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Saturday, January 19, 2008

From Miia, With Love

[After a week of breaking up one-side skirmishes, this was a sight for sore eyes.]

Saturday evening and Chris and I are headed out to PEI for a couple of days. I have Monday off and am very much looking forward to the chance to get away for a bit. And the update from the email below (from Jan 13) is that the kitties are doing very well together. After a bit of a rocky start, Bosh and Moon are getting used to each other and even, gasp, liking each other. As well as licking each other.

But here's a bit of an update from an email to a friend on Sunday, January 13th:

"It's Sunday evening in Halifax and I'm enjoying a lovely evening at home. Chris just went out with an old friend Sven and I opted to stay home with a cup of tea and a book. I even have this sense of luxurious calm that let's me just sit back and write.

It's been a nice weekend altogether. On Friday after work, we went over to Dartmouth to spend the evening with Chris' grandmother who, since Grandpa died this past Spring, has been mostly on her own. Yesterday we had brunch with some friends, their baby and friends and friends' babies. Then a leisurely afternoon at Chris' parents' place. Now today has been about cooking (one of my favourite weekend activities) and housework with CBC as my company. In the afternoon, Chris' uncle and aunt popped by and brought us a new kitten. After LG was killed in August, we thought it would be nice to have Bosh a new friend. Moon is hiding downstairs under the bed. I hope she starts to feel settled soon.

One of the main reasons we decided to move to Halifax was to be closer to Chris' family. So weekends like this one are a lot of what we had hoped for. Connectedness and warmth, familiarity, support, community. We hosted my mother-in-law's side at our place for Christmas - close to 30 people all told - and it was good to have them at our house. We've also hosted cousins' nights where the cousins come to our place, chat, eat, drink, play games. As I get older, I think about how after our parents' generation passes away, it will be that much harder for us to be connected to our extended families if we haven't built those relationships now. So that's been a lot of what these last months have been about.

When we moved here, I thought about how I'm 30 and how I'd like, at this juncture, to start taking all of the lessons and learnings and breadth of experience I've had my whole life and apply them to something where I can see the fruits of my labour, where I can go deep in the sense of a longterm commitment to an endeavour. I am amazed at how this is precisely what I'm now getting a chance to do. My position as Director of Programming at an agency that works with youth who are homeless or risk of homelessness is an uncanny match for me. A job that challenges me, teaches me, excites me, inspires me. Youth and staff who challenge, teach, excite and inspire me. And a non-profit agency that is largely lacking in bureaucracy, that supports staff inpursuing ideas, that is relevant, current, nimble and incredibly savvy politically.

Anyway, it's been very, very good. In many ways I'm still getting grounded and I've been given a year of grace for all the stupid things I don't yet know, but what I'm particularly excited about is being able to infuse some of the things I believe in as well. Youth engagement, in my mind, includes bringing youth into spaces where staff are hired, where program goals and objectives are created, where the agency makes both big and little decisions. So while this process can be onerous, time consuming and unpredictable, it feels good to push it forward. At least in the programs that I supervise, I have been very deliberate in flattening the hierarchy, empowering front line staff as well as youth, actively engaging in bringing them to the table.

There's much more on the work front but maybe I can be as brief as saying I am very well in the work that I do. It doesn't hurt either that I believe in it, that getting youth into housing, feeling better about themselves, into better relationships, off drugs, out of prison... this is a worthy pursuit.

Getting landed in a new city in my adulthood and with a husband has made making friends a bit more of a challenge than I'm accustomed to. Plus the work cycle where I come home tired and ready just for a quiet dinner and a cuddle. But we've met lots of friends of friends who live here, as well as folks through work, our neighbours, more friends of friends... So my new year's resolution was to just get out more. I want to try new restaurants, see live music, visit art shows, spend dinners with friends, weekends with cousins, and so on. So far it's going very well and I'm really having a ball. As 2008 rang in, I thought about all the lives I've lived and how I would hate, at 30, to settle into some sort of domesticity that doesn't suit or engage me. The challenge is finding the balance between stability and domesticity. Stability in having one place to call home, one partner to call partner, one job to go to over the long range. But not domestic in still being active, engaged, learning, laughing, befriending, supporting, curious, adventurous, trying new things, going beyond my comfort zone, challenging myself to do and try new things.

So there's my Sunday afternoon. A pause in life to reflect on all that has been these last five months living in Halifax. But it has been very good and when I have a chance to catch my breath, as I have today, I feel deeply and profoundly contented.

Hope you're well. I'm sorry I haven't been better at staying in touch but keep sending the emails! It's always nice to hear from you.

Sometimes I dream that I'm in Ghana. I find myself happy to be there."

All my love to all of you,


benjibopper said...

An update on Moon: she's a he! And he's a hellion, loves to attack things, including Bosh, who is remarkably patient with him, mostly wrestles gently until he's had enough and then lays the smackdown until Moon scampers off, only to return moments later, reinvigourated and ready for another round. At night they curl up beside each other in their little cat beds, and sometimes they groom each other.

Benowen said...

I haven't been at this site in a longwhile - didn't know you were still posting here. So glad to hear positive comments on the big move to NS. Of course, we love having you both here, as well as 2 cats. We moved back to NS many years ago for the same reason - family. Nothing like it. Hugs - EB

benjibopper said...

agreed. it's even better in summer when there are barbeques.