Moving During a Pandemic

Isabelle James-Walker

Moving away from home is one of the first huge changes everyone has to go through, and it's so different for everyone. I’ve lived in Whitehorse my whole life and I decided to move away with three of my best friends. I decided that I’m going to move from a small town to a huge city like Vancouver. Leaving during a Pandemic was probably not the greatest idea but I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to experience something like this with these people ever again, so, when the time came for me to choose, I went for it. I’ve never really been a risk taker but this risk, I decided, was one worth taking, because these people are worth the risk.

This all started as an idea when I first graduated, we talked about us all going to school and how great it’d be if we lived together. It seemed like a pipe dream at the time but after a couple months we decided that we should go through with it. Then the Pandemic happened. We didn't know what to do, we didn’t know whether or not we should move. We had to stop seeing each other which made it a lot harder for us to plan. It kinda seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. We all stopped talking about it for a couple of weeks until we heard that the schools were going to be open in the fall. We started planning again which was a little hard at first because we all had no idea where to start, but once we figured out what we were doing it went pretty smoothly. The hardest part for us was communicating, we didn’t tell each other what we needed. We weren’t very good with making decisions and taking initiative, but we somehow figured everything out. In the end we ended up getting really lucky and found a really nice place in a beautiful area.

After months of planning and budgeting, the time finally came.. I didn’t know how to feel, I didn’t know if I should be happy, sad, excited, or scared. It’s a really hard thing to do even without a Pandemic, so you can just imagine what’s going through my head. It was… IS a lot to handle. After spending months stuck inside with my family I thought it was going to be a little easier leaving them because I felt like I needed a break but little did I know it actually made it a lot harder for me. Spending every single day with my family was kinda hard at times but it was so much fun, it made us a lot closer. As I was driving down to Vancouver I was just thinking about all the fun, exciting and memorable moments we created together during these hard times. It didn’t hit me until I finally got to Vancouver and my mom left, I’m not living in Whitehorse anymore, that I’m not living with my parents anymore.

Everyone has been asking me “How does it feel being free of your parents?” as if I was trapped.I always answered with “I don’t know” because I’ve never felt trapped, yes we have our ups and downs but I’ve never thought that moving away meant escaping my parents. Yes I do feel “Free” I guess in a sense that I’m now living in a huge city miles away from my family but it was such a gift to have the parents I do, growing up in Whitehorse, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ll always feel like Whitehorse is my home.

People always have this mindset that we all should grow up so quickly, that by the time you are eighteen you should have your life figured out, you should already know what you want to do. Everyone expects you to know exactly what you want to do as soon as you get into High school. I had no idea of what I was going to do going in, but I found the Music Arts and Drama Program which helped me immensely. It helped me actually find something I really enjoyed, it also helped me get confidence in myself, and the three friends I now live with.

Whitehorse made it really easy for me yet still gave me a few challenges pushing me to go out of my comfort zone, everyone encouraged me to shoot for the stars and further. I was very fortunate to live there and find something I want to do for a career. A lot of people aren’t able to figure it out so early and sometimes they don’t figure it out until later in their life. I’m extremely grateful that I lived here. It gave me so many gifts and I’m so proud that I can say that it's my hometown. I'm proud that I’m tlingit First Nation, I’m proud of the person I am today. So thank you Whitehorse for making me who I am today, until next time.

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