Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Two years. Honestly, I didn't foresee myself still being here by now.. I'm not one to stay anywhere long. It's definitely been anything but boring. When I arrived here off the greyhound bus, I didn't really have much of a plan. I stayed with a good friend from back home, wandered around the city, and took off to the island to visit for a while. At that point I had no idea what I was doing or where I'd end up.
A lot of people move here from the east. A lot. Not many end up staying though.. at least of those I've known. It can be difficult to make a life for yourself if you don't really know anyone, or have any sort of resources lined up before you arrive. I was very lucky to have a place to crash right away, and every step from there has been a challenge and a blessing.
The first job i picked up quickly, I was pretty much hired the day I applied. I worked in one of Canada's biggest grocery warehouses receiving enormous trailer loads of fresh food orders. Graveyard shift. It used to be my favourite hours to work, but my internal clock no longer agrees. I worked through fall and winter, lived in an international hostel all the while, until I had to get on a bus back east to deal with the bit of mess I left behind.
The bus i'd taken back nearly rolled off a mountain pass in a snowstorm, and you better believe my whole life up until that moment flashed before my eyes. I'd decided then that my westward journey was not about to be over. Go take care of everything I'd set out to, and return as soon as I could. The average temperature was minus 20 degrees celsius the whole time I was in Ontario. It reminded my quickly what I wasn't stoked on about the climate back home.
As I was on my way back west I received a text saying a room had opened up in the slanty shanty. I was pretty stoked. As soon as I arrived I parked my luggage in my new room and started seeking out another job. Within minutes of applying online I was hired as a merchandiser for a hardware store. I told them right away no Wednesdays for me, I've got some gardening to do.
I kept it up until I found other outdoor work. By the end of summer I was rocking two landscaping jobs [with some pretty sweet views] and enjoying the slanty shanty home base. There was plenty of front porch chillin and days of cribbage to be played. Autumn came quick and so did the rain. Halloween night, the heavy rain washed away what was left of the shingles over my bedroom. I had to leave [and find a way to dry all my things out] immediately. With few options, a line of credit and a friend in a similar situation, I threw down on a pickup truck. The road became our home.
Winter was adventure time. I got to know the lower mainland and the mountains and valleys beyond from the passenger seat. The backroads map book became my friend. We found mud and snow and mountains to ascend and plenty of places to camp. One spot in particular became our mountain base camp. After several consecutive weeks of returning we had built furniture, a tipi to keep the firewood dry, and cleaned up the surrounding area. Once spring came and my employment insurance ran out, I moved back to town with my tent to get back to working full time, and left the truck to my friend. He built up the camp further and took care of it so there was always that place to go back to. Definately one of my favourite spots, and one of the few places on this end of the country that I felt I could call 'home'.
Shortly thereafter I was taken in by an Angel, and was granted some floor space to use during the work week. I still make use of that space [and enjoy her company] a couple nights a week, couch hop, and log plenty of hours at my partner's family trailer home renovating for the rest. Needless to say, I keep busy.
Regardless of the scenery, I do believe there's no way I would have stuck it out if it wasn't for all the people I'd met along the way. There's so many to be thankful for.. The two lovely ladies that I work with half the week, my crazy and amazing friends from the streets, the fella I hit the road with [and his sweet, beautiful dog], my rad as f*ck partner in crime, all the homies that come and go, and of course my good friend and brother that convinced me to come back out here in the first place. Let's not forget all my friends and fams back home looking out for me, and encouraging me not to give up.. for all and all of you, I am blessed. I wouldn't be who I am, or where I am without you.
Two years down, many lessons learned, and many more to go I'm sure.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for the company.
Friday, August 26, 2016
So, I've been mobile again since my return from the east. It happens. That said, I really haven't had a minute to sit down at a computer, thus I'm [finally] attempting to write from my phone. Seems to be working so far..
That week of flight took me right out of the grind for a much needed moment, even though it was to say a sad goodbye. I found a moment to say an awakening hello to my-self. I was forced to consider what it is I really want from this life, and what I'm willing to do to make it happen.
I've never had an easy time making decisions, mostly because I'm never exactly sure of what it is that I want. Finally, after almost 13 years bombing around this country aimlessly, I'm starting to figure myself out.
As far as calling someplace home, I've been trying to settle into that idea for years. At least I've got it narrowed down to my province of choice. I'd been procrastinating since I came out here about switching over my provincial identification, and I finally made the move a couple months ago. Had I not, I likely would have panicked at the time of my good friend's passing and rushed [regrettably] back to my hometown. As much as I do miss everyone, and wish I could be closer to home, I know I'd miss it out here too much, and spend my nights lying awake wondering what I could have done with myself if I'd just stuck it out.
Which brings me to my next big self-learning realization.. what to do for a living. I learned a few times over since I've been here that I'm long done with the big box warehouse and retail scene. Even in a garden center it just didn't work for me. I finished out the season last year doing mostly commercial landscaping, and though I wasn't fully keen on it at the time, I figured it's better than what I was doing. But I didn't get called back this year, so I had a little more time to think things through. I picked up more residential gardening work which is what I love doing, but it's only a couple days a week. I found another commercial landscaping company to fill the remaining three days, but the work plus the weather is killing me.
I'm glad I picked up more gardening in my down time. It gave me an opportunity to make it my priority, having other jobs working around my schedule instead of fighting to get them to work around mine. Slowly but surely, I'm taking control of my future career situation. Taking my time and learning along the way. Now if I could just figure out what to do for work the rest of my week that doesn't kill me, keeps me afloat financially, and doesn't take up every day of my time. I'm done working weekends, that's my time for me.
Enough about work. That's pretty much what I've been up to all summer. Funny I spent all winter out there venturing around, and vacation season busting ass. I need a balance. I'm going to sink if I don't figure it out soon. It's important that I get my health back in order. Reduce stress. Enjoy life. All the things. I'm thankful to have met someone this summer who keeps me in check. We enjoy the little bits of time we have together and work away the rest.
That's about all I got for now. I'm still here, making it through somehow. I have arrived, I am home.