Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The fine art of the long-distance relationship

Well, my tour group never showed up this morning and the phone hasn't been ringing so much, so I figured this was the perfect time for a post about something other than my father.

As you know, my Sweetheart is away in Haiti for two months. Before this trip, he was in Angola for six weeks from mid-October to the end of November. That trip was the last of the many, many trips he made last year, I think it must of been at least five or six, none of them any shorter than ten days and there was, of course, that two year period when he lived in Toronto and I shuttled back and forth from his place to mine every six weeks. 

With all this travelling on my Sweetheart's part, it is needless to say that he and I have the long-distance relationship thing down to an art. I have blogged about this before, but I do like bringing the subject back up in case any of my newer followers end up in a situation where they are contemplating ending a relationship because they have a partner who travels a lot for work or who might have to move away for a time because of it. My opinion of the matter is, of course, that long-distance relationships can work as long as both partners trust one another implicitely and have independant personalities. You both also have to be good communicators. My Sweetheart and I are very fortunate that we both have all three of these things. We have never in eight years given each other any reason to believe that the other would not be faithful while we were appart and we are both perfectly able to function on our own. We love each other very much and are one another's favorite person to be around, but we are not emotionally dependant on one another and most certainly do not feel a need to be together every night of the week. Even when we eventually move in together, we will still each have our own hobbies and our own friends and will still have no qualms about sending the other off for an evening with their own friends. That will just be the perfect oppotunity for the other to enjoy some alone time and in my case I will more than likely indulge in a nice, long bath with a glass of red wine. As for communication, we mostly developped that talent while my Sweetheart wa sin Toronto. Sweetheart used to not be that great of a communicator, but pretty soon after he moved 527 kms away he realised that it might be important for us to talk on Skype more than once or twice a week and to exchange e-mails more than twice a week as well. In short, he started to really miss me for the first time ever and he also appreciated the value of our relationship more, especially when it became clear to him that I was the only person who came to visit him regularly while he was in Toronto. I made at least a dozen trips to see him over the two years and two months he was there and that proved to him just how serious I was about our relationship.

So, while I have gotten used to my Sweetheart's frequent travels, they still do get hard sometimes. Do not think for one moment that long-distance relationships are easy by any stretch of the imagination. They require more patience and work than the average relationship, but I have also found that they can serve to make the relationship far more solid. I also find that you appreciate your partner much more when they are near you. If ever you find yourself faced with the reality of a long-distance relationship, I encourage you to give it shot. This type of relationship, whether it is full-time or part-time (my Sweetheart has been known to stay at home for a few months at a time occasionnally) is not for everyone, but when they work out they can be very rewarding.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One foot in front of the other...

Sunset on Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island

As you can see, I'm revisiting my Prince Edward Island picture from this pas Spring. My two vacations this Spring and Summer were the high point of the last year for me, but while my time with my family in July was lovely, I think i liked my time in Prince Edward Island even better. It really is, I think, my favorite place in the world (not that I can claim to have see very much of it!). It is so peaceful there, so beautiful. The air is so clean and the ocean is always nearby. People are so friendly and helpful and life moves along at a much more laid back pace. Even though I am a city girl and always have been, I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I could move to Prince Edward Island and be perfectly happy there. 

Thinking of going back to Prince Edward Island this Spring or Summer is one of the things that is keeping me going right now. My father just keeps getting worse and the only way I can deal with that right now is to do my best to keep busy and when I'm not busy, to try and think of pleasant things. I think about my Sweetheart, I fall asleep at night imagining his arms around me, I think of where I would like to go for my vacations this year, I think about how much fun I'm going to have at my birthday party in a month, anything at all that will keep my mind from veering off into worrying about my father. It will do me no good to constantly worry about him or to think about the probable outcome of his situation as there is really nothing I can do to help him unless, as I have said before, he decides to help himself. Sometimes I think my friends find it odd that I can talk to them about my father with a straight face. I can spill out the entire story of what has happened to him in the past year and what my family and I have been through because of it and not shed a tear. It's a front I put up for when I'm in front of others. I've become very good at numbing myself. The only problem is that sometimes I stay numb for quite a while and then people ask me if I'm okay when I'm not as chatty or cheerful as I used to be. If it's one of my good friends, I can just look at them and they're like 'Right, dumb question! Wanna go for a chocolate fix? Or sushi?'. Some days though I'm astonished at how normal I feel and then I feel bad for feeling normal. It's all very confusing. 

