About A Bite for Sore Eyes

My husband and I recently moved to Northern California so that he could pursue a doctorate degree. I may live in America now but one thing is for sure, I am Canadian to the core. I feel a bit like a fish out of water here in a state that has more people in it than my entire home country. You see, I grew up in a small town smack dab in the middle of North America just north of the Border. I never realized how big a difference the border actually makes until I ordered a double double (coffee with two cream, two sugar), asked where the washroom (bathroom) was, and mentioned a toque (beanie)... I've never seen so many blank stares. However, I've traded Tim Hortons for Starbucks, colour for color, and "aboat" for "about" and I am quite content, don't tell the queen.

Beauty

Sometimes the sight of something so beautiful makes me sick. In a odd way. In a way that if I can’t just spend a day gazing at it or somehow capture it perfectly forever I will just be so heartbroken. Something inside me goes “I have to have it”. Not always, sometimes I respond in a healthy way of just enjoying the moment and letting it pass peacefully by. I think I only get that way when I’m tired, rushed, and under rested. Interesting what we crave when we are stressed.

Home

One of the most intense ways that the halting reality of not being “at home” hits you is the holidays. Unfortunately it isn’t confined to the actual day but spills into the weeks in anticipation. Thankfully it usually abruptly ends the day after.

I sit here in my bed listening to the fireworks on the Fourth of July and I feel profoundly alone. On a normal day you can chalk it up to independence, or your work schedule, or just push it out if your mind and get out of the apartment but holidays it really smacks you in the face. I came home from work today and went straight to bed. I didn’t have any plans so why not, I was tired. I woke up shortly before the fireworks and here I sit. I missed the Canada day festivities because it isn’t celebrated here obviously. But I got off work at 7 today and I honestly had no where to be. No one invited us anywhere and we didn’t bother to make our own plans. In fact, E is at the lab right now and won’t be home for another hour.

Christmas was really depressing too. I worked that day. And that was fine, not that they even had dinner for us at work… but even after work… I didn’t even have somewhere I could be. My somewhere is three thousand miles away. 31 hours stands between me and my traditions. Most people we know out here have their traditions and there isn’t room for new people or they just assume everyone has plans. I don’t blame anyone and obviously if it’s important to me to have plans I should have made some. And considering how I feel now I think I will make sure I have plans in the future. I know this sounds pity party ish and honesty it is to a degree but let’s be honest I think it’s still true. I tried to involve myself in a friends family event earlier this year and I was awkwardly rejected because of the “family drama”. I can’t blame them but I’ll never know if that was the real reason or if they just weren’t comfortable including outsiders in their longstanding tradition. No blame but it still stings.

The last Canada I remember that I spent in Canada I was at my best friends cabin for the weekend with another one of our best friends and we were out on her boat watching the fireworks. Exactly the thing that one should do on their countries birthday. But not this year. This year I’m typing away on my phone, in the dark, alone.

Don’t even get me started on thanksgiving. I worked that holiday too and it’s a good thing they had a turkey dinner at work because that was the only way I was getting one. I’m three for three. That holiday pay doesn’t count for much when I consider the ache in my heart.

I miss my Canadians. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my new friends and I love being in a new place but every now and then my heart aches for home. I can only liken it to wanting to slip into your old comfy grey hoodie on a rainy day. You don’t have to be careful to keep it clean because it’s mottled with stains and it’s soft and worn and when you wear it you’re completely comfortable.

My heart sometimes aches when I think about the fact that I will likely never live close enough to my parents to go for dinner and that they will always live far away from their grandchildren. When I realize that we aren’t moving back and that my relationships with my friends will likely be long distance for the duration. This part is like waking up the next day and being blissfully forgetful for just a moment that the day before your pet was run over by a car… And then you remember and it all comes flooding back. I go about life with this unconscious assumption that I will being going back to Manitoba one day and will be like all the other people who got married in our grade and live at most an hour from their families and the place where they grew up. And then I remember that if all goes according to plan that will never be the case. This makes me really appreciate the people who have made the effort to keep in touch. But then I wonder if one day they too will realize the reality of the new conditions of our relationship and decide it isn’t worth it.

