Seen on the side of a pho restaurant on Ossington Avenue:
In the past few weeks I have been up and down. Mostly up, but I have had more than my usual portion of insomnia, sadness, and self-doubt, and Erik and I had a week or two of regular squabbling. It makes sense. We’re away from our communities, my natural cycles (all of them) have been disrupted, and reports from home are that my Gong-Gong is nearing the end of this life. I always forget how much change affects me, until I find myself teary for “no reason” and awake for hours worrying about everything.
I’m writing this because I don’t want to give the impression that our traveling life is nothing but fun times and Korean food.* When we get invested in showing only the good side, we don’t just misrepresent ourselves to others, we also misrepresent the nature of life itself. I’m talking about those times when status updates on Facebook make you feel you’re the only person not living it up/doing important work/becoming famous/canning your own fruit. So yeah, I’m occasionally miserable, but I accept it as part of the game.** And when I’m not miserable I am having a grand old time. That is the way it goes!
*However: there is a lot of Korean food. Make no mistake!
Very interesting post. Change is disturbing and I have been dealing with it for the past year. The move, fear of dissertation, new job, etc. So I know how you feel and empathize. I am sorry about your Gong Gong.
Thank you, Heather. Yes, you’ve been having quite the year of changes too!! I’m so glad I got to see your place and hang out with you before we went traveling. 🙂 By the way, I think our Edinburgh place will have an extra bed if you’re serious about wanting to visit… 😉
I’m so sorry to hear about your Gong Gong, but I thank you for this post. I had a visceral reaction to it, probably because I’m the kind of person who wonders about myself, too, when reading a lot of people’s Facebook updates. I hope the balance that writing about this side of life brings, is as good for you as it feels for me.
Thank you, Ré! I had just as visceral a response to one of your posts that I read either the same day you commented here, or soon after (the one about the girl at the bus stop), for the same reason. It does always feel right to write about these things. It brings perspective, as does talking to (or writing to) friends. 🙂
Every decision or change has a moment of grief for the choice not made or the consequences of change. No matter how big or small the decision or how brief that moment of grief. I think it would have been surprising if you had made such a momentous life decision, like you have, without some grief/mourning. And we all know with grief comes that anger and irritability. Sounds like you’re normal to me. Which of course doesn’t minimize what you are going through, or make it any easier. Especially when you add in the loss you’re facing. You’re under a pile of emotional things right now. Hope you remember to take it easy on yourself.
Hi Lisa. Your opening statement rings so true. It is often at the heart of what I try to express artistically. Stop by my blog if you have time.
Lisa, I love what you’ve said here. You are totally right, and my personality is such that I tend to magnify that “moment of grief” into a long, drawn-out, overthinking session a lot of the time. ;b Where that’s concerned, actually, losing my Gong-Gong is a kind of blessing, because it reminds me to slow down and not worry so much about what’s not important.
Very sorry to hear about your grandpa, Lisa. I remember Tisha’s transition and how beautifully you and Erick allowed that experience to be, and the ensuing emotional toll it took on you. I would expect losing Gong Gong to be no easier…… Change is difficult and the grief and mourning you are experiencing at being separated from your home and community, to be expected. Just when you start feeling more comfortable though, you will take off on the next segment of this adventure. Hopefully you will be somewhat more prepared for the onslaught of strangeness and it will be a little easier each time. I think what you and Erik are doing really takes a lot of courage and I know you will emerge a stronger and more resilient young woman. Trial by fire, so to speak.:) Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, both the ups and the downs – and know that you are loved wherever you are!
Thank you so much for your wonderfully heartening thoughts, Sherry. 🙂 I think the same thing — I hope that the more we travel, the more comfortable we get with strangeness. That’s part of my goal with this trip, really; to shake out some of my habitual stability and security from under me, so I learn what it’s like to do without it. To learn to make our home inside ourselves. 🙂
Trial by fire is a good way to learn — that’s how I learned to drive on a regular basis: in LA! 😉
Love back at you. 🙂
Oh, Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear about your Gong-Gong. I’m going through a similar experience with my grandpa, who is also far enough away to make regular visits quite difficult. I’m sending you lots and lots of love!
Thank you so much, Mo!! Lots and lots of love back at you, and I hope your grandpa’s comfortable and surrounded by love too.
So true Lisa. So it goes in life. That is why my work constantl seem to navigate between light and dark. Have to express what is. Keeping enjoying your trip. Hang in there. Sorry to hear about your Gong Gong.
Thank you, Walter. Yes — light and dark, expressing what is. It’s so good to have both light and dark, really. I’m glad we have outlets for expressing both.
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