It dawned on me this week that I haven’t updated in a very, very long time. So long, in fact, that I got the domain name renewal reminder email this week, and I shamefully realized I probably haven’t updated this blog since the last time I renewed my domain. Shameful.
It’s been a busy year. I went on that Costa Rica trip I mentioned here and then I promptly vanished from the Internets. Hi Internets, how have you been? I just haven’t been out frolicking as much as I would like to. I went to Fiji and Sydney on a whirlwind business trip last year, where I actually spent more time in a plane than I did in Sydney. (Think about that for a moment. I flew 48 hours each way with ridiculous stop overs along the way, to spend a grand total of 46 hours in Australia.) I went back to Iceland, cause gosh darn it, that country is adorable.
But I’ve been reflecting in the last few years. Three years ago this week, I walked away from a job I held for seven years, threw all of my crap into a U-Haul, and drove 600 km into the unknown. It might as well have been the other side of the world. The first morning, I shuffled to Second Cup and ordered un grand café noir, s’il-vous-plaît. I got a blank stare in exchange. My brain had not processed the linguistic change, and even three years down the road, I make this mistake. I am an outsider and a foreigner in my own country, but I am just as foreign when I go back to Montréal. Une crisse d’ontarienne, une grosse tête carrée.
Three years later, the life I left Montréal for does not exist. The person I came here with a stranger I haven’t seen in two years, the job I was so excited to start long gone. The large apartment abandoned. But I couldn’t go back, since the job and life I left behind were no longer realities either. For a year I sat in perpetual limbo. Should I stay or should I go?
Sometimes I miss being on the road. Wondering how I am going to get to my next destination, uncertain where I will lay my head that night. Chatting with strangers in a shared kitchen of a hostel. Wandering a new city and getting lost.
As I folded laundry this evening, a most banal task, I realized my life is not so different from the one on the road that I crave and miss. I live in a 4-story house near downtown Toronto. I rent the entire basement unit, and it is a self-contained existence. Kitchen, bathroom, postage-stamp sized bedroom, living room, two bizarre storage rooms that I avoid like the plague because I suspect they are haunted (one you actually enter through a closet – seriously), private entrance. For all intents and purposes, I live alone. And yet, I share this space with a rotating cast of characters. The main two floors of the house have anywhere from two to five college students living there at any given time, and I wander through their place in my pajamas doing laundry, remembering a time in college that seems like another lifetime ago. Separate, yet the shared spaces unite us. We pause in laundry room to philosophize over why it is so damn cold in the house, share beer and food on our patio that we treat as a second living room.
This rotating cast of characters upstairs have included a novelist, a barista, an Anglican preacher, a physics student, assorted aspiring politicians, and a woman whose main goal was to be French. It reminded me of my hostel stays, loaning a sense of transience to my life. I cling blindly to my early 20s just as I leave that decade behind forever. To be 22 again? Or just come to grips with the rapidly approaching 30?
Some mornings as I get ready for work, I ponder grabbing my passport and heading to the airport with only the clothes on my back. “Take me anywhere!” I long to say to the check-in desks of every airline, and vanish into the sky.
Then Ümlaut begs for food from inside of her cage, and I grind back to reality. I am not that vagabond person anymore. Interrobang and Ümlaut keep me grounded squarely in reality.