Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Cry Me A River

I've heard of post-partum depression, but considering I have birthed no babes, how about we classify my mood today as 'post-party depression'. My sisters left really, really, insanely early yesterday morning and I went up with them to Zurich to say 'see you later'. It was possibly my shortest visit ever to Zurich as I believe I was there for a grand total of maybe twenty minutes. I considered that I should make a day out of it, to justify the cost of my train ticket, but I honestly wasn't fit to be walking amongst people. Even people at the airport were staring at me, and I was in the Departures section where I actually would consider it quite reasonable to see somebody wearing a big purple coat, sporting greasy hair, a pale face, a trembling chin, and red swollen eyes. Considering how patient the lady at the Starbucks counter was with me, as I was buying the most expensive cup of wake-up juice known to mankind, I think that maybe no--I didn't appear quite normal.

I crammed my headphones in and on the train ride back I stared resolutely out the window as I tried to listen to pumped up music to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks.

When I got back to Bern it was just before 9 a.m. and I couldn't bear to go home to my empty (and uber messy--THANKS GIRLS--hahaha, just kidding it wasn't that bad) apartment so I wandered over to the English Bookshop which I had previously only just discovered the day before. I bought a couple of new books, went to Lush to get a bubble bath bar, and then came home.

Once the door closed behind me I was a disaster. I was so absolutely upset that my sisters had left the only thing I thought I could manage was cleaning.

CLEARLY I WAS OUT OF MY MIND.

But clean I did.

Vacuum and cry. Cry and strip beds. Scrub toilets and cry. Cry and dust.

I cried a lot.

Then when I had finished cleaning I lay down on the couch for the remainder of the day, the cats piled on top of me, and felt sorry for myself. Oh, and cried.

By the time I peeled myself off the couch to head to bed last night, the sight in the mirror was less than pretty. My eyes were mere slits, my nose was huge and red to the point that Santa might be asking me to guide his sleigh next year, my skin was all mottled and puffy (side note: when you are dehydrating your body by crying out every last drop of moisture, do not make the only thing you eat that day to be salty corn chips dipped in salsa because you will puff up like a yorkshire pudding), and I believe I had jowls.

JOWLS.

Basically I resembled a British bulldog if someone had taken that bulldog and used its face to scrub graffiti off the side of a train.

And thus I have faced my first serious crux of being an expat: it can make you look really ugly.

Well, that, and also there's the major crux of having to say 'see you later' to people that you've always said 'see you tomorrow' to. As I mentioned in my sweatshop labour post my sisters and I are best friends, and I am not saying that in a trite manner, if it's at all possible to be trite about a life long friendship. Because we moved around growing up, and we were (and I still am--they're not) shy individuals, we relied on each other for friendship as we got settled in to new environments. But the thing is that though we all have gone off and made incredible friends, at the end of the day and nine times out of ten we will end up planning to hang out with each other because that's just the way it is with best friends.

When I first came here at the beginning of June, I knew I was heading back to Canada for my beautiful cousin's wedding so I was sad but I had a date when I would see every one again. When I left Canada in November to come back to Switzerland, I knew I was going to see Meg and Ais in five weeks so that made leaving fairly easy. But now, when we group hugged just outside the security doors of Zurich Airport, it was so hard because I don't have a firm date in mind when I will see them again.

I am hoping to go back home in the spring for a quick visit, but my tickets aren't booked. The thing is that Dan and I came to Switzerland because we wanted to see more and do more, and flying home to Canada every few months is hardly conducive to that game plan. But when you've had two and half weeks of constant laughter and delightful gossip fests with your BFFs, it's also really hard to not to look around at the Swiss landscape and wonder what the f-ck you're doing there when all your favourite people (save one) are in Canada.

The problem is it is just not possible to be in two places at once, and it is really unfair to Dan and myself to be physically present in Switzerland and long for Canada. We worked hard to get here, and Switzerland has been far from unkind in terms of the adventures we got up to last year and the adventures waiting for us this year, so wanting it all when it's a physical impossibility is the most poisonous candy to keep sucking on, for the taste bitters everything one might have otherwise savoured. Also, it leaves your face looking totally messed up after you've cried every tear left to cry.

