I love to analyze, think and assess, it’s not a secret. So after some consideration, I’m motivated enough to come here put some words on the year that has just passed and where I am regarding Winnipeg.
I am from Paris. I lived in Manitoba in 2013-2014, I was working as a teaching assistant at Brandon University. I loved it so much I came back but in Winnipeg this time, in 2017. I have been through various work permits and I am now a permanent resident.
My vision of Winnipeg has changed since my three-year post last April – because of the pandemic, of course. I continue to try and convince people than immigrating in Manitoba is better than anywhere else in Canada but I wonder if my home city still works for me. Indeed, lately, I have had the impression of going in circles.
For the past four years, I have explored Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba in every possible corner. Although I continue to discover places and haven’t visited everything yet, I would say that I have done between 70 and 80% of hikes and sights in the area, several times sometimes. Even though I like to see the landscapes change completely with the seasons, after a while, you still lack variety: we are in the Prairies.
I miss traveling terribly. I had taken a break before the pandemic for several reasons, I am definitely no longer the girl who between 2009 and 2017 always had an upcoming train / bus / plane ticket reservation in her mailbox. This period is over and it is further accentuated by the closing of the borders.
Suddenly, that also leads to more questions: could I travel more easily if I lived elsewhere in Canada? A place with more airlines, more discoveries to be made on the American side? I love Minnesota – I have been three times already – but except for the flag and currency, it’s almost like visiting Manitoba.
I lost my enthusiasm a bit. When all of this is behind us, when everything has reopened, I don’t really have a place to go at the top of my bucket list, or at least not around Winnipeg (if we exclude Ikea!)
The pandemic has brought in a lot of loneliness as well. I said goodbye to friends once again, and I haven’t replaced them. It has become too hard to get attached to people when living in such a hub. When I was in Australia, friendships between colleagues at the school I was working at were made by visa type. Are you on a long-term visa? Ok, please, welcome. Do you have a Working Holiday Visa which means you can only stay for 6 months? Sorry, you don’t need to bother to know you, since you’ll be leaving.
Back then, seven years ago, I found this thinking a bit extreme and unfair, but now that I’m on the other side, it doesn’t seem inhuman to me anymore. On the contrary, it is a way to protect yourself. Without going so far as to submit a complete questionnaire to the new people I will meet, I will still keep this parameter in mind. When socializing will be allowed and safe again.
I think I’ve covered all the negatives! Many are directly linked to the pandemic. I must also mention that it has been four years since I set foot in Paris and all of this also has an impact on my current state of mind. But no, I’m not going back to France, at least not for longer holidays. I am not even sure when those holidays will happen.
Otherwise, let’s be reassured, there are still things that I like about Winnipeg! I am grateful for my professional situation, both my Monday to Friday one and m freelance gigs in creating tourism content. I have lots of ideas, I just need to find the courage to take them on and then make them happen. The cost of living here is affordable, so I have a great place and increase my collection of indoor plants. I learned to cook and I have French bakeries nearby to fight any nostalgia.
I don’t want to make any official plan for this next year in Winnipeg, since nothing is guaranteed. The only thing I’m pretty sure is that I will send in my application for Canadian citizenship next September!