Friday, September 28, 2012

Packing up: Mentally, Physically and logistically

I am in a strange mental situation at the moment.  It has to do the fact that my life has taken a juxtaposition that rivals 'Monty Python'.

I am currently sat on my living room couch, surrounded by boxes and lists, eating chocolate, drinking tea, drunk after a few glasses of wine, thinking about my family, contemplating the disintegration of my current life whilst listening to my running ipod and trying to spare some brain-cells so I can write my final articles for Canadian Running Magazine.

I am a mental mess.

I am not sure that the fact I am leaving a country I have counted home on-and-off for seven years -that after battling to make friends and be a part of the community I live in, I am now forced in a way to leave it- I have come to terms with what's happening to me.

I feel like a traveller in my own life.

I am continuing; doing my daily tasks with the added chores associated with an international move, but without the presence of mind to fully comprehend.

I have my "I am leaving Canada" party tomorrow.  I am not sure honestly how I feel about it.  It's like attending a wake; you are there, but not entirely present or comprehending what is happening.  I know it sounds crass and unfeeling to associate me leaving a country to a death of a friend or relative; but that's exactly how it feels.  I am grieving for my life here; my friends, my connections, my community.  I am grieving for the life I could have had here.  I am sad for what I missed out on and what I failed to accomplish because this break wasn't on my RADAR.  To me it feels like a sudden death.

That's not to say that I am not happy about going back to see my family.  Of course I am.  This will be the first family Christmas D has had with his extended family.  This is the first time he would be opening presents where the action didn't involve a webcam.

My previous relocations have been an adventure; into the unknown and unfamiliar.  Even when we came back to Canada, it was still with the feeling of a grand adventure.  Now we are going home and although there is a sense of security and peace with that, there is also a sense of a part of my life that is over.  No longer will I be a person in foreign lands, I will be just one of the 'Nemo's'.  There will be nothing special about me at all.

This is turning into a rather morbid post and that wasn't the intention.  I suppose there is more emotional  connection to this land than I ever imagined.  This is my home and I am having to leave it.  I am a little lost.

As with any emotional turmoil, there is always a physical consequence.  There seems to be a trait with our international relocations that there has to be a 'health scare' before we leave.  One that is always serious enough that can't be ignored, and one that can't be resolved before the move.

In Australia, it was a car crash and the diagnosis of 'Early On-set Osteoporosis  two weeks before we arrived in Canada.  When I left the U.K to come to Canada for the first time I was suffering from PTSD and un-diagnosed post-natal depression.  This move is no different.

On-and-off over the last couple of years I have been dealing with a loss of sensation in my fingers and toes.  It is usually cold related and so intermittent that I never really bothered with it.  It was enough that my barefoot running was usually hampered from October to April because I couldn't feel my feet, but I just put on shoes and socks and decided to ignore it.  I didn't realise that my desire to ignore the issue had almost become pathological.  I even went to the point of not running in the winter so I didn't have to confront the fact I had a physical issue.  This summer, it became acute.  It's hard to put the lack of sensation to the cold when you are stood in 70F sun in August.  This was beginning to happen on a weekly basis, so I went to the doctor.  After a lot of blood-work I was called back.

I had a load of markers for 'Auto-immune' issues and I needed to see a number of specialists.  This was last week and I leave for the U.K in two weeks time.  I am now left with this underlying fear that there is something wrong and I really should have dealt with this issue sooner.  Could the tiredness and depression I have had over the last couple of years be due to something else?  Is this the reason I am now unable to eat anything more than chicken, rice and cooked greens?  I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent this situation and there is nothing I can really do to solve the situation, but sometimes the feeling of 'what-if' is enough to jolt the largest surge of optimism I can muster.

As for the 'logistical' packing?  Actually that is one part of my life that is going smoothly.  Too smoothly.

The shipping agent came around today to evaluate the house contents.  Firstly she was glad that she was talking to a 'Pro'.  She didn't need to discuss the process, the customs declarations and procedures.  There was no talk about what was an 'allowable' item and how the move would be organised.  In fact she was in-and-out in about ten minutes.

