Another day, another airport lounge, it seems at the moment. I think it’s an effort by my current employer to squeeze the last few ounces out of their pound of flesh, but, in truth, I don’t mind – the daily routine is beginning to drag a little now, with so much else going on, and I’m happy to break it up and at the same time – allowing for the normal delays involved in these things – tie up some important things before I leave. I’m trying not to think of it as my legacy, but there are certainly things which would be better resolved by me than left for whoever comes along behind me.
It has been cold these last few days, and it has got me thinking about the change we’re about to make. Every time I look at the weather for Prince George (it’s early March at this writing), the temperature reading has a minus sign in front of it, and while it’s part of the thrill of this – experiencing new extremes – it’s also something of a worry; will we really cope if a temperature of 3 or 4 degrees allied to a stiff wind has us huddled round the fire?
Everyone we talk to about it tells us confidently that people dress for it there; they know what to expect, and how to deal with it, and I’m sure that’s true, but I was standing in the drive loading boxes into Zoë’s car on Saturday morning – another round of goods and chattels being sold off to the highest bidder – and I was cold. Properly cold, and I’d have said I was dressed for it. Still, it’s also (by all accounts we’ve heard) a different kind of cold, not informed by the damp air inevitable, given that we live on an island. Only time will tell.
We’ve also been talking to some British expats in Prince George, who make the same noises. This is a particularly exciting development, because in the space of a week, we have gone from despairing that we’ll ever find a rental property to live in while we hunt for a home to having an offer accepted to buy a property which fits our requirements exactly; a house which we’ll be able to move into less than two weeks after we get to P.G. If it sounds unlikely to you, imagine how it feels to us.
When we were over in September, we spent some time driving around the town looking at neighbourhoods (I think I’m supposed to call them subdivisions, but this distinction is on the list of things I need to learn), and we identified one in particular we liked. It has a good school, which is key (and is recommended by our friends whose children went there), it has all the necessary conveniences and it’s exactly the kind of place we’d imagined when we first had this idea of heading for a new life. As we drove round, Zoë took notes, and afterwards we identified one street out of all the ones we had been in which would be the ideal.
No houses ever came up for sale on this street, however, and we kept considering other options. In the end, there are plenty of good places to live, and we would have been happy in any number of them. We were also in no particular hurry; the proper thing to do is surely to get out there and then buy something – you can’t do this online.
Except, of course, you can. Our friend alerted us to a house being sold privately on the very street we most liked; we investigated, pondered, tried to find the catch. In spite of the fact that it has been one of the drivers behind this whole move, I still cannot accept that we will sell our house here, pay off our not insubstantial mortgage, buy a new house which is significantly bigger, furnish it, buy all the electronic devices a house full of boys could possibly want, buy two cars, and still be wondering how to invest the remainder.
There was no catch. We offered, negotiated, and were accepted. We’ve never set foot in the place (although I’m sure we’ve driven past it), but we’re about to become its owners. Strange doesn’t begin to cover it. Now, of course, the deal is not yet done – Canada appears to work in the civilised way which the Scots among you will recognise, where a handshake will seal the deal; we haven’t yet developed a method for shaking hands electronically. But a lot of the pressure we were feeling has gone. There will be a two week period where we will be effectively homeless, and we can’t sleep in friends basements for all that time, so this has to be addressed, but the biggest single issue has been resolved.
Now the real planning starts. We’ve been amateurs so far, making general plans about things, doing the urgent ones, getting by on the reserves of time we still feel we have. Now, it’s not so flexible. We have only a couple more weekends in this country; we have a long list of things which have to be done, and we now have a calendar with detailed actions for each of us itemized by day. We still have cars to sell, things to pack, cats to transport, friends to say goodbye to, utilities to wind up, and several dozen others, some of which have probably not even occurred to us yet.
It’s busy, and it’s going to get busier. And one day it will be over, and we will be living a sedate suburban life in an entirely different country.
Except, how can sedate and suburban be enough any more? I get the feeling our lives are about to expand. I don’t know if all things are possible, but more things certainly are.