Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The adventure begins...

It feels like all of the light has fled me, leaving me cloaked in a perpetual darkness that I'm having trouble seeing the end of. It's hard seeing that person in myself, I've always been fairly independent and self-reliant. And yet, this all started because I wasn't sure that I was self-reliant enough.  Having missed out on what society and several 90's sitcoms tells me are standard life activities such as going away to university and living in the dorms or traveling around Europe on my own, or living in an apartment by myself, I believed that I hadn't achieved a sense of togetherness that I see among people I know and love. So when the opportunity arose to be in a situation where I was forcing myself to be more independent and self-reliant I thought this was what I wanted, what I should do, and no matter what, this was going to be the right decision.
The verdict is still out on that one.
So here I sit, alone in my bedroom, wishing to all deities world-wide that I was half a world away ignoring my independent nature on the trip of a lifetime. 
I guess this all started last November when I applied online to do my Early Childhood Education at a local college. My job had been going well for the last few years, working for the Catholic School Board, and really loving my job, but if I wanted to continue with it, I needed to up my education.  Apparently having a Bachelor of Arts means next to nothing anymore, I wish someone had told me that when I was choosing my degree ten years ago. I probably still would have taken it though, I love reading too much to not have taken English Literature.
So I made this decision, to take eight months off of work and go back to school, knowing that it would help me advance in my career, which has nothing to do with my current level of education. I think that's what continues to baffle me in terms of how I've gotten here. I left high school and took three years of assorted classes trying to figure out what I wanted, moving on to English at the university in town and I assumed that this would be where my future lay, I would find a job doing writing or editing, both of which I love. But over the years I realized that I can't be a writer, point in case how long it took me to write this blog, the lover has been badgering me about this since he posted his first blog entry forty-two days ago, and I have a hard time putting any part of me out there that I don't deem perfect, it makes it hard to post anything. Editing is still a love and a viable option, but I got introduced to children, and really enjoy playing games and doing activities with them as a daily career. 
So this led to me working for the board, and to me applying for my ECE and actually getting in. This would have been a great decision, however the other half of the equation comes into play. The lover has been in a bit of a rut career wise for the last couple years in his retail job and had the same idea that I did, applying to do his masters abroad for a lark hoping that even if he didn't get in, which he never expected to, that at least he was trying to get himself going towards motion. But low and behold, he got in, same as I did, and now we had a bit of a conundrum. We both got into the programs we wanted, five time zones and 5362 kilometres apart. So what do we do? 
This is where my desire to be independent and self reliant comes into play. After a long discussion with my mother, the shame monster, who told me in no uncertain terms that she wouldn't be okay with me leaving, I was conflicted. I hate taking her advice, and really I don't want to blame my choices on her because I usually do whatever it is that she tells me not to do, she's so ridiculous sometimes it always points me in the right direction. But in this instance I was leaning towards staying, and knowing that my sister is so far away already I knew this would be hard on my mom, and I was geared up to live on my own and prove I could be that person who knows how to be on her own. So despite everything, I made preparations to stay here while my lover started getting ready to go on this grand adventure across the pond in London, England. And this was going to work. we were going to be okay, make a positive step for each of our careers, and be able to come back to the relationship with a greater level of education and purpose and careers underway, less of a rut. As well, we have been together for more than seven years and we are confident in our relationship and know that we can make this work long distance. 
So that was where we were in the spring, and as the weeks went by I started to have issues. I had four months to think over my decision and watch him get ready to go and go through the stages, and I realized I may have made a mistake. I was having to find a roommate which was a daunting process, as I haven't lived with others before and am not sure how accepting and accommodating I am of others. And I had to watch him get more and more excited to go, and know he would be going through this whole adventure without me.
