All Out

Last summer I bought bulk size bottles of shampoo and conditioner. During that same summer, I decided it was time to start researching grad schools. I remember skyping with Spoonbill and telling her, “I want to move to Europe for grad school one year from now. The timing is good because by then I will have probably used up these huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner I just bought.”

Spoonbill replied, “That’s as good a reason as any to do a Masters degree.”

And here we are, one year later. My flight is booked, my bags are packed, my apartment is empty and I’ll be moving in with two complete strangers on Sunday. And I’m all out of shampoo and conditioner.

I’m going to Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Aptly named, it is located in the town of Wageningen, about 1.5 hrs southeast of Amsterdam by train/bus. I say train/bus because there is no train station in this town. I read somewhere that there is a joke about Wageningen in which they were offered either a train station or a university, and they chose the university. I’m not sure if there’s supposed to be a punchline to this joke but I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out.

My emotions are all over the map now. This is exactly what I wanted and planned for, but I’m devastated to leave Edmonton. I’ve moved around a lot, but this city feels like my home. Not simply by virtue of having lived here the longest (4 + 2 + 6 + 1 = 13 years spread out over 26, aka half of my life). I didn’t really start to love Edmonton until I moved downtown, got involved with a fantastic volunteer group, started working for a small consultancy company that really supports their people, and met some people who have completely changed my life for the better. It’s been a big year. A great year.

I had a dream last night that a boy and I were walking down my street, completely surrounded by pink bubbles. And I was just really happy. The boy in the dream is David. Spoonbill introduced us back in November and we became friends. It took me a little while to realize and admit that I really liked him, and then we finally, finally kissed a few weeks ago, after months of non-dates that were the best and funnest dates I’ve ever been on. I haven’t blogged about him before because it does not feel right to publish anything about this guy without his knowledge. Even if it is anonymously with aliases. He’s just really wonderful. That’s all I’m going to say about David. Except that I’m going to miss him.

But the dream really symbolized what this last year has felt like. There’s been ups and downs like there always are in life, but at the end of the day it has felt exactly like I was walking through a city filled with pink bubbles, surrounded by loving friends. And even while I was floating through the bubbles, I was making a plan to leave it all behind. It’s hard not to feel like a fool for willfully giving up the best time of your life. Like getting a divorce when everything in your marriage is wonderful.

Actually that’s another great analogy to make about my feelings for Edmonton. Shortly after moving back here last summer, I broke up with a guy that just wasn’t right for me. I also haven’t blogged about him before because there was nothing to say except Good Riddance. A few months ago I was skyping with Spoonbill and I speculated that perhaps I developed such strong feelings for Edmonton because I was on the rebound and instead of falling for another guy, I fell for a city. Spoonbill shares the same love and passion for this city as me, so she was able to wisely advise me that Edmonton is no rebound relationship. She told me, “Edmonton is your marriage. The Netherlands will just be a fling.”

So goodbye for now Edmonton. I promise to come back. I know you’ll forgive me for stepping out on you for awhile because you’ve already accepted me once, despite all my flaws. And I think what we have now is real, unconditional love.

And I promise to recycle the shampoo bottles before I go.

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