Beginnings

I don’t suppose anyone will listen. Nobody ever does.

This is me, and this is my attempt at starting some new, putting pen to paper fingers to keys, and chasing a long obsessed dream.

I’ve always been a fond traveller, ever since first setting foot on the parched soil of Northern Italy when I was a little girl. My parents had waited until they deemed my brother and I old enough to respect and appreciate the difference in cultures and geography, before taking us with them abroad. This just so happened for me at the curious age of 7. The blissfully sweet scent of the orange blossom, the red tiles rooftops and sweltering heat were so different from the damp, green scenery of rural England that I called home. What must it be like to live in such a place? Why did such differences exist and what could be learnt from such diversity? My appetite was wet. My young mind pondered such questions, questions that still remain largely unanswered to this day. Although I enjoyed these foreign family adventures (which continued annually), I was unaware of how important these trips would become.

 

Pallanza, Italy – where it all began

Yet in the summer of 2004 my life would change forever.

What appeared to be an innocent trip to a colourful array of Canadian provinces left us questioning our English existance. In what now seems like a distance whirlwind romance, my entire family were quick to obsess about the idea of living in such a place. ‘A lot of people in England admire the U.S. Canada is that little bit different. It’s the more mature, slightly more sensible brother’, my father expressed during an interview with the Toronto Star (read it here, complete with spelling mistakes – Mr Wallstead, anyone?) . Further visits enhanced the desire for change and a quest to narrow to a specific location began. 3 years of paperwork, planning and patience passed before we received the a-ok from immigration officials and set off to pursue The North American Dream. Dreams, of course, do not come without great loss.

Montage of the not-so-innocent Canada trip, 2004

 

Adjusting to a new home can always be difficult, but adjusting to a new culture during the pained and trying years of adolescent insecurity is another story. While sharing many similarities, I discovered that the concept of a cultural difference between England and Canada was often very much overlooked. How naive some people could be. And although I would love to enlighten you, dear reader, and dwell on haunting memories of an awkward and prolonged transition period, now is not the time.

I’m here to tell you that it is through this leap of unguided faith as a teenage immigrant that I found myself in others in the eyes of others. Let me explain. Toronto, a place I now call home, is famous for being one of the (some even claim the) most multicultural city in the world. It’s like…a patchwork quilt of culture – one so rich and inviting that it hugs the body and warms the soul.  A born and bred country bumpkin, pickle, hobbit like myself can find such flavour intoxicating. I’m a vanilla kinda girl.

Through exposure and friendship, I learnt about countries I’d never even heard of before, customs unimaginable to my own and a jar full of foreign swear words to boot. My appetite for world knowledge became insatiable. So when the time came for choosing a path to wander down once the horrors of high school were over, I found the signs pointing towards Geography.

Two years later and here I am.

Hello, my name is Lindsey Wellstead.

And I am the Wandering Rose.

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