Coastlife

Home to the Coast this past weekend: brews and nachos, hot chocolate and hugs, yoga and spaghetti, the beach, the best. But seeing Gospel Rock wiped flat for future development made my heart ache, and for the first time in more than 20 years, no furry face was home to say hello or goodbye.

This is the place where I grew up. The place where my family is, where they continue to live and work and play. Others — transient populations or persons, or someone else –might have a different view entirely, but I feel my roots are here and that that experience has value. It’s not a summer get-away, or a place I feel ‘stuck’. It is more than a list of pros and cons, views and real-estate. There is a vibrance and a uniqueness to life on the Coast that I miss fiercely sometimes.

The city is always in such a hurry — and always there seems to be comparison and contrasts made between urban and rural communities. But the character of a place goes deeper than that, and I think in today’s world, taking the time to appreciate what is below the surface is both harder and more necessary than any time before.

Adrift (4)

Oct 7: Decided to try ordering lunch to our cabin… Due to some confusion on the part of both guest and kitchen with a bit of a language barrier we ended up with small mountain of eats. Even getting it all into the room was a challenge for the delivery person, let alone into our stomachs! 

2 plates of quesadillas, 1 order of roast chicken and veggies, 1 bowl of chile with cornbread, half of a club sandwich and chips, 1 panini, 2 slices of chocolate cake and probably a dozen cookies later 😀  I personally was surprised we could stop laughing long enough to actually chew. Only the panini went to waste, but everything else went down well with a Heineken.

Oct 8: Still digesting… Watching movies, journalling, reading The Fellowship of the Ring. Life is good.

October 9: Gala #3. Captain announces that a Category 5 Super Typhoon named Hagibis is on the radar and tracking towards our ship and en route to Japan, just like us!

Adrift (3)

Oct 3: Comedian was not very funny. But listening to Mom trying to remember Japanese was extraordinarily entertaining!

Oct 4: Gala Dinner #2– wore my new dress and met Jeff and Terri who were probably 2 of the nicest people I’ve ever come across 🙂 Performance 1000 Steps was fun to see, with singing and dancing of some tunes I know.

October 5: Captain announces today we will be Crossing the International Date Line and therefore tomorrow will not exist…

October 6: Nada! Poof! Magic!

Adrift (2)

Sept 30: Breakfast in our cabin. The view was amazing and the omelette was bliss! Practiced some Japanese with the help of Mom’s iPad 🙂 Gala Dinner: Pork tenderloin and choc. soufflé for dessert…Comedy show to end the evening.

Oct 1: Arrived in Juneau. Mom braved the weather to send a post card; I stayed in our cabin and practiced hygge. Crew performed traditional dances and songs from the Philipines on the Main Stage in the evening.

Oct 2: Captain announced that swells are currently 4-7 meters. Not sure if that’s significant or not, but you can for sure tell that we are on a boat on the ocean; everyone is staggering around like they just spent 15 minutes on a tire-swing spin of epic proportions and have been set loose to career off walls and see if they can’t find the floor. For once, I feel like my gait pattern and walking experience fits in with the rest of the crowd. Sons of Soul performance was 5/5 entertainment.

*Snack foods such as pretzels, popcorn and chocolate bars are scarce. Go big, or go home.

Adrift (1)

Here lies an account of the journey over the past 3+ weeks… To be continued.

Sept 29: I wanted an escape from the ‘real world’, but wasn’t sure that I would be game for the adventure ahead either. I was so extraordinarily tired and always expecting to be denied, honestly.

Assuming I made it on to the ship, I was looking forward to effectively gaining a license to rest and recharge by filling the days with sleeping, eating, reading, supplemented with hot showers and clean clothes. Having no wifi would be a bonus. Without any of the usual responsibilities and no connections to the outside world, I hoped both Mom and I could be more present and find some middle ground. 

