Calgary Quarantine Diaries: Week 1

At this point, Mum and I only have a few more days of quarantine left and so far, we’re still healthy! We have found this time of quarantine to be a good time for us to recover from the journey and set up house and get used to things overall. It’s a more quiet and less harried time of getting settled in a new country than it normally is because we can’t go outside to do chores.

I read something once from women who are part of cultures that require them to isolate during their period. Those women say they really enjoy that time because they don’t have to take care of their families and they can relax and have some quality Me Time. This quarantine period reminds me of that.

To anyone who thinks periods are gross, sorry, not sorry! I’m all about ending period taboo since 1. It’s natural 2. Humans wouldn’t exist without it.

So, what things have happened the first week of quarantine? This won’t include my trip experience because that’s a post on its own, and there are parts that I’m not ready to share just yet.

It was hard to sleep that first night because we were sleeping on the floor. When I woke up, apparently FedEx had tried to deliver the things we had ordered from IKEA at 6:30 am! I had tried to request FedEx to deliver the packages the day we arrived, but it hadn’t worked out. I didn’t have a local number yet, and I got a hard time over it. I decided to leave my cell phone on that night in case it happened again, but it was a pain to say the least!

I suddenly missed my friends like crazy and texted them on WhatsApp to tell them I needed to talk. For me, WhatsApp is the BOMB for staying in touch with people overseas! You can still text your friends and not get charged! I was not okay after the journey and there’s a part of the story I can’t talk about without crying.

All I remember doing that day was unpacking my bags and setting the stuff up, talking to my friend and taking a nap. Plus, I remember our landlord stopping by to get our papers. We needed change for the laundry, and we exchanged a $20 CAD bill for it. YYC didn’t give me change when I got money there. The best thing about the first day: it started snowing! I hadn’t seen snow in years and it made everything beautiful! 😍

I hoped the second night would be better, but no. Even though I left my phone on, FedEx STILL didn’t deliver! I woke up feeling like I had hit my head against a brick wall again! FedEx eventually delivered though, and we were happy. We realized that it’s difficult to get deliveries at our apartment though and we just have to work with it.

We opened our IKEA boxes, excited to finally get our table and chair set and other supplies! We have depended on IKEA for furniture when we moved before because it’s so easy to assemble and you don’t need tools. To our dismay, we discovered we needed tools this time! Fortunately, we have kind friends who lent us some tools a couple days later.

I had noticed when I ordered from IKEA that you can request assembly service. I overlooked it though because I thought it wasn’t important. Then, I remembered that IKEA is under new management now and the founder had died. I had heard of their new sustainability initiatives, which was nice, but I hadn’t heard of them making it necessary to have tools to put it together.

To anyone who is moving and needs new furniture, be aware of this new development! I haven’t tried their assembly service, so I can’t speak for it, but it’s not the efficient assembly it once was!

Traveling had been such an adrenaline high and I didn’t start coming off it until the second day. I have anxiety and PTSD from being an expat and it started to hit. It was then when my Mum and I made a rule that we DON’T want to talk about what’s happening in the US right now! It’s better for us mentally that we don’t know, especially with the election happening in 3 days. I have found if I get up at night, I check my phone to see if I have any messages from my friends in the US. It gives me peace of mind that if I hear from them, they’re okay.

I have some essential oils which I have found to be balancing at times like this, and they did help. I had hoped I would sleep well with the oils, but that didn’t happen. I had a panic attack in the middle of the third night and Mum and I had a talk about the stressors we’ve been dealing with.

Since I am the highly organized person in my family, I bore a lot of the burden. I figured out how to get into Canada because of our chronic pain issues. It was highly detailed, but no one can obsess like I can! I have been in charge of jobs that don’t have an end in sight like finances, and my cell phone was our only source of internet for a while. I paid a high mental health cost for my work though and my Mum agreed to relieve me of some of the burden.

I couldn’t be happier that I’m with my Mum, but I also feel guilty leaving family and friends behind. My Mum said people need to realize in their own time that it’s really not a good situation in the US and that emigrating is a good life choice to make under the circumstances.

The next day, I was impressed that the snowfall had continued straight for 3 days! I have lived in snowy climates before, but never had I seen it snow for so long! I have stepped outside from time to time to take the garbage out (when no one’s around and wearing a mask of course) and I was able to wear a hoodie in temperatures of -10°C! Our apartment is rather overheated, so having the windows open at that temperature was quite pleasant.

I called another friend in the US. I haven’t shared my story of my journey much, but it seems like everyone I told was shocked by what happened. I think it’s a new reality for US expats. I read an article that the US is losing its passport privilege. I believe it! I am really touched by the support I have received and how welcoming people are! Thank you! You know who you are! ❤❤❤

Mum and I did some cleaning and ordered some more stuff. We had been researching how to find a good internet service and decided on one we wanted. I was happy that we would get it soon and we didn’t have to depend on my phone. Things were looking up!

