New starts

I always used to think “change is good” – and was eager to think I could handle anything and so should others. Maybe its my age, maybe its the changes I have gone though, maybe its my different understanding of what change can entail.  In any case, I am much more measured when I use that phrase and I honestly don’t say it anymore.  I might say “change can be good” to encourage someone, but that is as far as I go!

I have looked for and made some big ones, again.  Hanging over my head was that I was still on leave, so I needed to work and figure out expenses. I had a roommate in my house for a while.  He started out fine and then became very selfish and socially distant, rude and argumentative when I would ask for normal roommate things like taking out the trash or paying his share of rent on time. So that didn’t turn out well.  I tried a few new jobs that came my way, and I didn’t really connect.  My hopes to move out of the area, and trying the “just wing it” plan didn’t seem like it was going to happen – getting a place, getting a job all didn’t fall into place – so I didn’t go through with it. I did get a couple job offers in Hawaii and Colorado, but the logistics of moving were overwhelming.  So I opted to stay put. Not so bad as I have a couple friends and my son here. Plus moving with a dog is almost harder than moving with a kid. So….given the options I was comfortable with, I decide to sell my house and move nearby and rent.  Change was eminent and so I gave that to myself.  It was big and crazy and somewhat risky, but not too much so that I backed out.

It took about 5 months to adjust and feel like I knew what the hell was going on.  Every routine was different – washing clothes with a credit card instead of walking to the kitchen, driving to places was more or less difficult due to my new location, caring for my dog who has to pee and poo regularly is so different in a second floor apartment.  Thankfully he and are both happy and feeling cozy in our new surroundings, pretty much. Plus, I was busy readjusting work commitments after I moved, so that set me back a little, in terms of getting familiar with the new area.  Yes yes yes, job fell into place also.  I decided that a sure thing wasn’t being a sell-out after all, so I am back to the same organization but a different role. Similar in risk level to moving to a nearby area, right? – manageable change with some risk but not too much. Actually the job change has been much more challenging than I realized it would be, so I need to give myself 5 months!  I am quite the perfectionist so my expectations to be awesome haven’t panned out yet.

My takeaway:  Be patient with myself.  Slack off a little. Enjoy my ability to make choices.

 

 

Feb 2016…

I’m back from Germany. Its been 9 months. A gestation period. And it has become clear that my trip abroad was not the pivotal moment of the past few years. It’s been the passing of my parents. The passing of two humans who welcomed me into their lives when I was a baby, and they  were authentic and giving and imperfect. I had focused on the latter for much of my life, as a child does. In their absence I see so many of their other qualities.
I certainly didn’t expect to miss them so much. And I definitely didn’t expect the whirlpool of change to occur as it has. And I absolutely was not expecting my awkwardness in handling the transition.
I’m coming full circle, in a sense. Wanting change that I had control over, I have been tying up loose ends of paperwork and clearing of items. Disappointment in plans for the future have been sobering and depressing. And now, I’m recognizing how my grass was already pretty green on my side of the figurative yard, and that I am thoroughly human and fragile and… that I will be okay.
And that’s really what matters to me today, to be ok.

3 months later

So. I’ve been back from Germany over 3 months, almost 4 – yikes! And things have not gone much as planned or hoped. The drama-trauma of being a stranger in Germany continued with more drama in my renting with dog hopes, my moving hopes and my general feeling of swimming upstream…..still.

I’m working on adjusting my attitude and sights as information comes in. I’m finishing up downsizing my parents’ things, I’m redoing my resume, I’m continuing to rack up professional certificates and training and I’m reconnecting with my son and friends in town.

It’s not a terrible circumstance at all! It’s not what I was expecting so I’m working on my patience. And I’m working on staying open to my dreams.

Going home.

May 12
My time that I’m staying in Germany is almost over. 2 more weeks until I leave. I had thought that I could stay in Germany. I don’t feel that way now. I thought I would feel more connection to family and feel my German roots. Some of that happened, some didn’t.
I’ve been worried about what is next. Worried about doing the ‘right’ things and worried about making the ‘right’ decisions. It’s a lot of pressure!
So I’ve decided to be okay with the words I don’t know. I can use that answer more now that I’ve claimed it. What will you do next with work? I don’t know. Where will you live? I don’t know. What will you do about your house? I don’t know. What really do you need? I don’t know….. And its not actually so much that I have no idea or that I haven’t given these things thought. I have! I do know a little if the answers. But i don’t know enough to verbalize anything into a sound bite response. I guess the appropriate end of the phrase is ‘yet’….
I don’t know YET.

And while the unknown is a bit daunting and scary and uncomfortable, I’m slowly getting excited. I’m slowly feeling positive and optimistic. I’m starting to just be ok with the openness. I’m starting to relax…and it seems like I’ve been waiting to feel like this all this time away.

Less than 3 weeks to go!

Yesterday I pre-packed my things. Got rid of some things and I think I have a plan for everything.

I’m excited to go home. I’m glad to be excited. I thought I could move here but now isn’t the time. I miss my dog and I miss my friends. I’ll miss things and a few people here too, but it’s not enough to keep me here.

Well, I finally broke down.

