March 27, 2017, 11:54 pm
Filed under: insight, unrelated thoughts

Seven years ago, almost exactly.  Not so much has changed.  We get into all kinds of astrological mystery calculations for guidance over tequila, as accurate as any career counselor.  A recruiter emails a personal message; it’s like getting hit on at a bar on your bachelorette weekend.

Lately, the body rebels, if the mind was at all being tricked into staying, the body is voting.  It’s a bit easy sometimes to think – just a month more, just a month more than that money would be enough for [fill in the box].  Where the mind tricks itself about exhaustion, the body sends out small aches:  don’t even think about it.  Ping.  The massage therapist says “there’s a lot of tension here” and prescribes things like a heat bag and chiropractics.

The steam room smells like eucalyptus.



Friday in this Town
March 25, 2017, 12:54 am
Filed under: nomadisms

The train glides over the industrial zone to the big box stores.  Below, the motorhomes are lined up along roads where no one will care.  Most have cardboard or insulation on the windows, all look a bit worse for wear from a distance and walking by, maybe unloved or just old.  It seems like a few years ago there were less.  They don’t look like nomadic freedom, sitting along curbs in the bleakest parts of the city, all closed up.  They’re more like shacks on the edges of other cities, encroaching on land too sad for anyone to bother to move them off.  Some have open windows with various kinds of covers to keep the rain out, others just have condensation, either way it’s clear someone is inside the tin box.

The store is empty because it’s a weekday, everything is tidy.  Maybe it’s passing the tin boxes, but this place feels sad too, in spite of the spring flowers lined up outside and the pastel Easter candy inside.

I buy maple syrup, pancake mix, cheap charcuterie (literally, a $5 plastic tray described as this), new underwear made in Vietnam, random things like toothpaste and razors.  The total on leaving is somehow a shock, that those $2 pairs of underwear could add up like this.  It’s a strange, joyless spending spree, almost hypnotic.


Why do people even live here,” he says.

People live here because it’s safe and the weather is moderate, don’t they?  Everything is safe.  It’s physically safe.  Your money is safe, relatively.  The water and air are mostly clean, for now.

Some live here because it’s the combination of this safety and the ability to not be so culturally lonely.  They can find people who speak the same mother tongue, who eat the same things and worship the same god(s).  Everyone talks about integration like it’s easy if they’ve never tried to live in another culture.


“I was embarrassed to admit how hard it was for me,” she said, “you think it’s a country where I speak the language and we share some common history.  But it’s different, it’s very different and it was very lonely.”

Taking Shape/The Rest
March 23, 2017, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

From bed, today was not happening.  Everything is tired and sore.  A few years ago, there would have been too much to rearrange – power through!  Now: send a few emails, half nap, book a massage on the weekend (the kind at a place with some kind of herbal steam room and fruit snacks).  Tomorrow could be productive, everything that needs to happen can happen then.

We talk about how much longer in this town.  Five months?  It seems like a long time.

Five months makes the most sense.  Just long enough to wrap everything up, pack everything up.  Before it hints at being cold, right around shoulder season.

Mental notes.  To avoid buying more random groceries, condiments, variations of oats.  That the pants that made their way out of my life yesterday don’t need to be replaced because at this time there is No Need for More Pants.

It’s kind of funny – for the longest continuous residence of this adult life, leaving this one feels the least sad.  There are friends, ties, familiarity, but not the sense of leaving something that might be worth staying for.  Though the city is familiar it doesn’t have that nostalgic pull.  It was not the time of our lives.

March 17, 2017, 9:24 pm
Filed under: runaway

The office building sits beside an old mall, always under renovation.  It’s almost as nice as a downtown building, mirrored and staffed by a concierge, but not quite.

We enter, wait.  Exchange information with the others in chairs about the process.

The meeting starts.  Documents are wrong.  Dread – the fate of this day is in the hands of the woman across the glass.  All this way for nothing? Listen without demur, polite smiles, signalling respect with every answer and posture.

Then, she says”it will be fine.” Just send fixed up versions in the next two months and pay the cash and you can have permission to enter today.  Give me your passport, here is a sticker that solves that problem.

After so many months of agonizing research, document renewals, frustration: it’s pretty much over (for now).  The cold air outside feels less cold, the sun a little brighter.