I know that I’m lucky to have such a loving caring family and friends and that I’m lucky to have the opportunity to live in California and to be with someone who’s career path will take us to amazing places. But the older I get the more important my family and friends become and the more often and intensely I long for that old sweater. The friends you don’t need to make plans with because being with them flows so naturally and is so easy. The family events that make you feel so loved and provide a soothing sense of belonging in amongst a busy life. I miss that sometimes.

When I hear about people from home being sick, right now my old neighbor is really not doing well health wise and they lost their son this year, it just feels so surreal. I wasn’t there for the funeral and I’m not there now when the neighbor I grew up with is fighting for her life. Part of me is numb to it because I don’t know how to react or how to feel or who to talk to. I feel like people wouldn’t understand why I would even care. I didn’t even cry when I found out their 16 year old son had passed away. I couldn’t. And that confused and saddened me in a strange way.

The longer we live far away the more my consciousness of back home is warping into a handful of fuzzy mental snapshots I struggle to remember like one struggles to remember their dreams. And all at the same time earlier memories pop out at me and are as clear as day. Like camping with my parents, and driving home from university on weekends, my eighteenth birthday.

The tragic part is that I’m not establishing a new community in Davis. I mean to a point we are. We have friends but Davis is such that people don’t often stay here very long and our own moving date looms over every new relationshi. We will likely be moving two more times before we find a place to settle down.

I am so thankful to be traveling home in 6 short days for almost two weeks! We haven’t been home that long since we left. I’m praying my soul will be refreshed and all of those relationships will be rekindled and I will have stored up enough memories to hold me over until the next trip home or the next visit from Canadians.

Food Trucks

The city of Davis has done a great job of keeping food trucks out of and frankly I find it upsetting.

Here is my response to this article:
http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/city/city-law-bars-food-trucks-from-davis/?replytocom=29654#respond

The government is unfairly restricting entrepreneurial ventures here. I agree with the target and walmart example. They are known to drive away mom and pop shops but the government allows it. You can’t seriously believe that an Italian food truck in Davis would even come close to affecting something like Osteria Fasulo. It might affect a place like Paesanos but so would another Italian brick-and-mortar restaurant, and even more so because they offer the same experience. People don’t normally go to a food truck for a graduation dinner or a business lunch. It all depends on people’s food likes, dislikes, the occasion and mood they’re in. If you’re looking for convenience and speed and something you can take on the go you might consider a food truck but that also requires some research to find out where the truck will be and when. If you are craving Chinese food Panda Express might compete with Shanghai town but a place like burgers and brew doesn’t even spike on your radar. If you’re looking for ambiance for a date you pick a place based on that. As described in the article those people in line to get into the bars aren’t going to not go in because they grabbed a hot dog out front.

I work in an industrial area and there isn’t much around for food. Every day during the regular work week a food truck pulls into the parking lot. If it didn’t I wouldn’t be leaving the building to go somewhere else. But I buy from the truck because it literally comes to my “doorstep”. I could go on and on but I think to say it’s taking away from B&M places is missing the big picture.

Food trucks add to a city’s culture and vibe and in Davis case could absolutely raise the bar in terms of food quality. In a college town I think food trucks would be a booming business. Wouldn’t it be smart to do anything to make your city more attractive? Allowing food trucks to be present at the farmers market and other events might bring more people from outside of Davis to the market. You could also set up fees to be at the farmers market so that it’s pouring money back in.

Some brick-and-mortar restaurants say it’s unfair but I agree with Vculek sentiment that “that’s business”. The government shouldn’t be able to say that someone can find a way to offer a similar service at a lower cost shouldn’t be allowed to operate because it’s “not fair”. Boo hoo I think we are adults and can admit life isn’t fair. That’s the nature of capitalism. I’m sure Dos Coyotes has stolen business from mom and pop shops but I don’t think that keeps Coyote awake at night.