I mentioned to her that with all of the other international moves we have had this sense of panic in the last few days.  We were no-where near in clearing out the debris, or cleaning.  Nothing had been organised.  I actually remember on one move, phoning a junk removal company the day before we left, pleading for them to come the next day to remove our detritus.  They finished loading the skip about thirty minutes before our taxi for the airport arrived.

This time however, I am spent wandering around the house wondering what we have missed.  All the cupboards have been excavated.  The garage has been cleared of ninety-per-cent of it's junk.  I have this un-nerving feeling that somewhere in this house there is a 'closet of doom' just waiting to spew it's contents just before we hand over the keys to the landlord.  I keep feeling I have missed something and I am not sure what it is. We have nearly two weeks before our flight leaves and we seem to be pretty much organised.  Something is wrong here.

As to the running part of my life?  Well that's not going bad.  It's not going brilliantly -a nagging pain in my right knee is annoying me- but I am getting out there.  I am taking the time to run with friends.  I am enjoying the Autumnal sun which isn't present in the UK.  I am taking the last chances with my shorts before I relinquish them for eight months.  I am breaking out the arm warmers and the new SKORA shoes.  I am just taking the time to enjoy what BC has to offer.  I was debating to run my last race tomorrow, but my 'broken knee' isn't enjoying the change in weather and with two weeks before we fly, I know I am chancing a hospital trip tackling a technical trail race under-prepared.  Although I am lamenting my poor race season, I am looking forward to the prospect of Fell running.  There is nothing that attracts me more to a race than the fact I will come out of it looking like I have been 'mud-wrestling' with a bikini clad female -although admittedly the bikini clad female will have trail shoes and an hydration pack, but lets not destroy the fantasy.

This post hasn't been the 'fun and joy' I was intending.  It's a post you would normally write in a diary when you were fifteen.  I suppose that's what 'blogging' is all about really.  Writing about your fears, dreams and everyday experiences.  It's just that here you lay it to everyone so they can read it.  You don't hide it under the bed hoping your Mom doesn't find it whilst she is cleaning.

There is something about laying yourself open to the world that provides clarity.  I may be packing up in more ways than one, but my sense of hope is still there.

As I write the last line I heard this song come up on my running ipod.  It doesn't come up very often because my run has usually finished by this point and I always like to start at the beginning of the play-list.  I am almost OCD about that - the first song has to be Jean-Genie by David Bowie.  This song has reminded me of what's important.  It's reminded me of my Mom -who I miss- and Dad -who I miss even more.  It reminds me of my hopes and dreams of my own little family.  It reminds me what I want from life.  This moment of bereavement won't last, but the sentiment of this song will.


  1. I'm so sorry you're feeling so sad about this change. I know it was unexpected. I hope everything goes smoothly and you can relax soon. I think you will be happy to see your family but I understand the feeling of "coming home" after you've had an adventure and didn't expect to move back. Hugs to you girl!

    BTW - I get the same numbness too in my fingers and toes. Its always cold related and my fingers go white at the tips. I've always assumed it to be some form of Raynaud's Syndrome, but since we have a high deductible plan I can't really afford all the testing to see for sure. So far its only super annoying in the winter.

    1. I was rather mordlin when I wrote the post last night. I am glad to be seeing my UK friends and family, but I am quite sad to be leaving my friends here and the beautiful location. I am a little emotionally screwed up at the moment.

      I was suspecting some form of Raynaud's Syndrome too. I know it can stand alone as a condition, but quite often it can be an effect of other issues. I guess I was thinking that this was just a stand-alone case, but it appears not. There is something more fundamental going on with my body which probably DOES need to be looked at. I have normally brushed off the numbness because it happened maybe 3-4 times during the winter. However, this summer I was probably getting the numbness at least once a week. It was always when my body temp dropped (say if I went into the shade, or indoors when it was hot). It's hard to dismiss it though when it's actually NOT that cold - hence why I went to get it checked. If it is bad now, what would it be like when the winter did hit?

      Thanks for the hugs and support mate. I guess one thing I am grieving is the likelihood of ever getting to see you guys any time in the near(ish) future is probably small now. I know Merrell took a chance for me to go to NYC from Canada (not cheap), but the chances anyone else would pay to come me to come over from the UK is pretty non-existent and I am not sure when we will have the spare finances. It's not as if I could even drive down over a week to see you all in CA - I will always be a plane ride away.