The bottom line is that all I can do is try to cope as best I can. I cook, I go running, I go to choir practice, I go out by myself or with friends, I try to do little things for myself. I call my father and then sometimes have a good cry and I go up to work and thank my lucky stars that I have my job to keep me busy eight hours a day five days a week and I dream of a day when things will get better.

The moon above Cavendish Beach (click to enlarge and see it more clearly on the upper right)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First week back at work

Farmers' fields in PEI this past Spring

Well, I survived my first week back at work. It was rough at first because I had some trouble snapping out of my vacation schedule of sleeping from about 12:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M., but eventually I exhausted myself enough that I made it back to my work schedule...pretty much.

The week went by quite quickly and I capped it off with an evening and night with my Sweetheart last night, our last one for two months since he's leaving for Haiti in the middle of the night Tuesday and until then he and his brother are helping their sister move into her condo (finally!!!!) and on Monday I have choir practice and he has a ton of last minute work and packing to do. Although I'm sad to see my Sweetheart go and I know I'm going to miss him, his time in Haiti is going to do him some good. When he's there, it is much, much easier for him to disconnect and he is also not constantly being called upon by his family for everything under the sun. It will give him some time to relax and he will also be able to kick his seasonal effective disorder to the curb since he will be in the sunshine pretty much all day every day. I just wish I could go with him and we did think about it, but I am not fully vaccinated for Haiti and getting all my vaccines done would cost me a fortune. I would also almost certainly get travelers diarrhea and be rendered useless for most of my visit as well as miserable. So yes, all in all it will be better for me to stay here and hope that my Sweetheart will, as he hopes, be able to come home for a bit at some point.

Aside from that, not much is going on. I have some beef stroganoff cooking in my crock pot and will have to kick myself in the behind at some point soon so I can make it out to the store to buy some kibble for Quinn and Magique and I would also like to go and sign myself up at the sports facility at the Université de Montréal so I can go and use their running track. I'm getting a four month membership so I'll be set up until I can start running outside again in the Spring. I'll also be in amazing shape by the time my Sweetheart comes home since I'm planning to run three times a week.

Oh and speaking of my Sweetheart once again, not only has his sister finally gotten all her stuff out of his place, but he and E made an offer to rent some office space on St-Denis street downtown yesterday, praise the Lord! I'm glad he won't be working from home anymore as that will encourage him to keep more regular working hours. It is way to easy to work way too much when you work from home!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year

Hi folks,

I hope you've all had lovely holidays so far. I'll admit mine have been very up and down. I spent some nice time with my mom's side of the family. My grandparents were in from the States for New Year's and I was able to spend some time with them three days in a row and I saw an uncle and two cousins that I don't get to see very often. I did not, however, get to spend as much time with my Sweetheart as I would have liked, because between his having family in from Poland and my having my grandparents here, things got a bit crowded. He's leaving for Haiti for two months on the 15th (he will be back for a bit in the middle of the two months, hopefully for my birthday, but I don't know for how long), so hopefully after this weekend we'll get some more time together.

As for the holidays with my dad's family, they were not very happy. My dad has not been doing well and we are all trying to accept that there is very little we can do about it. That's the thing with mental illness (in this case, depression), it's not like a physical ailment where treatments, operations and medication can fix most things. When you're dealing with someone who is mentally ill a large part of the initiative towards wellness has to come from the person who is not well or you will not get very far. You can try and push the person in the right direction as much as you want, but if they are not willing to admit that they have a problem and that they need help, you will not get very far if you get anywhere at all. My father will not admit he has a problem and will not get the help he needs, so we are largely powerless. All we can do is call him and be there for him if he needs us, but aside from that, there is nothing we can do and I can't tell you how horrible that feels. My father did let my brother and I go and see him for a little while on New Year's day and we were happy about that, but at the same time it is heart breaking to see my father. He missed Christmas Day with us because it was just too much for him to be there and also because he has rather a bad cold. We're having a family dinner at my grandmother's on Sunday for Epiphany and we're hoping he'll come to that. He's said that he will, so hopefully he'll make it.

I'm hoping that 2013 will be a good year for my family and I, I would love so much for all of us to be happy and healthy, but sometimes it is very hard to hope. I hope that 2013 is lovely for all of you though. I hope that you and your families will be happy and healthy :o) All I can promise for myself is that I will try to be as happy as I can be.