Au Revoir MTL

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We’ve got everything packed and ready to go, just a very few odds and ends left to chuck in a box. We learned after the last move to have aces things out of boxes as possible. The last move took way longer than we expected because we weren’t fully finished packing. We anticipate a bit of chaos tomorrow, but not nearly as chaotic as last time.

Tonight is our last night in Montreal. Part of me is sad, but the majority of me feels ready to go. The sadness part is that this adventure turned out to be a lot different than I expected. I turned out to react a lot differently than I thought I would. My anxiety was a lot higher, and my interests here were a lot different than I expected as well. In the end, even though I am a little sad things didn’t work out quite as expected, I learned a ton about myself at a very important time in my life. Some big lessons, some small lessons:

1) The Hubby and I don’t get sick of each other. We’ve spent 6 months with each other, with very scant contact with other friends and family, both working from home in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment. Close quarters, sometimes not being away from each other for 24 hours, with and at a certain point with some very significant financial stresses. We never once got angry at each other, and never felt like we needed the other out of our hair. It’s kind of unreal, but I feel really lucky.
2) Despite the above, I don’t do well without my family and friends. My anxiety has skyrocketed here, to the point where I’m suffering some health problems from it (stomach issues, sleep issues, etc). We have a very deep network of amazing people out west. Some of it I inherited at birth, some of it I gained through marriage, but a large part of that network the Hubby and I built through careful selection of awesome people, nurturing friendships, and joining of groups. We came here to see if we could create a new group like that. We did meet some cool people, no doubt, but our Tribe as we like to call them are really exceptional. We don’t just love having friends, we really love our specific friends. We don’t just love having family, we love OUR family.

3) I have growwed up. How the heck did that happen?! Part of coming here was to try and delay becoming an adult. Marriage felt adult enough, and I didn’t think I was quite ready to start saving for a house and kids. Montreal was supposed to be a distraction into that collegiate lifestyle: going to shows, hanging at bars, late nights, and restaurant food. But once we got here, I was far less inspired by it than I expected. I get tired of bars pretty quick. I am less interested in concerts and late nights on a regular basis. I would rather cook food for people than eat out all the time, partially because it’s fun and partially of the serious lack of gluten free dining in Montreal. I’m not as content going out drinking as I once was. Staying in and drinking with board games or instruments, video games or a hockey game is more enticing to me now. Also, things like walks in the park and hiking, visiting the Biodome, and Montreal’s family friendly festivals appealed to me way more than the club scene. I guess it’s time for that transition as I near the end of my 20s, but I didn’t expect it at all!

4) I don’t like being poor. This seems silly to say, because no one likes being poor. And it’s not that I can’t budget – being poor has actually taught me much better budgeting than I had before. The kind of complete paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle everyone experiences as a student, the not being able to afford much outside of the basic necessities, poor because you aren’t working enough. I don’t like it, and a new scene is not motivation enough for me to stick with it. In other words, money and a certain amount of frivolity and luxury is actually a value of mine. I hate admitting it, but I can’t just pretend I’m not that way.

5) A positive lesson: I like the cold! Everyone told me I’d hate the weather once I got bogged down in it. Once it wasn’t new. After the first few snows I’d hate it. It never happened. I know it was an easy winter, but the temperature was low enough that I got enough of a taste for cold. I found out I like it. I like -15. I don’t even mind -20. After -25, things get tough, but that’s because humans are not meant to be alive at those temperatures. When it drops that cold, the thing is, everything is dry. The air becomes crisp. The sun and cold air to me are uplifting. My mood skyrockets. It is the one thing I am not looking forward to about Vancouver. I’ve seen what it’s like when it doesn’t rain for 9 months, and I like it.

6) I belong on the West Coast This lesson is harder to explain than the others. In “San Diego Seranade”, Tom Waits has two separate lines that really hit home: I never knew the east coast until I moved to the west…I never knew my hometown till I stayed away too long. Something about being away has made me appreciate what home really is. I don’t really fit in over here. I feel like I’ve lost my centre. The west coast has a ton of thing I like. I like green things, mountains, salt water, fusion food, mid-century housing, cargo pants, and knee-high boots. I am polite and cheerful but a little aloof. I am very socially and politically liberal, I crave the beach, I pick up after my dog, and I like my city clean. I belong on the West Coast and in Vancouver in particular.

Tomorrow it’s packing everything into the trailer and a short drive to Ottawa. Then on to home!
-W-

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2 Comments to “Au Revoir MTL”

  1. oh my heart beats faster at the thought of you two plus dog coming home. I haven’t let myself think of you very often because it hurts. So my plan to think of you being on a long holiday has worked out. Three years is not a holiday..it’s a move! But 7 months..that’s a holiday..a long one! Now get back here, safely..enjoy the trip..see you in a couple of weeks! mommee

  2. I am so happy you are coming back! We all are. We talked all about you guys last night at Robin’s party and how much we can’t wait to see you.

    I know exactly what you mean about belonging on the west coast. When I came home from Scotland I was in love with everything about Vancouver. And now, even though I get “grass is greener” thoughts and think about settling elsewhere after BCIT, I know that it’s not a very realistic plan. My friends and family are centered around Vancouver, and I can’t see myself leaving this part of the country again. Glad to hear you feel the same 🙂

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