Time To Head North

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Mixed feelings of a Canadian snowbird as she prepares to go home

Like the Canada goose my husband saw flying overhead last week, it is time for this Canadian snowbird to begin the flight north. After five months in Mesa, Arizona, my husband and I are preparing to begin the drive back home to Manitoba. My feelings are mixed.

Some of the snowbirds in the 55+ community we’ve wintered in have already left. Others are in the process of packing up. Conversations include the question, “When are you leaving?” You see hugs and hear good-byes.

It has been a good winter. We’ve enjoyed many activities in the community: water aerobics, yoga, pool, happy hours, and even some pickleball. We took in local festivals and visited local attractions. We entertained guests. It is hard to believe it is now over.

I dread the cleaning and packing up. After five months, our stuff has spread throughout the house and has to be collected and organized to fit in the back of our car. At least as renters, we do not have the added responsibility of closing up the house for the summer.

Long days in the car lay ahead of us, something else I am not looking forward to. On the way down, our dog got antsy after the first day and spent most of the trip on my lap, where I could keep her from running and jumping through the vehicle. We now have a car seat for her. She will be harnessed in, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be whining.

Although we escaped the worst winter since 1898, when we get home we will still find remnants of that winter. I doubt all of the snow will have melted. It will be back to long pants and socks.

On the other hand, it is always nice to be back in your own home. I will appreciate my piano, my television, my home office, Canadian news, and my dishwasher. I look forward to rejoining my writing group and attending book club. There will be less driving and distances to attend activities or visit friends.

Although I am sad to say so long to family in Arizona, I look forward to seeing the many family members and friends back home. Skype, Facebook and email are great, but not the same as in-person contact.

Eventually, the snow will melt and the weather will warm up. Trees will bud and plants will blossom. Summer in Manitoba can be a wonderful thing. And when winter rolls around again, this Canadian snowbird will fly south again. We’ve booked the same house for next year.

If you are a snowbird or have spent months away from home, what have been your feelings about returning home?

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