My time left in Canada is only comprised of a handful of hours now. After 223 days of planning, I will board a plane for a year in Belgium. I’ve been able to avoid thinking the immediate nature of it up until today. Now my stomach is turning as I think about what to do with my last hours. Continue reading
Long Distance Relationship
I began the year surrounded by friends and in the arms of the man I love. Since then I have seen the sky above the clouds, dipped my feet in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and ridden a bicycle in the South of France. I have gone thousands of miles further from home than I had ever dreamt I would.
Once, not that long ago, I couldn’t sleep with light in the darkness of my room. A pinprick of light was more than enough to pierce through my eyelids to keep me awake for hours.
These days I sleep through the soft, black light from my computer screen. Sometimes I wake up to the familiar creak of his wooden bed, but more often I hear nothing until morning, lost in my dreams. A year of electronic slumber parties and a summer of travel has made me an adaptable sleeper.
Tonight I sit in the pure darkness of my room, under my soft fur blanket, feeling like I’ve forgotten something. Tonight there’s no light from my screen, so heavy breath to wake me. My fan blows to block out the sounds of the world, but it seems that a layer of my white noise is gone. There’s no open link to the other side of the world, no comforting presence to be found.
How can such a simple thing mean so very much? How does a soft glow bring such beautiful security and tenderness? It feels strange to go without it.
With or without the light, tonight I will close my eyes and dream soft dreams of him, as I often do.
My long distance relationship has a way of changing my thought process.
These days I have trouble deciding to go to sleep. It’s 1 a.m. for me and 6 a.m. for him. Our webcams are on. I’m comforted by the way he turns and sighs in his sleep, as if the distance had fallen away and I could roll over to find him there next to me. If I could only stay up a couple more hours, I would be awake when he gets up. But 4 a.m. is so very late and there is always something to do tomorrow. Instead I will turn my speakers up and wake whenever he makes a noise. Each time I look, the screen will be lighter, parts of the room appearing slowly in the faint sunlight. The shadows will fall back little by little, casting the light of day into my night covered world. I will hear him when he rustles his way out of bed. It will still be dark in the small hours before daylight and I will stumble to the computer to say goedemorgen as he apologizes for waking me, as if it hadn’t been my plan from the start. I will stumble back into bed as he goes for breakfast. I will sleep while he goes to class. If I sleep too late his classes will be nearly finished. By noon he will be home. He will eat his supper while I eat a late lunch. His day will end before it’s dark in my world. I will stay up for hours while he sleeps, accomplishing the things I never seem to get done while he’s awake. I will make a hard decision to sleep again.
Every morning your world shines into mine, the same way you bring light into my life.
I was talking to a friend today, who confirmed something I knew but didn’t want to admit. I have a travel blog where I go to Belgium, talked about grocery shopping and then don’t post again until the trip was basically over. For those of you just joining me here, that was three whole fucking months.
I feel justified in saying that I stopped blogging so that I could better enjoy my trip. I was overwhelmed in a land where I didn’t know the language. Ask my boyfriend, I spent a fair portion of my trip in tears because I didn’t know how to order my own food or ask the cashier a question in Dutch. (I could have asked in English, but I felt SUPER guilty about being THAT foreigner.) In retrospect I should have spent time writing, but I didn’t know how to balance moderately wildly exploring the big bad world with settling down to write. But I tell you what, here’s where I make it up to you.
Starting from where I left off, we’re going to talk about my trip! First stop: ANTWERP!
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. I feel pretty okay with that. I realize that it was supposed to be a tool to keep a log of my travels and let everyone at home see what I was up to, but honestly, Facebook kind of covered the most important aspects there. Not only was writing taking up too much of my time, it was taking focus in my mind while I was traveling. Instead of enjoying myself, I was wondering what I needed to write about next. That’s not a proper way to experience it.
I’m now four days from the end of my trip. Four days. It’s hard to contemplate how quickly that summer went. I had an amazing, eye opening experience. Some of the trip was fantastic and other parts were very difficult. Most of those things deserve their own post. There’s not much that I can describe in just a few sentences, but we’ll get to those later. Continue reading
I’ve been in Belgium now for just under a week. Some days have been spent at home watching tv in bed and others have been spend adventuring. I’ve been trying to acclimate myself little by little, so this is a perfect pace for me.
First things first. It turns out that I’ve been living under a bit of a rock. I’ve never needed more knowledge than I already possessed to get by in Canada. I felt cultured for having lived in more than one province and knowing bits and pieces about other cultures around the world. I never took learning a second language seriously because unless I was moving to Quebec there wasn’t really a need for it. These are all great examples of things that didn’t help me at all once I left the country. Maybe that’s why the first few days hit me so hard.
I’m sitting in my room, up way too late. Tomorrow I leave for Halifax, the very beginning of my trip to Belgium. Last night some of my friends helped send me off, and today I had to say farewell to others. Tomorrow I have to say farewell to my family. It’s all very surreal. My suitcase has traveled ahead of me to Halifax with the friend I’ll be staying with there. My papers are all in order and my carry on is packed. It looks like I’m all ready to go. Continue reading
I’m lying in bed. It’s one in the morning and I can’t sleep. Skype is open, the solid black window that provides me a peak at what it is like on the other side of the world. My boyfriend sleeps in the pure darkness. Soon the light will creep in through his window and slowly the black will slither away, giving me a glimpse of a leg, an arm, a toe. It is nearly six in the morning in Belgium.
I took the time today to repack and make a list of all the things I’ve got shoved (delicately) into my suitcase. The only things not listed are the items in my carry-on, the clothes I’ll be wearing on the plane and the gifts that are a giant secret surprise. These things could all fit into a shoebox, so they’re not a big use of space.