Time Warp or Call Me Marty McFly


We’ve officially been Canadian residents again now for a little over a week. We’re relatively settled in our new home and we’ve had occasion to connect with a few old friends. For whatever reason, I’ve slept better in the past week than I have for months–maybe years.

We’ve settled in Kamloops, British Columbia–the city we called home for thirty years before we moved to Washington State seven years ago–for our retirement. It feels like a homecoming yet still a bit surreal. It’s almost like waking up from a seven-year-nap or time traveling like Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies.

This afternoon I ventured out on familiar roads to do a bit of shopping. At the mall, some of the big box stores I shopped in for many years look slightly different than they did seven years ago as departments have changed location and renovations have changed the footprint of the store. There are some new arrivals too; I was delighted to find a Bath & Body Works.  Guess there was no need to stock up on my favourite lotions before we left the US after all!

It seemed odd to see people walking through the mall with their faces turned down toward their smartphones. When we left seven years ago I felt pretty cool because I had a brand new flip phone; I don’t think that smartphones as we know them today even existed back then. (I did a bit of research and discovered that the first iPhone was introduced in 2007 and the first phone to use the Android OS came along the following year.)

I made a small purchase in one store and was confused when the clerk said I could use the checkout device to either swipe my debit card, insert the chip end, or tap it to use Paypass. I learned about the chip technology a couple of years ago when we were visiting Canada but Paypass was new to me. Turns out that with the right card you need only tap it on the device to pay for your purchase.

I went to the grocery store next–the same store I used to shop at before we moved. The cool thing about Safeway (Costco, Home Depot, and Lowes too for that matter) is that no matter where you are–in US or Canada–all of the stores look pretty much the same. Seven years ago when I was overwhelmed with all of the change I used to take comfort in going to Safeway to shop because it felt a little bit like being at home.

Today, I recognized the faces of a handful of people in the store and was momentarily startled to see how much they’ve changed. I had to remind myself that I’ve changed, and aged, in the past seven years too.

Since our arrival we’ve started collecting various reward cards from local businesses too. It seems like everyone has a reward card of some sort these days. The landscape in my wallet is changing as my Fred Meyer card is replaced with the Save On More card, and my US debit and credit cards are migrating to the back to make room for my Canadian cards.

As I was driving home I tuned my car radio to the local station and the announcer was talking about Twitter, Facebook, and You-Tube. These are  all commonplace social networking places in 2014 but were just in their infancy when we left–YouTube – 2005, Facebook – 2004, Twitter – 2006–and I felt my world shift slightly again.

Much in the world has changed in the past seven years since we left but one thing remains the same: this place is home.

And it’s so good to be here.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. You are sleeping well because you are home! I like the Marty McFly reference, Linda.

    Cliff and I have loved visiting Canada. Some of our best travel memories come from Banff (I have a sweat shirt!), Jasper, and of course further west in Victoria, British Columbia. And of course the incomparable Canadian Rockies. Kamloops sounds familiar, so I am pretty sure we visited there too.

    I am happy that you are settled and happy. Come visit me–I’m just a click away!

    1. Ah, you have visited some beautiful Canadian locations, Marian. Did you go to Lake Louise when you were at Banff? It’s absolutely breathtaking. We spent our honeymoon in Victoria so it holds especially precious memories for me.

      PS I visit you at Plain and Fancy Girl regularly. I need to be better at leaving comments…especially because I appreciate yours so much over here!

      1. Thank you for the visits, Linda. Yes, we did visit Lake Louise and took some beautiful picture of the gorgeous, deep blue. I believe the image is/was on Canadian money, at least at one time. Wonderful memories. We’d love to return, that’s for sure!

  2. Isn’t it funny how moving from one Major Metropolis to another Major Metropolis (or minor, in my case), can change your point of view, your “taking it for granted,” and everything else you become familiar with? I moved from Delaware (after 40+ years) to NM. Huge adjustment. Then I moved to ND (my son is in the Air Force, I follow the grandchildren). Wowza. Along the way, I have met some incredible people, have made friends, have extended my social networking reach.
    Moving is an adventure. And a pain in the neck if you don’t know anyone that owns a truck.

    1. Moving is a pain in the neck whether you know someone with a truck or not. We used professional movers this time and it has still been a huge effort to coordinate and make happen. The good news is that we can take our time with unpacking and settling in. Good thing…’cause we’re exhausted!
      P.S. Love how you “follow the grandchildren” Karen!

      1. My boy and I have a few jokes between us, like I’m the Stalker Mom, and “We moved but Mom found us again.” 🙂

  3. How interesting to read about what’s changed and what’s remained the same. It must be odd coming back after seven years. What other differences do you find between Canada and the US?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Joanna. The differences between the two countries are subtle but definite. Differences in people’s perspectives and attitudes is one of the subtle ones. The stereotype of Canadians being “nice” and “polite” seems correct–I think it stems from our ties to Britain perhaps.

      We lived close to Seattle, but I think this must be true in many places, that there are so many choices for anything you can think of. With choice, comes the need to make decisions, and that can be an added source of stress.

      I have found it to be true that the US is a land of opportunity. Career opportunities abound despite the recent recession if one is creative and open. There are also a plethora of opportunities to grow one’s self in areas of interest outside of a career.

      Still, I am delighted to be back in the homeland. 🙂

  4. My daughter is moving to Chicago this week and I’ve found myself comparing her upcoming move to one I made in 1979 by myself. I moved to a new city about an hour from home. I didn’t have a television, internet or a cell phone. I had to go to a store to use a pay phone to call my parents . Things have changed.

    Welcome home.

    1. It’s amazing just how much change has occurred since the late seventies, isn’t it? Who could have imagined the world we live in today with technology everywhere and constant connectivity to friends and family.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.