~

We made it onto the boat in record time — PWDs often get dibs on the ‘priority’ queues for in-person processing – like boarding planes and boats, customs checkpoints, and events/rides like the roller coaster at the PNE 😀 Dropped our bags in our room and headed off to acquaint ourselves with what the Westerdam had to offer.

The mandatory emergency muster drill was an interesting contrast of high anxiety and welcome groundedness— a series of alarms burst out from the speaker mounted overhead by the railing on which I happened to be leaning. I started violently and Mom made a hasty grab for my arm, moving behind me and pulling me into her in the manner of a hostage taker, snugging her forearms across my chest, and pinning my arms to my sides, thus preventing any further limb flailing. It felt a hell of a lot safer than being snagged by a belt loop or the back of my sweater.

Afterwards we waved goodbye to Vancouver, ducked under the Lions Gate bridge and took off up the BC coast. First stop: Juneau, Alaska.

The next morning (Sept 30) was absolutely brilliant. We were going to Japan!!! I had had a solid sleep and woke to light pouring in, gentle rocking as swells rose and fell beneath the boat. I ventured out to the veranda to feel the wind in my hair, sun on my face; surrounded entirely by the vastness of the ocean, I felt fully present, ridiculously happy and content, and totally inspired.

Adrift (preface)

I’m so tired I can’t sleep. So my plan is to make myself more tired so that I hopefully can sleep. I’ve managed to eat some real food, take a walk, do some journaling and pick out a new book — with my eyes open, which really is a fantastic accomplishment. Now, I’m sitting downtown in New West, with a notebook and a laptop in the back of the coffeeshop, faced with the door to the WC, but that doesn’t bother me. It is currently 9pm and I’ve had my eyes open for more hours than I care to count. I was getting ready to leave, without having written a word here, until I realized that this place is open until 10pm. I have my fingers crossed that I will get home in the next few hours and fall readily into a solid sleep.

As of October 18th, 8am Vancouver time, in BC, Canada, I arrived back from Japan by plane (with Mom, haha!). We embarked from Vancouver on Sunday, September 29th by boat. The ship: Westerdam, Holland America Line. Since that time, I have had a series of small adventures, a ridiculous amount of food, and watched at least half of all the home improvement programming available in the middle of the Pacific ocean 😀 No phone or internet for 3 weeks, FYI -not that that’s anything new or regrettable to me.

Returning to this reality after weeks spent in one distinctly different, is proving to be more troublesome than anticipated. I’m feeling more than a little discombobulated. Anxiety is high, but I can’t really do anything to assuage that right now, because my brain is the main problem, and sleep is the primary solution, but both those doors are locked and I haven’t yet found the keys. Still, I have had time to put pen to paper, and to craft a bit of this post here.

hunter-gather

man walking on road with orange bag surrounded by trees
Photo by Emre Kuzu on Pexels.com

Fall is my season. Especially after this summer. I’m not sure there was a day in there where I was not profusely perspiring. It was bloody hot. Hello climate change.

The world seems a bit less frantic in fall. Spring, everybody is hopeful and full of energy. Summer everyone is running around trying to get everything done while the sun shines. Winter and everyone gets tired of the dark and the snow and the rain. But fall is just a vibrant little season merging out of the fast lane, full of comfort foods and plans for cozy hibernations, and that is why I enjoy it so much.

I like being inside watching the sun’s light fade, hearing the rain fall, making some curry for dinner and curling up with my book(s), or a movie(s), or making some music. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve already started making a dent on my music, literary and film libraries, watched a few sunsets, made a grown up blanket fort, and have broken out the canned goods, soups and teas!

Listening to Bruce Cockburn’s album, Nothing but a Burning light, I had a vision of home on Malaview. Mom and Dad, my sister and brother, the two dogs, all of us home at the end of the day after work and school and soccer practice. It was dark and raining outside, Mom had made fajitas, the lights were soft, music playing from the stereo in the living room. We were hungry, happy and in that satisfying state of being just wet and dirty enough to know the outdoors have been throughly enjoyed and explored! And just coming together as a family for dinner. The atmosphere is one of absolute comfort, the food smells (and tastes) amazing. It popped into my head like a little movie and definitely made me smile.

