So Far Away: Trying to Change the Tune

HOMESICKYes.  Of course I miss Toronto.

But it occurred to me how unproductive it is to miss Toronto.  At some point in the process of falling in love with my husband, and knowing he had two sons who cemented him firmly to Texas, I went through the evaluation of moving.  I had to choose Kevin, or staying in Ontario.

Most of what I miss (aside from some pretty important people who are pretty important to me) are the cultural things.  Here I was begrudging the fact that there is “little to do” while burying myself in work.   There is quite a lot to do and even if it requires driving to Denton, Dallas or other parts unknown in Texas, there is plenty to explore.  My new home is big.  I haven’t even found real cowboys yet.

I went through a phase of coping, coping coping… and now that things are starting to settle, I keep looking suspiciously at every rug just waiting for someone to pull it out from under my toes.  Why?  Because it happened frequently from 2010 to 2014.   That was then.  I am moved, married, debt reduced, employed and greencard legalized now.  And the best part? I get to spend every day with my best friend (we have references… we really are best friends).  We fish, we tickle fight (mostly him… I hate being tickled but he tickle-tackles when I am being sarcastic).  We just had a cool long weekend invited new friends (new to me) Sonja and Damon, my wonderful brother and sister in law over for drinks, caprese salad and my killer homemade lasagna.

Knocked it out of the park y’all! <— That is me trying to assimilate playfully.  It slips out too although I pride myself on grammar and such.

It is human and natural to miss what you know.  I spent 41 years growing up near (and frequently in) metropolitan Toronto. I always enjoyed being more of a city girl and … I am back in a small town again (damn it!).  But the town is bigger than Alliston Ontario for sure, and it has it’s charms.  I really like the new microbrewery 903 Brewery.

With a clenched fist I have been sitting here waiting for things to feel like “home”.  Whether it feels familiar or not, it is home now and so I have been trying to train out certain behaviors.  Frankly, no one seems to give a shit about what Toronto was like or why it is cool to live there.  I find myself talking about it (or trying to) less and less.  But by less I mean… about 4-5 times per day.  “You know in Toronto the house prices…” “Toronto has the BEST sushi places!” … etc.  It’s an expression of the people and things I miss most, and the things that are familiar to me.

We just celebrated our first anniversary.  Some say it went fast but the last year had plenty of challenges for us, and so I can exactly tell you when and how the time (and money) went.   But for each wave we took a deep breath and swam up and over the whitecap.  Over… and over… and what I learned is that the man I chose is really even more remarkable than I knew him to be.  I am the one that goes apeshit… Kevin is the one confidently, but calmly talking me through frustration or anxiety when it happens.  To this day, after being together officially now for more than three years, my husband has yet to raise his voice to me.

I’m Italian… that kind of patience isn’t possible.  There are genetics… but I work at it.

My heart hurts a little today.  I know that people back home are going on with their lives as they should.  Perhaps they miss me.  Perhaps they are simply happy for me being far away and starting a happy, new and positive life with someone who loves me.  I over-share on Facebook for two reasons: a) I am going to use a funky app to make an annual photo album from Facebook posts (seriously cool) and b) I am trying to not fade into the invisible obscurity of being the family member (or friend) that moved far, far away.  I want to share the minutia so that… they feel they are still aware of and part of my daily life.

Also I am me.  Over sharing is what I do.  It’s also a “writer” thing.

I know that with time and spaced out visits that my relationships with some people are going to become predominantly Facebook or phone sustained.  Emails when something happens or good news to share.   Since I bought my nephew Aidan a laptop this spring, I’ve heard even less from him (gee that backfired Aunt Lori!) … but my heart is happy because I know that in Ontario, I have a happy nephew completely lost in his very first, brand new, totally “his” laptop.   I also have a niece who got a bunch of spring tops (and a super hip nightie) from her Auntie.  Mail is fun!  Missing them is not.  It hurts bad.

My path took me to another country into the arms of a man I felt I looked for… forever really.  And for all the happy there has to be a price.  That price is watching friends go out for sushi or talk about our old haunts.  And that’s okay!  They are allowed… and I am allowed to comment playfully about being homesick when really, it feels far worse than some might think.

I am starting to balance, taking on less contract work.  I am launching a new business for someone I love, after which I will re-brand and launch a more content focused business for myself.   A socialpreneurial business model that I have wanted to launch for years.  Something that makes money, trains underemployed women and makes a difference for families.  And it’s all about the content and writing.

For now I am exploring this thing called “no evening work” some nights of the week.  I still have a few clients but I have reduced my load by about 70% now.  Consulting on a more manageable level that enables me to have a life.   And time to work out (that’s coming), eat properly and enjoy time with my little family and fur balls.

If it seems like I stopped missing things or missing people, I didn’t.   But there are two ways to hold it.  The first is to lament it constantly, compare Toronto to Sherman, Texas and feel miserable when Sherman doesn’t measure up.  Or feel extremely uncomfortable looking for reasons to ostracize myself for sticking out, where really what makes me stick out the most… is the implication that I “stand out” in a crowd of Texans.

I don’t think I stand out until I talk now.   Or say “out and about” because it always makes them giggle.

Distance changes things in relationships, but you can’t be “clenched fist” about it.  Instead I focus on trying to email and participate on Facebook to stay engaged in their lives.  I do my best, always having that insecurity that someday, they will forget about me altogether like I never existed.

I was always meant to miss something or someone.  But instead of counting the days to kissing Kevin, I get to wake up to him every morning.  Also… I did not shovel any snow this winter which rocked in ways that people from Ontario cannot even fathom.    Just excuse the tornado’s and floods, the tarantula’s and the big, poisonous snakes squished flat on the road (reminding me why hiking is not so popular here).

I have no intention of letting go of any relationship back in Ontario.  But to be fair to me, I also have to learn not to clench them so tightly that I neglect to give Texas (and kind Texan’s) a chance to become something special in my heart too.  I will grow where I am planted.  Always.

But my heart isn’t capable of loving you less… no matter where I am on this planet.  You know I love you, that handful of people who are my Universe.  Don’t think for a second my day is the same without you… don’t think there is anything that would stop me from being there for you.  Don’t forget that I love you … and miss you so bad that it could take me down if I let it.  And it could make you sad if I let it.

So I won’t. *hug*  But I hope you understand what I am trying to do.  Not move ahead without you… not leave you behind.  Not ever.  Just to accept the change and figure out how to be your family or friend just as well from here, because Texas is where life took me, but so many of you in Ontario (and New York) have a chunk of my heart.