Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turning Points

We are experiencing our very first sandstorm today, and what am I doing? Lying around in pyjamas, sick. By the way, my computer wants me to spell that word "pajamas," but I just won't do it. I'm badass that way.

I love storms. Windy days back in Canada always had me running outside to feel the wind toss and whip my hair around. I love the drama and energy of storms. No mere dribble of rain... a downpour. Not just a smattering of snow... whiteout conditions. They have me running out the door when I would probably be best just staying inside. So I'm kind of bummed that I am just staying inside. Though truth be told, looking out my window, I can see that I wouldn't be seeing much, other than flapping palm trees and homeless plastic and a general brown ... haze ... You could say visibility is low today. And sand has a tendency to well, get in your eyes. So we'll leave it at that.

Apart from today, with its coolish temperatures, things have been heating up in Doha. Friday saw our first, if brief, use of the dreaded a/c as temperatures soared to 35 degrees. And being the creature of the sun that I am, I've been loving it. Our villa with its tinted windows is far too dark, so most mornings, late afternoons, and weekends, we inhabit the kitchen, the brightest room in the house. I open up the window and we open the back door and welcome in the sun (and sand). We bring breakfasts and colouring books outside, and long after Jeff and Kaiya have retreated back into our den, I can be found sipping tea and soaking up the sun.

It looks a little like this (mostly dead plant included):

I happen to be wearing the exact same faded pyjama pants right now.

I am settling into life here. My angst is subsiding. The grip of homesickness that followed me from Kaiya's birthday in January all through February is easing. In terms of circumstances, not much has changed. It's not like we suddenly have a big social circle surrounding us, or sidewalks (or roads even... sheesh!) to walk on that lead to downtown shops. No, we have not gained any of the things we lost when we left Canada. It's more that I'm starting to look around and see what we do have. Hesitant, new, budding friendships. Much sandy beach and rocky coastline to explore. Beautiful cultural events and museums. Fantastic jobs. The promise of travel to new lands. Did I mention endless SUN?

But most of all, the space and quiet to listen and to open up again and to let myself be seen, the beautiful multi-dimensional creation that I am.

Leaving Canada was not easy for me this time. Of us three, I was the one digging in my heels, feeling ripped away from the life I had grown to love. I knew, deep down, that it was time for a change. I knew I had shelved certain dreams and plans, all while hanging desperately on to others that just weren't opening up for me. And so I kept saying... we'll do this. For Jeff and the change and positive job experience he needs... for Kaiya, and the amazing opportunities and growth this will bring her... And although I knew I was walking into what would probably be my best job experience ever, I mostly left it at that. Because I was clinging so badly that I didn't even want the job.

But I knew I'd come around. And here I am.

I'd like to introduce you to Kathy, to me. You've known me all along, but you haven't seen all of me for a while. I love my family and friends. Quietly, intensely. I'm well-meaning, even if it doesn't always come across that way. I'm often shy and somewhat introverted. I pour my life into my spunky daughter, whose fierce stubbornness and independence is often more a mirror-image of me than I'd like to admit. I also pour my life into my husband and I love spending time with him. Restaurant dates are my favourite, where we can talk over the minutiae of our days, our lives. I also love my Niagara community. I love checking in with the neighbours, strolling downtown streets, going to events at Montebello park, sipping wine at my sister's, poolside. I would love, more than anything, to have another baby.

But there's more.

I love travel. I was bitten by the bug back in (when was that trip, Karen?) 1994? When I spent 5 weeks touring Europe with my best friend. A year later we did 5 weeks in Australia. And a year after that I found myself teaching English in Japan, a year that changed my life course, leading me to become an ESL instructor. And we all know about the 2 years Jeff and I spent in Japan, leading to the birth of this lovely blog. I love the thrill of discovering new places. I love the journey. I think there is nothing better than getting in that car, putting on them tunes, and just driving, driving, driving, exploring the lay of the land. Adventuring. Never a dull moment. I also love discovering new cultures, trying the foods, learning the language. And always, always, trying to understand the people. I'm always searching, always questioning, and never quite finding. Never being sure of the answers. And I've started being okay with that. A little more than okay.

There you have it. Two sides that haven't always known how to co-exist, how to honour one another. My hope as I grow older is that they will.

(And for the record, I had to go out later today in that sand storm. And it was awesome. Crazy winds, super cool temps, and crap visibility. Sand everywhere... in my hair, in my eyes. I can taste it, smell it. Yep, still love storms.)


Suzanne said...

Thanks Kathy for the beautiful descripition of you, the person we all love and admire. I am so excited to see you in all the sun and sand-storm glory!

Robyn said...

I love you! Your thoughts & feelings.

This is good :)

James said...

I like both the Kathys. They both live life with such infectious purpose. It's inspiring, and if half of Niagara was as enthusiastic about the simple life (community, being good neighbors, enjoying work), we'd have much less apathetic complaining around here and things would much more, well, exciting I guess is the word. Lively, maybe. Sigh. (Optimism, Sherwood, optimism).

I'm really glad you've come around. I was honestly worried for a bit there. Thanks for continually giving us pieces of your lives... we love discovering these amazing cultures with you.

Rose said...

Kathy, you have taught me so much. I too wasn't sure how a person who loves so intensely could also love to travel, which I thought (confession) could only be a passion for the shallow and non-committal. Thank you for teaching me otherwise.

kooki said...

I thought I was the only one in the entire city loving this weather! Of course I don't have to work outside.

The sound of the wind whipping sand against the window. The feeling of wanting to hunker down with a cup of tea and a good book while lounging in bed. But I also find myself sitting on the kitchen counter (when it's clean) because it has the most sun. And yes, totally agree, a bit of dust is better than filtered sun.

Freaks unite?

Erika said...

the very best place to be is to be with your self. that place where you know its ok; warts and all. the best place to be is to be with honesty, to find a place where you can completely accept yourself for who you are, no pretending or covering up. of course for most of us that is hard at times but if we recognize that pretending and covering up and admit to it (even if just to ourselves), i think its ok. not sure if vic's sermons are still on our westview website (as dreary as it is) but if you could listen to this past sunday it was amazing. it was about coming to that place where we can embrace and celebrate our humanity. its a great place of peace and comfort.