What is your picture?

Today is a post in response to Marie from ‘Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer’, who found the idea from Jen of ‘Keep the Calm’. The challenge is to post a photograph of yourself (or something that represents you) which captures the ‘you’ of the past little while.

So this is my photograph. It’s so peaceful looking and calm, but in reality we were travelling across Hungary in the backseat of a car, and I was trying not to vomit from the motion sickness. Zsolt thought I looked pretty. :) And I think so too, in my no-longer-nauseous reflection on the photograph.

But that’s not why I chose this photograph. The past six months . . . okay, the past NINE months (gag!) have been both wonderful and difficult. We are searching for ‘the big break’ in terms of careers & living on our own (cause yes, we’re still with my parents), feeling as though we haven’t settled, desperate, once again, to find a sense of home. And yet I am home with my family – something I’ve lacked for many years. We can get together for dinner, go for tea, share a beautiful day . . .

Both wonderful and difficult. All the while, I’m there in the back of that car waiting for resolution. With little bursts of success like my freelancing (at the detriment to my creative writing) and Zsolt’s consulting, we move forward. We are moving forward. I am saturated in the family I’ve been missing so much. Things are good. Things are a little hard.

But what you don’t know is at the end of this car ride we pulled up to a home where there were dogs in the yard, pigs in the pen, chicken running round, and a family with open hearts and tables filled with food. The good stuff exists (and much of it is already here), so I can tolerate this ‘ in-between’ness, because I’m certain it won’t last forever.

(Though displacement does appear to arrive in waves. That is the life of a person who travels, home is where the heart is . . . except we leave bits of our hearts wherever we go.)

Would you like to join the challenge? Post a photograph of yourself, or something that represents you, and let us know the story (or don’t since a picture is already speaking at least a thousand words). You can post the link here, or on Marie or Jen’s pages. I’m sure we’d all love to see.

Take care,


Toilet Troubles

Friday morning the toilet was running – that valve inside the tank wouldn’t lift all the way up, so it instead kept filling and draining continuously. This had been going on for a while. While the toilet reigns from Japan (where apparently, they do toilets very well), I suppose all good things come to an end. A repair was required.

So off my Dad goes to the hardware shop. He returns with a ‘one size fits all’ toilet valve thing. “I don’t think this will work” he asserts. “We’ve got a Toto, and I don’t think this will work.” But nevertheless he takes apart the Toto valve and tried to install the new part.

It didn’t work.

So then he goes back to the store and instead of returning the generic ‘one size fits all’ valve, he instead picks up the Toto brand in addition to the generic he already has, and come back.

But then he needs a special sort of wrench, so run back to the shop.

He returns, ready to tackle the toilet. As he fixes the main hall Toto, he then decides to also refit another toilet (not a Toto) with the generic valve. And what follows is a journey of leaking pipes, second opinions, and nearly buying an entirely new toilets.

But he persevered, and about three hours later everything was running fine, all drips and leaks contained. :) (Whooohoo!)

Sometimes you think you’re dealing with a sticky valve, and wind up tackling an entire home renovation.  Which is kinda the journey we’ve taken ever since coming back to Canada.

The great news is that my freelance writing is going well, and Zsolt is doing some consulting for a patent agency. He thinks it’s an interesting field, so that’s very promising. Apparently it can take about 3-5 years to become a patent agent – but first you need to get hired as a trainee within a firm. (If you know any patent agency looking for a trainee to join their team, do let us know.) Consulting doesn’t count toward the patent agent exams, so far as I know, but it’s a step in the right direction in terms of experience.

Anyhow – I haven’t written very much on my blogs lately, largely because my mind has been all wrapped up and absorbed in ‘making it’ here. And like I said once before, I don’t generally write about a subject if it involves another person’s problem. Zsolt and I are a super-duper team, but that also means his problema are my problem, and my problems are his problem.

So the toilets need fixing, and it’s taking much longer than expected. However, I remain 100% optimistic that everything will turn out well. In the meantime we plan to move out very, very soon (to the relief of my parents, I’m sure) so that in itself will be a great adventure.

And of course there’s that oncologist appointment at the end of this month. I get these occasional pinging feelings in my breast that worry me, though I think they’re related to my cycle and hormones, but nevertheless I seem to be at my “pre-scan” stage where my worries begin to escalate. Dr Canada wants me to get a mammogram . . . I’d much rather have an ultra sound. We’ll see what happens.

And so we keep on keeping on. Life as of late seems full of transition. Transition is great and variety is fun, but my goodness, I’m hankering for some stationary living. Unpacking those boxes we’ve had stored in the basement, buying a welcome rug, feeling really truly within my own home. They’re coming. They are coming. It’s just taking a wee bit longer than expected.


Health care in Canada – yay!

Today is the 28th of November. As of today, my husband Zsolt is now fully integrated into the Canadian system (short of being a citizen). He has his license, he has his residence cards, and finally he has his health care too.

Three months after arriving to Canada, Zsolt is now eligible for health care. Why he’s not eligible from the date of arrival is a real mystery to me. Because it’s not like he arrived in Canada unscreened – he gave blood, he had his eyes checked, he had an x-ray, he had a physical . . . basically, they declared him healthy before allowing him to touch down in Canada. And then we still had to wait three months before he became eligible for OHIP.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, that’s because I am. Considering we played by the rules, it annoys me that he had this waiting period.

However, bright side is that he’s now all settled in. Yay for that!  We’re still in my parent’s basement ( it’s lovely down here with the fire) and things are slowly settling. It’s my hope that sooner than later we both see Canada as ‘home sweet home’, but I realize that takes time. It took time in England, it will take time here too – even though I am Canadian. Making a place your home takes an investment of time, interests and relationships.  That had all been done in England, so transferring everything  back here is honestly a challenge.

But what’s life without challenges? Boring, I reckon. Boo for boring. Yay for healthcare!