We hadn’t been living in Canada very long before the top question from people we spoke to became “What do you miss?” rather than “Why Canada?” It wasn’t so easy to answer, because we’d spent a long time thinking “Why Canada?” but had been consciously avoiding the “What will we miss?” question. To be honest, there weren’t a lot of the expected things to miss, because there were so many new things to get used to. The Weasels missed odd things, like Weetabix and Ceebeebies, but Mrs Dim and myself…Well, I suppose you could say we immediately missed the familiar, the known ways of doing things. We tried to buy a car by looking in the local papers, a method we both had used in the UK for buying a second-hand car, something good for running about it but not too precious. We couldn’t find any listed. Odd. No “Autotrader” magazine in the shops either…. Little differences, rather than gaping absences.
As time passed, however, it was clear that the expected suspects were the ones that were missed most – family and friends. That first month in Canada was the longest time we had all spent together as a family without the intervention of school or work, and the realisation that the kids had no friends to go and see, that we had no parents available to go and stay with, was quite terrifying. You know that moment on a rollercoaster, when the bar clunks into place and you realise, however enthusiastic you were getting in, that now you CANNOT GET OUT if you want to and your stomach gives a little flutter of panic? Well, that was us, all day.
Moving into our first house and making friends with the other people in the street took some of the strain off, and regular Skype chats with our parents helped the lonlieness, but it still felt like we were on the end of a long line. We’ve adjusted, had friends come over to stay, but there are times when we still feel those absences sharply. Like last weekend.
I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts how I’m struggling with The World’s Largest Home Improvement Retailer over the matter of working every weekend. For her part, Mrs Dim is struggling with working 7am to 6pm weekdays and Weasel wrangling all weekend. There are unhealthy tensions from time to time, and last weekend the dam broke again. Despite me working Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon/evening, we had gone to the US to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mrs Dim’s Sister and her family. I came back early Sunday to get away to work, and returned home in the evening to find a frosty reception. Over lunch the next day we laid out the problems on both sides and discussed possible solutions. In the meantime, Mrs Dim used my Facebook account to post that we were in the throes of an “imminent divorce”. It’s nice to report that friends were horrified and rallied to support us and send messages of hope and best wishes. Nobody weighed in with “I knew he was a waster, you’ll be well shot of him!” which was a relief. Once we had sorted through the mess and established a plan of action, we posted a retraction:
Mrs Dim is worried that we trivialised the very real and stressful effects a marital break up can have on everyone concerned, when the real problem we seemed to be suffering (apart from inflexible working conditions) was the lack of a safety valve – had we been in the UK, Mrs Dim might choose to spend at least part of the Weasel Wrangling weekends with one set of parents or the other, thus spreading Granparently joy and getting a break from being sole caregiver. Knowing that isn’t an option increases the tension.
I picked up my new work rota yesterday, and there’s a whole free weekend coming up in early December. The school Christmas break might involve some manoevering, but for the moment the marriage prospects look good again. Plus, it’s been a record month in terms of writing income, which always helps. Today’s moral seems to be, don’t always believe what you read on Facebook. Or maybe it’s make the most of the family you have around you. I shall be smiling more broadly at my folks on Skype this Sunday anyway.