There’s no place like home

At the moment I am reading 60 Degrees North by Malachy Tallack. He grew up in England and then moved to Shetland. One day while he was sick he decided to visit other places at the same latitude as Shetland and thus the book. Tallack felt disjointed by the move and by his upbringing. Throughout the book there is an echo of the question of home.

In the section I was just reading he talks about moving to Prague and being asked where he’s from. Tallack isn’t sure how to answer the question because it’s a complicated one that entails many things. It wasn’t until later in his life that he started to answer Shetland.

For me the answer is tied up in so many things. One of them is whether or not I feel like explaining where and what Calgary is. As Canada’s fourth/fifth largest city it’s usually forgotten behind the typical array of Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal. A lot of people haven’t heard of it. The Olympics help and one of the perks of the wildfire in Fort Mac was that I could say I’m from Calgary right near the wildfires and then we would chat about how hard it is when a major city in your provinces is on fire. Other days I’d say Vancouver because it’s easier.

I think another part of it is wish fulfillment. When I left Vancouver I definitely wanted to go back. It was a thought lingering at the back of my mind throughout my program. Vancouver feels more like home than Calgary does. Every place I’ve ever chosen to live because of what it is has been on the coast with a temperate and rainy climate. Calgary mostly feels like home because I’m from here and I know how it works. For a long time Tallack sees Shetland as the place where his parents live rather than the place that he belongs in and is tied to. I don’t hate Calgary but if my parents weren’t here I don’t think have a reason to return.

As much as I love Vancouver I know that where I end up putting my stuff will be a matter of where I can get a job rather than some more exciting preference. Still it’s interesting to read about. I’m definitely in a place where I can relate to not knowing where home is.

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