I had just gotten home for Christmas break and I was ready for 8 days to spend time with my family and friends before returning to school. Unfortunately, this excitement quickly turned into something else. During the car ride home from the airport, my dad said something to me that stunned me. We were talking about what I was going to do for hockey next year and I gave him the typical I don’t know. He then asked me how I would feel about playing in the Western Hockey League. At the time, we lived in Newfoundland, the eastern most province in Canada, and I was drafted into the Quebec League so I didn’t really understand how this could happen, so I asked him what he was talking about. He then tells me we’re moving back to Alberta and that my mom starts her job in March.
This news was crushing to me. In just over 2 months, we would be picking up everything and moving 6,500 km across the country. We would be leaving all our friends and family in Newfoundland and starting from scratch in Alberta. I was overwhelmed at the time. Yes, we had family in Alberta, but I knew no one outside of them. I would have to make a completely new friend group and make new connections everywhere. I quickly realized that my family and I would have to adapt to a new lifestyle. It would be a time of change for all of us.
When we got out there, it was the middle of spring and the peak of the first wave, so everything was closed and it would be a while before I met anyone. I had to adapt to being even more isolated. The time difference from Newfoundland made it hard to stay in touch with my friends back on the East Coast. This meant I had to find ways to deal with this. I ended up becoming even closer to my family because they were the only people I knew, so I spent a lot of time with them and I found ways to fill in the time, whether it be going for walks or learning a new skill like juggling. All these things were important for me because they were the only way I could fill the void of not knowing anyone. These things helped me big time and made the adjustment easier through the first month or two.
After the first couple of months, things started to open up and I had to adapt all over again.
I was finally getting the chance to go out and be around other kids my age, but there was one issue with this. I didn’t know anyone. The first few days at the gym or at the rink were pretty lonely since I had no one to talk to. However, I quickly met new people and made friends. Adapting to being in a social setting was much easier. I sat back and watched how people behaved and what they did before I tried to make friends or talk to them. Once I found people that I thought I would like being around, I talked to them more and made friends that way. It wasn’t that hard since there were so many people around, so I could just join the group and fit in that way. From this, I made a couple of close friends. A big weight lifted off my shoulders and it relieved a lot of stress that I had about moving.
The last big thing I had to adjust to was living somewhere else. I had lived in Newfoundland for 12 years so everything was pretty familiar to me; I knew where everything was. When we moved to Alberta, I didn’t know where anything was. Yes, I had lived there before, but we moved away when I was 4, so I didn’t remember where anything was. For the first little while, this was a challenge. I’d go for a walk somewhere and end up getting lost and I would have to use Google Maps to get back home and when we would go out to do things like pick up groceries or go to appointments, I didn’t feel all that comfortable because I didn’t feel familiar with the city. This quickly changed and I eventually figured my way around and learned where all the important things were.
This whole process taught me so much. I learned how to adapt to new surroundings and to not stress out about things because they will work out. I had to adapt to a completely new place and had to make a completely new friend group. As well, I was so stressed about what was going to happen in Alberta before we left because I enjoyed living in Newfoundland so much, but this quickly changed once we got out there and got straightened away. However, the biggest takeaway I got from all this is to embrace change. Everything in mine and my family’s lives changed, but it was all for the better. We are around the rest of our family so much more often now, my training at the gym this summer was amazing, I made a few pretty good friends and most importantly, we are all happy with the move. Yes, we did leave family and friends back out east and we miss them a lot, but we all enjoy our life so much in Alberta. All the change that we went through completely disrupted our lives but now that the dust is settled, our new life is amazing. This is why embracing change is so important. Without change, I’m still living out on the east coast and not surrounded by family all that often. But now with the change, I am around my family so much more, plus there were so many other great things that happened that I could never have imagined happening. My family and I embraced the change and our lives definitely changed for the better. I would not give up our new life for anything.