an eventful week (or, “a week full of events”)

Last Thursday we returned on the train from York to Doncaster, enjoying one last chance to experience the UK with the carefree attitude of souvenir-shopping tourists. No longer was there a life to plan.

Friday we enjoyed one last dinner with my aunt and uncle, our gracious hosts during this two month stint of ego, pride and ambition.

Saturday we flew. (Highlights of said flight included, as always: 1. watching terrible movies you normally have too must self-respect to consider, and 2. walking the tightrope that is the threat of deep-vein thrombosis.)

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Sunday I awoke at four-thirty in the morning because jet lag will fuck you up so bad that were I a luchador, I would seriously consider the name “El Jet Lag.” Later, I public-transited my ass downtown with a new-found respect for a metro system that allows you scenic views of something other than centuries-old coal dust-blackened tunnels. There, I was interviewed by Sad Magazine for fantasy fiction contest-related reasons that will become apparent in the next week or so when they go to print.

Monday it was back to work. My routine returned quickly although my confidence did not. I spent the better part of the day fielding questions, simpering at surprised faces, and feeling like a twat everytime I said words like “loo” or “trousers” (or “twat”). Meanwhile, Husband was on the apartment hunt!

Tuesday we viewed a flat an apartment. (See? I did it again! I honestly typed out “flat” because apparently I am an asshole now.) We were back in New West because, as we learned by unexpectedly comparing everywhere we went in Britain to it, New West was that girl next door we never knew we were in love with until she went off and married the high school quarterback.

Wednesday we signed the lease because Vancouver kicks Britain’s arse ass in the rental world. No bureaucracy, just a landlord who took a shine to our wholesome visage. The same day, we bought our new car and welcomed a new nephew into the world.

Which brings us full-circle to Thursday.

That’s all I’ve got. How’ve you been?

on the embarrassing act of coming home

Today we fly back to Vancouver. The great experiment – one might say – has failed.

I know that over the next week, the explanation will boil itself down to an easy deflection: one or two lines doing their best to contain both logic and pride.

It took us several days and a good dose of demoralization to finally come to the conclusion to come home. We weighed pros and cons, painted competing visions of the future, and tried to think it through in the most logical way possible. We gave ourselves time, and gave ourselves perspective. This was a decision we did not want clouded by such temporary factors as culture shock or bureaucratic annoyances, or faulty expectations.

In the end, all logic seemed on the side of going home. The only sincere mark in the stay column was embarrassment / wounded pride.

In the time we’ve been here, we found the plan shifting constantly, just as what’s-her-vampire-face’s visions shifting constantly in Twilight. (Ugh. I can’t believe I just used Twilight as a reference point.) The last – to sign a six-month lease in Hebden Bridge and keep looking for jobs – slowly crumbled as we started to think “What then?” What if we simply didn’t get jobs? Two months here and barely a bite. Sure, I got a job at a bookshop, but that was just not feasible with the cost of living in London. And I applied for about five or six bookshop jobs and was only called for interviews for two of them. Of those two, I only got the one job.

At the end of the six months, with no money coming in, our savings would be gone. We’d come back home with nothing: absolutely nothing.

Several factors might not make that seem such a difficult position to face. Perhaps if we were younger? At thirty, the world has a different expectation of you. Coming back broke and unemployed and likely stuck living with parents begins to look pathetic. We would not come to calls of “all hail the conquering travellers” but rather “why haven’t you sorted your life out yet?” At least that’s the implication you get in undertones and side-glances.

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Having spent most of the last ten years or so with this idea lodged in my mind that I would go work in England for a while, it actually feels something of a relief to be able to let that go. We can go home, and gone will be the feeling that everything is temporary. I can do those things I always wanted to do but didn’t because I never felt okay settling. I can sew cushions, paint furniture, get a cat. All those shitty kitchen utensils I had and never wanted to spend the money on replacing I can now replace.

There’s something of a weight gone. So, while things might not be the best case scenario we dreamed of when we left, we will still be in a better place than two months ago.

 

new westminster wanderings

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you can’t go home again… and other facets of denial

Moving out of my childhood home was a gradual process. I’m a gradual process person. Not cold turkey; a “weaner”, if you will. When things happen suddenly, I forget Douglas Adams’s best advice…. (Read: I panic.)

I get stuck in an odd state of shock only calculable as a sick ratio beyond my mathematical skills that involves variables such as “deer,” “headlights,” “fans” and lots and lots of “shit.” There’s something within that state of shock which is the quintessential form of denial. Like Pure Extract of Denial, if you will. It’s this core belief that somehow, somewhere deep within this giant cesspool of bullshit, there is a safe place. There is still somewhere where you can go where you float freely in some kind of womb-like structure. But that doesn’t really exist, does it? But were we ever to let go of this deep-seeded belief, we’d surely go insane. We have no choice. We must believe. (I think I’m on to something here, regarding the foundation of religion and other myth-making, but that’s really beyond the scope of my blogging escapades at 2.45 on a Friday afternoon.)

But, as Wolfe said, you can’t go home again. Home… most easily described as that simple structure in which we spent our formative years. Even though my parents moved out of my childhood home about four years ago, for the first little while, it still seemed somehow alive in my mind. Like it was still there, tucked away waiting for me, and one day I would be going back. I’m not sure when my subconscious thought this prodigal return might take place; perhaps as an old woman ready to die, like some frickin’ salmon.

But then I saw it. My old house in a state of decrepitude as it was in the middle of being demolished. I walked through the skeleton of my home. The walls were gone, the yard was a shithole, but there were still the floors and the ceiling: the smudges of paint on the wooden slats of my bedroom ceiling when I effed up majorly trying to paint my room when I was twelve; the bloodstains on the kitchen floor from my sister’s cockup with the glass door; the plastic garbage bag rack stuck to the never-finished wall of the laundry room; the hook screwed into the living room ceiling from which nothing ever hung; and the hand prints we set in the concrete my dad poured when he built an extension to the house with his bare hands. The spine of the house led me down the hallway I’d tread a million times. Every little detail is locked away in my memory.

But now it’s gone and another monstrosity stands in its place.

This tour around the hollow remains of home affected me more than I realized at the time. Now, about two and half years later, I realize that why it affected me so much, why I still mourn for something that wasn’t in-and-of itself something I loved. (It was the memories, and the people I love.)

I realized the fantasy, the harsh blinkering denial. There is no safe place you can run to. There is no return to the womb. Life is lived without a safety net… as scary and depressing as that is.

You can’t go home again.

But maybe it’s better that way.

bitterly rejected by interior design


So, as the previous post so wildly declares (as if it were a doe-eyed innocent swinging madly around a streetlamp), I love London. It seems London does not love me. How is this so? No, it did not dump me via txt msg. I was in Jysk the other day looking for junk baskets (long story), when I saw these wall stickers of different city scapes. Hm, I thought, this would be the perfect thing to replace my Harry Potter banner (another long story). So I bought the London one. $6.99. Not bad. That’s only about £3. Once I got them up on the walls, even my ten year old cousin remarked, “That looks cool.” From the mouths of babes; it must be true. However, my sadsack attempt to embrace London with open yuppie arms was met with stiff upper rejection. Alas, the stickers do not stick for long. After a few minutes, Big Ben was slowly slinking down the wall like an insolent child; Piccadilly Circus was curling inwards; Tower Bridge was on the verge of collapse; and the London Eye was shaped like a post-incident Humpty Dumpty. By the time I woke up in the morning, the entire city had curled into the Thames. London does not *heart* me.