handshake

{Locality}: It sometimes appears when you least expect it

handshake

When my home branch of the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) called last week to set up my annual review, I made a spur-of-the-moment request to have the appointment in London rather than Goderich.

I was probably feeling lazy at the time and wanted to avoid having to make a special trip.

That and I don’t think my home branch account manager likes me very much. In all fairness, it’s probably just a personality difference, but I have never been eager to meet with her.

Whatever the reason, I asked to be moved to London, and the switch was surprisingly very easy. Someone called me the next day to set up an appointment.

I was apprehensive. I cancelled the first meeting in favour of taking an extra shift at work. Yes it was for a good reason, but I was somehow relieved.

I considered rescheduling yesterday’s appointment, too, but decided to man up (woman up?) and just get it over with. Perhaps I could even tell them I’d changed my mind and wanted to be re-assigned to Goderich. I could use more legitimate excuses to see friend and family and stop in at my favorite places.

The woman who greeted me at the Dundas East branch was friendly. She handed me a folder and told me that Darren had prepared some information for me. I glanced through it cursorily, but still planned to use my fall-back escape: changing my mind.

I could only take a few sips of my cup of water before a man’s voice behind me said “Sarah!”. I stood up and shook Darren’s hand, the cool polite smile on my lips not quite reaching my eyes.

Did I mention I was apprehensive? This is normal for me in new situations, new places, and with new people.

My chilly hesitance lasted all of a few minutes. Darren started asking me warm, friendly questions about why I had moved to London, my degree, my work, etc. We talked about serving (he has 10 years of experience), about my internship, about my social media experience. He told me about a good place to look for job opportunities. We talked about vintage cars and car shows, his decision to stay in London rather than go back to the Toronto area, the difference between his high school and mine…

…and soon enough, I felt like I had made a new friend, and was completely relaxed.

When a city banker makes you feel like a friend in 30 minutes flat, he has a gift. A very Ruralist-esque gift, actually.

Well done, Darren Livingstone. I have yet to see how good of an account manager you are, but so far, I trust you and I am actually kind of looking forward to next year’s annual review!

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changing locality

Changing {Locality}

changing locality

My geographical locality has changed since my last {Locality} post. I’m no longer an official resident of Huron County. My new county has the word “sex” in it: Middlesex. A respectable enough county name, though one rarely thinks of the county when one is in a city.

The transition has been odd. Not only did I move from the country to a city, but I also moved in with my boyfriend, a big enough life transition in and of itself. The “me to we” transition, as my “mother-in-law” Deb put it, hasn’t been that big of a deal (though perhaps I should add a “yet” to that). After more than two and a half years as a serious couple, we were already used to living life together, even from two different geographic locations.

What keeps causing me to bug out is the staying in London. I think if it were any other city that I wasn’t so familiar with, it would be different, but because I have known London for so many years–gone there for shopping and movies, attended university, gone for medical appointments and to visit family members at the hospital, etc.–as a place you go to and leave again, it is very odd to just stay, to not get in the car and make that very familiar trek north up Richmond or Highbury or Hyde Park, aiming for Ontario’s West Coast.

Regardless of my physical location, however, {Locality} continues to be important to me. No longer does it refer specifically to Huron County–it now has everything to do with what is local wherever I am, wherever you are. From now on, {Locality} posts will extend across Ontario, perhaps even across Canada, North America, or the world!

{Locality} is a mindset that avoids box stores, large corporations, and that aspect of democracy that tends to put money before people. It champions the owner/proprietor, the entrepreneur, the organic farmer, the rural shop, the one-off boutique, the people with personality and heart that you love to see again and again.

It can exist wherever you are, country or city, big or small.

I will continue to champion the rural, the small-town, the “back home,” but I undoubtedly will find places in my new locale that can pass the muster side-by-side with the Bayfields and Goderiches of rural Ontario.

In fact, stay tuned for an announcement tomorrow that underscores my dedication to all things rural Ontario!