"I will miss you."
I have heard these kind, soul-filling words many times over the last week. After a three-week vacation in which we fully moved (and I almost lost my mind), I returned to work for two more weeks. People are confused by that ("Oh, you're back? Haven't you moved?", was a question I was asked many times), but I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to do it that way - finish my old job in the old year, and start completely fresh in 2017. It just felt like something I needed to do.
An unexpected side-effect of this decision is that I am dragging out my goodbyes. Instead of doing it the short and painless way, I'm doing a loooong goodbye - which is actually amazing. Here's a little tip if you suffer from occasional insecurity and low self-esteem: Tell people you're leaving, and then don't leave for several weeks. Every time they see you they think it's for the last time, so they will say something nice (meaningless or not, if you can't tell, they won't either), because Canadians are polite and that's what we do. When they see you again, unexpectedly, they feel unaccountably guilty (because, again, that's what we Canadians do), almost as if they didn't send you off properly the first time; so not only will they express their delight in seeing you again, but they will also go through the whole goodbye-ceremony again. Like I said, it's awesome.
Okay, in all seriousness, I'm only joking because I'm so touched by the last few days that it's either joking about it, or ugly-crying. And nobody needs to see my face mid-ugly-cry after yesterday's picture.
I had one of my favourite ER docs hug me (a first! so surprising, so sweet!), one of the radiologists shake my hand formerly while telling me that he was sad that I was leaving ("there are not many people like you" - you can take from that whatever way you want), and a dear friend (and co-worker ) offer me to be pen-pals ("real pen-pals - not emails, but letters!") to stay in touch. (I obviously accepted, delighted. I haven't had a pen pal in decades!)
It's all very emotional.
I will try to make the following sound like I'm not humble-bragging, but in all honesty, it might be impossible. I feel very loved and special right now - so much, in fact, that I may move again, just to get the same feeling one more time in my life. (Seriously: You will never feel more loved than when you're leaving. Have you ever been at a funeral? Nothing but kind, loving words for the poor deceased soul. Leaving/moving is a close second.)
To summarize, let me tell you what my last few days looked like:
Wednesday night: Girl's night with some of my favourite work gals. We had cocktails, we laughed, we talked, we had fun. It was fabulous.
Thursday night: Dinner and a movie with one of my besties. We don't see each other very often, but
whenever we do, it's awesome. We will stay friends despite the move, we both know it.
Friday night: Dinner with my mammo ladies. It was incredible! We had a ton of laughs, delicious food, and they gave me a beautiful gift and a heartfelt, emotional goodbye-card. So special.
Afterwards, I went to my second dinner (a first!) with our good friends we went on vacation with. It was also fun, mixed with lots of ribbing (they are not totally on board with our move and think we are crazy), and lots of laughs, as always. A very successful (and very exhausting!) Friday night for this introvert.
Saturday night: I had to stay late at work, and when I got home I was so pooped, I went to bed at 8:30pm. This was much more my style.
Sunday night: The boys at work ordered Chinese food, and asked me if I want anything. Sure I do! I rarely say no to food. I was in a bit of a time-crunch (they phoned me in the operating room, while we were in the middle of a complicated case), so I ordered the first thing that came to mind: Chicken Chow Mein. Oh, how I would regret this hasty decision later.
By the time we were finally done, I was starving. I wolfed down my food, while checking on the weather forecast for the infamous Coquihalla Highway. I was desperate to go home; despite the generous offer of my friend to stay at her place, I really wanted to hug my husband and my dogs that same night. So despite a somewhat dodgy weather forecast (snow!), and the beginning of a queasy feeling in my stomach, I decided to chance it.
Big mistake. Big. Huge.
About half an hour in my as-of-yet uneventful journey, my stomach started to act up. The chicken chow mein was sitting in it like a rock, giving me the most unpleasant stomach pains. I opened a window, and tried to pass gas to relieve the pressure. It didn't work.
I kept on driving, while the pain increased. Several times I contemplated stopping and staying at a motel, just to be able to lie down and give myself a much-needed belly rub. But something (stubbornness? stupidity? eagerness to sleep in my own bed?) kept me driving.
The snow started.
The pain got worse.
The snow got worse.
So did the pain.
It was the drive from hell.
At some point, I sang Christmas songs aloud just to distract myself from what was happening. I handled the snowy roads and snow coming down hard well enough. But the stomach pain? That was another issue. I had the window rolled down for the majority of the 3.5-hour drive, to keep the nausea in check. (Fresh air is a miracle worker for nausea! Remember that for when you really need it, you'll thank me later.)
I also had to stop once to throw up. My stomach was not happy about the chow mein, and decided to evict it somewhere between Langley and Merritt. I felt slightly better after that, but only for a limited time.
By the time I finally made it home, I was a mere shadow of myself. Rich was shocked when he saw me: "What happened to you? What's wrong?"
"I think I got food poisoning," I moaned, before heading straight to bed.
I only left the bed to go to the bathroom, several times that night.
Monday night: Was spent the same as all of Monday: In bed, feeling miserable, with body aches all over, looking (and feeling) like death warmed over.
Tuesday night: Feeling about a million times better than the last two nights! The food poisoning episode was blessedly short, and I'm almost back to normal. Woo-hoo! I spent the night with Rich and the corgi, wrapping Christmas presents and catching up. It feels perfect, just the way it should be.
That was my last week. How was yours?