The summer came and went so quickly in a whirl wind of moving and settling it at my new digs, my friend's home where I feel like I'm slowly taking over while at the same time feeling incredibly off foot, not knowing my place and being in a strange new environment. Inevitably autumn arrived and the real countdown was on. His ticket was bought and he was completely prepared, everything he needed was bought, his parents were in town from out west to help out and see him as much as they could before he left. And I started to have breakdowns. I changed my mind completely, I didn't want to stay here anymore, I didn't want him to go without me, I didn't want to go back to school. I wanted to go with him, I wanted to share the experience with him and be there to help him, and I wanted to go to London, the one place on earth that I've always wanted to travel to and experience because of my love on English Literature and the classics. What was I thinking when I made this decision? I raged and cried and broke down and put more on the lover than he really should have had to deal with. I was upset at him for leaving and doing this on the year I decided I wanted to go back to school. I was mad at myself for making the wrong choice and being stuck here now. And there was really nothing to be done about any of it. He accepted all my outbursts and bouts of crying with complete understanding and care and mostly helped me settle down and face the inevitable.
Finally the day arrived. September 13, the day I had been dreading for months when the lover was due to leave. I promised myself the day wasn't going to be as hard as I kept feeling it was. I kept my chin up and tried to make the most of the last of the time we had together. I tried to keep him in bed with me, mostly failed, but had fun trying. 
We went to the airport and met his family for breakfast and honestly most of that day is a foggy haze. I clearly remember walking from the restaurant to the security gate and standing there, trying hard not to let him go and trying to hide that I'm crying, I hate crying so much. And I remember the security officer who took one look at me, and let me come and stand beside the gate so I could see him better. I watched him go through security and walk towards his gate and I stood there staring until my roommate came and we went home. I dropped my roommate off and drove back to the airport and sat watching planes take off for over an hour unable to make a decision on what to do. 
Eventually I shook myself from this debilitating melancholy and got on with simple steps in my day.
It helped when the lover messaged and called me at each stop on his trip until I heard from him the following morning as he got into his dorm room. At that point I think it started to hit him what was going on, and the distance he was from home. I think that's what really helped me shake my daze completely because he needed my love and support. We kept Skype on for most of that day, while I was home doing school work and he was unpacking his suitcases and settling into his room. It was nice to have this small window of connection that let us pretend we were somewhat in the same room doing our own things like we often do at home. This is something we've continued to do, and although it can be hard, life would be infinitely harder without this amazing piece of technology to bring us together. 
Somedays it's harder than others, when I'm in class all day, and working to pay my rent in the evening, and only getting to text and not connect as much. There are still fights, mostly about being apart and missing each other and it being hard, but I think being apart has also made us realize important things about ourselves and each other, such as how I don't mind doing dishes as much as I thought, and he has a hard time meeting friends without help. In some ways we both feel like the snippets of time we are getting together are meaningful and we use the time to do normal relationship things like watching tv and movies, chatting about our day, or even just having it on while we do other things to keep the connection open. 
School for both of us is now well underway, my intensive semester being almost over and placement about to begin, and his busy with looking into dissertation ideas and trying to keep up with his various assignments. As well, work takes up time, I'm still on call as a supply for the board as well as nannying, and he is working a retail job to help pay for beer, among other things. It keeps us both busy with assignments and work. Which led to the shaming surrounding this blog. The lover and I agreed to start blogs when we went into this adventure as a way of talking about and portraying our experiences away from each other, having some sort of literary outlet that we are able to reflect on later, and see how we are evolving throughout the year. Ultimately we are looking at this as an exploration and growth experience. And I have definitely been falling by the wayside. While he has posted nine entries over the last forty-two days, I have yet to post one. He's been slower to ask, and its my own busy schedule and insecurities that have been holding me back from posting this monstrosity. A fact I hope to rectify today, maybe. 
I feel like part of it is also that I'm sad. I'm not always the most positive of people and home isn't always perfect with the lover gone. I fell lonely and stressed often, and I don't really have anyone to support me the way he did. Somedays are harder than others and some are easier. I keep hoping that things will get better, and that eventually I won't think that I shouldn't have stayed here. Which brings me back to sitting in my room, staring at a screen trying to convince myself I haven't made a terrible mistake, even though I know I have.
One I am hoping to make up for over the summer.