In Alberta, we live alongside bears and wild horses
Why I love living in... Picture Butte, Alberta, Canada
Aoife O’Connor: ‘I love the openness around us and the opportunity to spread our wings. There is plenty of room for the bears and wild horses to live alongside us humans.’
Aoife O’Connor: ‘Without extended family it is often hard and sad, but we have made our choice and in life there isn’t anyone I have met that has it all.’
The sky is blue, expansive and the sun winks constantly in the little town so aptly called Picture Butte, where we live, in Alberta, Canada. I love the prairies and their residents, the gofers, snakes, coyotes, deer, salamanders and frogs that inhabit the coulees. How different and adventurous is all of that?
We make new discoveries every day, and conquer new fears with the determination to appreciate the new life my family and I have embarked on. Our “home” is nearly 4,000 miles away, but we are moulding a new one day by day.
While Ireland is green and picturesque, here is free and wild. I love the openness around us and the opportunity to spread our wings. There is plenty of room for the bears and wild horses to live alongside us humans. The adventure draws us. This welcoming country has adopted us and we are grateful for its generosity.
The Canadians are the warmest people I have ever encountered, and I have been to a few countries. Any more laid back and they would be horizontal. Their hospitality is astounding. Reciprocal deeds and gestures are appreciated and expected here, and there is a real sense of citizenship. Although we are not citizens, we are not excluded from their way of life.
Respect and patience are practiced at all times in this little closely knit community we have become part of. Basic manners are witnessed in every interaction we have had since the wheels of the plane that brought us here landed on Canadian soil.
Our children adore their schools, which is not said lightly. Their future will be richer and more knowledgeable as a result of their experiences here. My husband and I are both working since we arrived. He is utilising his skills and experience with his trade, and I am working alongside my two brothers, amicably thank goodness, in the plant, gravel and farming industry, a family operated business that has treated us extremely well.
So, is Picture Butte home? Yes it is. Without extended family it is often hard and sad, but we have made our choice and in life there isn’t anyone I have met that has it all. I open my curtains in the morning to blue skies 80 per cent of the time, even when the sky is sprinkling us with “Canada’s rain” (snow).
Life should be lived and if you get a chance to explore like we have, you should take it. My husband and I do not want to regret, a trait we hope to instil in our children.
This article was received as an entry into the Generation Emgiration “Why I love living in...” competition, which closes on June 6th. For more information on how to enter, click here.