To all my readers, I hope you have a great year ahead! Wishing you every success no matter what that means to you.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

I decided that it’s not conducive for me to do New Year Resolutions anymore. The stats on people giving up on them are sobering and I’m no different when it comes to that. I may be the Organization Queen in my family, but I can’t see the future.

Okay, I still believe in setting goals for the month and the week, etc. They work as long as they follow the SMART acronym and I can hold myself accountable.

I have resolved to do one thing though, and that is to do things better than last year. 2022 was a hot mess in every sense of the word. I’m hoping the cracked rib will tie everything up.

Update on Health:

I’m about 90% recovered! Okay, I shouldn’t watch a comedy show, but I’m doing so much better!

However, I’m at the stage with a broken bone when it goes numb sometimes. It happens even after it’s fully healed and it can get scary.

I had that when I was a young dancer after I broke my foot. I would get scared of falling when I felt it. Sometimes, I would hit my foot against a wall (lightly) just to get some feeling in it.

Fortunately, I don’t feel it nearly as often in my foot now that I’m not in ballet. I don’t know what to think about it happening on the right side of my torso.

I’m now learning how it feels for the right side of my torso to go numb suddenly. The first few times it happened, I wondered, “Is this what a stroke feels like?” It’s not always safe for me to lift something heavy, especially in the kitchen.

It’s time for me to start getting chiropractic care since my back is so messed up. Mum always said car accidents really rip up your body. She was not kidding!

Speaking of my family, I wanted to give them an extra special shoutout at this time! We have an unwritten rule that if one of us is recovering from a major health problem around Christmas, we take things easy out of respect. We made that rule after I got appendicitis and it’s served us well!

Anyway, here’s the moment you have all been waiting for! My survey results!

Survey Results:

Thank you to all who left a response! Here are some points I am addressing from each question.

One of my friends requested I share her response with credit, so thank you Elizabeth! I shall do so!

Feedback on My Website Design:

Most of the answers said my site looked great. However a few said my site is lacking when it comes to mobile browsing.

I’m making changes to my site now, so I will figure out the user interface design as I go. To be honest, I don’t like how it looks either.

Tips for Freelancing and Copywriting:

I got an overwhelming response to this! Seems like you all want to learn more!

Elizabeth specifically said she’s interested in how to find clients. Great one! I will do a post about that, but since I am in the middle of figuring this out myself, I don’t feel like I can do a post like that right now.

Here’s one tip that stood out to me: how to report a copycat to Google and not have that request rejected. I’m already planning my content calendar, so I can list that one for February when I’m done with my Parks Challenge.

Being a Digital Nomad:

I got some good requests for this one, such as:

  1. How to fully get into remote work
  2. Best countries to be a digital nomad in
  3. Visas and paperwork- from Elizabeth

Elizabeth, YES YES YES!! I’m fully with you there!! Been there done that and I hate tripping up on that!

In terms of best countries to be a digital nomad in, be aware that I’m only one of thousands who have a point of view on it. Although, you already know what I am like when talking about different countries and that’s not going to change!

Other Content:

I got a couple requests and a comment I want to address.

Downsides of being a digital nomad (if any), and being motivated while working for yourself. I can definitely address that.

One responder seemed to be under the impression that I would stop talking about everyday life.

Hold it.

I won’t stop talking about that. I just have to be more creative about it because Google doesn’t like that so much.

When I do a post, I will put an update in there. Also, I will talk more about that in my email newsletter.

Frequency of Emails:

Responses were split between once a month and once a week. Since I am starting out with this, I will be doing it only once a month and get the hang of it.

As things progress, I will start doing it once a week, but no more than that. After all, it’s annoying to be every three days, right? Plus, I don’t have time for that.

Thanks again to all who responded!

Commenting on Posts:

To my loyal followers who I have a reciprocal commenting-on-each-other’s-posts relationship, I have now started a new norm. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with notifications from WordPress, so I turned them off.

Although, I came up with a good solution. I’m normally spending a lot of time on WordPress on Friday and Saturday anyway because I am editing my post and responding to comments as well.