>The last few days, it’s like I’ve been breathing in clouds of smoke and now in being provided with real oxygen, can actually breathe easy again. I need to find ways to get myself some more oxygen.

Looking forward to an honest to goodness holiday which begins in a few days. Really hoping to do quite a lot of eating, sleeping, visiting, exploring and enjoying of everything. Mom and I are off to Japan! Eeek!!

That’s the latest and greatest,

Hugs.

–Sam

 

tag.

The disruptive person exited, and I did not.

Heading home soon. Had fun playing with words and themes here.

Nice to know my brain can make some sense — follow the tags and see what you find (I just did and was pleasantly surprised to revisit some of my old work and find it relevant and entertaining still #wordplay).

Faith in humanity and my own self has been restored for the moment. Today’s teamwork and chocolate babka didn’t hurt either!

–Sam

more miles to the road (7)

Humanity is the spice of life! But honestly, guys! Where did all the genuine human beans get to? I’d like to meet a few, carry on a real conversation, have some fun, be in the same room, for more than 20 minutes every few months.

~

I mean, all of this wonderful, terrible and everything-inbetween stuff happens all the time, and I have almost nobody to share it with. Everyone seems too busy, or too tired, or just not interested in stuff I find captivating: dogs, books, food, people watching, movies/music, housing, voting, common sense/life-skills, exploration/adventure, mindfulness, mental health, science/climate change, current events, community & friendship.

>Had a great conversation with a friend about life in general, books, movies and food last week. (And also a movie and sushi with Forrest and Rube 🙂 ❤ )

>I went to the Passport Office recently and was anxious enough that I got nauseaous and gave myself a real, live, headache. I wanted to cry and disappear, but instead I problem-solved, tried my hardest to be grown up and sensible and spent a good 3 hours recharging at the library. (Fill out the application, drop it off, it’s that simple; well, it is and it isn’t! I did it, but it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns).

>The fire alarm went off at 4am on Monday, and boy was that an adrenaline rush! Was not impressed with the collective response, though I thought I was decently prepared myself: dressed at least, all the essentials, timely evacuation and communication with others. Recharged by star-gazing and eating peanut butter toast, watching Beasts of the Southern Wild, followed by a very early breakfast at the Waffle House and off to work by 9am.

>Listening to an elderly couple ordering breakfast was hilarious:

wife: “I’ll have the Special, and he will have the same thing but without the bacon. No bacon.”
husband: “I’ll have the one with the bacon.”
wife: (muttering)
husband: (adjusts hearing aid) “What?! No bacon? I want the one with the bacon!”

>Ironically, that evening, I conversed with a fellow transit traveler for a good 30 minutes about the neighbourhood and conversations with strangers, emergency response observations and shared experiences around vanishing shared spaces and meaningful connections. It was wonderful! 🙂

>Usually, it turns out that people I meet out in the world turn a blind eye, or are really excellent at making me really uncomfortable so that I end things and go home. Right now, there’s a highly intoxicated, talkative, possibly homeless, mentally ill person muttering and wandering the library, who everyone including me is pretending is invisible. They aren’t hurting anyone, but they are disruptive and nobody has any good ideas. This library has a security person, and he did just now engage with the individual appropriately and ask them to lower their voice, which is better than nothing. But what other options are there? People are people, not hot potatoes to be passed from place to place and resource to resource without ever finding the right supports.

So often I want very much to trade stories of the day with friends/family, get so that each of us feels connected and supported. But so often I feel so far removed. Sometimes I write it down instead (today) and sometimes I engage and use the space and speak with people in person or via phone. However, the library vibe is no longer conducive to writing at the present moment and I’ve come to the end of my retelling, so I am packing it in.

Looking back, it’s been a bumpy week, but overall a good one — though it is only Tuesday!

Make time for the people you love. Take care of yourself. Be well. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

–Sam