(Fact: I looked worse than that lady who injected cooking oil under her skin in hopes of smoothing out the wrinkles. )

So rather than spend one more minute helping Kleenex stocks soar through the roof, I am going to pick myself up, dust off the Poppy hair (remember she's a perma-shedder), and get back to this moment in time when I am lucky enough to be here--and nowhere else--having the opportunity when a dream is my reality.

10 comments:

Dad said...

Great post Cait and........good attitude!

mom said...

Good job Cait!

Meg said...

Ais and I were getting a few looks ourselves crying our eyes out while waiting for our flight. Would love to have stayed another month, though Dan may have had something to say about that! Got to hand it to the guy though, he put up with three giggling, gossiping, messy girls for 2 1/2 weeks and did so with an amused smile on his face! Thanks Dan!!
And thanks so much Cait! Had such a good time and so much fun touring switzerland with you. Can't wait to come back again. Lots of love.

Anonymous said...

Absolutly right you are living what others would call a dream and you made it reality. Enjoy it Cait and Dan!! You will always have family and you will eventually come back one day.
A buddy from Kamloops

Ais said...

Hey Cait! Great post, made me sad! We had so much fun, thank you again to and Dan! Like Meg said, Dan did a pretty good job of putting up with us for 2 1/2 weeks! Haha, hes probably glad to have the TV and couch back, now that its not my bed anymore :) And dont worry, we will all see each other sooner than you think! Say hi to Poppy and Cosmo for me too

Habebi said...

To coin and old phrase, you go girl. Yeah there are moments where it's going to be hard, but, with your attitude you are going to get so much out of where you are now. Can't wait to see your what else Switzerland has in store for you!

Caitie said...

Mom and Dad--Thanks :-)

Meg--Well at least I wasn't alone in project waterworks. I wish you guys could have stayed for a month too! Last night Dan flung himself onto the couch and cheerily shouted, 'it's all mine!'. Hmpf--talk about a lack of tact ;-). But hey, aren't you glad not to be woken by Cosmo's desperate wails outside your bedroom door anymore? That probably counts for something.

Buddy from Kamloops--Thanks for the pep talk, you're absolutely right :)

Ais--Don't be sad, because you're right, we will see each other soon. Cosmo is a bit miffed because your long awaited suitcase is gone and he can't sleep amongst all your clothes anymore. He's back to the old grey blanket, which he refuses to share.

Habebi--Thanks! It feels silly to be so glum, and I hardly expect to garner much sympathy, so your support means a lot! You rock!

jessica said...

I agree - you have a wonderful attitude about it and you are so aware of why it is you feel the way you do and don't feel bad for it! I used to beat myself up with this whole inner monologue "Jess, why even live here if you are just going to complain about the prices of food everyday or not really integrate because you don't want to work if that means you can't get back to the US a few times a year for taco bell and best friends." But i did try, too, to make the most of it. It's such a wierd hard place to be feeling like hey, i made this decision, so how can i even complain? i feel that a lot when Liam is being difficult, and right now we are thinking about daycare. I have that same inner monologue! today has been really tough with Liam so I'm so gald i just read this post this morning. I'm going to take your attitude in the last paragraph and apply it to parenting today. and drop him off at daycare this afternoon.

T said...

This post made me shed a tear for you Caitie! However, I love the way you picked yourself up at the end, you are such a brave woman to do what you're doing and I am still super jealous! I'm still determined that there will be a day in the future where I'm going to give you a date when you have to come meet me at the Zurich Airport!

Caitie said...

Jess--you're right, it is a weird place to be in. You don't want to feel like 'poor little expat' but sometimes it can't be helped, because new environments breed new emotions and a new challenges. Life is life, no matter what country you're living in. I'm glad you decided to do what you needed to do for you, yesterday.

T--Don't shed a tear! I wasn't trying to be all mopy :-) But you're right, you better give me a date when I'm picking you up at Zurich airport!