Manitoba is not for sissies. It comes across as low key and safe, there are no earthquakes, volcanoes, major tornadoes and it doesn’t inhabit a variety of deadly creatures. But dealing with the frigid winters and the swarms of mosquitoes in the summer, it’s not for sissies.
I remember waiting on the side of the road for the school bus, bundled up, but not too bundled up because I was in high school. I remember leaning into the road as cars past to feel the warmth of the exhaust until the bus arrived and I could warm up inside. It was so cold I was inhaling poisonous car fumes to feel warm! Gross. But I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I was just so cold and not dressed as well as I should’ve been.
When you live here you adapt, it’s cold, it sucks, but it’s life. If you’re lucky, you’re able to escape the cold on a warm holiday. But it’s expected every year, it comes as no surprise as you get all your warm clothes out and prepare for the long, cold winter ahead.
When you’re used to the cold, you can enjoy all the fun and beauty of it. Making snow forts, going cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skating, ice fishing and festivals such as the Festival du Voyageur. If you can embrace the cold, there are so many fun things to do! You just have to make the most of it.
As the long months pass…and drag by the end, you look forward to spring. Once the snow and water is gone, unfortunately, you have to deal with mosquitoes. But again, if you live here, you’re usually immune, you don’t notice them as much. You put on some repellent during particularly bad years or in the evening, but they don’t feel as aggressive towards locals as they do to the visitors. One of the things I miss most living away from Manitoba are the lakes, and mosquitoes never stopped me from enjoying sitting on a dock or going out on a boat.
Besides a few months here and there I haven’t lived in Manitoba in nearly 9 years. I can’t believe how time has flown. I am now no longer immune to the cold and mosquitoes and each time I come back to visit, it becomes more apparent.
I absolutely love living in Alberta and have no intentions of moving anywhere else. But the problem with moving around is that no matter where you end up, there’s always something and someone you miss somewhere. I am blessed to know many wonderful people all around the world, particularly in Manitoba, Britain and Alberta.
We go back to visit everyone as often as we can but each time I’m greeted with strange feelings of familiarity and strangeness. Alberta feels like home now, but there’s also something about England that feels homey and familiar now and of course, when I return to my hometown in Manitoba, to the same house I grew up in, it feels comfortable and familiar, recalling all the good memories I’ve had here.
There’s no place like home, new or old, but I wish I hadn’t become such a sissy to the cold and mosquitoes so I can enjoy all my favourite things here without noticing the downsides that I paid little attention to before. Atleast the prairie blue skies and long clear horizons are easy to enjoy.