As one of the young people who would like to start a food truck I find this outrageous and I plan on closely following this issue.

Oh Canada

**Warning: Snarky Canadian on the loose. Proceed only if armed with sense of humor***

If you’re going to assume things about me because I’m Canadian (ie thinking I represent an entire country), let’s move past bacon, Bieber and hockey. Let’s be a little more imaginative. I’m getting bored and when I get bored I get annoyed. And when I get annoyed I respond to questions like “Do all Canadians like hockey?” with questions like “Are all Americans stupid?”. Stereotypes right?? I will try to restrain myself and be polite but you have been warned.

Just for the record I’ve never been to B.C. or Toronto (one is a province one is a city but oddly enough those are the only two places most people I have met in California site when referencing Canada) but if I goI’ll be sure to ask them if they all like hockey and Bieber #notreally.

Unfortunately I also have never been to Quebec but they are pretty much their own country (or are at least trying to be) and so I couldn’t speak to their habits, likes or dislikes.

What I can tell you a lot about is the small city of Winkler where I grew up and the capitol city of Manitoba where I went to UNIVERSITY (#notcollege). If you want to know things about these places I can offer a higher degree of knowledge but I couldn’t speak for each individual.

I’d like to say that I think it’s cute or funny when I am constantly asked about whether I like certain things because they are Canadian but I can honestly say 99% of the time it just makes me tired. Try to understand. Most of the time I am quite polite and say something witty in response and smile. But I am becoming snarkier… hence this warning.

P.s. In light of the upcoming forth festivities I will say this. July 4th means nothing to Canada and the Canadian holiday is July 1st. Canada day celebrates the constitution act established in 1867. However I grew up 20 miles from the US boarder and so I’ve celebrated forth of July pretty much my whole life. For the record this is a legitimate question and would not annoy me normally but by about the 12th time in one day I will be tired… Yet again.

Individuals

Eric and I have always operated as individuals and have always had parts of our lives that were separate from each other. We never suffered from the “we” complex … Although I just said we…. Anyways. At parties we would mingle with everyone and sometimes the only time we saw each other was the ride to and from whatever occasion. I have always appreciated that about us as a couple. Eric goes away with guy friends and I am free to go to on excursions like Jenna’s cabin for the weekend. But as much as it’s easy to remember we are individuals in that regard I sometimes have a hard time remembering and acting like we are individuals in other aspects of our lives. As I get older I realize more and more the insane amount of expectations I place on myself and unfortunately I think that my striving for perfection gets saddled on Eric a good amount of the time. I think I bulldoze over who Eric is in the pursuit of what is important to me, assuming that it is important to him in the same way. Part of marriage is, I think, the fine tuning of shared and individual priorities and how can we hold each other accountable to these values in a way that is honoring and respectful if who that person is. Chores, budget, ambitions, all legitimate things that couples need to know where each other stands and what the shared goals are. But things like nutrition and general health can’t be a dictatorship from one partner to the other just because it’s important to one of them. That’s a case where actions speak louder than words. I think my relationship would be a lot happier if I would just accept and let go of when Eric does or doesn’t do something that disappoints me and stop being disappointed by the things that he does differently than I would have. If I could accept that I am not perfect either and that we all just do our best and lucky for me Eric doesn’t complain about … well almost anything I do. I’m going to try to do better at not holding anyone to the standard of perfection, including myself. Life is too short. Try your best but everyone fails. I know I do, I fail hard and often. But what can you do but give grace and move on. I think I have such a hard time accepting grace from God and others because I am so stingy with it when it comes to allowing myself to have any from myself.

