life lately.

I don’t really have time to be doing this, but I figured if I’m going to procrastinate I might as well procrastinate in a  backwards, kind of productive way.

I’ve officially lived in Victoria now for over two months. Which is insane to me because it feels like I’ve been here for 2 minutes but at the same time like I’ve been here for 2 years. So I have no idea what’s going on, is what I’m saying. And that’s par for the course, from what I understand now of going to graduate school.

Days mean nothing to me. They are just blocks of time to do work (or not do work, as I’m doing now). And they are going by entirely too fast for this girl to get all her work done! Probably because I’m lazing around watching reruns on Showcase, but that’s beside the point.

I guess if you want to know what’s going on with my life, I can give you the quick and dirty on that. I have made a couple of friends here, and one really good friend (who I am eternally thankful for). I’ve had one crappy workshop, and one good workshop, and I’m coming up to my first graduate workshop this week. I’m writing some good things and some garbage things, but I’m writing and I’m thankful for that.

I rode my bike to school last week which was an experience that was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. And also terrifying. Victoria is maybe not known for its hills or its drivers, but neither are conducive to a happy cycling experience for a newbie. My thighs were burning like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, and my back is still sore for some reason, and I almost swerved into a bus. But I’m glad I got out there (mostly because I had to get out there to get to class almost on time). It also broke up the monotony of taking the bus and let me see my new city in a new way. So, although painful and dangerous, it was worthwhile on multiple levels.

I haven’t yet completely ran out of food or money, which is further than I thought I’d get living alone. And I’ve actually started experimenting in the kitchen a little bit with herbs and spices and zucchini. It’s been good. And tasty (usually).

I’m enjoying it out here, and I know how lucky I am to be here, but I have been battling the blues a bit. It’s stressful, university, and it’s hard when you’re dealing with it on your own. Completely. I miss the comfort of a house filled with people at the end of a long day. I miss running into friends in the hallways of school. Most of all, I miss being understood. It takes a long time for people to get to know me–I have a hard time letting people in. I don’t know how to, really. It makes some days lonely. Other days, it’s awesome because I’m an introvert who needs her alone time. But sometimes, on a Friday night, I miss having someone I can call up and head to Denny’s for late night-early morning pancakes.

Now, the oddest thing about all this is that even if I did have those people here, I wouldn’t be able to do those things because I’m so damn busy. I’m sad but I’m too busy to fully realize my sadness, so I just keep bumbling along, getting projects done and talking to the other humans and putting my stretchy pants on one leg at a time. It’s almost like I’m stressed out and depressed but because I can’t intellectually deal with it, I just don’t. It’s obvious something is going on because my cuticles are shredded and my fingers are bloody nubs, but because I just need to keep going… I do.

The point of all this is that I’m fine, but I’m not fine some days too. It doesn’t mean I want a swarm of messages sent my way–I honestly don’t have time for that (and if you’re going to send anything, let’s be honest, send money) and it would just make me feel worse knowing I can’t respond. But I just needed to get this out, I guess.

Things are good on the West Coast. I’m good, and I love it here. But I don’t love it here all the time. And that’s normal. I think. Who loves everything all the time? Liars, that’s who. And, as my dad would often say, “You can trust a thief but you can never trust a liar.”

And so, that’s what’s new with me! What’s new with you?

the writer is (kind of) present

Hi all, sorry for my absence as of late–I’ve just been really, really fucking busy. Who knew that grad school would be so intense? I mean, I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park by any means… But I never would’ve guessed that three courses would take over my schedule this way.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and a little bit of writing (not nearly enough, but we’re getting there), and I’ve also been continuing to acclimate to the West Coast (I’m still permanently sweaty and I have no idea what season it is). Things are going well-ish. I have my good days where I feel like I belong, and this my new home, and I’m going to do so many great things as a writer. But then I have my bad days where I don’t want to leave my house, and I miss my friends/family, and I don’t know how I’m ever going to be successful at anything.

It’s a process. And it’s not easy. I think I should assert how happy I am to be here–I mean, this is something I’d dreamed of as an 8 year old. I pinch myself on the daily because a huge part of me is worried that this is all an elaborate dream and I’ll wake up to a life where I’ve forgotten my entire vocabulary and no longer know how to write cursive. But the absolute joy of getting into this program does not negate the self-doubt. It almost encourages me to put more pressure on myself (as if I don’t already put enough).

And I want to make my people proud.

I have so many people rooting for me–my family and friends back in Edmonton, my BFF in Toronto, my family overseas in Scotland. And I don’t want to let y’all down.

I’m so lucky to have such a widespread net of support. I know even if I fall, someone will be there to pick me up. I’m honestly not sure what I ever did to deserve such a rockstar support group, but I’m really glad I did it. I never would’ve made it this far without you (and you all, I’m sure, know who you are).

I’m busy, but I’m blessed.

