Friday, 20 September 2013

To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice - Elizabeth Gilbert

Home has taken on a new hue for me these past couple of weeks. Instead of a haven from the rush of the world outside, it has become a rush inside. All paperwork and boxes. And confusion and chaos. I’d like to think it’s organised chaos. But I’m not always sure.

My main task of the moment is finding work. A job. A living. I am confident I have options. I’m just struggling to convince others. To date, I have already applied for what seems like hundreds of jobs. Normal run-of-the-mill administration work. Organising, coordinating. Administrating. In French, Russian, and/or Welsh.

And applications take up so much time. If you've been there, you know. If you've not been there, you really don't want to know.

Yet changing circumstances also mean change. The chance to widen out horizons. Try new options, opportunities, offers. Have some fun imagining other paths.
So I've been offering myself in different spheres. I applied to be an Assistant (Landscape) Gardener. Thus far, I’ve been ignored. Of course, I have no experience. Beyond a long-time desire. And books galore on the subject. Not to mention years of cultivating house plants. Which have now been eaten by my cats.

My application for the role of an Assistant Ranger has also been ignored. That one hurt. I could really see myself as an Assistant Ranger. Bouncing about the site in a jeep. And wellies. Performing Assistant Ranger duties with aplomb. Yellowstone Park-like. Outside. Drinking in the surroundings. Exorcising years of indoor office work.

I would truly like this to be a turning point. To finally get round to concentrating on more creative tasks.  Tasks which have more meaning to me. And greater impact on others. To write, take photos. To have more contact with people. I feel I’ve been locked away in offices for too long. I want to breathe the sea air as part of my everyday life. Not just in my spare time. I’m hoping this will be my chance.

But as I’ve said before, selling is not my forte. Selling myself even less so.  I will need all the help and encouragement I can get...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end - Ernest Hemingway

On this grey, wet Sunday I write from under a quilt. And before getting into a hot, hot bath. With candles. And possibly a book. Or two. I'm intending to stay for a while. Then to get out, eat some home-made lentil soup and head for bed.

I'm needing the comfort: comfort soaking, comfort eating, comfort sleeping. Why? Because this morning, at 7.30am, I was setting up stall at my very first car boot sale. Scary stuff. Thankfully I took with me my camping chum who is sprightly (after a coffee or two) and fun. And a jolly good saleswoman.

Selling is seriously not my thing (note to self re looking for a new job). I'd give stuff away rather than haggle with people to get a good price. But camping chum was in there, bargaining, bartering, bantering like a pro. She did a seriously good job and we came away with money!

I don't know why I'm surprised. I just didn't think anyone would want to buy anything. But they did. And they did.

Actually there was a minor onslaught at 8.30am when the gates opened, and we had a flurry of sales from a couple of eager beavers. After that, the sales were steady. Ending with the successful exchange of money for the complete Friends box set. Hurrah!

Still, as I say, it's a grey, wet Sunday. And the heavens opened. A few times. Enough to drench us to the bone. And the clothes / bags / books to the core. It was such a shame for all concerned. My feet and camping chum's legs in particular. So we headed home after only three hours of selling.

What an idea to do it outdoors! I don't know why I thought it would be inside. But then I also imagined they would provide tables for us to present everything on. Naive to the end, me. Hence my running around like a fool yesterday trying to borrow a table, clothes rail, plastic covers. Good job my friends are prepared for all events.

Some bits that returned home with me cannot be salvaged. So I now have a growing pile of things to go to the skip. But others will go on website. And (another) list to be circulated to friends and colleagues in the hope that they will see a need to buy. Onwards and upwards...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Lao Tzu

My cats are now the proud owners of passports. Well, maybe not so proud. Possibly very indifferent. But I am not. I am a very proud owner of cats with passports.

And a very relieved owner. This was the first time the two of them had been outside the flat since they arrived here two and a half years ago. Except for those sneaky moments in the early days when they ran out of the front door and across the landing. Out of curiosity. And then straight back in. Out of fright.

They came to me from a family who needed to get rid of them fairly speedily due to an illness in one of the children. They were already adult cats. But had thus far never left their first home. We had a two-hour drive back and the journey was horrendous. They were both petrified. And cried all the way. The female spent the first two days under my bed. I was devastated.

When she came round and let me comfort her, she was adorable. But still very edgy. Thus when I needed her to see a vet, I organised a home visit. And this has worked well until now. When he's away. And unable to do the vaccinations and the passport.

Time is pressing. They have to have the vaccinations and paperwork in order three weeks before our return date. So I bit the bullet and took them to the nearest vet. Just around the corner. With the help of a friend.

The vet was lovely. And they were wonderful. Calm, curious. Charming. Not even a simper when they were injected. I was so very proud. All that stress and worry for nothing...

