July 21st, 1969 I (with my parents) moved to Canada for the second time. The first time, I had been an infant, and the move had been temporary: my father was doing his PhD at Carleton University in Ottawa. When he completed it, we went back to England as the plan had always been. We had grown from a family of 3 to a family of 4 in the meantime. But when they got back to England, they missed Canada a lot. So, by 1969, they had found a way for the now 5 of us to return. Originally it was to Ottawa and a job in a government research lab for my father. But within less than a year he decided to take a chance on the very new University of Waterloo and he worked there (with consulting clients and inventions and other side projects) until he retired to Nova Scotia.
I often warn friends who are considering emigrating that if you do, you are likely to raise children who think emigrating is ok: my Canadian-born brother lived in Japan, Europe, and the US for decades before settling in Vancouver. My UK-born sister has been in Ireland, England, and now Wales for a similar length of time. I have two other sisters and one of them has also changed continents a few times and now lives in England. Me, I've stayed put. I like it here and couldn't imagine living anywhere other than the Ontario countryside, though I sure do like to visit other places!
I remember very little of the move and the change of countries. We had been told of the rabid animals (there is no rabies in England) and the importance therefore of never letting a squirrel or chipmunk near you. Also of the cold, which I didn't remember from my first time. While I can't remember any of the moon landing hoopla at all, I do remember one scene from the airport as we arrived. We approached two doors, one for Canadians and one for all others. Well not doors, more like archways in a wall. And some official insisted that my brother go through the Canadian archway. He would have been 6 or 7 and my parents resisted but this official was adamant and said it would be fine. Which it was, because there was no wall between the two areas so it was a separation of a minute or so in full sight. We went through the arches at the same time but when we got through, this official knelt down to my brother's height and said "welcome home, little man" to him. I have other memories, of being bullied at school for my accent, of clashes with teachers who literally refused to teach me things I didn't know because "we covered that last year", of amazing beauty and nature and discoveries of all kinds, but that moment is one of those that really sticks with me. This place is home for me too.
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