By the fourth day, Mum and I had established a routine of cleaning, organizing and ordering what we needed to get. We each got a call from the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to check that we were complying with the quarantine regulations. They were kind and respectful with their questions and comments and were even up for a little talk! I didn’t just answer their questions. I provided them some extra information too. They also checked that we’re getting food and fresh air, which was nice of them. Apparently, they are working seven days a week because of the pandemic, and like all other essential workers, I appreciate what they do!

Mum and I put together our table and chairs and they looked great! It took a while, but it worked. One more step to getting settled and making this place a home!

Day 5 was rather quiet. It was the day it stopped snowing, so by then, I was quite impressed with the length of the snowfall. You would think by now, we would have got our beds, right? Wrong. We were still sleeping on the floor. We were used to it, but it still hurt considering our pain issues. We had been taking afternoon naps in the bathtub because we were able to use our duvets to make it softer.

I had ordered our mattresses from Overstock Ca two weeks before and they told me I would receive them in 11-14 business days. I heard this week that the mattresses were being delayed at customs. I know COVID has delayed a lot of mail and deliveries at customs. I had to renew my UK passport a while ago and even that got delayed at customs. I kept looking for updates on my Overstock account, but still felt desperate for beds!

By Day 6, the snow was melting. There’s a chair in the back yard that got all this snow on it and when it melted, it formed these icicles that reminded us of the snail monster in Monsters Inc that fell through the grate in the sidewalk and said, “Oh great!”

Chair Monster!

I have started collecting cool Canada memes and one of my Canadian friends on Facebook posted this:

Source: Facebook

Definitely part of my collection now along with the cat meme I have in my post What I’m Looking Forward To!

I had been taking a nap in the bathtub for a while now, so I finally decided to take a selfie of me lying there. Okay, yes I know I haven’t shown a photo of myself yet, so here you go now!

Sleeping in the tub

By Day 7, the Overstock mattress situation was looking ridiculous! I know there are border delays, but come on! Is this Brexit or something? We called to see what was going on, only to find out that we basically weren’t going to get our mattresses this week. We caved and ordered the mattresses from Amazon. For the record, I use Amazon in a pinch because I have issues with how exploitative they are, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

Looking back on it, I should have done a price comparison of the mattresses before buying them. Overstock’s cheap prices would have jumped out at me as suspicious.

First seven days are up! Did we get out mattresses? Only one way to find out! Watch this space for part 2 of my quarantine diaries in Calgary and what my new adventures will be after I am done with quarantine!

I Made It to Canada! 🇨🇦

Yes. I made it in a week ago with my Mum. We’re in quarantine now, but we already feel like we made the right choice. I couldn’t be happier that I am away from the US right now!

The first few days were rather tough. This is my fourth international move, if you include the fact I was a baby when I first moved internationally. Even though I have learned a lot about orchestrating a move from those experiences, the mental and physical toll never goes away. Sometimes, the toll can be more or less depending on the situation. I will say more in a future post. I have a lot to say, but I’m still getting organized right now!

So far, the good things are that quarantine is going well and things are settling. It snowed for a few days and I have some lovely pictures from that! It’s actually nice to have a quarantine period because there’s time to rest and have Me Time, which I really need right now! I already love it here and I want this to work out so much!

There have been some hiccups, like getting deliveries. IKEA and Overstock CA were disagreeable surprises! 🙄 More on that later too.

PSA: I do NOT want to talk about what’s going on in the US right now! I don’t want to know the latest stuff going on! Heck, I don’t even want to know who wins the election! I’m emotionally detoxing right now and quite fatigued and I need to take care of myself. Thank you!

So, this was one of the reasons I had to disappear for a while, but stay tuned for more! Stay safe and healthy peeps! 💙🇨🇦

Expect the Unexpected

I know I said I would be taking a short break from the blog, but then I got inspired. It’s going to be a short post again because I felt it important to share that when you move internationally, you have to expect the unexpected!

I know it’s a cliche, but in this regard it’s true. Anyone who knows me knows I am the queen of to-do lists and organizing and I can’t live without my bullet journal! I know as my moving date gets closer more unexpected things are going to happen. It doesn’t end when your moving date happens either. The unexpected stuff takes a while to go away after your moving date. Let me give you a few examples that have already happened to me:

My Cell Phone:

I found out my cell phone plan didn’t do international calls. There was an important call I had to make, and I had to delay it until I could update my cell phone plan. I was also confused because I thought something was wrong with the number I had been given. Fortunately, there wasn’t a time limit on needing to make the call. If there was, I would have been freaking out. I found out the number was correct, and I added the international calls to my phone plan with no stress at all. Funny how with your daily cell phone use that you forget what your plan doesn’t have.

