Wednesday, March 30, 2005

On the Road Again

When I left home for university in the fall of 1995, I had my heart set on seeing the big wide world. Well, at least seeing the big wide Toronto where I would be going to school.

My first night in residence was like a grown up slumber party. Over excited and adrenaline pumped teenagers huddling together in common rooms. Except instead of Coke and chocolate to send our sugar levels soaring, it was fruit juice and vodka...or wine...or beer.

And so it then became home. Living amongst your peers brings you so close to people that you can't help but exclaim to all of them, at every moment, of every day, 'we'll be friends forever'.

It felt like home.

It's only once March hits and you don't find your roomates anal retentiveness all that cute or her habit of bringing back men all that sassy. It ceases to be a place of comfort and becomes one to be escaped.

And so, I decided to move in with those chosen from the house who I felt most comfortable with. It ended up being one girl, ET. We had the smallest one bedroom apartment, one in which people were taking bets on how long we would last.

But there was such joy. We each had our own little couches, to watch the Golden Girls, fuzzy, on our small tv. The channels, when changed, needed to be done so with a wrench, as the dial was broken.

We had wax-covered wine bottles, a coffee table filled with girly magazines and a fridge with nailpolish. We had a one bedroom with beds 1 foot apart.

It felt like home.

But, our unit expanded to three and so we needed to find another place to live.

A year after ET and I had jumped up and down in the smallest apartment in Toronto with giddy girl glee, we were saying goodbye to our little place and look for a large, perhaps more sophisticated pad. We were in third year univeristy now.

A two bedroom with a dining room was found. In hindsight, we may have gotten the shaft as our 'addition' got the largest room and ET slept behind a curtain.

But we had a great view. And it felt like home.

Until, of course, we were ready to head onto four year and realised that we needed a new place because, well, ET and the curtain and well, I was getting used to this moving-annualy-thing now.

And this is when I fell in love. Three level modern apartment with four entrances and a working fireplace. Gorgeous and out of our price range, we quickly signed the lease and got ready for a year of poverty....and of course, open fires.

It definitely felt like home.

But university sends people everywhere and after graduation, I was off to St. Catharines to begin my career as a reporter. Time to spend quality time with my grandma.

It felt like home. No, really like home as for the first time in 4 years, someone was making sure I ate dinner and waited up until I got home.

Ah, but the life of a journalist never stops. Except when your internship ends and they don't hire you on because they have no spots. Great.

Worked out well that D's sister in Oakville, S, was looking for a roomate. A good rate. Someone who had become family. And close enough to Toronto that I was bound to find a good job.

How like home did this feel? So much. Like living with my own sister, except minus the fights. S and I invented popcorn and the West Wing and made sure to give back as we volunteered weekly for the Girl Guides.

But the city was calling. After a year there, I had found a travel editor gig for a website and needed to be in the centre of it all. So, time to pack again.

A new roomie, a new section of town and a new type of lifestyle. The largest room I had had in a Toronto apartment. And the love of my sister's kitty.

It was home - old style.

Ah, but finally love had come calling and D and I decided it was time. After about 5 years, yes, we were finally ready to share a bathroom...and a bed.

Of course, you think us two love birds could settle? HA. HA HA HA.

A year later we were off. We found our cute little pad, with our tiny fridge, think carpets and cheap tv, spent a few months at a time in it and headed back to the Canadian cold a 14 months later.

It felt like home - England style.

Although didn't last long..

So once we got to Belfast, I really imagined being in our little flat for awhile. I really imagined that, for the first time in 10 years, I would be in a house longer than a year.

I even wrote an article for Mosaic Minds about my new 'home'.

But good luck has touched us with its magic wand. And so, we need more space. 2 bedroom here we come.

It was to good to be true Internet. My entire adult life has been spent moving house...every year.

I used to get angry, exasperated, blame people, blame the universere.

WHY? WHY? WHY? How could this happen to me?

Now I'm not so bothered.

It will always feel like home, no matter where it is.

Just as long as I have somewhere else to go in 365 days...

Friday, March 25, 2005

One Year On

A year ago I was wondering what D and I would do in a new city, only two weeks in, without any friends and FOUR DAYS OFF.

Over here, you get a long Easter break. There is no school 'March' or 'Spring' break. There is 'Easter Break'. This perhaps comes from the religious influence however, not going down that road so I will digress.

I remember feeling happy last year. We both had jobs. Had a lovely, new, centrally located flat that we could relax in for FOUR DAYS.

But I have to admit, I was also feeling a bit cheated. Or perhaps I felt more like I WAS CHEATING.

People wait for the Easter long weekend all year. (That and the 12th of July holiday as it is also two days off but again, not getting into it. DIGRESSING MORE!)