It has been coming on for some time. There has been a lot of stress. I have had several tasks to do, many which were made more difficult due to other people’s schedules. And the cultural differences, even though I speak German pretty well (I am not sure how much harder it would have been not) and I have been in Germany many times over my lifetime, were surprisingly humbling and discouraging. Its only fun and challenging when you’re a traveler. I’ve decided this fact. Living and traveling in new places are totally different entities.

So I’ve been here, glad to be a bit distanced from the US and the politics and violence and various social issues that have been at odds with my viewpoints. I had some reprieve. But I have still been connected via news here- they are very aware of the current events in the USA, to the level it’s even surprising how much. As well as my news channels that feed into my phone that I didn’t turn off.

But now…Baltimore. SCOTUS deciding same sex marriage. And all the things in between last September and now….Michael Brown, age 18 in Ferguson. Eric Garner, the black man who said “I cant breathe.” Tamir Rice, age 12, holding a BB gun. Akai Gurley, in New York, in a dark stairwell. John Crawford, age 22, carrying a pellet gun in a WalMart. Many black young deaths at the hands of police. Police acquittals. Protests. Damages. More violence. Oakland, where I’ve lived since 1994, has paid millions in police law suits where they were too aggressive or wrongfully killed citizens, typically young and black men. Knowing how close to home the events are, literally and personally with the people in my life, it can be emotional.

And today, an article about youth I worked with in the late 80s, in human relations summer camps where they were high school students and I was a staff leader, protested at that time: the LA Youth Coalition. (They are young people I am proud to know!) This article described how in 1992, the police in the Rodney King trial were acquitted of wrong doing. 1992! We are at 2015! The case was so obvious! The man was beaten senseless and powerless. Yes, he was under the influence, but did he deserve all that?! And where are we now. Well? Are we doing better for our men of color? For Black men? Oh goodness, it sure doesn’t seem like it.

So, as I prepare to come (go) back to the US of A, back to my lovely friends, to cities of all varieties of color and my son who is a man with pigment (there is a definite difference in numbers of people of color here in Europe, and they have their own racial problems coming to the forefront for them)…. I am so so sad that we are still where we are. So sad.

I had to cry, finally. Its been heavy on me. It breaks my heart.

Like riding a bike!?

It’s a great saying: its like riding a bike. I think it means that once you learn, you don’t forget. Even if you’re a bit rusty after a long break, you still remember what to do. It may not look pretty, but you can do it.

I rode a bicycle today. It was probably one of the few times I can recall riding a bike for transportation. I’m in Ireland without a car, in a little place that has bus service once a week. Umm hmmm. I came from California where I drove my car pretty much daily for work and errands. The last 8 months have been in Europe, in a city where public transportation is the norm. And here I am in the wild! I am at a lodging where people can take me if needed, and where I joined some people yesterday. I just wanted to do my own thing today, whatever that was. I wasn’t sure at the time I told them.

Biking is like life. This is what happens when I’m on my own a lot, I get deep. So, yes. Biking, especially after a long break, is not easy. But its cool and fun and a new view on things. The first part, to get to Thomastown from Knocktopher wasn’t too bad. 8 kilometers! Now heading back is harder…the last half, or part. I notice the cars passing me up, the ones that slow down a bit and the ones that race by. My body is aching. This isn’t the right bike. And I’m not a bike rider. I feel all hunched over. I can’t wait to stretch the other way. And then the ones going in the other direction. They are on their way opposite to where I’m headed. I need to be confident in where I’m going. And I notice I feel embarrassed. But heck, I’m not young and doing my best, haven’t ridden in who-knows- how-long. And I’m doing it, I’m getting there. If I were encouraging me, I would say all those nice things!

I’m anticipating my next phase. The bike may not be right. I might get sore, really sore. People will pass me, be going the other direction. But I need to stay focused on my path! I need to remember that it may not always be pretty – even though I will do my best to make it so- but the goal is to arrive.

I saw my dad today.

Of course it wasn’t really my dad. He’s gone. One year ago yesterday in fact. I looked at the date and there it was….one year deathiversary. Sigh.

The man I saw was in the airport. He was just a regular guy, an attendant at the gate. Older, blue eyes, pointed nose, not a small nose, face a bit worn looking, scruffy whiskers that needed a little shave. My dad looked a bit like that and more often as he was older. No time or energy to get fancy. I didn’t really notice him until he yawned. He yawned a big sleepy yawn, where your whole face pulls down, almost uncontrollable at some point. My dad would yawn like that when he was really tired. I noticed it more as he got older. And more advanced in the Parkinson’s. So I saw this man, a stranger, yawn this big yawn. It was only 9:15 am…ha! I just flashed to my dad, and seeing him on my visits, loving him, and respecting him, through all his struggles. I always thought it was a bit regressive, child-like, to yawn like that. They say that happens as you get older.

I miss my dad. He was a good guy.

I’m Alive

It’s London and they speak English and laugh out loud and joke openly and I see colors of people and varieties of clothing styles and people thank each other for bus rides and favors…..it’s a wonderful, new world.

The sun shines brighter when you’re happy, what an interesting phenomenon.

What’s even more of a phenomenon is that I didn’t know how asleep I’ve been.