I’ve not had a home in Vermont since last October. I intentionally gave up a room that I was renting in Hyde Park because I knew that my life was about to enter a major transition. I was getting married that October. My wife is a Quebec native. We’ve been together for five years now.
The plan was simple: I give up my home, move my stuff to Canada, file for immigration, and keep my job in Vermont. No problem.
I drive back and forth between Quebec and Vermont every week. Its two hundred miles one way. It’s almost three and half hours to get from point A to point B. I work for an organization called Laraway Youth and Family Services as a community support and residential staff. I work during the day with youth and then I do two overnight shifts at one of our residential homes. It’s a pretty sweet gig. Laraway has been good to me. I get up early on Monday mornings in order to be on time to my meetings. The drive is long, but its become second nature anymore.
Today, five months later, I feel like a drifter. A vagabond of sorts. I’m in my car so much. I drive back to Quebec on Wednesday evenings after work and I usually arrive at “home” around 7 or 8 PM. From there I’m off Thursday through Sunday. It sounds great, right? During those three days I’m in Vermont I get my forty hours. I’m lucky to have four days off. I usually need it.
You may ask why I put “home” in quotation marks. HOME for me is Quebec (although, I’m originally from Ohio). I love it there. My wife is there. But, on the other hand, I don’t feel fully settled in yet. I’m always in between.
When I’m in Vermont I’m dependent on a busy schedule. When I’m not working I’m looking for places to go and things to do. These days I spend my downtime at McDonald’s drinking coffee and tinkering around on my laptop. I go to parks and take walks. I’ll visit some friends and play cards. There’s a local cafe I enjoy going to by the border that gives free refills on hot tea Newport Natural Cafe and sells delicious baked goods.
My permanent residency application is all filled out. We’re just waiting on a few things to come in the mail that need to be added to the application package. Once mailed it’s the waiting part that’s the hardest. Processing time is generally close to one year. It’s possible that I won’t be a permanent resident until next summer. Border agents have told me that once the immigration forms are mailed I can quit my job and stay in Canada while I wait for my visa. But I don’t know.
Someday I’ll be settled in Quebec and actual feel like I’m part of it. Despite having a wife, my possessions, some friends and family, there are days where I still feel like a visitor because I know I’ll just have to pack up and leave again like I always do. I try my best to keep those thoughts out, but it can be difficult to do so. It’s not all bad though. I like Vermont, I really do. It has a lot to offer and the scenery is gorgeous. Yet, it’s just hard to feel a sense belonging at times which can really do some damage to one’s mental health.
This is only temporary. I know that. Despite the hardships, the driving, the challenges, the drifter status, whatever, I’m committed to the bigger picture. LOVE keeps me in the driver’s seat.