(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan (pen name Dawn Storey) and originally published in Windsor Square on December 29, 2011.)
Take a second, will you, and imagine that you and I are meeting for the first time. You, a Windsorite, introduce yourself to me. I in turn introduce myself to you, and then I tell you that I just moved to Windsor from Victoria, BC.
What’s the very first thought that comes to your mind?
If you’re at all similar to the vast majority of the people my husband and I have encountered since arriving here just over a month ago, your response will probably be something along the lines of, “What brought you to Windsor?” (usually spoken in a somewhat baffled tone of voice and accompanied by a questioning head tilt and slight frown), or perhaps, “Oh, I love Victoria! It’s such a beautiful city – why did you leave?“ (this said with a hint of incredulity and an unspoken but thinly veiled, “You must be crazy!”).
It seems as though we’ve been facing similar responses for more than a year now, ever since we began telling people back in Victoria that we’d decided to move to Windsor. The phrasing may have been slightly different, but in nearly every case it all seemed to come down to the same basic question:
Until we got here, I found it difficult to explain in a pithy sentence or two just why we had decided to uproot ourselves and move away from all that was familiar and comfortable. Since moving to Windsor, however, we have both been able to distill our life-changing decision into a somewhat tongue-in-cheek patter, something like, “It doesn’t rain in Windsor for eight months of the year. You can buy a house in Windsor without mortgaging your soul. You don’t have to pay $150 to get on and off an island when you want to travel outside of Windsor. Shall I go on?” In the face of such compelling evidence, the response is usually a quick, “Ah, I see!” with an understanding nod, followed by a thoughtful, “Yes, I guess Windsor is actually a pretty good place to be.”
Never fear, though – despite my enthusiasm for being in Windsor and my frustrations about life in Victoria, I am not under any illusions about my new city, nor have I written off the one I just left. I realize that there is no such thing as an ideal or perfect place to live (and that if there were, most likely neither Windsor nor Victoria would make the cut!), but I do believe that there is a place that is a great fit for us, that answers what we need and want at this point in our lives, and that place is Windsor.
So, I’m here. Now what?
I did, of course, carry out the appropriate research essential to making a huge decision like moving across the country to another province. That said, as of right now my understanding of life in the Windsor area is only slightly better than that of an interested tourist. As far as the day-to-day realities – people, local personalities and politics, activities and events, neighbourhoods, municipal issues, places to see and things to do, history, amenities, culture, and so on – well, I am still very much an outsider.
But now that Windsor is my new home, exploring and learning about the city is an adventure I look forward to living.
And you are invited to come along for the ride.