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…
It does and doesn’t get easier. After close to a year, the hardest part remains airport drop-offs when I send my loved ones back to Ontario after a visit in 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 at the airport. Instead, I drive to the departure area, put the car in park, let visitors get their luggage, and then say a quick good-bye outside the revolving doors that lead into the airport.
No way will anyone let me go inside anymore.
An outside drop off is the smartest approach because I have morphed into the ‘woman who clings to humans.’ At goodbye time, I become an octopus, wrapping around my loved one before they know what’s happening. I don’t let go until physically peeled away, one sucker-like arm at a time. Once I’m off, they escape into the revolving door.
Supposedly, I am not to cry either.
Fat chance. Blubbering begins during arm peel, when I realize that, yes, they are leaving. Niagara Falls, all the way home.
Recovery post visit takes me about a week.
About the weather…
I bring parka, umbrella and tank top everywhere, knowing it’s likely I will wear each one at least once and possibly all three simultaneously.
Complicating the temperamental outside environment, living in a cave I have no idea what is going on outside until I open the door and step into the weather system. It could be raining, boiling or so foggy I can’t see my feet. Once assessed, I go back inside and prepare for the climate. Course, by the time I’m head again, it’s usually changed.
Two truths: iNo 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…
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 greatest gain, according to my sons who believe I am the worst driver in the world, it’s that I’m off the road.
About those sirens…
Seriously. They go off all the time here.
It was puzzling at the beginning, considering the population of Halifax is about the same as my hometown. The only time I heard sirens in Waterloo was during parades, when cop cars and fire trucks let ’em rip, just for fun.
Not long after moving here, a couple of things happened making my neighbourhood the epicentre of siren activity. Not sure if I ever mentioned, but there was a shooting around the corner a few months ago and then there was a ‘questionable’ inferno behind my house in the fall.
I guess it would be normal to find sirens and/or the reasons for them worrisome. Somehow, I don’t. 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 sirens went blasting by outside.
“Geez,” I said to him, “sirens kinda sounds like a lullaby to me now.”
“I know.” he said.
About the people…
Yes, they are 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 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’ll hang out to chat and what will follow will be a story. And then, I will get the opportunity to tell a story too, even when I had no intention of telling one. And this is the best part. We listen to each other with complete focus and NO cell phone interruption.
I know. Weird.
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 a sea, the sun glinting off its waves or a fog cloud nestled up to it.
About eating out so often…
Okay, so they know me at EDNA because I eat there once and sometimes twice a week. I often hit it up for the odd weekend brunch too.
Aside from my up the corner hotspot, I’m slowly working my way through other eateries in my off hours, meaning when I’m not at EDNA.
Look, I cooked for too many years, feeding sons and 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 mention the snacks in between, seven days a week.
If I added up all the hours I’ve logged at grocery stores, in front of the stove, and at the sink cleaning up, the total would probably equate to a full decade.
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 a program 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, with a glut in late 30s to middle 40s.
No complaints. Age diversity is wonderful, with reminders from all eras, even the ones I’ve lived through already.
So one year down and one to go, and then I get to stick an MFA after my name.
About building a new life…
Well, it’s coming along, though I won’t say it has been easy or that it comes without a hefty dose of tears or the odd night fretting that perhaps I might have made the biggest mistake of my life.
But there are so many more real, more difficult challenges that pop up in life beyond control, that whingeing on about a choice I made 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 in middle age But here is what I do know…
I am happy more than I’m not. Every day these tired old legs of mine take a trot to the most beautiful view in the world, the Atlantic. 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 in the third act of life. I planned to stay for one year, and now I’m staying for two. 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…
If you want to do it, if you can do it, but more importantly, if you need to do it, like I did, than go.