(Goodness I’m melodramatic!)
Things are slow here on the blog, but it certainly hasn’t felt that way for me on the ground. I got back to Canada at the end of August and started my MA program just over a week later. I barely had time to reconnect with friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in 2-3 years, much less time to write on this blog! On that note, I’m going to keep it short, because there’s definitely some reading I’m not doing because I’m working on this.
Here are 5 things I’ve realized since getting back to Canada:
1. The jet lag struggle is real.
After a week or so of being back in Canada, I was still suffering from jet lag. I was waking up early, noon would hit and I’d start yawning, and by the evenings I was dead. On other transcontinental trips, jet lag didn’t get me down. But this time I was really struggling, despite doing everything right.
Of course, people wouldn’t let me live it down: “WOW, you STILL have jet lag? But it’s been, like, a week!”
Why yes, Angie, I certainly do still have jet lag because I wasn’t on a two-week holiday, I WAS LIVING THERE FOR TWO YEARS. Now, go get me another espresso. I threw some serious shade at anyone who mentioned it to me or called me out for yawning mid-conversation.
2. I’m only here physically.
I know that I’m in Canada but I don’t feel like I’m home. I’m not even sure how to make a place ‘home’. It feels like I’m on an extended visit and it’s probably because I’ve spend the last four years (and maybe all of my life) in the process of leaving. I’m always thinking about what’s (where’s) next when my visa expires, and how I will get there. The truth is I don’t actually know how to just be here, mentally.
I mean, before I even arrived in Toronto, I already had one foot out the door. Then I found out that after I do my fieldwork (which will be abroad, duh) that there’s no more coursework! I just have to write my thesis and then defend it (which won’t be until around April 2017). Theoretically, it means I can be back on the road in May and going location independent again in September while I write my thesis. The cycle continues.
3. Now I know the meaning of busy.
“Oooh, I’m just so busy!” The popular refrain of every young person who’s lived through the last decade. I was so busy because I didn’t budget my time. I was so busy because I chose to watch Netflix instead of working when I knew I had a deadline coming up and my boyfriend coming over. It’s not busy, it’s poor time management.
Now, I am genuinely busy. Remember complaining about that 50-page reading you had for one class? That’s now what I have for ONE READING. I am regularly reading more than 3-400 pages of complex theoretical mumbo-jumbo a week. Then going to class and talking about it for three hours. Then writing about it. Then going to my graduate assistantship and helping them fix their website so I can pay my tuition.
If there is a spare moment where I’m like “Ooh, I have no homework to do,” (that’s never happened) THEN I go look at my freelance jobs and realize I have two deadlines in the next couple days. I’ve had to make a very conscious choice to not study so I can see my friends or to go to the gym.
Busy is when there is literally not enough time in the day. I had to pass up an £8,000+ freelance gig because I just didn’t have enough time. (Mostly, it was their fault…the project was agreed upon in August but I only got the final go ahead last week). It was painful turning down that money. SO THAT I COULD READ. It’s a down payment on a house!!! (In Canada anyway–the CAD tanked against the pound). #Bitter.
4. I’m really enjoying my masters.*
I’ve been at this for about a month now, and I have no regrets so far (well, except turning down that job). The readings have really opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and my professors don’t just tell us to question things, they teach us what to question and how to question it. Even though I did spend a lot of time unpacking social constructions in my undergrad, we’re getting into much more abstract ideas.
What I’ve really taken away is that we can decide what these constructions mean to us and how we want to use them–provided we can defend our concept and use. I’ve always envied people who were deliberate, who did things their way because they had reasoned with all the different ways of doing things, and therefore could give a well-thought out answer if you ever asked them why they did things that way.
* Well, there was this one thing: a prof said to the class that he was appalled with our writing. Naturally, I took that very personally 🙁
5. I may have overblown the whole “coming back” thing.
Three months ago if you asked me if I was excited about going back to Toronto, I would have said “No.” Very bluntly, simply, no.
“Don’t you miss your family?”
I love my fam jam, looking forward to seeing them, but no, I don’t actively miss them. Is that bad?
“But Toronto is awesome, you’ll love being back there.”
Have you ever hung out with Toronto people? They famously have no chill. Then I would send them a link to this article.
” . . . “
Then I would go on a rant about Toronto, and the people, and how I was not looking forward to going back, and it wasn’t that I was just so madly in love with London that I could never imagine leaving, just that I wasn’t pleased to be in this situation and I would much rather be going somewhere else with nicer weather *inhale*.
But just as the world continued turning when I was gone, it continues to turn now that I’m back. Overall, my feelings about being back in Canada could be labelled as indifference (see number 2) and thus it’s can only be concluded that, I, like the Torontonians before me, also have no chill. Le sigh.