Therefore, I will also comment on your posts when I’m on WordPress a lot on Friday and Saturday! Just because I don’t comment right away, it’s nothing on you! I save up liking and commenting for the week and do it all at once.

I have been doing that the last few weeks and it’s been quite successful. Since I’m a businesswoman now, it’s important that I do time-blocking. But don’t worry, you’re all no less of a priority!

Best Books I Have Read:

According to Goodreads, I have read 77 books! Let’s see if I can get to 80 in 2023.

I have read 78 books, actually. One book wasn’t on Goodreads.

I have read a mix of entrepreneurship, marketing, cultural novels and historical fiction. There was one type of book that surprised me.

One day, I picked up a graphic novel that had a multicultural theme, and I was hooked! I have been sort of on and off graphic novels, but I have noticed a lot of multicultural graphic novels lately.

Mind = blown! What a perfect way to portray balancing cultures through pictures and words!

I have read Messy Roots by Laura Gao, Diary of a Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer and Goodbye My Havana: The Life and Time of a Gringa in Revolutionary Cuba. Also, George Takei published a graphic novel about his time in the internment camp during WWII.

That ties into a theme of books I have been reading this year.

WWII Novels:

I really got into WWII books. The majority of them were historical fiction, except for The Tatooist of Auschwitz, and Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris.

My favourite historical fiction author is Mandy Robotham. She tells history from a woman’s perspective, and sometimes she adds a character who is a midwife.

I love that her novels on WWII include Germany, Norway and Italy and include meticulous research on what life was like in those countries. One doesn’t hear too much about those countries during the war, so it’s a wonderful addition.

What I love most about well-written WWII novels is how they get into people’s behaviour when they are in a war zone, or unsafe in their own countries, or oppressed. Heather Morris gets into this about Auschwitz and how the prisoners established a hierarchy to survive.

I feel like I had to read these books after leaving the US and then returning. I saw a lot of parallels in these novels between what happened then, and what’s been happening now. Some things never change.

TCK Moments:

I had TCK Moments up the Wazoo this year! Queen Elizabeth II’s death really brought that out.

Repatriation brings up some TCK Moments, as you saw from my previous posts. I learned two TCK lessons with this move:

  1. When you’re in transition, SO many things demand your attention and EVERYONE wants a piece of you! It’s easier said than done to take a step back from things. I finally learned that with the cracked rib and it forced me to take it easy.
  2. It’s okay to set boundaries on a culture. After I got back, Mum asked me if I missed our favourite Canadian shows. I said that I can’t deal with questions like that right now because I was in too much pain.

Mum backed off graciously when I said that and she’s let me revisit that on my own terms. I have returned the favour. I’m hoping this situation and respecting our boundaries with this transition will help when we get to reverse culture shock down the line.

Now that Canada is a part of me, I will always miss it around Christmas. The snow is amazing at that time of year!

The latest thing is that Ian Tyson, folk singer who wrote Four Strong Winds died. Four Strong Winds has been my song for 2022, and his song Magpie will always have a place in my heart.

I don’t always miss England, but I do right now. If I had the accident in the UK, the driver at fault would have been stripped of his license. I have not adjusted to low driving standards in the US, and I don’t want to.

What I Have Learned:

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of what I have learned.

International Moves:

You might think I know everything about that. I don’t.

I may have done it six times now, but I’m still learning. Here are the main things I have learned:

  1. It is possible to do an international move in a month. That is, if you already have a lot in place. This works best with repatriation because you know the systems of your home country, even if it’s unconsciously. Not recommended for beginners though.
  2. If things are too good to be true, it is. Everything was going so smoothly moving back to Mission Control that I had to pinch myself, even with Mum’s mobility issues. I was thinking, “Wait a minute. It NEVER goes this smoothly!” I guess the accident was a way to humble everyone.
  3. I haven’t done an international move driving a van before. Usually it’s shipping our stuff and then hop on a plane. That was an experience, even without the accident.

Cars:

My Mum has worked in Body and Fender, and she talked my ear off after the accident. She MADE me research the history of auto glass after I swallowed some (accidentally of course. I’m not a US Marine!).