So, I will continue to plug away at my reading, writing, and life skills here in Victoria, but I might not be around on here as much. I hope you don’t take that personally, it’s just, in a world where school is taking over my life… something’s gotta give.

alone in victoria

So I’ve officially moved into my new digs on the Island, and, thanks to my mum and grandma, my boxes are all unpacked, my kitchen is fully set up, and my fridge and cupboards are crammed full of food. I swapped my gas-guzzling automobile for a shiny new bike and bought a bookshelf and now I should be ready to start my new life in Victoria.

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My bike Lucy.

I’m really happy to be here–I swear, I am. I can’t wait to get dug into my Master’s program. But I wonder when this place will feel like home. Right now, I don’t feel like a visitor and I don’t feel like I belong here. It’s like I’m floating somewhere in-between and it’s uncomfortable and my landlord scares me and I’m afraid to ride my bike on the busy streets and I miss my mum and I don’t want to go home but I want here to feel like home.

That makes me sound spoiled, I know. But being in a new place all by yourself is an adjustment, no matter what the reason is. And it’s not like I’m unhappy to be here–I’m frickin’ ecstatic. I’m obsessed with learning and education (and going to school is way more fun and rewarding than a regular full-time job), so I can’t wait to be immersed in that environment again. But I’m nervous–about living alone for the first time in my life, about being 100% financially responsible (money is something I struggle with managing), about making the most out of my time at UVic, about making friends (good friends), and a bunch of other stuff too.

So I’m taking it day-by-day, and hour-by-hour, and hopefully I can figure out where I fit in this city.

If anybody has any advice on how to ride my bike, or buy groceries, or just live life as a functioning adult, I would love to hear it.

 

house hunting

I’m in Victoria this weekend with my mum searching for a place to live (thanks mum!), and I am already blown away by the city that’s going to be my new home.

Everything is so lush here. And everybody is so nice. And the university is so big (that last one I’m a bit anxious about, but I’m working through it).

The campus is huge, and I mean huge, but my supervisor has reassured me that I’ll mostly be hanging out in the Fine Arts building, probably in my office (!!!!) or one of the other rooms dedicated to massaging those creative juices. After a quick visit with my supervisor where we talked about all the amazing classes I can take for almost-free (thanks to scholarships, grants, etc.–god bless my big brain), my mum and I wandered over to the University Centre to pick up my ID card and check out the “cafeteria”.

I haven’t been in many cafeterias in my lifetime, but I’ve definitely never been in one that looked or smelled like this. It’s massive and it’s beautiful and it had a selection of food places that made the sad Subway in MacEwan’s Building 6 look even sadder in comparison.  Like, is this a university or a resort? 

Judging from the Brown-eyed Susans and cattails we saw on the way to the bookstore (our next stop), perhaps a bit of both?

 

After walking, walking, and more walking around campus, we dragged our tired, hungry and maybe kind of grumpy (on my part, anyway) butts to get food at this little pasta place, aptly named The Lil Pasta Place. We enjoyed the most delicious pasta I’ve ever had, the freshest tasting calamari in the world (I’m convinced) and authentic, in-house-made tiramisu. Yeah, it was pretty tasty. But, it might have been trumped by the seaside fare we enjoyed for dinner–mussels and clams for me, a piece of deep-fried fish for my mum, followed by my favourite treat: ice-cream! All eaten dock-side–it doesn’t get much better than that.

 

 

 

Basically, it’s not going to be a hardship to live here… in some ways. I know that I’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and that I’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions when I move out here and have to go to school and meet new people and do new things and take care of myself completely, but, if those mussels are any indication, living almost ocean-side will be worth it.

 

 

As long as I can actually find a place to live.

 

Finding the ocean–no problem! Finding a place to live however…

 

reasons I’m scared to move: chapter 2

I like to think that I’ve got it pretty together, most of the time. And I do a decent enough job of taking care of myself and making it through most days relatively unscathed.

Until my car breaks down on the side of the highway and I’m stranded in Red Deer and I’m blocking holiday traffic, anyway.

I’ve always had the urge to be fiercely independent–probably because I’m shy and socially awkward and it’s just easier to do things solo. If you want something done right… well, you know. But there are certain things that I can’t do alone (tow my car, or replace its timing belt, for example) and when those things arise… I lose my mind. 

In situations where normal people would just, I don’t know, ask for help… my brain short circuits and instead of reaching out, I implode. And then I explode. And then I can’t recall what happens next because I’m probably in the throes of a panic attack.

Luckily, I’ve got a very understanding mother who has spent the last 26 years bringing me down to earth when I spiral out of control. And a dad who’s willing to shell out the money to pay to have my car repaired.

But what am I going to do when I’m 895 kilometres away? This past weekend sent me into a spiral of catastrophization–I was going to starve to death, fail out of school, lose my apartment, and just be overall incapable of taking care of myself when I lived away from home.

How can I take care of myself when I can barely take care of myself?

I don’t know and I’m terrified to find out.