Going Home as a Visitor

Last month, Chris and I visited Boise. Before we moved to Calgary, I lived in Boise for eight years. I got my first job as an engineer there. I bought my first house there. I met my husband there. It’s the first place that I made my home as an adult. So, I wondered what it would be like to go back for the first time as a visitor. I guess I was expecting it to be emotionally difficult. There were a few tough moments (like when we drove out of town at the end of our visit), but mostly it was fun. Boise has grown since we left. It’s changing for the better. So-so restaurants have been replaced by yummy ones. A close friend is pregnant. Another bestie has a new (huge) home in a charming neighbourhood. When I love people and places as I do Boiseans and Boise, it makes me happy to see them flourish. It’s satisfying.

Les Bois

Besides delighting in the success of my friends and former home city, I was keenly aware of things I’ve gotten used to in Calgary. For instance, I didn’t bat so much as an eyelash when our landlord emailed us and offered to let us buy his house for $799,000, not because we can afford it (we can’t), but because it seems like a fair price. However, I know every American who is reading this just threw up in their mouth a little. Would Calgarians ever imagine that parking downtown during Sled Island would be totally stress and monetarily free? No, we wouldn’t because we’re not a bunch of damn fools! On that basis, I stewed about finding a parking spot for my first morning of Hackfort. But worrying about such a thing in Boise makes me a damn fool after all! In retrospect, I’m pretty amazed how quickly I’ve gotten used to such an expensive and relatively inconvenient city. I’m so adaptable!

We stopped in McCall on our trek northward.

The week before we visited Boise, I was reading The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin. In it I learned that doctors regularly diagnosed slaves on slave ships bound for the Americas with nostalgia, a physical sickness that came from missing home and family (no duh). It was believed that many of the physical ailments of the Middle Passage were the result of states that we typically think of as solely emotional. I expected to experience some of physical/emotional ailments on our trip (a mild challenge compared to the Middle Passage, but I can be a wimp sometimes). My heartstrings got tugged, I mulled over the choices I could have made, but didn’t and in a tribute to Calgarians and Calgary, I returned to my new home after a week in Idaho with no nostalgia, no melancholy, no schism, just exhausted happiness.

We made it through Crowsnest Pass! Almost home.