Mum taught me the three accident circumstances in which a vehicle is totalled:

  1. Fire: You can replace the electrics in the vehicle, but it’s not going to work as efficiently, and that’s dangerous on the road. Plus, it’s impossible to get the smell out.
  2. Flood: Same reason.
  3. Glass in the vehicle: You can have the vehicle professionally cleaned, but you will never get the glass out. Yep. Tell that to the backpack and the jacket I had to throw out after the accident.

Of course, there are other reasons, but these are the ones that are non-negotiable.

All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t have this accident before safety glass came out! When I tell someone “Eat glass!” I’m being SUPER insulting. This is why.

Rolling Cars:

When Dad and I described how the Chevy Silverado rolled like a top towards us, Mum researched why cars are now being made to do that. They certainly didn’t do that in her day!

I kept saying, “She never heard of it. She knows everything about cars.” Just like in the clip below.

She Never Heard of It. She Knows Everything About Cars

I sincerely hope that cars rolling is another trend the car companies are following and that it will die out eventually. You have to think so fast when you see a car rolling towards you!

Dad and I can’t watch movie scenes where cars roll anymore. It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining. And most of all, it’s not accurate in the movies because they have stunt drivers doing it and the actors’ reactions look so fake.

What idiot looked at rolling cars in movies and said, “Let’s do that in real life!”? If it was meant to be a safety feature, it failed miserably. Movies are hardly a shining example of real life anyway.

Chevy is being sued for the roofs of their cars collapsing when they roll. Look it up.

The Only Socially Acceptable Trauma:

After the accident, I started saying, “I don’t know if I want to drive again.” Also, I had a meltdown after being a car passenger.

And get this, instead of people being invalidating, they were supportive and didn’t blame me! I have NEVER received this level of support before when something traumatic happened to me. NE-VER!

How can I put this? It’s like when you suffer any other trauma, there are people who are invalidating and dismissive of it. Somehow, having a near-fatal car accident is the exception to the rule!

These days, my mental health is most impacted by the accident, and nothing else at least! Thanks Brain Reset!

Somehow, that is socially acceptable and people are willing to hear me talk about it and they encourage me to give it time and are kind in other ways. I even told a friend who I wouldn’t normally share anything personal with because they have so much toxic positivity.

And guess what? They were kind and sympathetic about it.

My question is, “Why can’t we treat everyone recovering from trauma with this level of respect?!” Seriously? Why does it have to be a near-fatal car accident?!

Even though I am not doing NY Resolutions, I want to get back on the horse(less carriage) in 2023. For those of you who don’t know, cars used to be called horseless carriages. Get it?

I remember when I discovered that driving can be awesome, and I have had some incredible drives! Also, those who know me as a driver have been my rock at this time and giving me all the love and encouragement that I crave right now. Shout out to them because they are awesome!

Both/And:

Sometimes, life isn’t an either/or type situation as we are lead to believe. It’s a Both/And situation.

Nothing has made that more clear to me than repatriating to the US after leaving during the Trump Administration. Here are some Both/And insights I have gained this year.

You Can Be A Good Person And You Can Mess Up Sometimes:

During my move back to the Bay Area, Dad and I got caught out in two situations that screamed Trump Supporter Nirvana!

I can tell the people who are my real friends though because they don’t judge me for the fact we got caught out. We didn’t know the areas we got caught out in, and if you’re in rural America, it’s far more likely to happen.

Humans are fallible, and it’s unfair to assume otherwise. Social media has added too much pressure to be perfect and that’s absolutely wrong. It makes grateful I had a childhood AWAY from that shit, but I’m among the last generation that had that privilege.

Number 1:

The first time was when we stopped for gas in Southern Montana. We had no idea the gas station was connected to a hunting shop! I wouldn’t be surprised if that shop had AK-47s.

And of course, Dad and I had to stock up on road trip snacks because we were driving through the boonies. Plus, in my post about Part 1 of the trip, I mentioned his rule about being sure your gas tank is full enough when driving through the boonies.

