It’s lucky I’m too busy to think about leaving Victoria. I’m flying at a thousand miles an hour just trying to get everything done before movers show up at my door. I’m not in fact sure I can.
Wherever you are, it is the people that make the place a memory and not just a geographical location you plonked your couch down in. And it isn’t just your friends or your co-workers but rather the people you see in your everyday life that thread together the micro-stories of your day. For me, my time in Victoria was, if I were honest, one of tremendous solitude. I worked, worked, worked in the glow of my computer screen to transition my life into where I am now. It never allowed for a lot of socializing. I was often lonely, and hunkered down on a dream that I nurtured like a small flame in a wet forest.
Sometimes it wasn’t the close friend on the phone that saved me but the ladies at the cash register at the Esquimalt mall who called me ‘sweetie’, ‘honey’, ‘darlin’; I’ll miss their familiarity when I stood, slump-shouldered, and exhausted after working all day, then home to my second job, holding a carton of milk in my hand at 10 pm because I’d forgotten to shop for my family. Their old-school approach was comforting on nights I would have liked a mother to call and I didn’t begrudge their smoke breaks as the waft of pungent nicotine blew around me on my way to my car.
I’ll miss my little Saxe Point, where I escaped all year round to write, and in the summer, fell asleep in the little wedding area much to many a bride’s chagrin over the years. I’ll miss the parking guy at the Bay, who must be at least 95 years old, and his familiar smile. One time he handed me a bunch of free parking passes to some other parking lots in town. He didn’t have to. Was just that kind of guy. I will miss that damned blue bridge in all of its rusty glory.
I’ll miss all my hotel friends. Especially my other family at the Empress. I feel like it’s my second home when I am there and I know I will always come back to stay. I’m the third generation Empress gal in my family so will certainly keep up the tradition when coming back to Victoria. Besides, the Bengal Room would miss me. I know it.
I will miss the gardens at Royal Roads, where so many of my life’s ups and downs were discussed, torn apart, and examined with girlfriends, more often than not, in the pouring rain, walking shoulder to shoulder below dripping Fir trees through some of the most beautiful heritage gardens in the world. I am very grateful for my time at RRU because I found my passion for teaching and had the privilege of meeting so many amazing students. I’m thrilled to continue teaching digital literacy there and having an excuse to walk those gardens, and hopefully, inspire a few students along the way.
I will miss the sound of my son’s close friends calling up at him outside his window to come out into the sunshine. I am putting faith in the universe that he’ll make friends that love him half as much as these kids do when we move to Vancouver.
I’ll miss popping out for a quick martini with friends here. I know I’ll be seeing them but it’s different with that ocean between you. I know, because I”ve missed old friends in Vancouver for a long time now and that ocean makes a big difference in how close you can get to someone when you need them.
It has been a good story. Its had a lot of downs, it’s had some of my greatest ups, but most of all, it has forged me into someone I had only a glimpse of when I came to this island. I am leaving feeling like I grew into her shoes, and they look pretty damn fabulous if I do say so myself.