Leaving a city or home behind is one of the most exhilarating emotional, physical and psychological developments a person can experience. Considering you are going to a place that promises new adventures, lessons and opportunities to create human relationships, this farewell move provides a unique confusion of melancholy, excitement, exhaustion, hope, promises, fear, and bravery all together. I have learned to embrace this life event, and must confess I have moved not only away but to a complete different country three times in my life.
Every time, I have left what became my home I have done it with an immense excitement dancing in my stomach and mind, only to realize later how much I miss the weather, my family and friends, coffee or food, or simply the style of life. With each time, I had created, out of need or reality, a set of goals for the move, something to keep me going, to remind myself why this chosen path is best. As when you attend university and want to quit in the middle of midterms, two years in or a month before graduation because you “simply cannot do it anymore”, that title, the moment you walk across the stage, and the capacity to say, “I am a Sociologist and researcher” (in my case) becomes the lights at the end of the tunnel, the fruits of your chosen path.
This fourth time around, leaving Fredericton, N.B. has gotten me all kinds of excited but at the same time all kinds of grateful. Fredericton had not only become my home, but also my place of independence and the birth of my womanhood (mind and body). I came here but a self-centred, teenage confusion, woman wanna be, spoiled girl with an immense desire for independence, discovery and change. Little girl, big dreams. Slowly but surely, Fredericton began its path of challenges, from a love affair gone wrong, or sideways, or upwards or none, to recession drowining my country’s economy and causing my father’s business to shake.
In this little, but pretty city, I have learned to hold my ground in regards to my values and beliefs. I have learned to stand up for myself and by myself, to work my ass off, manage money wisely, learn saving techniques and take life decisions that supported a combinations of lifestyle desires (eating out, shopping), future endeavours (travel plans) and current missions (paying tuition). It has been hard sometimes and frustrating, but the early moments of spoiled anger were soon vanished by a new found sensation: self-sufficiency. A feeling I cannot live without now. This new, better me must at all times be self-sufficient. I have learned to be an honest, hard-working and always eager to learn employee. I have learned to be a better costumer through my experiences with ill behaved consumers (if servers were Gods and Goddesses and hell existed there’s a special fire pit for you all, where every time you ask for something rudely, or make a scene or yell at one of my co-workers and puke all your need for power on a person who’s job is to serve you or help you, we would stick a fire fork all the way up your selfish asshole), nonetheless, thank you because of you I have learned what not to do. I have learned to always tip at least 25%, to pay attention to my surroundings and not pretend the restaurant/bar/store is only open to serve my needs when there’s tons of people around. I am grateful to my co-workers who both taught me what to do in difficult situations (a.k.a. dealing with idiots) and both allowed me to encourage them when their spirits had been damaged, their feet were in pain, and we still had six more hours of work late at night or after an already long day. I am also grateful to my bosses who hired me without any experience, believed in my abilities and pushed for my success. I am not only incredibly grateful for the lessons learned (how to open, taste and pair wine for example) but also for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my goals and dreams. It is because of you that I am writing this today (in a pretty little cafe in Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico).
I have learned to be a good friend, one that lets you be but smacks you in the face when necessary, one that supports your dreams and choices, but writes it all down so she can tell herself, “I know I didn’t tell her (him) so but I knew it was a bad idea”, one that uses your experiences and lets you use mine as lessons and guidelines. One that is there when you got syphilis, you needed someone to move you, you were ill, heartbroken, celebrating, in need of a Sex in the City marathon, looking for advice, ignoring advice, etc. I have learned to have friends that become family, and when you are alone in a very small city, those familiar friends are all you’ve got. I am so grateful to you all.
I have learned to love unconditionally, to love a little bit, and to love ideally many men and one woman. I learned to walk away, to run away, and to simply turn my face away. I made mistakes, and fooled myself only to find, in the end, a suitor of high caliber, a friend and lover. I love too much, and I love to love more that I love anyone specifically, I learned this from the French film, Les Bien Ames. I am grateful to you all, from the men who explored my bed but not my heart, the one who only shared my dance moves, to the one and only, Paco.
Last but not least, I am grateful to the baristas at Second Cup downtown, who always remember my drink, my many costumers who wished me good travels and tipped me well, my professors and role models who injected knowledge into my heart and whose path I chose at heart. I am grateful to my taxi drivers, specially the one who saved me from a very uncomfortable wait on Queen street where a dude on a white pimp car wouldn’t leave me alone after my night shift. Also the habibis at Jack’s Pizza for always being a great group of guys.
Leaving is hard, in many ways, specially because a big city like Toronto may not offer the continuity and closeness that Freddy offers, but leaving is a dream in its own way, to one day have such good memories and lessons drawn from another city, little or big, as I have now from pretty, little Fredericton.