My Dad looks like a Montana boy, and he’s a big guy, so no one messes with him! He wouldn’t hurt a fly, but I know that people naturally treat big guys with respect. That made me feel safer in that shop, but I couldn’t get out fast enough!

I had my UC Berkeley hoodie on. And I walked past a guy who had a shirt with an American flag and the caption, “If this offends you, I’ll help you pack!” Oops.

When I walked into that shop, I felt so intimidated about wearing a mask that I only put it on in the ladies’ room. That was the fastest bathroom break I have ever had in my life!

Number 2:

The second time was when Dad and I stopped for breakfast in Truckee. We were finally back on the road after being stranded in Reno for four days! I picked a cheap breakfast location randomly on Google Maps and we went there.

When we walked into the breakfast place, we noticed Fox News was playing, and there were some pro-Trump signs around. If I hadn’t needed my painkillers, and if we hadn’t been yearning to get home, we would have tried to find another place.

We decided to suck it up and get on with life. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.

You Can Both Believe Strongly in Something And You Can Choose Whether or Not to be A Jerk About It:

I got the impression moving back to the US that some things have changed for the better. Hear me out.

I feel like most of us have realized we have gone too far electing someone like Trump. Now, people are trying to figure out how to reconnect with others. Mum had a great tidbit of wisdom (she always does).

Mum said that people aren’t capable of staying angry forever, unless they have serious mental health problems. I believe she’s correct. See what I said about the WWII books I read this year.

There are people who are still headstrong in their beliefs, and it’s best to ignore them at this point, because they need to get a life. If they are still going to be headstrong after all this time, nothing much is going to change that.

Talk about disillusioned with toxic individualism. I found myself thinking that nobody would help me and Dad at the accident scene. I’m glad I was wrong about that.

I had some interesting conversations in the UHaul waiting area. One was with a guy who was obviously a Republican. We both had road accidents, so that dominated our conversation. I felt a great sense of peace with that.

Having beliefs is not the problem. Being a jerk about them is. Believe it or not, I have solid friendships with Republicans that have survived the Trump era.

I made a new friend recently, and she said, “You won’t like my beliefs.” I said, “I don’t care about your beliefs, I care about whether or not you’re a jerk.”

Starting friendships with that expectation has been life-changing! That ties into my next point.

You Can Both Hold People to A High Standard And You Can Still Be A Kind Person:

All too often, I have been in this situation since 2016.

  1. Someone says something inappropriate, whether it’s mildly or seriously inappropriate.
  2. Ends up in a knock-down, drag-out fight because:
    • The person at fault won’t admit they are wrong, or think that just saying “sorry” will make it right, or saying, “that’s just the way I am” is somehow an apology.
    • Or if the person at fault is sincerely apologetic, but the person hurt won’t forgive easily.
  3. The friendship breaks. I end it fast because I’m tired of this shit! Normally, I would give people the benefit of the doubt. If the previous warning signs are there, I have seen enough and I know things won’t change.

Sound familiar? I used to think I was cruel for doing this. I learned this year that sometimes I have to be cruel to be kind. Plus, it’s a lose-lose situation and will spiral if I don’t nip it in the bud.

I used to have panic attacks over this before moving to Canada. Maybe it was being away for two years and working on myself. Maybe it was reading WWII books.

I don’t know exactly why, but somehow I found my voice for those situations, and I let people know I won’t tolerate that anymore. The accident helped too because if you honestly think this bothers me after a near-death experience, you’re kidding yourself!

I know those people either do their Poor Little Me Act, or call me a bitch, or talk shit about me behind my back when I hold them accountable. Sometimes they do all three. Where do they find the time for that?

There are some other things I have realized are Both/And, but I decided to stick to three things.

Final Wishes:

Time to pop the bubbly and welcome 2023 with fireworks! I wish you all a wonderful New Year from the bottom of my heart!!

Up Next:

Part 2 of my trip from Calgary to California!

