A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. ~ Jim Morrison
When we moved to Manitoba my biggest concern was leaving behind our families. All of our immediate family members live in Nova Scotia, and the scariest part of moving to Manitoba was leaving them all behind. My husband and I both have very close families, we speak to them all the time, and we miss them all the time. At first, when we moved to Manitoba it was extremely hard knowing we couldn't just pop in to see them or laugh with them in person or seek advice from them in person. Even five years later we still have moments where we miss them like crazy and want to just pack up and move home to be closer to our families.
The first few months of living in Manitoba were really hard because we felt all alone. We didn't have family around and we were tackling everything by ourselves. No dad close by to run over and help us hang up curtain rods. No mom close by to make us yummy treats and drop them off for us to share while unpacking. No siblings stopping by giving us a much needed reality check or poking fun at us as we made our way through prairie adaptations. It was hard not having them close by and many tears were shed those first few months. At some point we decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and to start making friends here in Manitoba. We wanted to create our "Manitoba family" and surround ourselves with people that we felt 100% comfortable with, someone local to lean on when times got tough, and someone local to laugh with when we felt like acting goofy.
Over the next few months we reached out to the people in our community and before we knew it we had a handful of very close friends to share our Manitoba life with. This handful of friends have become very important to us. We have shared Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and celebrated birthdays together. We have thrown countless parties and have taken road trips together, and vacations to warm destinations together. We have babysat their children and their pets. We have shared fitness routines, camped together in a yurt, and driven bicycles built for five together. We have laughed through silly movies and acted like fools together in public and in private. We have shared bottles of wine and cooked for each other. We have explored new things and new communities together. Some of these friends even managed to fly out to the east coast for our wedding, bringing a little bit of Manitoba to Nova Scotia. We accept each other even when we are cranky, or have no spare money to splurge on big outings or events. We are friends regardless of what is happening around us or how we are acting. We don't care if we are wearing old ripped sweat pants or dressed in our finest clothes, and we tease each other no matter what our hair and makeup looks like, all in good fun of course. In a short period of time this small handful of friends have become so close, and we consider them our Manitoba family. We have cried tears of joy together, and cried tears of pain together. We have seen each other through divorces, losing a parent, moves to other spots in Manitoba, graduations, job changes, and health problems. We have attended funerals together. We have been there for each other through the best of times and the worst of times and we would not hesitate to jump up and protect them or help them in any way if they needed us, in just the same way we would for our families back home in Nova Scotia. It is these people that have made our move to Manitoba a success story. They have brought much joy and purpose to our Manitoba adventure and we are grateful.
So if you know someone who is new to Manitoba please reach out to them and say hello. They are probably lonely and trying to figure out where they fit in Manitoba. Show them the friendly side of Manitoba. Who knows, they may even become part of your Manitoba family some day - anything is possible.