As I get closer to the end of my weekly posts, thought I’d put together some answers to Frequently Asked Question about my runaway to the East Coast.
About missing my peeps in Ontario…
Day by day, it does and doesn’t get easier. After close to a year, the hardest part remains airport drop-offs, when I must send my loved ones back to Ontario after a visit, via a flying tin can of the WestJet, Porter or Air Canada variety.
As per my now modus operandi, I am not allowed to park the car while at the airport. Instead, I must drive to the departure area, put my car in park, let my visitors get their luggage, and then say good-bye to them there, outside the revolving doors that lead into the airport.
No way will anyone let me go inside anymore.
We’ve all learned from experience, that an outside drop off is the smartest approach because I have morphed into the ‘woman who clings to human beings.’ When it’s time for goodbyes, I turn into an octopus and wrap around my loved one before they know what’s happening, and I will not let go unless I am physically peeled off, one sucker-like arm at a time. Once I’m off them, they escape into the revolving door, where I can’t follow.
Supposedly, I am not to cry either.
Fat chance. The blubbering begins right after the arm peel, when I realize that, yes, they are leaving. And once the dam breaks, it’s Niagara Falls, all the way home.
Recovery after a visit takes me about a week.
About the weather…
I live in a city where I bring parka, umbrella and tank top with me everywhere, knowing it’s likely I will wear each one at least once and possibly all three simultaneously.
Complicating the already temperamental environment, I live in a cave, so I have no indication of what is going on outside until I open my door and step into the current weather system. It could be raining, boiling or so foggy I can’t see my feet. Once I know which one, I go back inside and prepare myself for the climate. Course, by the time I’m ready to head out for the day, it’s usually changed again.
So I’ve learned two truths in my new world. No one moves to the East Coast for the weather, but if you live in Halifax and don’t like the weather, all you gotta do is wait fifteen minutes.
About not driving…
Well, it’s simple. I live in a very walkable part of Halifax. I put gas in my car maybe once a month. In my old life, I put gas in once every three days.
Two greatest gains about not driving?
1. The end of road rage
2. Wonderful $$$$ savings.
Course the one greatest gain, according to my sons who believe I am the worst driver in the world, it’s that I’m mostly off the road.
About those sirens…
Seriously. They go off all the time here.
It was a bit puzzling at the beginning, considering the population of Halifax is about the same as my hometown. And about the only time I heard sirens when I lived in Waterloo was during parades, when cop cars and fire trucks let them rip, just for fun.
Not long after moving here, a couple of things happened making my neighbourhood the very epicentre of siren activity. Not sure if I ever mentioned this in my blog, but there was a shooting around the corner a few months ago, and of course, there was that ‘questionable’ inferno behind my house in the fall.
I guess it would be logical to find sirens and/or the reasons for them disconcerting or worrisome. But somehow, I don’t. I feel safe, very safe living here. It’s a pretty tight neighbourhood overall, the cave is in a great heritage building, and I’ve got awesome neighbours, including the fella I run into every morning, sweeping the sidewalk in front of The Local or EDNA.
Anyway, last night, my son Warren and I were lounging on the couch together, watching an episode of ‘Walking Dead,’ when a few customary sirens went blasting by outside.
“Geez,” I said to him, “sirens kinda sounds like a lullaby to me now.”
“I know,” was his answer.
About the people…
Yes, they are friendly. Genuinely friendly. Yes, they smile and say hello when they don’t know you. Yes, financial exchanges are not about the transaction but about the interaction, which is of the “Let me tell you a story” sort.
Pretty much, every person I’ve met is like this. So yah, after my neighbour upstairs sees me in the parking lot and calls out a hello from her window, she will hang out to chat and what will follow is a story. And then, I will get the opportunity to tell a story too, even when I had no intention of telling one in the first place. And this is the best part of all, we will listen to each other with complete focus and NO cell phone interruption.
I know. Weird, but I like it.
So the friendly umbrella hardly covers it. I figure it’s got to have something to do with how beautiful it is here. It’s hard to be grumpy when there is an azure sea always there, in your peripheral vision, with either sun glinting off its waves or a cloud covering of fog nestling up to it, just for a little bit.
About eating out so often…
Okay, so they know me at EDNA because I eat there once, sometimes twice a week, and have pretty much done so since I moved here. I often hit it up for the odd weekend brunch too.
Aside from my up the corner hotspot, I’m also slowly working my way through other eateries in my off hours, meaning when I’m not at EDNA.
Look, I cooked for thirty-odd years, feeding sons and all the hanger-on’ers that came along with them meaning a lotta their friends. I churned out giant breakfasts, huge lunches and massive dinners, not to forget the snacks in between, every day, seven days a week.
If I added up all the hours I’ve had to log at grocery stores, in front of the stove, and at the sink cleaning up afterwards, the total would probably equate to a full decade.
So I’ve been ready for a cooking break since forever, and I’m taking it. And anyway, eating out saves me a ton a money in groceries.
About being a student again…
As it turns out, I am not the oldest in my program, nor am I the youngest. It helps to choose one that caters to those with a little bit of life experience behind them.
I’m about smack in the middle, age-wise, though I confess the bunch in the 50s is a little on the sparse side, while there seems a glut in late 30s to middle 40s.
But no complaints. Diversity in age is a wonderful thing, with lessons to learn from all eras, even the ones I’ve been through already.
So one year down and one to go, and then I get to stick an MFA (pronounced ‘m-uuff-a’ after my name.
About building a new life at 55…
Well, it’s coming along, though I won’t say it has been easy every day or that it comes without a hefty dose of tears served on the side or the odd night fretting that perhaps I might have made biggest mistake of my life.
But there are so many more real, more difficult challenges that pop up in life which are beyond your own control, that whingeing on about a choice I made, willfully, seems self-indulgent, spoiled and plain wrong. So ’nuff on that.
I never ran away when I was in my 20s, so I have no comparative whether it is a harder thing to do at Level I entry into senior citizen land. But here is what I do know.
I am happy more than I’m not. And why wouldn’t I be? Every single day, these tired old legs of mine can take a trot to the most beautiful view in the world, the Atlantic Ocean. And when I am homesick, I have the means to fly my loved ones to see me or fly myself to see them.
So no complaints about this rebuild I have taken on in the third act of my life. I planned to stay for one year, and now I’m staying for another. I’ve heard some talk that this hanging around longer than expected behaviour of From Aways is contagious. Seems I’ve caught it, but I figure, it’s all gonna work out.
About that running away…
Next to having my sons, running away was the best decision I’ve made in my life.
So, yes. Just yes. If you want to do it, if you can do it, but more importantly, if you need to do it, like I did, than I recommend you do. Jump. Just jump and run away.
Maybe I’m seeing what I want to see here or maybe I’m living in a bubble. But if I am, so what? Why can’t I live in a bubble of my own making, particularly if it’s based on seeing the best in everything and everyone around me and if it seems to keep filling me up inside with joy, love and happiness.