My whole life I have been a 'Prairie Girl'.
I was born and raised in the prairies. I am one of those unique individuals who actually knows that bread comes from wheat and appreciates the effort it takes. I have ridden in a combine. I know that a prairie sunset can last forever and ever because the sky is so big. I've been up early enough to see the hint of sunrise in the east and the navy sky in the west. I've been woken up to hear the coyotes howl in the night sky as the Northern Lights dance overhead. I've know what it is to experience winters so cold that your eyes actually freeze closed. I've watched storms roll in from 100 kilometres away and disappear a 100 kilometres in the other direction. I know that early morning in the prairie is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I know how to find beauty passing hundreds of kilometres of canola, barley and wheat from one prairie town to another.
I am such a prairie girl that my old email address is actually prairiegirl. My first production company was Prairiegirlproductions. I am such a prairie girl that I have never considered myself anything but.
I just moved to Toronto with the Engineer. I feel very out of place. My mum thinks it is because I am a westerner and I am just not an East Coast girl (New York was in the States so apparently doesn't count. Even though if I lived there forever I still would never be a true New Yorker).
But am I still a prairie girl?
Truth be told, I never really thought about it. Until . . .
A group of wonderful gal pals and I gathered on a wet Sunday to take a picture. We had just spent a wonderful weekend at Sakinaw Lake Lodge on the Sunshine Coast.
In typical BC form, our departure was marked by low, grey clouds and rain. We all smooshed together, arms around one another, our rain hoods up and our wellies protecting our toes from getting wet. The owner of Sakinaw apologized for making us take a photo in the rain.
My girlfriend quipped, 'That's okay! We're West Coast Girls'.
It was then that I realized: I was less a prairie girl and had slowly become a West Coaster without realizing it.
Obviously I am the sentimental type. I am probably the only person who was affected by this statement. I mean I was dwelling on my departure from BC. On the eve of my move to Toronto, I got to celebrate the West Coast in style.
I have lived in Vancouver for ten years. In that time, I have shed my ability to withstand cold and bitter winters. I don't even know how to drive in the snow anymore. I am now conditioned to drop ANYTHING I am doing and run outside - when the sun is shining. It gets very confusing when I am in places (like Toronto) that always seem to be sunny.
From my bedroom, I see the North Shore mountains that turn that lovely purple hue at sunset. Right now I bet they are starting to get that dusting of snow. It's a three minute walk to sea water. My walks through barley fields have been replaced with dog walks in a rain forest.
My footwear of choice are rainboots. I am comforted by rain and fear snow.
I am a West Coast girl.
In these ten years, I have cultivated some of the most wonderful and strong friendships ever imaginable. Women who love me even when I lament on the ferry heading back to Horseshoe Bay that it is the last 'BC Ferry (aka White Spot) clam chowder I will ever have' (ummm, I will probably be on a ferry in a month). Women who love being cozied up inside with a crackling fire watching the mists roll over the lake (or ocean depending where we are). Women who also love the uniform of lululemon, rubber boots and raincoats. Women who invited me into their lives ten years ago and have helped to transform this prairie gal into a West Coaster.
I mean some of these girls have had to sit in a car with me as we soar over the Coquihalla as I gush "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! BC is the prettiest place EVER" (seriously, the views really are hard to beat). Maybe a bit of my sentimentality has rubbed off on them :)
Anyways, as I adjust to this new life on the East side of Canada I can't help but reflect on the fact that I am a westerner at heart. There are many reasons to miss BC. It's amazing beauty and freshness, the mountains and ocean, and the fact that Vancouver remains green all year round.
But the biggest reason to miss BC, are my West Coast Girls.