Canada is HUGE! St. Maarten is only 37 square miles… Mississauga on the other hand is 111.36 square miles. It would take 3 St. Maarten’s just to cover Mississauga, so it only seems natural that I’m still adjusting to the shift from living the island life to living the city life. And yes, I consider living in Mississauga to be living a city life.
There are times where I love how big and far Canada is, and then there are times where I flat out hate it.
There hasn’t been much of an in between. For example, I love the feeling of knowing that when I’m here in Canada I can go on a drive for hours headed in one direction, and never end up in the same place. On St. Maarten if I did that, I would pass the same places multiple times because I’d be driving in circles around the island. That’s not a joke either, we only have one, single lane, main road that goes all the way around the island. If you think that potholes are bad here in Missisauga, check out the road to my house, and keep in mind that a majority of our side roads look like this as well. Something that’s not so great about living in Canada and it being so huge is the fact that I have to take a 5-hour flight, alone, every time I go home. It’s not the fact that the flights can be long, and layovers suck, it’s mainly because it can get boring really quickly.
At the same time, I would rather be bored on a flight for 5-hours versus a 12-hour flight.
There are many things I do and don’t miss about St. Maarten, but something I miss both the most and the least has got to be the close-ness of everyone on the island… that sense of community. If you’re from a small town, then you know what I mean when I say close-ness. Everyone knows almost everyone and even if they don’t know you directly, they still know of you. I’m not exaggerating. I can’t go anywhere without bumping into at least 2 people I know… but this is also why I don’t miss it. Everyone knows everyone… so if you do something you’re not supposed to do, or go somewhere with someone, everyone knows about it within minutes.
When I’m in Mississauga I don’t feel the love that I feel on St. Maarten. If I were to walk into a bank in St. Maarten and not say “Good Afternoon” to everyone, people would think I’m rude, but here, when I walk into a bank and say “Good Afternoon”, people stare at me like I’m crazy. We try to stay united as an island and a community in as many aspects of our lives as possible, even with something as simple as greeting a room full of people. Here, I don’t feel that unity, but maybe that’s a good thing… maybe it means the city-life is growing on me.
The one thing I can recommend that you come prepared to experience if you’re moving to Canada from a small town or island, is that places that are “not too far” can be up to an hour away. Just a heads up, because I remember the first time my friends told me were driving to go visit her friend who lived “not too far from UTM”… we ended up driving for about an hour and 45 minutes. Other than this, I think that it’s a great experience to move to a huge city and go exploring.
I mean after all, the best way to get to know a place is to get lost in it, right?