People often ask me to pinpoint the One Big Lesson from my European sojourn/midlife crisis, easy: immigration is hard. I’m not talking little ‘h’ hard like spinal surgeries or finding pants that fit. I’m talking big ‘H’ Hard. I imagine we’re all thinking more about migration these days; how can we not?
I’ve always marvelled at the tenacity of immigrants, but after trying life in a new country I cannot fathom, not even for a moment, the strength needed to grab a few garbage bags of possessions, haul your children from the grips of war, and, with little or no money, travel (I use the word travel very loosely given the perils faced) to a land where no one can understand you, and where no one seems to want you. And then, somehow, learn a language and where to buy food and where to get your children medical care and how to master seemingly mundane tasks like banking and so forth. And then find a job or start a business, and in less than one generation watch those same bedraggled children who began with nothing graduate from university.
People do this all the time and I remain baffled. I couldn’t do it. No way, no how. I did a ridiculously luxurious French Foreign Legion version of an exodus—no war, no kids, no trauma, some money in my pocket, a translator/chef by my side, and I still almost died. Okay, a tad dramatic, but I did want to pull all my hair out every second or third day.
What exactly is my rambling point? Well, once again I am on the move. Strange and momentous decisions have been made; plans, both short-term and long have been formulated, all ready to be thwarted the minute the gods hear of them. The winding path of my journey is circling back on itself as I once again prepare to be an East Coast girl. And not a moment too soon. I was dangerously close to dreadlocks and a career as a surfer/cannabis mogul.
The why of this move is not important as it involves the needs of others and factors that are not for public consumption. But I’ll say this to anyone who’ll listen: I am not happy to be moving again. Every time I do it I say it’s my last and I learn all over again that I’m a big fat liar.
So, here I am in a noisy downtown vacation flat in Victoria, all my possessions loaded on a truck careening down a highway maybe somewhere in Alberta by now. On Saturday I’ll park my sorry arse and recently split open back on a jet that will carry us from one ocean to another. We hope to emerge from the flights married, but it’s dicey at best. Just how many of these gargantuan moves can we love our way through? And how will we ever survive returning to winter? Stay tuned.
I’ve already heard from people who are disappointed by our decision to go back where we started. Puzzling that. How the hell else am I supposed to manufacture another big crisis/adventure? I haven’t won the lottery or married into independent wealth…yet, so something has to give if I am one day to rule a small European country. Or setup in Vienna to write erotic crime novels. Or worm my way on to George Clooney’s staff (shrink to the stars) in Italy. Or become the new face of Depends, shuttling between gigs in Amsterdam and Antwerp.
In the meantime, after five years of the ultimate commute, Neil will finally be in the same time zone as his clients and most of his immediate family, he’s earned that I’d say. I’ll be near friends and family once again, which will make up for the lack of international intrigue. Fine by me, I have the energy of a wet noodle these days.
So, for the few people interested in my little life, there it is. The next big thing is no big thing. It’s all the rage with the celebrities. And once I do it every Tom, Dick and Beyoncé will be looking to trade adventure and upheaval for the steady life. Mark my words, Madonna’s next album: Finding Me at Home—The Old Bag Collection.