I see now..
We rented a car, and after a satisfying breakfast, drove around a bit. There were a few markets scattered about. Upon parking the car we were overcome with the sombre tones of live market music. It felt like being home, the music filling the air, the smells of frying foods, and soaps, dogs, toddlers, craft. Something shiny catches my eye and we drift towards a booth. I hold the hand forged sickle in my hands. I want it, but I don’t dare. We wander some more before returning to the forged metals booth. Mom is buying a pair of earrings and I’m thrilled. The lone booth owner, quiet, humble, comes to assist. He finally looks up from the table and I am awestruck. His eyes are like honey in sunlight. I’ve seen that colour of eyes once before, and as before, I was left speechless. My hand closes around the sickle again, anything to get him to lay those eyes on me. But I let it go, and when mom’s purchase is complete, we move on.
We follow the edges of the coast, and I begin to think I finally see it. Those dashes of old English. I see it in the homes we drive past. They are an odd mixture of classic English and incredibly modern. One home with its white and black curving trim, the next all windows and right angles. And for a moment, as I fight fatigue, I am back in England, driving the harrowing streets to Nanny’s. Breath-taking homes hidden behind intimidating gates and solid fences, only catching a heart beat of a glimpse of them as you drive by.
But in truth, the whole place doesn’t feel too different from home. There are still kids selling lemonade on lawns, Saturday morning farmer’s markets, Starbucks on block corners… What feels different, is the atmosphere. People seem at ease. No one seems to be in a hurry, or weighed down with stress. No one seems angry. No profane graffiti covers the walls, no angry protests march up the streets. Even the homes seem to have room to breathe, rather than being stacked side by side by side. I, feel like I can breathe.
Maybe it isn’t the biggest city, or the most tourist attractive. Maybe I’m glamorizing the view. It is not somewhere I could live. I doubt it is somewhere you could live. Homes around here go for 700 grand upwards 1.5 million. Even restaurant prices are not humble. Granted, the current exchange rate between Canadian and U.S. is in our favor. It still makes my stomach turn to look down and order a $7-8 pint of beer, and a dinner entree for $20+.. I’ve never been good with math, and I admittedly hate numbers. Only pulling out my calculator will make me breathe a sigh of relief. Everything here just feels expensive. Maybe in some odd sense, you’re paying for the freedom from stress.