Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Here's to a new year.

Soo... the last few posts have been pretty sad. I'm happy to say I'm through the grieving stage, I think, and on to the resigned stage. Still heartbroken that we could have stayed in Seattle but we chose Toronto instead. A bit perplexed that we couldn't see how good we had had it and why we didn't try to stay. But what can we do? We can't go back. We just have to keep searching for something better. I am kind of excited that 2016 will be the year we do it.

Or the year we make another big mistake. Who knows?

I'm betting on something better.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Stranded in Canada

Maybe it was my negative attitude that attracted this wave of bad luck, or maybe my intuition was telling me all along that something worse was yet to come. Either way, it's apparent now we've made a terrible mistake in moving to Toronto.

Last Wednesday, the day before my birthday (also Thanksgiving, and my parents were visiting) my husband came home at noon (he never comes home at noon). He went in for his 3 month review (the point in which our benefits would kick in) and he was told they "couldn't find a place for him" and they were letting him go.

What kind of company spends $30K+ to move a family across the country, puts them in a fancy high rise hotel for 2 weeks, pays to store all our belongings while we find a house, and then doesn't actually have a job to offer after all? How can whoever makes the hiring and firing decisions not see that they asked a family to relocate to a foreign country and then left them stranded? He wasn't even there long enough to form any lasting connections. We have no family or friends here, no job leads for either of us, and it's Christmastime to boot. Merry fucking Christmas.

This supposed dream job has become a nightmare. We have no reason to be here. We sold our beloved house in Seattle. I gave up my job. For what? A struggle greater than any we could have imagined. This is our rock bottom, I think. I can't imagine it can get any worse.

Friday, December 4, 2015

I'm a stranger in a strange land.

This sadness comes and goes in waves. Most days I'm fine and in public I'm fine but when I'm all alone (which is a lot) sometimes I break down. The smallest thing can trigger it like a photo or kid drawing from when we lived in our old house, or it comes when I'm just sitting on the couch staring straight ahead wondering what I should do with myself.

I realize this is a luxury many people do not have. I know I should cherish and appreciate it. I see photos of terror attacks in Paris and Syrian refugees and I know I have it easy. (Seeing photos of terror and refugees is no doubt contributing to my sadness.) I'm trying desperately to see beauty around me but missing mountains, and green, my old job, and our old house. I do not love my new house. My backyard makes me want to turn around and go back inside. My studio makes me feel claustrophobic. We're renting now, for $1,000 more a month than we were paying for a house we owned that had a garden and fish pond and trees we planted. I am not cut out for city living. I miss suburbia.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Scratching the Niche

I just read over my last post and wow, that was sad. I'm not that sad anymore. I still don't love it here, but I am at least looking for things to like. There are worse things than being a lonely housewife in a foreign land. I need to embrace this newness and slowly find my niche.

I keep looking in shop windows and envisioning kokoleo. It's like when I looked in the empty rec building and saw Club Teasdale. There's just something about an empty space that makes me want to fill it. I have enough inventory amassed in my more creative days when I was actively doing craft shows and selling in shops. Maybe if I had the space to create I would start up again. I miss the energy and excitement that comes from making things. My new studio is so suffocatingly small I can't even stand to be in it for more than a few minutes. There are too many reminders of things I used to make and do and projects I never finished. There are too many supplies that need to be turned into something new and rather than feeling inspired, I'm overwhelmed.

Clearly my situational depression is linked to not making anything beyond school lunches and piles of laundry. When I think back to the times when I was a manic thing-making machine it was when I was inspired by my environment - working toward craft shows, having kokoleo in neighborhood shops, answering calls for artists and participating in group shows, working on community projects and events. This is the niche I need to carve for myself again. Right now the only niche I'm carving is a divot in the couch. I can't force it. But I can get up and go for a walk.

... which is where I keep encountering empty storefronts. It's not that this area is a ghost town (like downtown Renton was becoming). The empty ones are randomly spaced between established shops and galleries and restaurants. I've made it a point to visit some of these shops and am getting to know the owners, trying to see if and where I could fit in. Next week I'm taking some of the kokoleo items currently crowding my studio to a few shops on Kingston Rd who have expressed an interest. The conversations I have with these people are my therapy. I am learning what this neighborhood likes and needs and would love to see. I am starting to write a business plan for the space I want to create. It's just a pipe dream for now, but it's a better thing to focus on than how sad I am. It's the first glimmer of excitement I've felt since we moved and I'm going with it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dear Diary

I was thinking the other day, I should write more. Not just fun little craft tutorials either, but what I'm really thinking and feeling and what's really going on in my life. Because here I am one year after my last post, living in a different country. How did we get here? It's a long story.

I figure this is a safe place to write. I need to write. I need an outlet. I'm lonely and I hate it here.

Well, I don't HATE it. I am trying to like it. But dammit I miss my old life. I miss my job at Club Teasdale. For the first time in my life I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. I did something important. I built an after school program where there wasn't one before. I filled an empty abandoned rec building with craft supplies and playground equipment and I started a camp program there in the summer. For two years that building was mine to run. And then I had to leave. Someone I've never met took it over. Now I don't even know what to answer if someone asks, "So what do you do?" Not that anyone is asking.

I miss my house. God, I loved that house. Every day we lived there I felt lucky that it was ours. Maybe because I knew we wouldn't be there very long because that's our lot in life. Every few years we move. We lived in that house longer than we ever lived anywhere (5 years). If you had told me one year ago that next year we'd be living in Canada, I wouldn't believe it. I wasn't ready to leave. Yet here we are. In a house that's smaller and more expensive in a city we had never even been to before. Toronto.

We are here because my husband got an opportunity to do what he wants to do. His work is always the reason we move. He was never doing what he loved in Seattle but we built a nice life for ourselves while we were there, regardless. We could have stayed. I wish we had stayed. But an opportunity came up and we jumped on it. We packed up the kids and dog and cat and bunny and hamster and we drove across Canada and lived in a high rise hotel in downtown Toronto for 2 weeks while we looked for a place to live. Now, we're one month in. We have a house and all our stuff is nearly unpacked in it. There is no turning back. Erik goes off to work every weekday and I walk the kids to school and come home and sit on the couch and stare the walls and cry. I don't think I have the energy to reinvent myself again.