• Erika Dowell

Am I Happy?

I wrote this post between February 2022 and April 2022

A question that comes to mind more frequently than not these days. When we moved to Halifax from Kelowna last summer, I expected a lot more from the move. I think of a funny real life situation that comes to mind that I should have realized the day it happened.

The reality of living in the interior of BC is that it’s smokey for half the summer (at least) and then it’s cold for the rest of the year. We lived next the highway so it was constantly noisy. One thing that I could barely wait to do in our move was for quiet, a breath of fresh air, and seeing a new city and province. The one upside to being posted every two years (or so) is that we get to experience a new location for practically no cost to us - aside from living costs, of course. Contrary to popular belief, we are still required to pay taxes and for housing like any normal citizen in Canada.

Anyway. The day we arrived in Halifax, we had to drive straight to the hotel and isolate. Fortunately, I found practically the only hotel with a balcony. So the next morning when we woke up, I opened the balcony door expecting a breath of fresh sea air.

When I say I was hit with hot, humid, sticky, disgusting air instead, it would be an understatement. No one warned me about the humidity. I guess I was expecting the dry/humid air of Victoria. And thus began the let downs.

Listen, I’m all for trying to focus on the positives. There’s the fucking panini happening and although we moved to a province that used to be one of the best in Canada for handling it, it felt/feels like we are looked at like dirty out of provincers by judgy Nova Scotians. I’m all for the passport situation but every time I show my BC vaccine card with my NS drivers license, it just feels like I’m allowing some judgement of ‘what are you doing here’. Thankfully, I have my NS drivers license which couldn’t come fast enough.

As time went on in the fall, I felt more and more alone; it’s not like we had the group of friends that I thought we would. Family didn’t seem to fit right either. In BC, I felt too business-y for the province and in NS I feel too hipster. It’s a challenging place to be. Feminist with a bunch of… not feminists… around (which isn’t unlike how I feel visiting Alberta, but we’re not discussing that right now).

Now, of course, after about 7 or 8 months of living here, I do have a few friends that we have over in our speakeasy for drinks from time to time, or we go to our friends’ house to have lunch or dinner and hang out with their kids - an experience that I guess I was missing because my heart feels full after any amount of time spent with them.

I’ve setup boundaries to help protect myself. I don’t receive negative opinions about anything and I’ve been finding more and more people who have recently moved here. I signed up for an in-person French course so I’ll meet more like-minded people that way.

Something that I’ve started calling the move depression is ‘post-posting depression’ - the excitement has died off, the honeymoon phase done, and I’ve learned what to expect during storms and when to expect them. I’ve been finding ways to get out on my own, make friends outside of the usual friends from my husband’s work - which, if any of you are reading this, it’s not you, it’s me.

So, through ebs and flows, I think I’m getting there. I’m finding and chasing my own happiness.

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