THAT POST I’VE BEEN MEANING TO WRITE

I guess it’s time for me to tell a certain story. I’ve posted bits and pieces online but for the most part, if we’re not close friends you have no idea why I flew across the country and what the heck I’m still doing here.

If you want a super condensed story: I am working in some middle-of-nowhere town as a housekeeper at a resort – a job I got by scoping out job boards for months.

If you want the real story, I guess you should get comfortable?

It’s winter. I’m sitting in my bedroom stressing out about schoolwork. I’m unemployed. I feel stuck. I remember my aunt telling me that she thought I should work on a cruise ship, get a fun job. So I start looking into it, and end up with a million tabs saved for cruise ship companies, hotel chains, and tourism job boards. I apply to a bunch of different things spontaneously (it’s probably close to midnight, or later). I go to sleep and think nothing will come of it.

Well, for the most part, nothing came of it. Out of all the jobs I applied to, all over Canada, I got 2 interviews. The first one didn’t work out. Clearly the second one did. I actually did the interview over the phone, in the spare bedroom at my grandma’s house during a family dinner. I rearranged foam alphabet letters on the duvet as I talked to the woman who is now kinda my boss.

After that, it was a rush of emailing contracts and booking flights and saying goodbye. I think I had about 3 weeks from the day I had that interview to the day I landed in BC. I had never been on a plane. I was still living at home. And for some reason I decided to just up and move across the country to work at a place I’d only seen pictures of.

The biggest advice I can give you on this is that I didn’t think I was the kind of person that could do that. The kind of person that can be so independent, so brave, so sure of themselves. I still wouldn’t attribute those characteristics to myself, but I’m out here. I’m still alive.

Before I left, and especially back in February when I was first applying for all of these jobs in far away places, I was in pretty rough shape. I didn’t think I’d ever get a job. I didn’t think I’d ever amount to anything. I thought I was destined to basically rot away in a college program that I didn’t really enjoy and continue being a panicky mess. Sometimes I still feel that way. Leaving everything behind and coming to a place that I’d never been where I didn’t know anyone, it was like starting over. I was about to go down a huge hill without training wheels – and like I did when I was 9 and learning how to ride a bike, I had to pedal. I had to go with it. I had no other choice.

I live with my coworkers in a dump of a house that used to be the town jail, a 5 minute walk from work and from the beach. It was a culture shock, for sure. This town has about 200 residents, a joke of a “grocery store” that locals have renamed the “food museum” because pretty much everything on the shelves is past it’s best before date. We have 2 gas stations which I frequent for both junk food and sometimes milk. I come from a city with a population of over half a million, and everything I could ever want was at my fingertips. I now have to drive an hour just to get groceries – and I don’t drive. I have to rely on one of my housemates making a trip to the city and bringing me along. I now get excited for those long trips to the grocery store, for the change of scenery and because there’s a Dairy Queen. It’s become a luxury.

Anyways, about the job. I work 5 (now 6, because 2 people left and we’re at the peak of the season apparently) days a week from 8-4:30 and I clean rooms. I clean a lot of rooms. My specialty is bathrooms, mostly because most of my coworkers detest cleaning the bathrooms. I don’t mind. I’ve come out of my shell, I think. And I have been driving the golf carts (more context: the resort is a collection of chalets, so we have golf carts to transport sheets and soaps etc. from chalet to chalet) which is crazy for me. I know it’s not the same as driving a car, but I was really nervous about it.

I don’t know, I’m just really happy here. It’s simple. I like being on my own, having to buy my own food, cook all my own meals, take care of myself. I go back home in about a week and I really don’t know how I’m going to cope. It’s going to be exciting to see my family and my friends, but super overwhelming to be back in a proper city. It’s going to be weird to not have to worry about making dinner and buying enough apples to last me until the next time I go shopping. It’s going to be weird not seeing my housemates every day, hanging out with them. It’s going to be weird to say goodbye to these people, because I know that I’ll probably never see most of them ever again. Even if I do come back here for the winter season.

Oh yeah, about that. I’m not going back to school. That’s something that I decided while I’ve been here. I am a free woman and I honestly have no life plans as of right now. I don’t think I’m stay at home for very long, I love being alone way too much, I have no interest in going back to my hometown and then settling there. I’ve seen too much, done too much, talked to way too many people that just love travel and want to see me go on more adventures. After October 2nd (when I see Taylor Swift in Toronto with my sisters!!!) I am not tied down anywhere.

I think this has been a summer of growing up. Not in a cheesy, typical, movie-like way, but in a real life way. I now know how to cook a baked potato. Not that it’s hard, but I just never had to. I remember the first time I bought groceries, on my second day here, and I almost had a breakdown when I saw how much it cost. I will say that groceries are cheaper back home but I was still choked. I pay rent. I had to call my phone company. I can do my job and be mostly confident that I’m actually doing a good job. I couldn’t say these things 3 months ago.

I leave here in a week but I’m not going straight home. C’mon, I couldn’t go to BC and not see Vancouver, even if just for 2 days. I’m getting on a Greyhound and going to the big city all by myself. I’ll make a post about that later, though. For now I just want anyone reading this to know that if you have big dreams, if you want to do something but don’t think you’re that “kind of person” or you don’t think you have it in you, YOU ARE AND YOU DO. Trust me. For me, it took being out in the mountains on my own to finally find out who I am and what I think I want, but for you it could be something as simple as saying yes to an opportunity or getting that tattoo you’ve been dreaming about or as big as flying across the world and never coming back.

Pretending to be fearless is basically the same as being fearless. Hell, I think everyone is pretending. Something I learned in therapy is that you can try forever to stop being scared, or you can acknowledge that yeah, you are scared, but you sure as hell aren’t going to let that stop you.

P.S. the west coast is beautiful and I never want to leave. I think I’m coming back for the winter. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Xo, Rachel

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