24 May 2009

Life in Alaska, Part 1: The Breakdown

I have no idea why I didn't expect for it to happen.  Change is a funny thing.  Actually, that's not true.  Change is one of the least funny things in the entire worldly compendium of "things".  It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's...different.  So why I expected to sail right from being a student in the Lower 48 to working a real job living in a real apartment with real rent in Juneau, Alaska is beyond me.  

The massive amounts of change--leaving Chicago, leaving my friends, leaving my parents, leaving my sister, leaving the only existence I've ever known for 22 years (being a student), going to a place I'd never lived in for more than a few months, finishing the long-distance portion of my relationship, starting a new job, making new friends, and getting ever closer to actually being married--blindsided me even before I got to Juneau.  I cried when I said goodbye to my parents at the airport.  I cried a little bit on the plane.  I made Kip stay with me at the apartment when we got to Juneau because I knew I'd cry if he left and I realized where I was and, more traumatically, where I wasn't and who wasn't there with me.  I threw myself into projects with childlike enthusiasm.  I stained my bookshelves.  I found a bike.  I moved furniture.  I unpacked.  I bought a sewing machine and some yarn to do all the projects I'd wanted to do at school but didn't have the time.  And I pushed back every feeling of fear or apprehension, settling instead for a steady feeling of surreality and walking around in a constant daze.  I started my new job.  I bought groceries.  

And then, when I was unpacked and my job was started and the groceries sat in the fridge waiting to be eaten, and my bookshelves sat with books on top of my desk, and my bike sat dutifully in the driveway waiting to be ridden, I had nothing left to face but the feelings I had been pushing back for a week.  And it was not good.  The daze I'd been in became a stupor.  The tears I'd been holding back moved forward like pawns in a chess game.  Less than a week in Juneau, the Saturday after I arrived, I lost it.  I sat on my couch in my apartment sobbing, until by some miracle of connectedness, Kip randomly called me.  I picked up the phone, trying to sound okay....unsuccessfully.  Next thing I knew, he was tapping on the living room window and I was sobbing again, "Why did I move here?  You're worth it, you're worth it, but why am I here?  I don't have any friends, I'm not using my degree, my best friend's birthday is tomorrow and I won't be there and Lindsay got married today and I wasn't there and I won't see our niece or nephew until it's six weeks old, andyoucan'tevenfindanyorangeshereforadecentprice,it'sallabuckfiftyfororanges, WHOLIVESINAPLACEWHEREYOUHAVETOPAYABUCKFIFTYFORANORANGE?????"

Okay, the first few things were legit at least.  Nevertheless, I eventually reached catharsis and my very concerned fiance tucked a very exhausted me into bed and went back to work.  The next day, I woke up tired, but feeling slightly more optimistic about life in Juneau.  I walked out into my sunny living room to find this:

Kip had come back in the middle of the night and left a token on top of my as yet unopened sewing machine.  I picked it up and smiled.  Maybe life in Juneau would be fine after all. 

4 comments:

Barry said...

That was a very charming gesture. A guy that thoughtful is certainly worth the price of an orange.

Even at Alaska prices.

Cindy said...

I agree, Barry :)

hrobins said...

Cindy, I just want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog more than any other blog, truly. You make me smile. =)

Michelle said...

I remember sitting in my empty apartment in Berlin on my very first day in the city, alone and crying, wondering what I was doing there. It was a horrible feeling, but then my neighbor upstairs (who soon became one of my best friends) knocked on my door and invited me for a beer at the local Irish pub and all was well. Glad you have someone to make you feel better - he sounds like a good boy. :)