Sunday, June 19, 2011

Installment Two

I had planned to go back and play around with those first words I wrote before posting them. A call from my worried daughter interrupted me.

I have to share it. Apparently, I will be sharing everything here, including the Oat Bran bar I ate for breakfast. I might have had a banana too. No wait, that was yesterday.

"I hope you enjoyed our night out, Mom," Deborah said, referring to my birthday dinner. "The food really was good, eh?" We both laughed. She was coaching me in Canadianisms long gone from me.

And who else better than a language instructor? In the background, I heard the sounds of the high school where she taught French and Spanish. How ironic that my daughter has ended up working at the same high school I attended, even after I was orphaned.

All right, that's another story. I already know this is going to be way too long for a blog posting. People don't have the attention span anymore to read more than 600 words, tops, at a time.

It takes me that long just to explain what I did yesterday. If I can remember.

"Yes it was a great dinner, honey. Thanks again for keeping your old mom company on her birthday."

"Mom, first of all, you are not old! And secondly, of course I wanted to help you celebrate your first birthday without...without..."

"...without your father?"

"Mom, you know what I mean. I just couldn't bear the thought of you in that tiny apartment by yourself."

Oh yes, the tiny apartment.

I'm sitting in it right now. It's a rental on the fringe of Ottawa's tony Rockcliffe Park. Might as well mention that now, too.

I'm living on the margins of the neighborhood that is home to the diplomatic corps assigned to Canada. Close by is what was once my family home too, long ago when my father was in the diplomatic service.

Viewed from my new kitchen counter (well, it's a single tile but at a stretch it could be called a counter) where I am writing from because it's the only clear space I could find to set up my lap top and also easily steal a WiFi signal from my neighbour's unsecured network, I do see it for what it really is: a flea-bitten fire trap with a good address and an even better price—cheap.

That sentence is way too long for a blog. Note to self: take deep breaths, even when writing.

There is barely room for all my unopened moving boxes. I'm now a warehouse for the memories (too many to keep track of) of a peripatetic life. Some of them have been taped shut for years!

I see a huge bonfire in my future.

None of the furniture or art work accumulated throughout a lifetime of foreign travel came with me when I ran away from China. Only my clothes and cherished photo albums of the children as babies.

I never wanted to end up like the old widows of the British Raj, living in damp cottages in the UK, surrounding by too many relics of a life that no longer exists.


  1. My return trip was also light on luggage, and I'm very much okay with that. The X still has possession of a hand-made Indonesian gong that I really want. Plus a teak writing desk still in storage, far away from me. Other than that, less is more!

    I'm about to sell off the ugly gold jewelry from my travels. It'll help pay off the divorce lawyer.

  2. Georgia,

    I guess I'm not the only one who travelled light....And I forgot about lawyer fees! Crap. I'm going to look at my jewellery today too to see what can be sold! Thanks for the idea.

  3. Ugh. Been through a divorce myself, but at 30 and I didn't go through repatriation.