So far 2015 has included some of the busiest months I have ever had. But this time has been good, mostly because in all the busyness, winter has gone by with me often in a survival-auto-pilot state. That might sound negative, but not having time to think too much in the depths of winter has actually been a relief. Supposedly February was the coldest in over a hundred years, but I was so busy going from one job to another that I hardly noticed. In fact, I was often loosening my scarf or removing one mitten because I was warm from jogging to try to catch the next bus so I wouldn't have to wait 6 or so minutes for another one.
What was I so busy doing that I was willing to jog (briefly) on snow to catch a bus? In addition to my regular job, I was working on a friend's artistic project. It's something I have been working on, off and on, since 2013. It was a lot of work, but I believe in it, it was fun, and it aligned well with my passions and artistic goals. I also had another big freelance project this winter that significantly contributed to my (welcome) busyness. Then, just when I thought I couldn't get any busier with my regular job and the two temporary freelance jobs, I got notification in mid-January that my Canadian citizenship exam was scheduled for late January. At this point I began to freak out and wonder how I was going to survive and get everything done.
The letter also contained the completely unexpected announcement that if I passed the exam and interview, I would become a citizen that same day, about two hours after the test. This was the first I had ever heard of this possibility and was, in fact, a new change in the citizenship process. Though I was extremely thankful to be a part of this new exam+oath group and to also have an exam date sooner than I had been expecting given the normally very long wait times to reach this stage, I sudddenly found myself with about two weeks to memorize 60+ pages of Canadian history, govermental structure and cultural information. At least I had already read the book on my holiday travels (and underlined all the facts, which, of course, included almost the whole book). I quickly began to make hundreds of flashcards, study, and take online practice quizzes. I am happy to say that I memorized the contents of the study guide, passed the test and interview, and became a Canadian citizen on that day. I wore a brand-new pair of heels for the occassion that I now consider my citizenship shoes. I had, by chance, bought them on sale in early January after realizing in December that my only viable dress-up shoe options for Christmas Eve were my former wedding shoes or my Doc Marten combat boots. I went for the combat boots and a little red dress.
Becoming a Canadian citizen (which makes me a dual citizen) was a pretty emotional experience. Aside from the overwhelming generosity of another country deciding to accept me as its own, this huge life event also underlined the sharp contrast between how I thought my life would be and how it actually is, and addressing that gap while facing a mile-marker event was painful. Having to figure out who to ask to be my guest at the citizenship ceremony was another terribly concrete reminder that I was deciding to stay in another country where I have no partner and no biological family. My community made me feel supported that day though, and I know I have friends who are glad I am here permanently. But the process to get to this point was undeniably bittersweet.
Recently, as my schedule has returned to a pretty normal level of busyness (with only one job), I find myself thinking about things I haven't really had time to consider much in recent months. When there is not time to sleep enough or buy groceries, there certainly isn't much time to wonder about the future and my chances of ever finding an actual life partner, or how much compounded interest I have missed out on by not contributing to retirement savings during most of my 20s and 30s (and do I really even want to know?) and other big-picture concerns.
Now, though, I again have time to read, think, write, create a plan to save for retirement...and worry about things I can't do much about. But I'll try not to worry; I'm working on learning to let go after all. Instead I will focus on reducing the size of the stack of partially-read books on my nightstand. Two finished, about 10 more to go. After that, I'll start in on the other books waiting to be read. (Though, I admit, a new book I bought this week will probably get promoted towards the top of the list, ahead of some in-process books. I might even start it this weekend, but it's 500+ pages, so it will probably be a long-term project.) Books, ballet and baking seem like a great way to pass the month or so until spring comes. Besides, it's been a long time since I've made madeleines...