Online dating brought my wife and me together. It was inevitable. We had so much in common. A love for running, reading, dogs, history, travel, Victoria.
However, it might have been something that wasn’t in our online profiles that sealed the deal.
I think we were the only two people on match.com who didn’t rave about camping. Or at least pretend to love it.
We might be the only two people in British Columbia who don’t camp.
Maybe it’s because we’re both from Ontario.
I’ve lived in BC for over ten years. I’m proud to reside here. Fortunate to raise my daughter in a beautiful and prosperous province where people flock from all over the world to both visit and live.
Yet Ontario will always feel like home. Because it was home for three and a half decades. Not just for my formative years. I was creeping up on early middle-age when I left.
And I noticed differences when I arrived. Subtle but very real.
In Ontario, people go to the movies.
In B.C., I hear, “have you seen that show?”
“No, which one?” I reply, thinking maybe I’m being asked about “Seinfeld,’ or “Breaking Bad.” Thinking I’m being asked about a television show.
Instead, the response I get is, “Star Wars (Episode One Thousand: Attack on the Audience).”
I say, “No I haven’t,” while my inner voice screams “It’s a movie, not a show!”
There are language differences at work too. In Ontario, I heard the word “copper” daily. Because a police officer was a copper. For example, “That guy I just pulled over is a copper with Hamilton.”
No one says “copper” here. Instead everyone is a “member.” I’m still not used to that. Member of what? Rotary? A golf course? The Jell-O of the Month Club?
These small differences appear at work and at play. My ex and I had a cottage on an island not far from Victoria. Except here everyone called it a cabin. An inconsequential difference. Meaningless. Yet it grated every time I heard it.
Because cottages are very Ontario. Going to the cottage – your own, a friend’s, a rental – is for many people the essence of summer.
The same way that camping is here in B.C. Not everyone owns a motorhome or camper. It just seems like it. Which is understandable, because never-ending forests, pristine lakes, and the mighty Pacific offer incomparable beauty.
All things which I want to see. Which my wife wants to see. However, we want to see them and then drive back to our hotel, with indoor plumbing, a kitchen, cable and the internet.
Our daughter is not from Ontario. British Columbia is her home. It’s her culture. Her friends will camp. She’ll want to camp. She should. She should experience the best that this province has to offer.
Sonja and I owe her that experience. We might do it. Next summer. Perhaps starting by pitching a tent in the backyard. Still a pretty big adventure for a two year old (and for this forty-seven year old). And maybe that evolves. Maybe Sonja and I open our minds and try something new. Maybe we embrace our adopted province and start camping.
Or, dear reader. My friends. The ones with little kids, tents, RVs. Maybe you can take her for a few days. Just a few. She’s cute, funny, full of personality, and won’t take up much space in your camper.
While you’re gone Sonja and I will rent a cabin and watch a show.
Hey I’m trying.
One step at a time.