Friday, September 04, 2009

Out with the mopey

I've been in Edmonton for approximately three weeks now. My apartment has come to feel like home, and I'm starting to get into the routine of school, which began on Tuesday. In these first weeks, I've had two out-of-town visitors, and had run around setting up my apartment and getting ready for school. I had mostly kept myself out of the doldrums that I sometimes fall into -- that is, until today.

This is a long weekend, and used to be one of my favourite weekends of the year. I'm hoping it will be one of my favourites again, but it's a challenge. This weekend marks the second anniversary of the loss of a friend under some tragic circumstances. I can't help but think of my friend today, and remember the last time I saw him, just a few days before his death. It seems like a lifetime ago, or feels as though my memories are merely figments of my imagination.

I still remember his voice. I think about all the people who have passed from my life, and thinking about their voices somehow reassures me. If I close my eyes, I can hear them echo, and know with a strange certainty that I would still recognize them if I were to hear them now. I have an irrational fear that one day, I will forget what they sounded like. With that act of forgetting, it would complete their transformation into characters out of a dream, rather than flesh and blood people who had once touched me and influenced me.

This is also my birthday weekend. I have never cared for birthdays much, and wouldn't care if no one celebrated it with me, but being alone in a new city has made me feel a bit sorry for myself. A good friend from Inuvik had sent me a wonderful shoulder-bag made in Fort McPherson, and I've used it these few days. I feel less lost when I can glance down and see the little polar bear patch marking it as made in the Canadian Arctic. Perhaps being reminded of where I have come from assuages the fear of not knowing where I'm going.

I have three days to organize myself and get into the mode of reading my course materials. Graduate studies are about as gruelling as I had imagined, and although I know I should be able to handle all the stress, I need to banish self-despair and embrace confidence and inner peace.

I have a list of thirteen things to do for my classes. I plan to break them up with walks around the neighbourhood, a trip to the mall to window-shop, and cooking up some new dishes. Tonight, I made buckwheat noodles with a peanut and spinach sauce. It was delicious and satisfying.

A birthday meal alone in a new city might not be so bad after all, if it could be organic, healthy, and delicious to boot. Solitude has its own poetic quality....

* I'll save my thoughts about my grad school program for another post.


  1. Happy birthday! Life's too short; go celebrate!

  2. Wow, you're cooking! Don't mope, go work out instead!