Meanwhile, in Quebec...

Okay. We arrived in Quebec on Friday.

Friday night and the first part of Saturday...I had this weird...heavy feeling that I don't know how to describe. I was reminded of the sad memories here, the reasons why I left, how I felt when I left...and toute la patatente...which is very bad French slang, kind of meaning, 'the whole kit and kaboutle', which I guess is pretty poor English as well.

Saturday afternoon, I actually told myself, out loud, that it was okay to not feel totally normal. I didn't have to feel like this was my every day life and, even though it's my every day life, it may take some getting used to.

I was/am overwhelmed with the amount of unpacking...and was especially overwhelmed with the feeling of deja-vu. Didn't I arrive last June, back "home", ready to find a job and build a life for myself in Quebec (although I was undecided if I was working abroad or in Canada)? Now it's a year later, I've been all over the world and back (again), lived in Edmonton for 7 months, and then driven across the country to move back "home", ready to find a job and build a life in Quebec? Well, yeah. There's a big difference this time. There's no "building a life for myself", it's "building a life for us".

From meal planning to finding a job...we're doing it.

I have an advantage this time since I'm familiar with the area and the, well, I don't know how else to phrase it, but the local customs. One noteworthly is the difference in demeanor of those in the service industry. Last night I was offended (and embarrased since I didn't know the French name) as the twenty-something chick at IGA deli totally gave me attitude...and then this afternoon when both Louis and I were served the same attitude at the local coffee shop, I had a lightbulb moment. Ohhhhh yeah. We're not in Alberta anymore. They are a little bit...ruder here. Nothing offensive, but something that one notices. These small changes may seem like nothing, but they certainly add up and can certainly make a difference when living in a new(ish) city.

Saturday afternoon the girls came over, and I was quickly (and happily) thrown in the role of step-mom as we had to discuss a family matter. Things flowed fairly easily, even though the topic wasn't an easy one. We also openely discussed who would come and stay with us when (but haven't decided yet) and I felt no time had passed. We went to Dairy Queen (this family - okay - my family - has this crazy obsession with Dairy Queen. Good day at school? DQ. Bad day at school? DQ. Good hair day? DQ. Any reason - DQ). It wasn't all perfect, I was a bit overwhelmed for a minute or two and withdrew from the general conversation (plus I'm a long, long way from perfectly understanding Quebec slang or Quebec French in general and it can be a brain drain sometimes). But having the girls here for the afternoon helped me feel like things were like, normal.

Since then (like, the whole TWENTY FOUR HOURS), Louis and I have been slowly getting at our list of errands. Slowly unpacking. And I've felt really good. Like I belong. Like the mess that is our bedroom, is ok. That the suitcasases that need unpacking and the closets that need organising and the spaces that need shuffling to accomodate us all until we buy a bigger place - are totally manageable.

To give credit where credit is due, Louis (who makes it seem effortless - and maybe it is for him), has made me feel welcome, and included, and like no time has passed, except the time that we both needed to realize what wasn't working.

I don't mean to paint a perfect picture, because it's not. There's a lot of work to do. And I'm a little hesitant to say that it's going that well...but...so far...it's going that well. After a year of what seems like ABSOLUTE insanity, I feel like I'm happy. Or on my way to happiness. Geez, I hope I don't jinx it now. ;)


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