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Sunday, January 30, 2011

You Don't Need to Understand

“But what about your son,” asks nearly everyone.

That is a loaded question, and not an easy one to hear. Its guilt inducing and does not help ease the pang I already feel for my decision.

But it wasn’t entirely my decision. This was a question that I put forth to my friends, family and most importantly my son. Of everyone, it was my son who told me to do what I wanted. It was not easy for him to say this, but I knew he wanted me to be happy, just as I did, and do, him.

I remember when as a “tween” he went through what we affectionately refer to as the “orange” phase. What ever he could wear that was orange he would. So many times I had to bite my tongue as he proudly came to me with his carefully selected attire. For in his effort was his independence. He knew that he was dressed differently from the other kids, but he dressed only to please himself – no one else. The orange phase was followed by many others, and while he exercised his creativity I watched how free he was in spirit. He always looked great, but what was most important is that he constantly took a chance and tried new things. Sometimes it didn’t work but sometimes it did. Through it all he was happy, and soon learned to not be afraid to make a decision, even an unpopular one with his peers – and at times, me.

Like my son, I too went through my phases. There was the tofu, garlic and juicing one. I remember the year I bought the most ridiculous sun gear known to mankind. To make life even more interesting, I published a regular column that transcribed the humour and drama of our everyday life. It was read by his teachers, some of his friends and parents. Not once did he ask me not to write something.

I won’t lie, there were moments that it took everything for me not to ask my son to change, and I know he took a few taunts over my columns, but at the end of the day he was as proud of me as I was him. We both knew that we were doing what we needed to do.

We’ve both learned that there is more to life when you colour outside of the lines. And we also know that geography doesn’t make a bond stronger; it simply makes it more convenient.

I guess where I am going with this is that no one else needs to understand my reasoning – just as long as we do.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

“Don’t be afraid to take that big step”

Day 5

“Don’t be afraid to take that big step” read my after dinner fortune cookie. It made me smile, because truly what could I do next? I was alone, and I had left everything familiar behind just five days ago.

Intuitively I’ve always known that life would change for me this year. And, if I was honest, I would have to say that I did not think it would have been work that forced the change. But it is what it is, and here I am.

There is something a bit exotic about being a Canadian here in Austria. I don’t know why. Last night when I shared that I was from Canada’s western wine region with a local proprietor, he declared that the table I was seated at was forever mine. Or maybe I said something wonderfully profound in my very broken German. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. Because less than a week in I have made friends, have a walking companion and managed to unpack a year’s worth of clothing in one teeny tiny hotel room closet.

Somehow I thought moving would be a lot like traveling, which I had done a bit of over the past year – but it is not. There is no end in sight. Whether I am ready or not, my life is here now. Which is why I think I will head on down to the friendly gang that called out “abend” in the hotel lounge and see what my broken German might lead me to discover tonight.

In many ways that fortune cookie had it bang on. Moving was the easy part. Its the little things that really push me out of my comfort zone and make me feel empowered.