“Why New Brunswick?” is a question I’ve been asked by two individuals who are from there (which statistically is pretty remarkable, considering that on another continent I’ve met not two but three people from a province of well under a million people). The answer is fairly simple, but I’m long-winded, so get comfortable.
“Why New Brunswick?”
Ocean. The Czech Republic is a land-locked nation. Every summer, citizens pile in their cars and drive ten hours south to Croatia for their saltwater kicks. The rich ones fly or simply bypass the rest of us mongrels to delight on the sunny islands of the Mediterranean (something that I learned when, on a cloudy Bohemian day, a four-year-old student of mine informed me that her Crayon drawing of palm trees and sunshine was not of her home in Prague, but the one “in Majorca, stupid”). After a combined 16 years of living without any massive bodies of water, Jodi and I placed ocean, sea, or Great Lake locations at the top our list.
Proximity. Flying a dozen hours on two-to-three international planes is a pain in the ass. Like, literally. While business class passengers are given heated towels to dab away the stress of spacious seating and personal slaves, the barbarians in economy are left to stew in their own pungence as their sciatic nerves, like screeching newborns, find voice in their sudden discomfort. It’s also obscenely expensive. We wanted to settle some place relatively near Ontario, Texas, and the mosaic of European cultures that we’re leaving behind. What’s more, Jodi’s sister and family are newly transplanted there, and they’ll only be a short drive away. New Brunswick just made sense.
Affordability. I can’t say that any of these criteria are more critical than the other, but cost is a massively influential factor. We could have decided on the sexy British Columbian West Coast, but doing so would mean the difference between outright ownership and indentured service to a bank. We’ll never be rich as farmers, and that’s perfectly fine, but struggling to make ends meet every month? We may as well pull up our bootstraps, ignore any medical issues that may arise, and then get shot in Baltimore. The idea of building a future somewhere only to have it taken away by bankers or bureaucrats is maybe the only fear left in my heart. And it’s American. The New Brunswick economy is consistently not great, but if we’re frugal and a have winter-income contingency plan, which we do, I think we can safely allow ourselves to imagine Wonkaland . . . without all the psychedelics or child disfigurement/killings.