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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An empty, echoey apartment.

Two days left until we fly out to B.C. Last night, the movers finally came and took everything that we can't take on the plane. Now we're camping out and will be sleeping on an air mattress for...well, indefinitely. Spartan lifestyle. I like the idea of the minimalism of it, so here's hoping that won't get old too fast.

Life flies by way too quickly. I remember walking through the rooms of this apartment before we moved in. I so wanted the kids to be here and I didn't know how that was going to happen. I wanted to build a life with Warren and I was waiting for him to propose. Now, just over three years later, the kids have come and gone back to B.C., Warren and I have been engaged for over two years now, I've lost a job and gained an education, lost a loved one, learned and lived and bickered and laughed and cried, all within these walls and over these creaky floors.

We've put out furniture and odds and ends that we were getting rid of out on the street, and watched people come in and out like the tide to take what they found value in. I watched Leah's old bedframe being dismantled on the sidewalk and hoisted onto someone's roof rack. Our cast-offs are being scattered throughout the neighborhood.

We lived here. Soon we'll be gone. Our things are scattered throughout the neighborhood—but we won't be here. These rooms that we lived in will be inhabited by someone else who will do their own living and laughing and loving and crying. We were here. Now we're gone.

Such a huge transition at this time of year is especially poignant and somewhat bittersweet. I feel a sadness at saying goodbye to people we've known, if even only for a short time. There's an exhilarating uncertainty about what the future holds.

Just another reminder that this is the stuff of which our lives are made.

Now, to sweeping the bare floors and wiping the empty cupboards.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Equinox seems a good time to update...

...though I am almost overwhelmed with how much there is to update about.

I've been far too busy to blog. Leah and Daniel moved back to BC with their dad. I continued on with school and just graduated a couple of weeks ago, so it seemed a perfect combination of events to relocate closer to where my kids are. Too much distance between Vancouver Island and Montréal for me to feel at ease with. I was spending way too much emotional and psychic energy shoring up against that awful, gaping emptiness that comes with my kids being on the other side of the country.

And really, I accomplished what I needed to accomplish by moving here—though, truth be told, the way the world looked when I first made the decision to come here looks almost completely different than what the world looks like now. I was in a different relationship and a different headspace. Looking back at this time four years ago, I know that I was, in all seriousness, functioning with something of a walking nervous breakdown. It is a miracle that I didn't end up in the hospital.

There are some things I did NOT do while here, and some things left ragged and undone...but to go and pick over those things would be futile now. I can accept that I tried my best, though imperfectly, and that if my life appears to have moved on, then, well, clearly it's moved on.

And for the better, thankfully. I can only attribute that to realising that there is much to be grateful for, and that the best Way is to be kind to myself and to those around me.

I've got the education to be a graphic designer now. I have a little portfolio, and I am looking to work towards being freelance and having a busy enough business that both Warren and I can work at it. We're moving back to Vancouver Island (though it's the first time for him), finally having our wedding next August (barefoot near the sea!), and starting an entirely new chapter.

6 days until we leave Montréal. Last night I was very weepy about it. I had a vivid 3 and 3/4 years here. Montréal is somewhere I always wanted to live, to BE...and it did not disappoint. I felt at home here. I feel like I am leaving home now. It's very odd to have lived in a place where I felt simultaneously at home and like a visitor. When I hear the church bells ringing in my neighborhood, when I understand more than a snippet of the french I hear on the street, when I ride my bike to the market on worn-out, gritty roads, and fly past the rows and rows of wrought-iron balconies and narrow alleyways, when I hear myself thinking about my shopping list in French, I realize that I stopped being a tourist a long time ago, and became part of the landscape. This city will leave its mark on my heart, more than words can convey. I'll carry it with me back to the west coast, in much the same way that I carried the west coast with me the whole time I've been here.

Some pictures...not enough, but some: