I’m sitting at my workstation at home, the traces of last night’s mascara still clinging to my eyelashes and my hair looks like a rat’s nest. I’m the epitome of who you don’t want to wake up to in the morning, and frankly it feels awesome.
It’s August 27th, 2008 and I’ve been thinking back to this time last year…
I remember my living room set was puzzle-pieced nicely inside my mom’s own living room. The humid, earthy smell of boxes filled with books are lining her entrance way. My TV unit sits in the backyard covered in tarps. I’m waiting for the moving truck to arrive and haul my life away. It comes, my life of commodities is shipped away and I exist as a single unit and wait. Twelve days go by and it’s the night before my one-way flight whisks me away to Vancouver. I’m filled with anxiety, uncertainty, excitability, and exhaustion. My stomach is filled with one-thousand butterflies on standby and it almost hurts me.
The morning arrives and mentally I’m searching hard for the breaths that come out mellow and light, but the intake is heavy and my heart does a somersault each time it beats. I couldn’t really tell if I was excited or shitting my pants. It was a really strange feeling actually.
So we pack up my mom’s car, and I ride with Kenny to the airport. We engage in small talk and I’m forcing myself to concentrate on everyone else’s thoughts so I can have a respite from my own for a while. We’re early, so we wait. Walk around. Watch other lives enter the atmosphere inside big metal birds. The time comes, and my mom, dad, Kenny and I stand outside the security gate and I begin my goodbyes to the two people I have seen nearly every day of my life since I was born. They represent my home, my roots, and the foundation my constitution grew from. I say bye to Kenny, and give him the kind of hug that I hope feels like an apology to him for closing the doors on what was going to be “our” life so suddenly. “I have to follow this dream.” “I know.”
I go through security frantically searching for the pack of Kleenex I swear I left in my pocket. I’m clear, and the guards like that, because the line up behind me is long.
I gather my laptop, my carry on, my purse, jacket and make my way down to Gate 9 bound for Vancouver.
Now it’s just me. Each step I make propagates progress toward who I will remain and/or become after spending 30 years in the same location and landing on new soil.
I cry quietly for the first 2 hours of my flight. An elderly couple beside me smile and hand me some Kleenex. Where the hell is my Kleenex?
I snack on these digestive-cookie-tasting things that aren’t Digestive Cookies but the crunch sounds good.
I watch Top Gun on my laptop.
I hear the wheels engage and my body descends into the Vancouver air.
That was a year ago in one day from now. I’ve been self-reflecting lately, naturally. Mainly on what feels like the magnitude of what I’ve done and accomplished and the things I’ve gone through in just a short period of time.
I want to list them, for reasons of nostalgia, but also because sometimes if I look back on the last 364 days, I can’t believe it sometimes.
In order of appearance:
- Pack up my 30-year life as I knew it and head cross country with Marshall&Otis.
- Start new job
- Give my lease termination notice from the Gangster’s Paradise after 13 days of dwellage
- Sam, my beloved dog dies at 14 back home
- Escape the Gangster’s Paradise within one month and remove the butcher knife from under my mattress
- Move into new place
- Get rear ended 45 seconds from my front door
- Layoffs at work
- Start new job
- Visit Montreal to see my grandfather for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer
- All 4 doors of my car are keyed
- Car is hit while in parking lot
- Turn 31
- Vacation home to Montreal and then Ottawa. My first time back in Ottawa since moving.
- My grandfather dies the morning of my arrival, 8 hours before I landed at the airport.
- Come back from vacation … laid off
- Smooth sailing
- Begin new job, quit after three weeks because of this
So here I am now. I’m anxious for year #2 here. In some ways I hope it’s as action packed, but not as emotionally draining. I really like challenges more than I can explain, makes for some good campfire stories and I’ll take them all over stagnancy any day, even if sometimes I wish I could crawl into a hole and never come out again.