Twenty-five years ago today I started work at the PEI Crafts Council, just up the street from where I sit right now.
And thus began our new life on Prince Edward Island.
Catherine followed a month later, once she’d extricated herself from her myriad projects in Ontario, and we took up residence in a tiny two-room apartment at 50 Great George Street, around the corner from where we live now.
I was 27 years old, wet behind the ears, and quite unprepared for the adventures that lay ahead. As I wrote last week to a new friend:
It was certainly a cliff-jump for us, a young couple in our late 20s moving to a place where we had almost never been, with no family or friends. Plan #1 was to stay for the 18 months of my job contract. But then Catherine found studio space, and I made another job, and we bought a house, and we had Oliver and 25 years passed.
For a good amount of that time I had itchy feet, and would conjure up plans to move us to Paris (etc.). But then, one day, I woke up and felt connected to the place in a way I never expected and now the gravitational pull of the Island runs strong.
So Plan #2 is to stay.
I’ve lived on PEI longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, and when I speak of “home” here is what I’m talking about.
I’ll never be “from here,” of course. But the importance of that has receded into the background, and I do truly feel like I belong here.
Thank you to everyone who’s smoothed the path for us over all these years: friends, colleagues, co-conspirators.
And thank you to Catherine who, when I phoned her from the payphone in the Confederation Centre Public Library and told her that I’d been offered a job on the Island, and had suggested I could start work in two weeks, didn’t leave me on the spot. Prince Edward Island is the great adventure of our lives together, and I couldn’t have–wouldn’t have wanted to have–done it without her.