I was walking down the street with a Dolphin Square acquaintance who lives telling him of the changes in my life. He said that we should go for coffee so that I would not be blabbing my personal affairs on a public street. I laughed at Iron Man and said: “I have a blog, everyone knows my business anyway.” (I call him Iron Man because I borrowed his iron in July and I still have it because he does not show up at appointed hours to pick it up.) But how strange it is to think that everyone sort of knows your business, well everyone that reads the blog of course.
Now most of my friends are reading the blog. Some are reeling with shock and surprise about the current state of affairs. I owe them an explanation and this is the easiest and best way to do it. I am doing it with the knowledge that there may be eavesdroppers, (haha) So things were going on smoothly. I sent my cousins an email in the beginning of January. This is how it began:
So much to report! I know you have not heard from me from a while, very complicated. I have been through a lot but I am good. There is this amazing phenomena, all rather mystical. It is known as phoenix rising from the ashes. I have always experienced it. My life turns to rubble but from out of it I arise like a phoenix. I am having a phoenix moment right now.
Here are some wonderful things that are happening to me right now. I have obtained a volunteer position at the National Theatre, I will be an angel, that is what they call us. I will be a very, very small part of that wonderful institution and need I remind you, my dear cousins, I was born in Saskatchewan? I need a volunteer position to qualify for what is known as a charity worker visa. I can stay here legally under a charity worker visa because I am a Canadian. Brother, just in the nick of time – to be a Canadian! Need I remind you what is happening in the United States? Trump and no gun control and absolute craziness?”
The email went on to talk about the joys of private medical care, my desire to have my ashes go to West Wemyss, Scotland to be with our great grandfather and the strangeness of being in touch with my first husband. The email ended with this:” Thank you so much for being in my life – as weird and wonderful as it is. I have no idea what I am doing from here. I have got to work out this immigration thing, that is my focus. That and finishing my book of love..to our uncle.” Then the eviction notice from Dolphin Square and my life totally changed. It was incremental and was fed by the realities of life as presented by the lawyers I hired.
The eviction was very problematic because there is a new law in effect that requires a prospective tenant to show that they are legally in the country. My student visa expires at the end of February. In order to get a visa of any sort I had to go back to Canada in order to apply and have it issued. There are visa centers in Vancouver and Toronto, So it was back to Canada, it could be for a short trip as the turn around time on a expedited matter could be a matter of a week or so. So there I was in Canada. I had been thinking of going and staying in Regina for a couple of months to finish the biography of Uncle Dave. I have always wanted to travel across Canada on the train so….the epiphany struck. (or whatever epiphanies do). I fly to Vancouver, spend some time with my relatives there (lots of Dryburghs in Vancouver). I get on the train and make my way to Regina. I probably stop in Edmonton, visit with the Mueniers and Beth. Cousin Faye, who lives in Regina, hastened to remind me that the train does not stop in Regina. Faye, I know that, there is always the Hound from Saskatoon. I finish the book. (Gentle reader, go back to the first post). Then I get back on the train and go to Toronto. I email friend Bruce. He and Nancy are going to be around in nearby Guelph. Voila. Then visa and then back here for awhile. Or not. If I was going to live anywhere in Canada it would have to be in Toronto because I am into urban. The museums, the theatre, TIFF, AGO, subway, restaurants, people of all shapes, sizes and colors. Not as magnificent as London but politeness, civility, institutions that work, laws that are enforced. It is not looking sort of good.
I wander about London these days practicing my Canadian manners and it does actually give me a feeling of peace. This again is something that happened. I was walking home one evening across Dolphin Square. A man, his wife and two children were taking up the entire sidewalk. I did what I do when about to get mowed over and into. I stopped still. People then have to walk around you. But this time I said sweetly: “You could have made way.” Sweetly, I said it. The father screamed at me: “You should have made way, you American!” I lost it. I screamed back: “I am a Canadian, you a******. I am sure he was surprised as was his wife and his two daughters and all of Dolphin Square as it echoes. I didn’t lie, I am both. But right now, for all kinds of reasons I am trying to pass. And I just might become a Canadian altogether. But who knows with me. Certainly not me.