Money:

Money is the biggest worry when moving. One wrong move and it can be an expensive mistake. So far, money is the thing that sets off an emotional meltdown. I decided to set a bank account up in Canada before I left. It’s rather detail-oriented though and when you’re under moving stress, it’s easy to forget if you have already been told something. I may be super organized, but that doesn’t mean I don’t forget things. Overall, I am glad I decided to set up the bank account before I got there, but more on that in another post.

Personal Relationships:

I’m so glad that my Mum and I are working so well together with this moving business! We have done this before and every time, we get better at it! We have divided our jobs up and we are accepting if my job overlaps into hers and vice versa. At least we are communicating, and there for each other at the emotionally low times because trust me, there are a lot of those happening! I’m SO grateful for my friends! I text them regularly because it’s nice to talk to someone while this stuff is going on. Plus, texting them is a kind of a breather from the hustle and bustle. That’s not to say unexpected stuff doesn’t happen. I have friends who really aren’t supportive and don’t understand what’s going on and I have to keep them at arm’s length. Those friends cause more stress than what it’s worth and it’s better not to deal with it right now. I can go back later though, but I need space from those unsupportive friends.

Deadlines:

Sometimes, there is a deadline that falls on you unexpectedly and you HAVE to drop everything and sort it out! It is a big relief when you do sort it out though, and it’s time for a bit of self-care! My favorite thing to do at the end of a stressful day is have a bubble bath!

Other things:

Sometimes, you overlook something you have to do, and you just shrug and do it. I wasn’t planning on voting for a few days, but then I got my ballot and I thought, “Let’s get on with it!” It’s better to get those done soon so they don’t cause stress later on.

To all my Canadian followers, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving for Monday! I’ll be having my own small celebration that day too, even though I’m not there yet.

Talk to you all later!

Finding Ghosts

Before I start this post I just wanted to say that I am going to be rather busy this month. I won’t be able to post or interact as much as I would like. I will share why pretty soon. It’s partly because I don’t want to jinx anything.

I have found right before moving to a new country that you can uncover ghosts from your past in the country you are leaving. When you run into a moment like that, and if you’re in England, you say it’s a “Blast from the past”. One sign that a country has not worked out for me is that I’m trying to leave behind a lot of awful things that I have witnessed or experienced. There’s nothing like moving to another country to help you wipe the slate clean and start anew. My favourite thing is changing my phone number because the chances of self-delusional narcissists finding you are practically zero! Yes, I have mental health issues from being hurt the way I have. Mental health issues can be at a different level as an expat or when you repatriate because the country you’re in is definitely significant to your experience! I never let anyone tell me otherwise! If someone asks me if moving to a new country is a good way to leave ghosts behind, I would answer with a resounding yes!

My blast from the past happened when I was going through some message settings on my cell phone. I ran into the blocked messages by accident. Normally, if I am deliberately trying to clean out things like that, I can mentally prepare myself for it. This time, it was by accident, and I was completely unprepared for what I saw there! 

All I am ready to share right now is that I have been raked over the coals by a number of people during the time I have lived in the US. The same thing happened in the UK. I have blocked a lot of numbers, it’s true. Even though the people I blocked were narcissists, there were some situations I could have handled better. It’s hard when bad people affect your actions and you lash out because you can’t take their crap anymore! You look like the bad guy all of a sudden when in reality, they have been hurting you all along. Newton’s Third Law of Motion can be applied in the sense that every action a person does to you (good or bad) produces an equal and opposite reaction in you. Things you do intuitively follow this rule too. Sometimes, you don’t know why your intuition makes you lash out, particularly if someone is super good at hiding who they are. In the end, you find out your intuition was correct.

Anyway, even though I removed the contacts from my cell phone after blocking them, I could still identify the messages by the first few words that show up when you see a message! There were some narcissists I blocked SIX months ago who are still trying to contact me! I’m not interested in contacting them! Why do you think I blocked them? There is a point where you think, “This is harassment!” I understand if blocked contacts try to contact you again within a month of you blocking them, but six months is excessive! I also suspect someone I blocked two years ago found my number, even though I changed it. Wouldn’t put it past them.

When I saw that crap on my phone, I didn’t read the messages all the way through. I deleted them, but I had seen enough of them to identify the sources. For the first time in several months, I had a full-on panic attack! I spent some time with my mother and it was soothing. I eventually felt better.

I hate running into stuff like that unprepared! One thing I hate about technology is that you have to psych yourself up for looking at electronic means of communication that have a bad history. Something is wrong if doing that is necessary. I fully support making technology less addictive for precisely this reason. I also support giving people privacy and expect my privacy to be respected too. This is one of the reasons that I write with a pen name. It’s not a personal attack, and no, I’m not doing it to hide that I’m a woman. I just want some privacy, so I set a boundary. To my readers who know my real name, thank you for respecting my pen name!

I will be back with the posts soon. I don’t know when though, but keep watching this space!