It’s 6:30 AM. I have rinsed out my coffee cup and am posting this just before I open the door of my hotel quarters and step into the hallway as a free woman. After I pack up my car (no easy feat), I will head for the ferry to take me to Sidney, where I will spend a few days looking around that part of Vancouver Island, and then take up residence for two months in Victoria before moving on to whatever seems good at that point. I can imagine the sea breeze on my face as I cross the water, although the glorious weather I have only been able to observe through my window for most of the last two weeks will have turned to rain by mid-morning. Sun or rain— I don’t care. It will mean life for real, not on hold.
Quarantine has certainly not been my favorite experience, but a Canadian friend put it in perspective when she pointed out that when Covid broke out, Canadians stepped up and did what needed to be done. Their willingness to sacrifice as a nation by quarantining for several months and practicing universal social distancing is what made Canada a safer place for me to come to. Despite the fact that I took a similar level of care back in San Diego, overall my country did not, and like it or not, that reflects on me.
I kept to the letter of the quarantine, except for a quick, masked and socially distanced run to the closest pharmacy for a prescription—acceptable under the rules of the quarantine. I needed to prove something—not just that I wasn’t infected, but that I care about Canada, and that I want to do my part to keep it safe.
Now I can enjoy things my friends back in the US wonder how long they will have to wait to experience again, starting with a celebratory dinner in one of Sidney’s top restaurants tonight. Covid has taught me new habits, though, about masks, distanciong, and sanitizing, and I plan to be cautious even beyond what is expected here. I am sure I will go with the flow when I figure out what that is ( I haven’t been outside to know), but I guess I have been affected psychologically by the months of living in fear in San Diego, and I can’t quite believe that I am safer now and that others are safer from me.
Just because I have a birthright doesn’t mean I should expect everyone to welcome me with open arms during a pandemic. I don’t blame people who don’t. I want Canada to be better by one good citizen because I’m here.
Thank you, Canada, for taking me in.
I stand on guard for thee.