Everyone’s been asking me what its like to come “home”. For me at least, that’s a tricky question, not least because I don’t feel as if I have “come home”. It is true that I’m closer to my family, which is great, and that I was born in this country, but I think that the differences between Canada and the UK are so small these days that its hard to feel that I’ve moved back and forth between totally different countries – its more like moving provinces, or counties.
There are lots of reasons for this – one very significant one is that for a British immigrant in Canada, the UK is just a click of the mouse or a change on the remote control away – soccer every Saturday morning, Coronation Street every night, British pubs, beer and, if you were lucky like me, great English and Irish friends like Mark, Rachael, Claire, Maurice. So for a lot of us immigrants, we never totally “leave” our country in the first place.
The other thing of course is that Hull is different to where (and when) I grew up – accents are different, the climate has changed, the landscape is different, politics have changed, the EEC is a reality, and as a flip side to the point I made earlier, keeping touch with Canada is easy through the web, e-mail and phone cards.
Perhaps the world is so small these days, and people travel so much, that for lucky people like us (for whom moving is a choice), physical distance does’nt mean months between letters and years to save up for a two week voyage to visit relatives. The physical distances just seem, at the moment, to matter less.
So for me this is a new place entirely, and I am going to treat it like that. I love new places and I look forward to exploring Canada’s new province of Yorkshire, in much the same way as I enjoyed exploring the English county of Ontario.