I’ve moved around a lot. The question “Where are you from?” was never a straightforward answer, until I realized the truth. I’m a Maritimer. Atlantic Canadian through and through. I was born in Toronto, and six months after was brought to Nova Scotia. I like to think that I spent my formative years in these provinces just minutes from the beach, where the winters are brutal and the summers are paradise. I think it’s in my blood.
I try and remember to feel pride in this. I reflect on the great things about my heritage and place of origin. And that’s what I want to do here.
1. Kitchen parties were a great time growing up, when all the family would come over and there would be food cooking all night, music playing and aunts dancing till the house shook. Everything was warm and bright, even in the winter.
2. I knew who Alexander Keith was before I knew what beer tasted like. He was mentioned fondly, like a founder of the city. His birthday was always a party.
3. Lobster traps piled up around villages is the most common sight in the world. They dry out in the sun and are mystical to me in their function.
4. Understanding English in Moncton is useful, understanding French in Moncton is useful; understanding both does not make you good at either. Language is modern art in New Brunswick.
5. Bagpipes are awesome. Even if we like to complain about them, there’s something in the blood of a Bluenoser that pays attention to the wails.
6. Great Big Sea is the soundtrack to summers in the backyard with my parents. Even when we lived somewhere far from the East Coast we would hear those albums play and hear the ocean crash in the back of our minds.
7. Speaking of the ocean, we know all its temperaments. It is the moodiest of neighbours and the dearest of friends.
8. New Brunswick is endless forests, Prince Edward Island is endless hills and windmills, Nova Scotia is endless coastal drives, and Newfoundland is endless moose and mountains.
9. Visitors will always want to know where the best lobster is. I will rarely have an answer for them. Make something up, quick!
10. Umbrellas are useless and it’s always colder than I think it is (except from June to September).
11. The drive from Halifax to Moncton seems forever. Then I try driving in another part of the country and it feels downright convenient.
12. The Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and PEI never photographs as well as I think it will.
13. The Newfie accent (and its variants) is hard to catch if you’ve been away. Once you’re reintegrated, its the simplest thing in the world. If you’re not careful you start picking it up. This is a charming local hazard.
14. There is nothing better in the whole world than fresh picked fruit from the Annapolis Valley, fresh washed on the porch on a summer afternoon.
So ends my love letter to the East Coast. It is hard to remember all the wonderful things about living here on a week like this, with constant frigid temperatures, ice and snow. It is good to think of the things to come in a few months.
Maybe you’ll resonate with some of these things that represent home to me!