It’s the question I get once or twice a week. Where the expected response was once “good”, (because in Australia it’s a greeting am.i.right?!), “good” doesn’t cut it anymore. Living on the other side of the Pacific, it’s asked with expectation of an answer – a substantive one – a summary of what I’ve been doing, how the job is going, church, friends etc. But the reality is, 6 months in, I often don’t know how I am.
Living away is glamorous and a lot of fun. I get to explore new places and satisfy my curiosity and justify my craving for new. New views. New experiences. New food. New brands. New smells. New sounds. New friends. New animals. (Yes, I did stop and attempt to coerce a racoon closer for a photo tonight. He ran away. Rude.). I’m coming to realise what a privilege it is to choof off to a new city twice in 3 years. It has been wonderful. I honestly cannot believe I’m close to 6 months in this stunning country.
But, truthfully, I’m also very tired. Tired of setting up a new life. Making friends and rarely getting beyond “Oh you’re another one from Australia. Why did you move?” But beyond that it’s still struggling to set up a credit card, trying to find time to visit an actual branch after being rejected time after time online. It’s navigating new health systems. It’s trying to balance a personal budget with all the adventures and ski equipment…without the comfort of 5 years of savings accessible via an app and quick 2 second transfer. It’s not knowing where anything is in the supermarket and when you do find it which brand to buy. It’s trying to work out how you want to spend Christmas. It’s trying to remember the name of that friendly looking person you met last week at church. It’s doing it all alone.
I’m so very thankful I have people regularly asking how I am. I learnt from the first move to Brisbane and asked the second time round for people to check in. And you have. Friends check in without any expectation if they’re going to get elated Mel coming off seeing the Aurora Borealis and hiking through powder snow, or confused Mel struggling with a broken heart (kidding…but not completely).
I am 100% in the expected and normal stage of transition and adaption. I’ve come down from the high of 4 months as a lady of leisure, the excitement of a new dream job and the season I’ve always wanted to authentically experience: fall. I’m in the slump of asking myself why I put myself back at the beginning again. I have so many great friends and family in a wonderful city called Sydney. Why did I not just move back to my original “home”?
Setting up life is like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders. You can be on a really good run, quickly climbing and seemingly killing it, but then in a quick roll of the dice, you slide all the way back down. And you repeat that cycle. Just as in the game, you only have one choice, keep rolling die and slow and steady you’ll get to the end. Thankfully unlike the game, there’s no winning. You don’t and can’t win at life. And it’s not luck, although the next move is largely unknown.
And to cap it all off, while I keep adventuring and enjoying this wonderful city, the bigger question hangs in my head. Why Vancouver God? I love the sunshine and Vancouver is heading straight for 4 months of 80% rain. But not just why, how do I make sure this is not just me and satisfying my own personal goals. And so each morning I get up, check the weather, choose the appropriate shoes boots and coat and head on out…muttering some kind of prayer while overheating on the crowded bus or enjoying the dry skies walking across the bridge to work.
So new mum reading this while breastfeeding in the early hours, new husband/wife scrolling Facebook after another fight, or lonely single girl spending Saturday nights alone watching Netflix Christmas films, this life on the other side of the Pacific, the one you’re jealous of from glimpses from 16:9 landscape shots on Insta or the one you’re so sick of it’s a hard left swi[e on when it appears on Instagram stories, there is so much more to it all.
Moving away is not the glamorous nor easy option. But it’s a good one to learn about yourself, your strength and need for help – from others and from God.
Apologies if you wanted or expected a nice clean summary, life isn’t clean or what we expect. Perhaps ask me how I am and I’ll let you know.