Friday, 27 January 2012

Timelines: On Phone Calls at 4 a.m. and Swimming

This is in continuation of my last timelines post.


I had never considered how supportive the people in my life were until we started this move. I quickly learned who I wanted to cut ropes from, and those who would always be my anchors.


Dan had been gone two weeks before people started asking me if he had a job yet.

"Not yet," I'd reply, "and it's only been [two][three][four] weeks. He'll find something."

And depending on who I talked to, their answers varied:

"Of course he'll find something!"

" never know. This economy is terrible."

"Why's it taking so long?"

"He's absolutely going to get a job!"

"Is he handing out enough resumes?"


We Skyped every single day and he told me his leads and I told him my worries. Fingertips to screens, we relied on each other.


I came home from work, tired. I'd worked a lot later than usual to have a file ready for the next morning, I hadn't eaten properly all day, the fridge was empty, my apartment was a total disaster, and it was lonely. I dropped everything and hit play on the answering machine.

"Caitie, we were talking and why isn't Dan getting a job at a grocery store? Has been going every day to the work centres? He should have something by now. It's been too long. And what about you? You should be training so you can teach English when you get there. Call us back."

I slid down the wall, put my head on my knees and wept out of discouragement and exhaustion.

It had only been five weeks and I was ashamed for being that weak.


No matter how many times I tried to tell them that wasn't our goal, that we had saved enough money for Dan to live for five months and find the job he wanted, they didn't listen.

We had to do things a different way.

A better way.

In anger I constantly wondered why are people...such people? Of all the things I cherish the most in a friendship, in family bonds, in community togetherness it is open-mindedness. I don't care if you think the sky is purple and I think it's blue. Or if I think the grass is pink and you say it's green. We don't have to stand on the same side of the line, and it would be scary if we all did. But from your side of the line, have some respect for mine and I will do you the courtesy of the same.

Of course ask me questions, as I will ask you, but how about we open our ears to the answers at the same time?


Our first Christmas as a married couple, and we exchanged gifts over Skype.

Every day I feel grateful for technology.


I was sound asleep when the phone started to ring. Through blurry eyes the green digital numbers of my alarm clock glowed 4 a.m. I fumbled for the phone, hopeful.


"It's me. I got it! They offered it to me! Contract's coming in the mail for me to look at! I have the other interview tomorrow, and I'm getting another offer there!"

I fell straight back on my pillow and started shrieking in happiness.

January 25th.

Two job offers in his desired field.

He left Canada on November 10th.


The other place offered him the job, and then offered some more. Of course I'm going to brag about that. My husband is amazing, smart, and capable. They wanted him, but we decided the first offer was the better fit for our goals.

We had choices and felt vindicated and it felt good. Hell yeah it did.


We hung up laughing as he said he was going to browse apartment ads.

I lay in bed for two more hours with a grin plastered to my face, the cats purring beside me, before I called my parents to tell them.

My family and close friends were overjoyed and it was one of my happiest days.


Of course, not everyone I told celebrated with me; I finally realized that in navigating your own happiness you are constantly steering your ship around icebergs of naysayers and doubters and if your arms get tired for even a moment, if you loose your grip on the wheel, it will spin and spin and spin until you've brushed against that icy berg and down you go.

Into salty waters.

So I had to learn how to swim, and I'm still learning. What shores I swim towards and what I leave behind. When your happiness is the key to their unhappiness, when your success is their failing, swim.

They are not anchors but rather dead weight and you'll never get anywhere if they don't want you to move.


T said...

I couldn't agree more Caitie! Down with naysayers and Debbie Downers! I am still so inspired and proud of you and Dan for making such a huge leap!

mom said...

I can still remember your phone call to dad telling him that Dan did get a job :-) That is when it really sank in that you were moving..I cried BUT I was also so happy for you both. Skip ahead 2 years and look at how great things are. Dad and I are so proud of you and Dan for having the courage to live your dream and for stepping outside of what people think is the "norm". And, if you had never done that we would never have visited Switzerland!! Love you guys.

Diana said...

Cait, I moved to Switzerland 13 months ago with my husband and my two young boys and serendipitously found your blog before Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing your life. It makes me laugh and cry and not make me feel so alone. Inspiring.

Caitie said...

Diana, if you're ever in Bern shoot me an email! It sucks feeling alone :-(

jess said...

this is pretty timely Caitie. My BFF of ten years and I have just suddenly become extremely distant and I don't really want to have anything to do with her. It's because she really is so negative about my chosen path as an artist. She told me I was being irriesponsible as a parent! And more. Her lack of support. Other people's skepticism and "I'm just WORRIED" talk - it all adds up and becomes that weight you were talking about. And so I cut ties with her, sort of non ceremoniously. Just have made distance. Haven't communicated. And I've been soaring since. Thanks for writing this one!