That.  That was the day.  My whole world was contained inside that beer cup.  I took pictures of it.  Three.  Trying to get it “just right” but failing of course because nothing was right.  Or was about not to be.  But that was denial.  I already knew it was wrong.  Wrong that my feet somehow weren’t planted, though they had been firmly the day before, I’d taken special notice of how planted they’d been carrying groceries up four floors.  Wrong that I couldn’t face the music.  That I was finally inside festival grounds but sequestered as far from the stage as I could get.  Ear plugs in, beer in hand.  I just stared at it.  Wondering why its taste wasn’t sweet.  Remarking that everything I supposedly liked, I didn’t.  Remarking how I felt or didn’t feel.  Acknowledging my lack of power.  Noticing that I’d once been here before.

Ignoring it.  Bracing the stage.  Finishing the glass.  Riding the train.  Falling asleep at last.  3am, up like a rocket.  Eyes squinching not shut, palms on ears, sweat on neck.  Pain so serious I cried in my head.  Or maybe I didn’t, I don’t remember it.

Somehow happy.  Given hope by the climax.  This time it had gone farther.  This time it wasn’t the end.  Something had to be wrong here.  Something medical. Or I would just die.  And that would be it.

So I waited and wept while others went ahead.  Our plans mourned and dead.  New ones were met. Unforeseen but not mean.  Mostly the park on my trotinette.

Looking back six months later.  At the pills on my desk.  Standing upright and able to type I take a deep breath.  I acknowledge this.  This year was a mess.  This year was distress, hyperventilation and rest.  Lest we forget, regurgitation is how we digest.


Familiar in the unfamiliar

So one of the biggest challenges of moving around so much is, well moving around so much. “Do you ever get tired of it” I am often asked. In the past the answer would be  “yes,” at which point I would go back to Vancouver for a few moths and contemplate living there only to depart once more.  Lately I’ve reached an unexpected turning point. It started when I moved to Paris and caught up with  Nadege, I hadn’t seen her in 5 years, since we were both living in Sydney, Australia but we picked up right where we left off, as great fiends! Then I reached out to my friend Raf, who I had shared a hostel with when first moving to Istanbul, low and behold he was also in Paris! We immediately went for coffee. This was an amazing feeling; reconnecting with old friends in a new location. I began to see the fruits of my expat living. Now I’ve just relocated to New York, and my new roommate has the same garbage can I had in Montreal and the same kettle I had in Hamburg (no neither of these are Ikea although it is a bit concerning for globalization) I immediately felt familiar in this unfamiliar place. Finally the lost or homesick feeling that sometimes comes up has been replaced. It has been replaced with the knowing that I am part of a community, a community that relocates. We get each other, we get this lifestyle. The solution was never to “go home” because despite all the moving I finally got there 🙂

The fungus infecting my brain.

So it’s a fungus. It’s been a fungus all along most probably. Every time a doctor told me I had gastroentiritis, the antibiotics made it worse. These little mushrooms have been bunking inside of me for anywhere up to six years. They’ve made a home in my intestines, my blood stream and my foot. To paraphrase the immunologist, at least my lady parts were spared. So earlier this summer my brain got attacked by migraines. I got to go in one of those fancy scanner things you see on TV as in France  it’s mandatory to have a radiologist check you out after your first attack. But after the regular meds didn’t work I found myself at the Psychiatrist who put my on anti-anxieties to calm my brain down and gave me this awesome breathing app (it actually is the bomb). It was the Psychiatrist who suggested the migraines were caused by my stomach issues and referred me to the immunologist. Go figure. It took a brain doctor to figure my stomach out after all these years. Although by this time I was having pretty severe panic attacks any time I had to confront crowds of people, making the metro impossible and racking up pretty hefty taxi bills.

I don’t know what to take from this although it seems I’ve unfairly blamed the travel bugs. Sorry bugs. And it seems I can continue to travel, after all it was France’s superior health care system that saved the day.  Cheers to resolutions, conclusions and new beginnings. Or something like that.

Ode to the Coin Laundry.

How I miss thee. Had I gotten used to the bucket-wash? Maybe. But now not even that is an option as my 20m studio has no space to dry things. I’m feeling sticky. Time to make some friends. Friends with laundry.

After all my travels I didn’t think a new laundering challenge could pop up. Not after the Izmir shower wash/window dry, Istanbul drop off wash ‘n dry, Hamburg buck-wash/heater dry and Australia shared building machine/loose you pants to the wind on the balcony. But here it is. I am again in search of another way. Maybe I’ll trade in my jeans for some flashy dry clean-onlys. Doubtful. But hey, we’re brainstorming.

At least I feel like an expat again…it was starting to get…comfortable.

The end of an expat?

So life’s been a little rough these past few weeks. New symptoms indicate that I get to be tested for Lyme disease, score! Apart from the idea that some tick may be ravaging my insides it’s bloody exhausting. I don’t even know where I’m going with this blog because my ideas are all over the place and I can’t trust any of them. Trust me, not a great place to be (even that’s contradictory :/). But anyway the one thing I can say about France is that they have an INCREDIBLE health system, I’ve done a bunch of tests and seen a specialist already, only in a manner of weeks (shame shame Canada). Anyway as I said I’m feeling pretty confused about life and I’m only writing this blog from public pressure, otherwise known as Hanna. I’m thinking this might be the end of my expat adventure, after all I’ve already looped myself. But really it’s just because I’m tired and the moving around gets less and less glamorous with every non-English speaking nurse (I speak French though so France has been good, German hospital was a total drag, they even tested me for the wrong thing until the first doctor figured out the mistake three hours and I wont tell you what tests later). So I think I’m done. The expat thing is approaching an end. It scares me to say it. Although I can’t pretend it’s not necessary. So yah…let’s end that post here.

My Life is a Video Game

So I’m going back to Paris. For another summer job/internship type thing. And another World Cup. The similarities don’t end there. Get this, I will be living not 50 meters from where I worked in 2006. Okay so maybe a few more than 50, I dunno I haven’t measured it, maybe a few less. In any case, I can most definitely conclude that my life is a video game. I obviously failed the level last time and now I’m going to repeat it. Hopefully I’ll do better this time around….