Happy Canada Day Plus One!

Happy Canada Day + 1! As in the day after our country’s 149th birthday. I’m writing this post late because on the day itself there really was not time for blogging.

As a country, we are officially 149 years old (if you care to ignore the generations and generations of First Nation people who lived on this continent long before the Europeans arrived – but as a united & politically connected Canada, we are 149), which pretty much makes us a baby when comparing ourselves to other countries.

After witnessing the UK vote themselves out of the European Union last week (!!!! Arugggghh!!!!)  I truly felt gutted. Zsolt and I had rich lives in England while there. We met the best darn people you’d hope to meet. Some of my fondest friendships were formed while doing my MA and working in the library. Lifelong friendship were made as Zsolt studied his PhD. And while I missed Canada and family in a way that ached, it was becoming more and more my country. If I hadn’t gotten sick we would have made it our permanent home, I’m certain. I’d be English today. Instead, as it is, Zsolt is Canadian.

But it’s also the first place I ever felt like I didn’t belong. While working in England, I was referred to as a foreigner. That was weird. Me, foreign? Maybe, but not by much I reckoned. It’s the first place I witnessed an open argument between groups of people on the street – specifically Polish and English, which certainly I’d never seen in my suburban home of Kanata, Canada. It was the first time I realized that not everything was totally okay in the world, and that tensions were creeping in – seeping into some minds. Not into all people, but enough that 2nd generation polish kids felt compelled to explain their Englishness to me on more than one occasion. (at work, and once in a restaurant with the waiter). Something was certainly going on then, and it has clearly continued.

Though by living and working for an international university, you get into a lovely liberal bubble of acceptance – and most of this passed by me without noticing. So when it came to the Brexit voting, I never suspected it was possible for the Leave vote to win. Except that it did. Leaving me to worry about my international friends in England, and how they will be treated.

Remember when Quebec held the referendum here in Canada to remain or leave? Remember that? That was the damn worst. To think a 149 year partnership (okay, it was like 129 back then or something) could break apart with a simple vote – it was scary to me even as a child. Even as a kid, I knew Quebec leaving would break something very special. I’m not saying it is something perfect, but guys – we have a very special country. The more I see of this wonderful world, the more I know there’s a strong reason to love this place so much.

We are not perfect. But we are special. For one thing, we’re proof that a country can evolve its identity while maintaining important values, even as it welcomes the identities of others. (Just crash a citizenship ceremony to see what I mean, it’s totally inspiring. They do them in Ottawa.)

You know, the EU is very special too. I hope it remains an ever strengthening and evolving entity – where countries within work well together, support each other, realize each other’s worth (as if they didn’t already), and don’t leave when things are hard, or because some parties promised a vote that was really just some political tool rather than a smart way to govern.

And I cannot forget the United Kingdom, because it’s a very special place, particularly in my heart (along with Hungary). I know that it is bursting with good people – even those who voted to leave, in their minds, felt they were doing the right thing (though my frustration with them remains very high because it was a damn bad decision. In hard times, we look to blame – and they were given an easy and massive target to kick, with extremely serious consequences.) But I know there’s so much goodness in the UK – and goodness knows the more we attempt to understand and support each other, the better off we are all around.

 

Anyhow, Happy Canada Day. I love this country, and as my life grows I come to realize in how many ways I’m blessed to call it home.

P.S. I had a lemonade moment yesterday (term inspired by Mandi) when it was 9:30 and we decided to race to from our apartment to Major Hill’s Park to see the fireworks. I was exhausted, but Canada Day is only once a year. So on when the rain boots, out came the umbrella, and we went to see those big BOOMS happen in person. It was so nice, and even if I was knackered to the bone by the time we return, it was worth every ounce of energy.

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Back to Bed

So now it’s Sunday, and as predicted I am in bed resting. There has been some glorious napping today, as reward for all that ridiculous advocating yesterday and Friday evening.

As it turns out, my eye is fine. There is more to do, but at least my eye is fine. (vision not so much). My MRI has been hurried up, as I think it should have always been, so that is a win too. And the nose bleed has calmed down. Next week I visit with my oncologist, and we start to get the treatment going.

Time to take care of this cancer bull shit and reclaim my body.

In the meanwhile, I went to Winterlude today with some excellent people – being my two brothers and their partners. We walked/skated the canal, sipped hot drinks, then went over to the ice sculptures. It was freaking ZERO degrees in the city, which is bizarrely warm. So, by the fate of a few texts send by my bros, we caught the beautiful ice sculptures before they began to melt away.

