It has been a year, a year since that fateful weekend wherein numerous family members (who had, until that point, been urging me to not adjust my plans) collectively agreed that I should get my butt back to Canada, and separately implored me to return. I, though not without considerable angst, concurred that it was the correct decision. I would learn of all the behind the scenes conversations later. Twenty three hours after the logistics of where I would quarantine had been decided, I found myself seated on a plane, about to take the 24 hour journey back to Edmonton from Australia.
I was lucky I left when I did. My flight price was good, for one, but had I left a day later, I wouldn't have been able to fly directly into my hometown from abroad, as airports were rapidly recieving restrictions.
It is very strange to look back now with hindsight on those early pandemic days, seeing what was at first almost an adventure turn into something harder, more stressful, more challenging than anything many of us have faced. I approached lockdown as a break from my nomadic life, a chance to weave exercise into my routine in a permanent fashion, which was something I used to do, and had let lapse to a degree as I travelled. I also saw it as a chance to make some jewelry that I normally don't get a chance to make, more intricate, more experimental—I normally have to squeeze those sorts of pieces in between custom work, and smaller work. Both of these goals were dissappointingly kiboshed as I started suffering from back joint pain just a few months in.
I did manage to get to Greece for almost 3 months, when cases were low and the sun was shining. I know there are couples out there that have been parted this entire time, so I'm grateful I at least had some Greek seaside, and my Greek man, for a little while.
All told, I have spent more time in Canada this past year than I have since 2013, albeit split between two places in Canada. I've been able to revisit my love of cooking, learned to make sourdough so good my mother ekes it out in between deliveries, and have weathered my first entire Alberta winter in many years. I've been blessed by great, even improving relationships with my family, who have been gracious enough to endure my very long, unexpected stays, a government which has supported self employeed folks who have had income loss, and regular conversations with lots of people I love, all across the globe.
And the upstairs neighbor has mentioned she hears my sister and I laugh at 10:30pm everynight, so we must be doing something right.