When I left you last time, I literally left - Canada, that is. I last posted a few days before I left what I counted -and in some cases still do- my home and headed back to the home of my birth. I was a bundle of mixed emotions. All I can say is that although the location has changed, those colliding emotions are still apparent.
This post is hopefully going to be a cathartic release. I need that. I need to vent and rail against the last few months. I need to release the blinkered, 'let's get this job done'.
There are some times in your life you feel you are at war. You are on a constant stress level and every moment seems to be a case of a deep breath, gritting your teeth and mentally shouting 'Only X number of days', or 'This won't kill you'. You aren't living life, you are just dealing with the on-going onslaught of challenges. Every day sees at least five battles and ten mountains, all of them you have to deal without breaking. It's similar to running a trail Ultra every day, except I am sat on my arse eating chocolate and gaining more weight than a small elephant.
This move was like that. These last four months have been a constant battle in trying to settle.
We initially landed in the centre of Birmingham. A war-front in itself some would say. It's a bit of a culture shock going from one of the prettiest suburbs in one of the prettiest cities in Canada to what the party central of a post-industrial city. The first two weeks was spent ferrying a seven-year-old around a number of government offices trying to get our paperwork in order. Forget jet-lag, we were house-hunting, sorting out mortgages and trying to buying cars on our first day in. The first weeks were only made bare-able with bribery, threats and apologies. Not our parenting finest hours I must admit.
After a couple of weeks, D and I kicked M off to work and we had some fun. We discovered the expensive pleasure of trains to visit Castles and Museums. We had breakfasts on Canal barges and tackled 'creepers' in the dungeons of castles. M worked and we played ;)
We only had one month paid accommodation in Birmingham. Our hope of getting our housing sorted pretty much failed as we found we had to jump through more hoops to buy a house than we expected. We couldn't afford to keep up the apartment we were in, so we had to make the painful decision to split our family up. Something we had never done before. I was going to single-mum it. Having lived in those shoes for a while I now have a new respect for single-parents everywhere.
M stayed in a B&B in Derbyshire and D and I went to live with my in-laws for a while. At this point we had put in an offer for a house and it had been accepted. Our time in South Wales would be as long as the house sale took to go through - a couple of weeks surely? We had forgotten that the speed of the law is sometimes slower than an asthmatic snail who is just recovering from a cold. We had been told that our sale would go through before Christmas, but when a week before Christmas we were told the sale wouldn't happen until the middle of January, we had to pull our punches. We threatened to walk away from the house and after making some serious legal threats, the solicitor causing problems -not ours- picked up the speed and we had a house on the 20th December. Sometimes you have to play nasty to get people to take you seriously.
D and I's time in South Wales wasn't wasted though. When you live -albeit temporarily- in a country filled with history, it's only fair you visit it. ;) We brought wooden swords and shields. We took our battle with the relocation and we moved it to a more appropriate setting. We battled Dragons and creepers. In the freezing temperatures we learnt about Knights and Kings. We learnt that power corrupts and total power corrupts totally. We discovered that not all Kings were nice and that in some cases they had to be disposed of in equally unfriendly ways. Edward II was killed (possibly at the authority of his wife Isabella) with a red-hot poker up the bum. As you can imagine his Grandmother wasn't too happy when we always brought up these topics during tea-time :) Hehehe
We spent Christmas with family, mainly because we had no white electrical goods in the house. Seriously, how much washing can two guys make? Going two days without a washing machine produces a pile of clothing only rivalled by 'Dobby the Elf's wardrobe. (We've been going through a Harry Potter phase in this house).
So, now we are in our new house and we are fudging freezing. Why did we chose to buy a Victorian Villa during the coldest snap of the year? A week of snow and temperatures never making it above freezing. Sweaters are our newest fashion accessory. I have also worn slippers for the first time in about ... well... ever. A barefoot runner having to resort to slippers is a bit of an awkward admission to make, but when your toes are blue you have very little choice. I thought I had left Canada, so why does my garden look like a scene from Winnipeg?
As we begin to unravel this house and it's quirks -none of the doors hang straight and the heating system has been put on back to front- life is beginning to settle. D is in school: We managed to get him into the Autism unit of one of the local schools. It should be interesting to see how that progresses. The paperwork trail has started. I have been inundated with forms and assessment schedules. We have to document this and record that. All the while trying to keep D off the 'Cross spot' as he tries to fit in a routine he has never been accustomed to. Again the Bribery aspect of my motherhood failure is rearing it's head. At least I know enough about behaviour management to call it 'Positive re-enforcement', which is a good thing. That's my get-out-clause and I am sticking to it!
The settling of life has made me face up to a few facts I have been using the move to avoid. Sometimes when you feel a certain way it's easier to blame your situation than admit the problem and fix it. I have used the move as the reason I have let a few things slip. My work at BRS, my blog and my running have all suffered. I know people would turn around and remind me I have an excuse for not keeping on top of this. The truth is, I don't need that. I need a kick up the arse. The reason I have not done the things I have enjoyed is because I am wallowing in my own depression. I have not accepted my situation and taken ownership of it. I found it easier to say, 'I don't want to run/blog/help at BRS, because I moved and I didn't want to'. Yes, I had to move from a country I loved, but it was a decision I made. I did have options and I -with my family- chose this one. Yes, it sucks, but in the scheme of things it was the best decision at the time.
I accept that it is going to take me a while to settle. It will be a while to make connections -to build relationships. In that interim, I will be lonely and a little stir-crazy. I will be stuck in a cold house with packing boxes everywhere. Not my ideal scenario, but it isn't forever. However, it will never improve unless I make an effort to make it better.
Okay, this isn't a cheery post to write, but it's one I needed. I now know why I should blog. It's a way to get this crap off my shoulders. It's a way to put down everything that's happened and to let it go. It's a way to remind myself that the being happy is something you make, not something that is given you. If I don't work at getting my 'smiley' back then 'pats-on-the-back' and commiserations will not do it for me.
Thanks for that. Thanks for listening to me Internet. Now I just need to STFU and get on with my new life.
[Also as a note, I have stopped using double-spacing after the period/full-stop. After much discussion on FaceBook -which we know is the source of all knowledge, (after Google and Wiki)- that double-spacing was replaced by single-spacing in the 1990's and is a typographical no-no. It also pisses off some of my Graphic Designer friends. We wouldn't want to do that Krista and Trisha, now would we? Krista you know I < 3 you! ]
Just as I finished this post, this came on the radio. I think the universe is trying to tell me something, and it's not 'get off your arse and go to the store to pick up chicken', although I do need to do that too.
The Verve - Lucky Man