An Unauthorized Guide to (Sucking at) Saying Goodbye

Well.

I guess this is the part where I reflect on the last four months.

This is gonna get weird, friends.  This is the “excited to go, but sad to leave” part.  The part where I pull out my uncomfortable cop-out response to “Are you ever coming back?”, and you prepare to dodge my inevitable “Are you ever going to come visit me in Canada?”

Maybe. Someday. Who-the-bleep-knows, right? Hah. Hah. Hah.

On “goodbye” weekend, I am queen of the awkward laugh.

I can’t seem to get it quite right. Yesterday, I parted ways with a dear coworker by saying: “Have a good one! And by ‘one,’ I mean, like, life!”

…that sounded exactly as awkward out loud as it did in your head.

He responded with a lovely speech about how great it’s been, how I’ll be missed, how his door is always open.  I looked at the ground and said something stupid like “Teehee, gee, thanks. Don’t know why I would ever be down there, but hey, you never know.”

I could’ve just said “Ditto!” and smiled.  I could’ve mentioned “I’ll miss you, too, dude.” Or found some way to explain how epic my time with these co-workers had been, how much I care about them, how these four months have genuinely changed my life.

But I did none of that.  I probably won’t even stay in touch (empty promises 1; Shauna 0).  I want to, but I don’t really know what “stay in touch” even means.

Another friend, who evidently sucks less than I do, tried to strike up a meaningful closing conversation over dinner:

“So, where do you think you’ll be in five years?”

“Pregnant and sad.”

What kind of response is that? [I wondered. As I said it. Out loud. I didn’t even miss a beat, you guys.]

So begins a long string of goodbyes.  I’m waiting for a few of them, though I don’t doubt for a moment they will be just as strange. And since I finally, finally got my camera working, the strangeness is being recorded.

This goes into the category of "things that make goodbyes harder."
This goes in the category of “things that warm my heart…and make goodbyes WAY harder.”

A-and, like clockwork, Expedia just emailed me a reminder of my flight. At the same time, my friend Niki messaged me to make plans for Tuesday–Tuesday!  Tonight, I’m going to clumsily follow a “Lincoln Assassination” walking tour, the second of two attempts to get my tourist on via DC by Foot before I leave the city on Monday.

Monday.

What game are you playing, Time? 

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Welcome to America: Yes, I have gotten horribly lost. Already. Twice.

I didn’t check the time on Friday.  I slept in until 2 pm.  I’m pretty sure my daily Adventures involved trying to open a can of beans without a working can opener (this turned into a 15 minute, 3-person job) and rocking an hour-long game of Wizard.

If this is the “relaxing” thing all you kids have been talking about…I could get used to it.

We spent the day at a big cottage in the-middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania (est. never, really). These cottages, set up as retreats in the middle of state parks, cost about $80-100 a night and give you (in our case, at least) a monster of a house overlooking the lake. There was a full kitchen, beautiful wooden furniture, board games from the 80s, and (most importantly) this awesome lamp.

So, this is my selling feature. There's a reason I'm not a real estate agent. BUT ISN'T IT COOL?
So, this is my selling feature. I may not have future in real estate, BUT ISN’T IT COOL?

Frozen lakes are kind of boring to look at, but they’re definitely pretty.  I was really feeling the “peaceful” thing. I probably could have stayed there forever.


^nothing like that.

I think my parents were tempted to stay there, too, for fear of leaving if nothing else.  The drive in is currently being referred to as “Hell.”  “Hell” took us up and down steep mountains in a brutal snow fog.  For a good 30 minutes, my ears were popping (altitude problems) and my father was breathing out G-rated cuss words: FRIG.  FRICK. DANG. (Repeat).

Don’t worry, I evened the language score by referring to the cottage’s location as “a**-f**k nowhere”–which was totally allowed, because even though that phrase makes zero literal sense, it was (f**king) accurate.  Isolated was an understatement.  But I suppose that’s what gave the place so much charm once we arrived. (And yeah, yeah, I did just bleep out my own swear words on my own blog. Feeling dainty today.)

But Shauna! I thought you were going to DC to be a big strong, independent young professional! What’s with the stopover in a**-f**k nowhere? And why in the world are your parents in this story, risking their lives (slash being adorable)?

Well friends, it seems that where I come from, “Shauna’s moving to DC!” sounds a whole lot like “ROAD TRIP!!!”

I value my parents’ love of the family vacation much more now than I did back in the day.  This is mostly because “back in the day,” family road trips meant being strapped in the backseat with 3 dudes for an 8-hour showdown over whose turn it was with the Nintendo DS (“I don’t even want screens being used on this trip. This is ridiculous.” — Mom, every single time).  These days, the road trips are a “whoever wants to go, wherever we want to go” thing, and have more to do with taking a break from routine than corralling four kids. On Thursday, four of us (my parents, one of the middle brothers and I) packed into the car, crossed the border, shopped, chilled at a cottage, and generally burned time/midnight oil/gasoline until my moving day came.  January 5th.  The move in was quick and painless, which is something I have never been able to say before.  I was sad to see them go so soon, but it was amazing to have the company en route.

…and to have a day to relax, which I totally did, contrary to my usual curse of not being able to. I even wrote half of this blog post by hand in a notebook on the cottage couch, because it just felt like the right way to do it in a place like that.

DSCN5687
Barefoot and everything. Kickin’ it old school.

Once I reached DC (yesterday), I wasted no time releasing my awkward self around town.  This is my first full day in the city, and I have already gotten horribly lost (Twice. I want you to look at a map of the lovely, grid-like DC and tell me if YOU could get lost twice.).  I have also already had a 3 hour political conversation with a Republican from Mississippi (we disagreed on most things, but we listened to each other and we both liked Football, so I think it worked out okay).  I also wore a t-shirt outside while everyone else had jackets on because it was 10 degrees and sunny and I’m Canadian, dammit.

With that, I think it’s fair to say: Welcome to America, folks!