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33 Comments

  1. It’s amazing to know you’re almost recovered and feeling good.
    I hope you don’t have to move internationally anytime soon again. I’ve done it twice and still can’t see myself doing it in near future (I can’t choose between Portugal, Italy, Israel, Turkey, UAE, and New Zealand).
    California is still pretty damn good if you ignore all the negativity and hate! At least you don’t have to miss the sun anymore! lol
    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you! This is one reason why I like the idea of being a digital nomad. I have Mission Control and it beams out a signal to another country and you don’t have to commit to anything. I guess with me, I don’t want to commit to one place since things can go downhill fast these days. I do feel like things have calmed down a bit in California, at least in terms of my own friendships here. Although, I have to say, I am thanking my lucky stars that the accident didn’t happen in California! Road accidents happen too often, hence the paramedic’s comment of “Do you think that’s wise?” (to go back to the Bay Area) and it’s got so frequent that people downplay it when it gets serious, and the Bystander Effect is prevalent. Although, because I had my heroic Dad with me, the Bystander Effect wouldn’t have happened. But still, we would not have been as lucky if it had happened in California. We’re actually getting hammered by rain and floods right now, so the sun isn’t out, but I get it. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  2. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year. Glad to hear that you’ve mostly recovered. Hopefully you don’t have to do another international move anytime soon! Agreed, your mum does seem to have some great words of wisdom!

    1. Happy New Year! Thank you. I sure feel blessed to have a wise mother, and I hope I’m just as wise someday. I still want to start my digital nomad life, but it doesn’t seem quite as stressful as actually moving abroad. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  3. You always have a lot of thoughts about what happens to you and you share it well with your readers, that’s what makes your blog interesting. I’m glad to see that you have big plans for 2023 and I wish you all the best for them. I wish you a very Happy New Year, full of rewarding achievements.

  4. That’s a lot to unpack Claire. First, glad you are healing and feeling better. While I have never moved between countries, I think my 28 moves in the first 17 years of life made me a Juvenile Nomad. I did not like always being the new kid in school. In the last 42 years, I have only moved 9 times. In the last 31 years, I have stayed put. As to drivers and road mishaps, I have empathy for what you went through and understand your anxiety about driving and being a passenger. As to people and their opinions, particularly in politics, I am all for peoples right to their opinion. It is when they think their opinion is the only way to be and they try to make everyone think the same as them, that I draw the line. Also, if their party (or mine) elects a jerk who does bad stuff and they (or I) still support him, because of his “jersey” colour, despite his bad or illegal behaviour, I don’t get that. Winning at all costs is not worth it if you lose your humanity. I hear you on the mask thing and feeling uncomfortable in Montana. If people would just mind their business and not try to shame or blame others who mind theirs (in short, Just Be KIND), we would all be better off. Have a heathy, happy prosperous 2023. Allan πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‡

    1. Thank you for your two cents! I so appreciate your insights! I love that term Juvenile Nomad. So cool! The trying to make people think like them is what I classify as Being A Jerk. Dad and I kept a low profile in Montana. Saying we came from Alberta was pretty okay, even if some people didn’t know where that was (the beginnings of the Culture Clash!), but we were more careful about saying we were going to California. Which is why choosing to wear my Cal hoodie for the trip was almost a big mistake if I had run into the wrong people. Human beings are far from perfect, and it’s best we accept that. The reason why there was a lot to unpack is I have had a lot of time to think while recovering. Thanks for commenting and Happy 2023!

      1. Let’s just say I already know that. I said to a friend that some Albertans need to learn what it’s like to live under someone like Trump. Not all of them obviously, but some of them. My friend took it on the chin. When your Premier got in, it made me glad I was leaving in that respect, even though I love lots of things about Alberta. I just can’t be somewhere that is going downhill like it does when someone like Trump is in power

      2. #1) She is not “my” premier” and I can only hope Rachel gets back in. Yes on the U-haul quote. I already replied on that one.

      3. Oh, I didn’t see your reply. Thank you. I hear you about her not being your Premier as well! Trump wasn’t my president, but I still had to live with his shit

  5. It’s great that you’re almost fully recovered, really happy to hear that! And yes, sometimes you do have to be cruel to be kind. Anyway, have a very wonderful 2023!

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