But here I was, two weeks into a new adventure of work and adjustment and I was getting an ill-deserved break.

I have so many friends back home who I knew deserved a four day weekend off more than I did. I had just spent four months, mooching off D's parents and catching up with friends and relatives. Oh and why was I catching up? Because I had to endure a YEAR OF FLITTING FROM EUROPEAN COUNTRY TO EUROPEAN COUNTRY. Tough life. Tell me about it.

Which is what made the guilt of having this four day holiday in my perfect little flat with the balcony in the perfect little bohemian city with actually, and I can't admit this often, the perfect sunny bright weather.

What did I do to deserve this? Nothing really. Except perhaps risk some stuff. But once you risk, every subsequent risk seems less daunting.

This year, I feel a bit more deserving. I don't feel guilty telling people that I have four days off.

Over the past six months, I have been on trains, taxis, planes, buses - getting me all over Ireland and the UK, from conference to launch event. I have loved MANY MINUTES of it. But it is work travel. And since I have travelled as a backpacker, I feel I do have the expertise to say, between the choice of doing it cheap and free to choose my own timeline and doing it hotel style, by myself, WORKING, I'd take the backpack with the red & white flag any day.

I have talked with spectacular authors with high expectations, journalists with chips on their shoulders, desperate artists with too much time on their hands and dedicated yet overworked booksellers who are lucky to remember their staff members names let alone the title of a publishers latest book.

I have had quite a ride. A wonderfully surreal and deserving journey.

And finally, I smile to think, that this year, I deserve my four days off.

I really do.

And I know by the time Tuesday afternoon hits, I'll already be thinking about the review copy list for our April title and the venue dates and locations for our May title and what is happening with those fiction titles we released in March because both had different audiences and I'm curious to find out how successful we've been in our approach and....

Who am I kidding? It's Friday. And I'm still thinking about it.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Could it actually be that I'm sitting my house, posting on my blog???

Internet at home. Sa-weet.

I DEFNITIELY have no excuse now.

Except that I'm a bit tired and want to nap.

Quantity will bring quality. Yes, it will.

But sleep right now will bring happiness.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Chapters - NOT the bookstore

I feel like I could muster up something quite clever to write if only I could perhaps stop my brain from thinking of the twenty zillion things that it already has in its head.

When I was a much regular blogger - (when perhaps I didn't have a job that was fufilling or friends to socilize with - although, not to suggest those who do blog regularly do not have those things; only simply that I am too weak and disorganised and distracted to pull it all together) - I used to contemplate a lot.

What would be. What is. What could be. When would it be.

Now, I'm just living in it. Living it. Loving it.

I wish I could somehow make a transition more effectively from 'nomadic-travelling-girl' to 'career-city-girl' in blogging zone. It's like I feel my words only have their place if I'm off on some adventure.

I used to hate my career city girl life before. Loathe. Loathe. Loathe.

Now, I can't get enough of it. So much so, I really begin to second guess myself on the kid thing.

Part me bounces off on occasion to 'when we move to Asia' or 'when we relocate to Kenya', as if, this is just a pit stop. As if, this is not the life I am so digging right now.

Sometimes, I feel like I have so much time ahead of me. Still slipping by in my 20s (barely), I feel like this is just a chapter in my life that will eventually close, allowing me to get back to the backpacking, free living lifestyle I had fallen in love with.

But most of the time, I'm so focussed on my job and my life in Belfast, that I'm not even thinking about moving on. About challenging myself again.

Because I already feel challenged. Except, in a stable environment.

I gotta tell ya, never thought THAT would happen.

I remember having an honest conversation with E (mother to The Kid) about being terrified that what if I never found happiness being one place? What if my Gemini life had left me destined to always look for the greener grass? Always want to uproot and find a new home?

So far, so good, Belfast. And thanks for the D thing. It has made a world of difference.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

From Bed to Pot

There have been many times over the past few years when I was 'praying to the porcelain god' asking for her to make..it..stop and promising that alcohol would never again touch my lips.

It has been YEARS, however, since I've been praying to that same god, without a drop of alcohol to blame it on.

Sunday night I went to bed, refreshed from a long weekend in Dublin.

Monday morning I woke up with a power drill touring my intestines.

I spent the day in bed and in the bathroom, only finally waking up about 7:30 to eat some toast.

What made it even more pathetic - or sweet, depending on how you look at it - was that D ended up returning home from work around 11:30 with the same ailment.

Sharing the bed and alternating turns at the toliet. It must be love...right?

Finally getting my feet back, I'm only just feeling better NOW after I had some homemade soup.

Someone asked if a bottle of whiskey was involved. I will say, I wish it was. At least then, it would have been worthwhile.