#67 Embrace Change – go with the flow
Also: Epic Adventure – Part 3 I suppose
When I worked on contract with the Alberta Medical Association, I had a colleague who had a sticky note on her desk. It said
Years later when I tried to recreate the note, I missed the be present part, but added “Embrace Change.” That isn’t my strong suit. Not by a long shot. But we were embarking on a new adventure in Victoria, and it seemed like a good time to focus on going with the flow. I’ve been trying, and I recognize that for me, that may well be the key to a happier life. Embrace change. Go with the flow. And in the immortal words (that’s right, I said it) of Taylor Swift, Shake It Off.
We had been in Victoria for a little over a year when Matthew told me he had applied for a job in Thailand. WHAT? I said? Where? WHERE?
The next several months were, uh, challenging. We discussed. We argued. I cried. We dreamed, we said a lot of “why not?” and explored that question pretty fully. I cried. some more Finally, we decided, and are taking a huge leap of faith. Embracing change full on, with open arms and a big kiss right on the lips, and with one leg wrapped around it. The kind of embracing change that is sometimes awkward in public.
“Are you excited?” Yes.
“Isn’t it scary?” Of course it is. We’re moving halfway around the world.
“Do you have a place to live?” No. We’ll work it out.
“When are you coming back?” We don’t know when, or even if.
You know how sometimes you’re conversing, and you tell someone a truth that they either don’t understand or are not prepared for, so instead of delving they skip over? And the conversation continues with an “oh” or a “really!” and then moves on in a different direction? We’ve had a lot of that: where parting with friends includes “Have a nice trip; see you when you get back!” It’s a hard concept to wrap your head around. Embrace it.
We spent weeks arranging to leave. Had a garage sale (wow), sold tons of stuff on Used Victoria, and to our awesome neighbour. The sorting and purging was hard – at first. So many things I have, and when I examine WHY I have them, the answer is “because you’ve always had them.” What a wonderful exercise in lowering one’s defences. Yes, I’ve always had them, and that’s okay… but do I need this thing right now? It fit into my past (like a hand in a glove), but does it fit into my future? I had a moment (to use the correct term: a meltdown) where I sobbed “I’m afraid that if I get rid of all of my stuff, I will cease to exist!” As you might imagine, as soon as I said it out loud, the idea lost its power. My “stuff” holds memories… but those memories also live in my family, in my friends, in me. And so I got rid of the stuff. And as I did so, I felt more and more liberated. Like as I was Embracing Change, change was also welcoming me, embracing me, enveloping me in a warm hug that said “you will be okay” and “you can go anywhere.”
So I’m going to Thailand.
First stop, Hong Kong. First opportunity to embrace change, in the form of a new culture, a new food. Our plan when we arrived to HK (around 5:30 p.m.) was to stay up long enough to have some dinner and a glass of wine, and then get a good sleep, hoping to get started on resolving the jet lag that comes with moving 14 hours into the future. We settled into our hotel, then headed out to
a local Hot Pot restaurant. Hot Pot is kind of cool – you sit at a round table with a fire in the middle of it, and on that fire there is a bowl, sometimes split into two sides. And in that bowl is soup; on one side (in our case) spicy Szechuan, and on the other side a less spicy chicken based soup. Then you order various meats and veggies. These come raw and you dump them into the soup, take them out when they are cooked to your taste. Voila. Yummy.
We ordered the “Combo A.”
It came with live shrimp.
We looked at the shrimp. Scratched our heads a bit, then – when in Rome – plopped them into the hot pot, cooked them, ate them. Another step forward, embracing change.
So now we’re in Thailand.
(if you want to read about the Thailand adventures, you can do that here.)