So in the flurry of excitement and organisational chaos of the last few months, there have only been a few days where emotions have peaked and things have become a little overwhelming. I think it’s an important thing to recognise, and something which is pretty inevitable when you move to a new country.
Before our move, I found it particularly difficult saying good bye to Paul, Mus and Becky – and the CSM print studio in Archway. My final goodbye with Becky being a particularly tearful one outside the toilets, flanked by a ridiculous amount of botched together carrying devices to cart all of my prints and frames home with me. I still don’t know how I managed to carry all of that stuff home, the weight of it was just stupid. Then there was the final trip to Essex to visit my grandma – brave face the whole time, but then tears in the car on the way home. The embraces on tubes on the way home after drinks celebrating both friendship and choosing adventure. The goodbyes with my family the day before we left and moments of closeness I’m not sure we’ve experienced since my dad’s kidney failure. Saying goodbye to Gizmo and Luna and moving them to my parents’ house.
We arrived in Canada a little under 6 weeks ago, and I can honestly say that there have only been 2 days in that time where I have become emotional – only 2 days where I have felt the distance. One of which was a tragedy in the public realm that resonated closely with the tragedy that was the beginning of 2017, made ever more acute because of the red walls of our air bnb’s’s bedroom – and I’ve only ever known that one person to have a red walled bedroom….
The other was yesterday, my brother’s birthday. I spent the whole day in a bit of a funk. By the end of work, it was pretty much midnight in the UK. I had left a voice message on whatsapp for him to wake up to, but despite that I couldn’t help but feel like I had failed a little as a sister having not spoken to him on his actual birthday. In the end I managed to skype him, he was luckily still awake when I got home at the equivalent of 1am back in London. He’d had a good day, and I enjoyed every minute of the hour we talked. But like I said – yesterday I couldn’t help but feel the distance.
So as you may well know, we’re leaving the UK on June 25th with a one way ticket to Canada, where we will be giving a new life a go on the IEC visa for the next 2 years. Months have melted into weeks and then soared into days, with that odd combination of time feeling simultaneously fast and slow.
It’s weird how May seemed so chilled. The end of June still seemed far enough away that we felt like we had forever to get everything sorted. I will admit though, towards the end of May I started having printmaking anxiety dreams. Dreams in which I arrived at the studio and all of the screens were strapped up ready to ship off, completely un-usable. And another one in which my rooster litho stone had, for some reason, been carved into as if it were a lino block – only leaving the lines raised, with the rest of the dream involving me struggling to make an edition. Niche anxiety dreams right? What happened to the teeth falling out or just endlessly falling?
Over the last week or so, that anxiety has gradually shifted into an interesting mix of acceptance and focus. I have managed to get my head around the fact that there just isn’t time to complete the multitude of projects that I have lined up in my head. This has allowed me to concentrate on a select few things – making a frame for the print I’m giving my cousin as a wedding gift; printing and framing a gift for my grandma; finally editioning the roster litho; and trying to use up any excess book cover screen prints and recycled paper folios that are still in my 2 plan chest drawers.
The result of this has been a very satisfying and productive last few days in the studio – having made over 40 sketchbooks, editioned the rooster, and made 4 frames for various people including my cousin and grandma.
Despite the stress of leaving such an amazing space and opportunity behind (albeit to pursue a lifelong dream) – I feel that being forced to let go a little bit over the last week or so has been a really valuable experience. Yes I will always strive to do more, and to do better – but sometimes you just have to go with what life gives you and mould yourself to it. Things don’t always have to come to fruition right now, because you can always find a way in the future if that’s what you need and want to do.