No place like home
Mirror Lake is the centre point of Camrose, tying the city and much of its attractions together. Hannah Schadel/ Camrose Canadian
They say home is where the heart is, but I believe it’s so much more than that.
It’s the nostalgic memories that come flooding back when you walk through the secret trail you and your friends would meet. It’s the smell of homemade apple pie or soup that has been slow cooked all day long, when you walk back into your family home. It’s walking through the grocery store seamlessly smiling at strangers that you somehow recognize, making even the undesirable task a little more delightful. Whatever it is that makes that little muscle on the side of your mouth begin curling upwards and your heart to fill with contentment, we all know and understand the feeling we get when we are home.
Over the last five years, I have travelled and lived in many locations across the globe, and have been welcomed with open arms more times than I can count. Going home to Australia has been a rare occasion, but when I do, it’s like I have never left. Today, as I write this, I have arrived back in Australia, for a very short but sweet five-day visit. Of course, just like most people when they have to say ‘hello’ to family and then ‘goodbye’ again so quickly afterwards, it gets hard. But then it occurred to me, that all of these memories that will transpire, that will be over in a blink of an eye, are all the memories that will effortlessly morph into nostalgia and leave me filled with bliss.
For me, it’s the smell of the salt in the air. The salt doesn’t just stay close to the wind off the ocean, it gets into your home, your sheets and clothes — forcing you to flash back to building sand castles as a kid or going for your early morning walk along the shore with your dog. These little miniscule elements that are linked to our five senses, all amalgamate together to create our own sense of home. Coming home not only makes me reflect, but it forces me to appreciate every little nook and cranny of my own backyard. More often than not, we all dream of exploring the world and jetting off to a secluded beach in the middle of the Caribbean, when we forget about all the quirky reasons we choose to call our home, home.
Camrose has been my home for nearly 18 months now, and just like Australia, I have built memories here that will last a lifetime.
I’ll be honest with you, when I first found out I was moving to Camrose I was a little apprehensive. The thought of moving from a coastal beach town where it takes five minutes to step out my front door and have my feet embedded into the hot sand, to a town in the middle of the flat Prairies, kind of scared the hell out of me. Just like any new city or destination, it takes time to adjust and learn what that place has to offer. After 18 months here, I can confidently say that Camrose has not only pleasantly surprised me, but it has so much more to offer than what initially meets the eye.
With Mirror Lake streaming through the heart of Camrose, in the summer, this beautifully calm and pristine lake is home to swans, geese and beavers. When winter rolls around, the lake is converted into a mini hockey rink and ice-skating space for the community.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why I love Camrose.
Maybe it’s just the walking trails and bike paths that run throughout the entire community, or maybe it’s the well-kept paths that attract all forms of exercisers. Maybe it’s just driving through the prairies with the warm wind on your face on a summer’s afternoon. Maybe it’s downtown Camrose at Christmas time, where the street glows from all the decorations and reflects onto the fresh snow. Maybe it’s the community events that happen throughout the year, making everyone feel like they belong. Maybe it’s just the perfectly well manicured golf course that keep everyone active and social in the summer. Mostly, I think it’s the small town feel, with the small town folk that smile at you as you pass them or the friendly ‘morning’ you receive as you walk past someone on their morning walk.
This backyard, right here in Camrose, is filled with treasures that must be explored.
To the outsider, they may not see the hidden gems that make this place spectacular, but for those who live here, we can see all the tiny specs of diamonds that make up a beautifully crafted and harmonic piece of art.
So Camrosian’s (if I can call you that), I encourage you to explore the backyard of this wonderful small city and find the reasons why you choose to call this place home.
As we all know, there really is no place like home.