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Homesick in 'tha Dirty South

12 Jul 2005

It seems to be an ongoing trend these days: Americans moving to Canada and Canadians moving to the U.S.

After being in Atlanta for almost two years, I naively didn’t think I would ever meet another Canadian, let alone a Torontonian. But I have and the population of Canadians in Atlanta is growing in leaps and bounds. Sometimes, I wonder why. I mean, why would anyone want to leave the Great White North? I know my reasons were family-related; more of a push coming to shove.

I lived in Toronto for more than ten years and I am home sick everyday. The States simply don’t cut it for me when compared to Toronto. I make due, but always reminiscing of days past and all the wonderful people I’ve met and left back home.

Moving to Atlanta, I can honestly say scared me, at first. Then I learned to like it. Atlanta has grown on me for many reasons: the warm temperatures, the hospitality of its people, all the landmarks, museums and tasty restaurants that I have explored. With all of this, I still find myself missing Toronto everyday like an old lover, day dreaming of the subway rides, the walks down Yonge Street, going to the lake, the list goes on. Lately I also miss the freedoms, free healthcare, having a government that actually believes in democracy, and the population diversity.

When I first arrived in Atlanta, the first thing I did was to try to find all things Canadian. While searching on the net I came across a Canadian Expat Group. “Wow!”, I thought “this is great!”

The Expat Group meets several times a month. The group consists of many different kinds of people: students, business men/women and some married couples. Many of the Canadians I talked to in the Expat group and many that I have met outside of the group, (the majority hailing from Toronto and surrounding areas), all agree that they are homesick. They were all here for various reasons; job transfers, promotions, family, the most common being marriage to a U.S. citizen. I’ve also met others, who graduated from top Canadian schools and lacked quality employment while living in Canada. There were a few who simply felt that life would only be better for them if they moved to the States. I guess, leaving everything and sometimes everyone you know can leave you in a state of shock. You’re bound to get over it. You have to once you settle into your new home. That is, if you decide to make your stay in the U.S. permanent.

I will always remember those famous lines from the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy proclaimed, “there is no place like home”. Being away here in Atlanta has taught me that Toronto is my home. Even with the snowstorms and the crowded subways.

Until moving day arrives for me in 2008, I will keep chanting those famous words, “there’s no place like home”.

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