The journey home will of course be a different story. But I feel a tad less trepidatious. For now at least.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Not all those who wander are lost - J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm already exhausted. Can that be right? There are so many papers to sort, procedures to follow, people to contact. And I have to work. Two big meetings to organise before I leave. Yet moving is a full-time job in itself...

But I have lists galore. And I love, love, love lists. Writing point after point after point to be completed. And then crossing them out, one by one.  I'm not managing to cross off too many just now. Which is a tad hair-raising. But I think I'm getting through the main ones.

I almost crossed off the reservation of a removal company today. And then didn't. Couldn't. I still have so many questions. And hesitations. It's so much money. You need to get it right. But some quotes are complete in one area, while others are complete in other areas. None seem to be totally complete. I'm still hopeful of confirming one tomorrow. But my breath will not be held. Just in case...

Still, the cats are booked in for their vaccinations and passports; I have a list of properties I'd like to rent (if they'll take me without a job and with cats); my health appointments are sorted, jobs being applied for, work procedures advancing, a reservation at a car boot sale made. And an appointment confirmed with my bank.

I have also provisionally sold a couple of household items. Not big things yet. But it's another list with items crossed out. So I'm happy. -Ish.

That said, I kind of flipped somewhat yesterday. All the doubts - in me and others - surged up out of control and I had this intense "what on earth am I doing" moment. Not pleasant. Good job I was out of public view.

In these moments, there is only one thing to do: speak to someone who understands the situation, knows your motivation, is one hundred per cent happy for you. So I did. And she was. And it worked. I felt so much better and moved on. I'm figuring it won't be the last time I feel like that. But I have a good support network. Better than I could ever have imagined. People I know and love are pulling out the stops to help me. Little me. It's very humbling.

So onward and upward. Things to do, things to do. Sleep being one of them... :0)

Monday, 2 September 2013

Travel brings power and love back into your life - Rumi

Can I tell you that sorting out removal companies is just not fun. Really. I am not a fan of making choices at the best of times. And seriously, how do you choose between them?

At least you can do everything on-line now. How on did we earth cope before? There are tons of firms out there waiting for your business. I emailed a good number of them. Then there's a centralised site (Anyvan Ltd) which sends your request for a quote to a whole database of companies, however many that may be.

It's fine up to there. Sifting through the quotes is the not-fun bit. How do you know who will do the best job? What will really make the difference to ensure a good choice? There's very little between the quotes. Which is somewhat reassuring. None of them seem to be trying to con me. Unless all of them are...

In an effort to find clues to quality, I checked out all the websites of those who have sent me quotes. But unfortunately I'm a cynical girl. All those lovely on-line references are interesting. But are they for real? Where are the complaints? I don't mean to be distrusting. I just am.

Decisions fry my brain. I'm the one who's always in the slowest queue in the supermarket. No matter how many times I change. Or is that just perspective?? My good friend optimistically tells me to "think lucky, be lucky". The notion is an unfamiliar one to me. But maybe it's one I need to learn. Maybe that's my lesson for today.

And in all this madness, a lovely, discreet colleague offered to drive me back home - furniture, cats and all. 13 hours each way. With her man, who doesn't know me from Adam. Now, how sweet is that? Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? It did me. And that's one of the joys of stepping out of your comfort zone and making challenging changes: it makes you see life differently and life lets itself be seen differently. Loving that.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving - Terry Pratchett

I resigned this week. A big, scary moment. And I don't like moments. Especially big, scary ones. It wasn't big and scary because I didn't want to resign. This was the culmination of long hours of thought and reflection. It was scary because I had to voice the long hours of thought and reflection which till then had remained more or less private. And private thoughts can be whatever you want them to be. Setting them free, exposing them, exposing you. Well, that is of course a whole different matter...

Still, it is now done. And yet that was only the beginning. The work really starts from here on in. I have no job, nowhere to live, I have cats to care for, furniture to transport. And I'm more than a tad nervous.

Yet now it's out there, I can't wait to get home. To return to Ynys Môn. To Anglesey. Mam Cymru. To start building the next part of my life there. To be in places I loved as a child. Places that thrill me every time I visit. To be closer to my family, old friends, old memories. And to make new ones.

I make a parenthesis here and acknowledge that the Royal residents are leaving just as I arrive. I'm trying not to read anything into this. But if you know me well, you know that I'm not good at not interpreting events, situations, coincidences. Even the merest twitch of an eyebrow. This "event" seems too big not to interpret. Yet, I must close the parenthesis. I have too much to do at the moment to distract myself with such worries. At least, for now.

I have much to tie up before I can rejoice in my homeland. Not least of which are all these dear people I know and love here. Who I tie up in my heart and carry on back with me. Yes, I'm hormonal today. Hence the sop. But it'll pass. I'll hold it together better. Sometime soon. Very soon...