At some point during my “I can do it!” state of mind, I decided to do some immersion therapy and take cross country skiing lessons. The lessons were a suggestion from my dear Cutie, who is helping his parents get some cross country skis. I probably was having a few beers when I signed up for the lessons.
I showed up for the lessons at one of Edmonton’s Golf Courses in non-skiing attire: sweat shirt, jeans, boots and a head cap. At least I was wearing layers underneath all of that clothing.
The instructor explained and showed us how to choose equipment and to prepare the equipment before going out to actually ski (hint: 99% of it depends on the weather). Since that day was in the 40’s, we were all learning the basics in the worst weather conditions for the sport.
Once we selected our equipment, we headed outdoors to learn to ski.
Not Pictured: an Icee Machine
We spent about an hour working on balance exercises on skis that would start to sink in slushy snow. Half of the time I was cursing under my breath because heavy slush patches would make the sliding difficult. Once we began moving on the trail, things got challenging with the damn hills and a lot of falling. I admit I enjoyed snowing on the trail by myself (once the instructor got tired of following me ) and got a good workout out of it. But the expense of owning the equipment and adequate clothing plus ski maintenance proved that this kind of sport is for the financially well-off.
Last week my depression was hitting me pretty hard. The combination of not working, lack of friends among other factors got to me. Following the advice from a kind doctor, I called the 211 number to seek out help with my mental health and job hunting.
After being transferred to a few places, I finally spoke to a directory assistant. She was polite and calm while listening to my main problems. I got frustrated at her when she suggested I should apply for “income assistance”. At this point, I flat out told her that what I needed was a job, not “income assistance” and that I wouldn’t qualify for such assistance anyway since I am not a Canadian citizen/ permanent resident and without children.
I admit I was baffled and appalled by this small realization that it would be easier to get “income assistance” or welfare, as known in the US than it is to get a job. I want to go out and make the best of living here the best way I can. Working would keep my mind off of the loneliness/lack of socializing/boredom until I can officially leave Canada.
The directory assistant was silent. Then she started to give me several places to call for scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional in Edmonton. Out of all of those numbers, the most useful one was the number for an employment agency that specializes in finding jobs for immigrants.
I had to bite my tongue on that one. It’s one agency that hasn’t ignored me (yet) after several attempts to get a job from hundreds of job agencies in the area. I thanked the assistant for her patience, hung up and started to call all of the phone numbers to try to access these mental health professionals. All of my calls went straight into voice mails.
I had better luck contacting the immigrant employment agency. I’ve managed to schedule an appointment for next week (requiring paperwork!). I hope this will not turn out to be a dead end.
I think after much searching, I have decided to just take a chance and trully learn new skills. Because aparently mine are of no use in this frosty country (not even for volunteer work!). So I will roll the dice and hope to get accepted into a university so that I can learn new skills to become employable.
Except this university is Cutie’s alma matter and he does not want to go back to Hickville. But he is willing to make an exception should I get accepted.
The alternative is much more tiring and unacceptable to me: moving to the Tropics or dumping our stuff at his parent’s house and travel the rest of the year. As exiting as the travelling sounds, I just want to find peace among friends and live in a quiet place.
I refuse to move back to the place of my birth. It’s become too dangerous and it is not a good place for my mental health. (Anybody fancying any carjackings?)
But neither is living among all of this goddamned snow.
So I have to brace myself for the alternative with a positive note that either way we will end up establishing some sort of permanent residence in the USA.
Because living abroad sucks.