband and I struggled financially as a 1 income family so I was only finally able to afford a trip like that in 2014. I knew the story of my grandparents romance for a long time before I went to England. I did get to go to my grandma’s home while I was there that was actually the one set in stone request I had for my hosts. My granddad was a Canadian solider. As soon as I can get the money together again I will be going back, but it will be more expensive because my hubby wants to come this time. The trip was also the first I left any of my kids for more than a couple of days, I was gone 2 weeks.

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  2. Hi Pam,

    Thank you for sharing this and writing it so beautifully. At first, I was like, “Is she crazy?”. I couldn’t understand why you weren’t able to shake the feeling being somewhere that was new to you. Every time I visit a new city, I never want to go home! I just want to take it all in, and I always think there are way too many things to see in the short amount of time I usually have.

    But then I thought, no, this is the exact thing that I blogged about! That feeling of longing I have being away from something so natural, and so comfortable.

    A norm that was super apparent to me was that people of Saskatchewan usually tend to be seen as feeling “misplaced” whenever they leave their home province. Isn’t it true though? Even though I can name lots of my friends that go off into the world outside of SK and Canada, and seem to not visit their ‘roots’ much, I think it’s a norm that Canadians are most comfortable in Canada (and dare I say Saskatchewanians are even more notorious for this!). Do you think that you could ever separate those feelings of home when you are somewhere else? Do these connections to home make you enjoy life less when you aren’t at home? Do you think there will be a time when you look back and think, “Wow, I should have adventured more.”? I wonder if people who live in London feel the same way as you about other places when they aren’t at home in London. Also, Pam, do you think you’d have felt the same way if your family were with you? Is it Saskatchewan you’re tied to, or the things AT home that you missed?

    Saskatchewan being open, large, and sparse is another norm about Saskatchewan you’ve connected in your post, Pam. I think a lot of people both in Saskatchewan, and out, believe that Saskatchewan is flat and bare, and that you can see for miles. While this may be true for some of Saskatchewan, the North is LUSH with trees! I think sometimes we can be blinded by what we are surrounded by. In other words, do you get so complacent and comfortable with what we know, that we forget about what we don’t know?

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