Okay, for anyone who’s curious about where I’ll be finding me next: think ocean and mountains and vineyards. Think temperate climate, totem poles, Chinatown, orca whales, and people who say please a lot. Come the morning of May 1st, I’ll be opening my eyes on beautiful Vancouver Island. Not exotic or exciting enough? May I remind you that I have never once set foot on Vancouver Island, and that’s as exciting as I’m prepared to be at the moment.

While many locales were up for grabs, we decided an immigration to yet another foreign country was beyond our energy expenditure capacity—code phrase for too bloody lazy. We have friends and work contacts there, and I hear that English is spoken in all the respectable hair salons.

For those who might not know a lot about Canada (Americans, I’m looking at you), perhaps describing Victoria as a mini San Francisco or Seattle with fewer guns and higher taxes will suffice, with apologies to my new home if the comparison is off. Of course, San Francisco, Seattle, and my bucket list restaurant—The French Laundry in the California vineyards—are just around the corner, and I’ll be plotting a plan for all 3 destinations as soon as I unpack.

Even before we moved to France, Neil and I talked about finding ourselves in what is apparently Canada’s most romantic and smartest city. In fact, it’s the only place in Canada we considered. Even though I have loved this French Foreign Legion tour of duty, I’m quite jazzed to return to the homeland, especially to the sea. Already, the encouragement we’re receiving from the locals reminds me that the red maple leaf on the Canadian flag could easily be replaced with a jolly red heart.

It’s a quaint city, full of gorgeous gardens; culturally diverse with friendly folks who are happy to welcome visitors. There’s a lot going on for children and youth and I’m hoping to put my passion for our young ones to use in the community. That or beg for a job as a cashier at Munro’s, “Canada’s most magnificent bookstore”. We shall see.

Now it’s no Newfoundland, this ‘other’ Rock, but the shovel and scraper free winters and year round golfing (Neil made me say that) will just have to do. I’ll have to hike world famous trails, trudge through the aisles of Shopper’s Drug Mart, look at the Pacific Ocean everyday, sample all the local wines, and eat locally grown and Asian inspired food on a regular basis, but I’ll manage somehow.

Anyway, here’s the thing: no matter where we go, joy awaits. Well, first, packing, Swiss exodus paperwork, Canada re-entry paperwork, a marathon Vevey-Geneva-London-Vancouver-Victoria travel plan, 2 days in a hotel then an empty apartment for 6-8 weeks while waiting for our possessions to arrive, integrating into a new town, finding a new career, then joy.

Oh, now I’m just kidding. One thing I’ve learned from my Big French Adventure is that joy can be found in almost everything, especially the challenging things in life, as long as you resolve to find it. I’m trying to see it everywhere I look—even in that mess of clothes on the floor beside that man’s side of the bed. Why just the other day I gleefully exclaimed, “Neil, if you don’t pick up this pile of joy in the next 10 minutes…”


Victoria, British Columbia
Photo credit: Brandon Godfrey