Landed Immigrant


April 2, 2012 by Amie M

I am a Manitoba Girl. I was born in a small hospital in a small town. My parents had to drive 10 miles with my mom in labour in order to deliver me off the farm. I grew up on a half acre lot, on the wrong side of the road to be considered part of town. We lived beside a llama farm, with sheep in the back, and up the tracks from abandoned limestone quarries. My town was really a hamlet of less than 100 people. My best friend lived down the street, and we loved to play in her playhouse and throw mud at her little brother. My other best friend lived 10 miles away, and it wasn’t until high school that I could drive to see him more often that we became best friends.

4-H was a huge part of my life. I dove right in at the wonderful age of 8 and never looked back. I did Woodworking for 9 years and am a fantastic cabinet and furniture maker, or so my dad who was my leader used to say.

I had a lot of opportunities despite being from the smallest of the small towns, because I was always looking for more. I wanted to do more. I wanted to be more. I knew there was a huge world outside of my front door, and I wanted to see it all.

During a 4-H exchange to Wellington County when I was 15, I fell in love with Guelph. The university, the city, everything felt like home. It felt like a small town, it felt like a community. I wanted to move there. So I worked my scrawny, country butt off to get as many scholarships as I could (tuition was almost double University of Manitoba) so I could go to Guelph and be a vet. Yes, at that time, I thought I could conquer my fear of needles and handle healing animals in excruciating pain. When I realized I couldn’t, I looked at the other programs offered by the university and settled on Environmental Sciences.

So in 2005, with 4 suitcases, Mom and Dad in tow, I moved to Guelph. I have been here for 7 years. At first, in undergrad I went home every summer for work and to be with family. Eventually, after 3rd year I stayed even in the summer. Something was keeping me here. I still loved going home, and loved spending time with my family, but Guelph was becoming my home.

I have been putting off making it official for 3 years. I have been living in this great city, living the lifestyle I love and am comfortable with, surrounded by some wonderful people, but wasn’t quite ready to give up my little green Manitoba driver’s licence, and paper health card. For 3 years I’ve been saying “Oh, I’ll get to it,” and never did.

Until today. Today I am an Ontarian. I signed the paperwork getting me an Ontario Health Card, and am going to the driver’s licencing centre to switch to an Ontario licence. Why does it feel like I am giving up my roots? This has so much permanency weighing down on me. Does this mean I have to commit to living here, in this province? I know I can just up and move, and it’s easy to go back home. But Manitobans make fun of Ontarians, and their Toronto-centric mindset, and forgetting the prairies exist. Will I become like that? Or will I always be defensive of my homeland?

I just have to com to terms with it. Even though my ID will now say Ontario and have a trillium, I will still have bison, the boreal, borscht and wide open spaces in my heart.


9 thoughts on “Landed Immigrant

  1. Vanessa says:

    Welcome! πŸ™‚

  2. Melissa Hornby says:

    silly amie – you will always be an interlaker!! plus you have a cute niece here who loves you πŸ™‚

  3. Vanessa says:

    Also, you’re still a Manitoban and always will be, just like my Quebecker roots! Haha. Quebec is still HOME, I just live here now and this is home. There’s a differentiation between HOME and home.

    • ecochic87 says:

      Oh, Vanessa. Why am I not surprised you are the 50th comment? I have a prize all ready for a few landmark comments and posts. And you just won this one!

      I have a handmade, upcycled lunch bag for you. Ready for pickup by the end of the week.

  4. Jono says:

    …you wanted to be a vet? Haha, I remember frequent “tree hugger” comments.

    I empathize with how you feel. I have fallen in love with the Canadian shield, and since I work in Sioux Lookout had to make the switch to an ON health card/license. It didn’t feel right at first, but isn’t really a big deal. The better question is – when someone asks where you are from, what is your reply?

    • ecochic87 says:

      Yep. I did until I also learned Ontario East goes to Guelph, Manitoba West to SK. So I gave up that idea, and went with what felt right: tree hugging.

      And I will always reply Manitoba.

  5. Dad says:

    Do you know how hard it is to type while your leaking?
    No matter where you go or what you do know that mom and I are and will always be proud of our daughters.
    Just try not to be to obvious when you gauge those around you as Interlakers and those who wish they were.
    I know you will never loose who you are and everything that makes you you.
    Congratulations on becoming an Ontarian ….. at least on paper.

  6. Welcome to Ontario! ENoy the new adventures here! I’m a Torontonian, from here, but just moved back from the USA a couple months ago! Lovin’ your blog! I also have a partner (husband) and dog! And just started blogging! Am a follower of yours now! πŸ™‚

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