A Place to Flourish

West Coast Wild

     From the moment we stepped foot in the UK, I have made a conscious effort to refer to Oxford as our home, and Canada as 'where we are from' or 'where I grew up.' This isn't because I wanted to distance myself from my roots, or cut myself off from my past - far from it! I'm proud to be Canadian, and incredibly grateful for the time I spent living there. I knew, however, that it would be mentally and emotionally difficult to continue referring to Canada as 'home' when we were in the process of building a new home in a new city. 
    That effort was put to the test when it came to our recent trip to Canada this summer. Many people referred to our trip as 'visiting home' or 'going home' and while we were there we received many comments like 'you must be so glad to be home' and 'what's it like being back home after all this time?' 
     It can be difficult to articulate the journey of leaving a childhood hometown and putting down roots in a new city. Of course, the concept of 'home' stretches much further than a physical location. It encompasses relationships, memories, experiences, and a whole myriad of other complex mental and emotional associations. 
     I will be honest, I was worried that when we traveled back to Canada I would have a hard time coming back to the UK. The week prior to our flight out of London I felt ill with excitement, willing time to slow down because I knew the sooner it arrived, the sooner it would pass by so quickly. I couldn't wait to see my family and friends, to be in such a familiar place, to see the mountains and be close to the ocean.
     It came as a surprise to me how much I was looking forward to coming home to Oxford. Of course I enjoyed every single second of our time in Canada, visiting dear friends and family and enjoying the picturesque West Coast; however our visit felt so surreal. It was a holiday from the everyday life we have been building here in the UK. 
     Coming home to Oxford meant coming home to a job, to Mark's studies, to a beautiful city that has stolen my heart with it's history and charm, and to blossoming friendships that I have come to cherish so deeply.
     One of the dictionary definitions of 'home' is a place where something flourishes. That couldn't be more true for me here in Oxford - there is so much here for us right now.
      Yes, a wild, untamed, fierce part of my heart will always be held and defined by the rugged west coast of Canada where I was raised and loved and encouraged to chase my dreams, but for this new season, Oxford is my home
      Oxford is where I have found a place to grow, to learn, to explore, to be challenged. To flourish. 

West Coast Wild

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