Winterlude

And now I’m home in bed and have been napping like crazy. NAP-attacked. My brain needed it. This evening I think we’ll order some Butter chicken and onion bahji from Havali’s because it’s yummy and my new form of comfort food. Then I’ll go to sleep, and start a fresh page on life tomorrow.

The eye continues to bug me – my left has some very hazy vision issues so it’s truly odd to look at things up close, particularly books or computer screens. But at least I know that as we move forward and treat the issue this can be, in time, resolved.

Not such an easy road ahead, but finally we’re starting in the right direction. There were a few moments this weekend when I remembered my need to advocate even though I truly hate it, and so I kept asking questions – but even more importantly, kept going back I until I had the answers I needed.

No wonder I’m napping all day today – minus the Winterlude good times.

And that is all. Everything is okay. And now I’m going to have some hot chocolate, and then SLEEP MORE.

 

May it be worthwhile

After a while of simply not writing things down, I guess it just becomes easier to stop altogether. That’s what I’ve been doing lately – stopping all together. It started just after that post I posted (oh man, ugly wording) about the blood and the hospital and the lung and yada yada yada.

Meatballs

I just stopped with the posts. This will happen sometimes. Often it’s because I’m out having an awesome time in the world. But sometimes it’s because I just don’t want to share.

All this being said, it’s been a trip.

Life has gone all pin ball machine lately, and I’m that metal ball pinging from paddle to paddle. Sometimes I shoot up in a happy moment, other times I roll down towards that game-over pit and not a paddle can save me . . .

That’s really dramatic language. When I started with that pinball metaphor, I actually thought it would be more fun.

Life has been like a plate of spaghetti. I’m the meat ball on top, sinking into the marinara sauce and wet, warm noodles . . . and the Parmesan cheese, with that pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper . . . and the fork going in there with the spoon, wrapping all the goodness together . . .

Actually no. Life hasn’t been like a meatball on a plate of spaghetti. I’m just seriously hungry. Like SERIOUSLY hungry.

Life has been like this: it’s has been busy. After that trip to the hospital, a few different things happen:

  • My oncologist, Dr Canada, ordered a biopsy – meaning a tube-down-the-throat-into-the-lungs biopsy.
  • Then, following that, radiation was ordered – meaning shoot radiation at your lungs for two weeks every evening after work.
  • Then, following that the side effects kicked in – meaning don’t eat because you can’t and lose 10 pounds for swim suit season…except it’s winter and we all just want to indulge in cookies and chocolate. At least, I do. Stuffing too. And meat pie. And pretty much everything right about now. Just today I had my first solid food in a week. I chewed that olive about 40 times before swallowing.
  • I missed work, and worried.
  • Biopsy results came back. Interesting stuff. More another day.

Other things happened too!

  • Zsolt became CANADIAN.

I was going to throw him a party like this: Everyone would come over wearing red & white. We’d be decked out in Canadiana. He, being the guest of honour, would name the best Canadian outfit. We’d have a map of Canada and people would be blind folded, and would need to ‘pin the capital on the country’. There would be a table filled with Canadian themed food from Beaver tales to maple syrup to a veggie platter (because you need something healthy) to maple cake to Canadian beer, etc. And we’d all give Zsolt our best advice on how to be Canadian.

None of that happened, except in my head. Maybe it will, probably it won’t. Unfortunately the radiation side effects were stronger than anticipated, and we cancelled the party. Party or not, the man is still CANADIAN. And it’s still really surreal.

More things!

  • Refugees began to arrive in Canada! This makes me really happy to watch in the news. They’ve been going through a nightmare. Even though the memories will of course follow them, they are here. They are in a new home, and we want them to feel as safe as possible.
  • We decorated our apartment. Finally, after months of the pictures hanging around and the freezer being in the middle of the floor, we have put everything away and made this new place feel more like home.
  • Work! It went well.
  • I went and bought some clothes. Somehow, in between the physical phases of treatment, my mother and I went to the shop and I picked up some clothes for work. The sale rack was good to me. I no longer need to shop for another 1.5 years. ­
  • My family has been awesome-incredible-amazing-loving-supporting and more. Zsolt and I have been so touched.

 

This is what I need to remember going into 2016. It is probably not going to be a bed of roses, but if I’m lucky the lows will seriously be balanced, if not totally knocked aside by the highs. I need to remember what I’m fighting for. These good things need to be the center of me. It may not always been easy, but I pray it is always worthwhile.

That is all.

Goodnight.