Lately I have been feeling alive. Since my latest job pursuit fell through I have a renewed sense of life. I can’t explain why but just listening to blaring music with the windows down on the way to the gym is more than enough for me. I’m disappointed that I haven’t been in constant communication with my creator more but there’s always right now. I love this alive feeling that is so much more abundant in summer. Today it hit me again that I live in California and that as much as sometimes I really want a house so that I can have a garden and so that I don’t have to share walls with other families I am happy here. I am happy in this apartment with these two cats and my amazing husband and our great new friends that are becoming old friends. It’s such an exciting time. I want to do more living and less planning. Less dwelling and obsessing and organizing. More laughing and doing and loving well. Yup I think it’s time for a season of a light yoke. If that lines up with the big guys plan.

We shall see.

Firestone Public House

Ok people, or lack of people, either way. I’m going to start a weekly (hopefully) blog about my culinary adventures in Sacramento. I’ve decided to get out and experience what it just outside my front door in the eclectic capitol.

Last Sunday the hubs and I ventured out to discovery park for some frisbee, then grabbed some gourmet coffee at temple house, and capped off the evening with some yums at Firestone Public House downtown. (Side note to any photographers out there downtown Sac on a Sunday is a photo shoot waiting to happen. NO people and tons of cool walls waiting to be captured).

So I’ll give a nod to discovery park because it was part of the day… But I probably wouldn’t go back. Really loud because it’s under a freeway and really crowded, at least one the weekend.

Temple coffee! Wow. What a cool little coffee shop. I’d recommend sitting outside as the music is a little intense inside. I was really intimidated and got the barista to decide for me. (This dispatcher doesn’t make decisions on her weekends if at all possible). I ended up with a vanilla latte which is pretty safe but it was the best latte I’d ever had. Hubs was brave and got a coffee, the Brazil Sierra de bonne. I’ve never tasted fruity notes in coffee before and it was delicious. Would definitely go back. I’d bet it’s pretty hoppin during the week, but lazy Sundays are more my style.

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Firestone Public House was another success. We walked from temple and it was quite lovely. I ordered the ahi tuna burger with their waffle fries… Yummy! Genius (aka hubs) got the BBQ chicken pizza and that was a delight as well. To drink I had ordered the fauxjito but they ran out of mint so our lovely server brought out a raspberry basil fizz instead and it was pretty bomb. I need need need to go back for their lobster pizza. I was deciding between the two and our server said those dishes were her favorites but if I wasn’t super hungry to go with the burger. I’d like to go back tomorrow but alas the foreign students wife life, AND I have 117 restaurants left on my list. Can’t be any repeats just yet.

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After dinner we walked back through the capitol park and went around the rose garden at least twice. I want my back yard to be filled with roses one day. So beautiful. It was a wonderful day of trying new things and that always feels like a vacation.

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Ambition

Ambition, (this is gonna be a really cheesy post btw) is it good or bad? As most things it’s probably both. Too much ambition and you miss out on the relationships in your life but too little gets you where I am, or at least where I feel like I am. I feel like there isn’t anything in my life that I really wanted and went for. I mean there are accomplishments for sure. I have a professional degree which I did work my butt off to finish with a 4.0 gpa…. But what is the end result? I mean I changed a lot as a person and became much more open minded which is the best skill a human being can have but on paper people, I’m talking on paper. I have a Social work degree and I’m dispatching ambulances making more money than I would make as a social worker but barely over minimum wage.

I feel like am a fairly good person some of the time. I am the type of person that’s always striving for more and better and I feel like I am ambitious in that regard. I guess I just feel frustrated that the logistics of my life don’t reflect my inner ambition. I have trouble finding focus. Because I am constantly thinking and have natural relational skills I feel like I’m always maturing and am able to negotiate uncomfortable social situations most of the time but I want to do something concrete. I want to have a tangible project to be pouring myself into. And I mean I want to work on my spiritual life but I feel like I could be more passionate about life and in turn God if I had a project. I’ve been interrupted too often to finish my original thought inspiration so that’s it.