With youthful wandering around the world completed, it’s been time to grow up and start adulting.
So I found a job.
Then I got married.
Then I packed up and moved across the country (or back home, depending on how you want to put it). I switched car registrations, insurance, all that good stuff.
Now I’m looking to buy a house.
Honestly, the transition from overgrown-quarter-lifer to lives-like-a-grown-up happened so naturally that I didn’t even notice it until the other day, after a morning and afternoon of talking with my bank, sorting our car stuff, visiting houses and playing with my wedding ring, it occured to me that, man, I’m a long way from lugging my backpack to Australian surf camp. Before I know it, I’ll be doing something even more adulty, like researching day cares and stuff (no, don’t worry, I’m not pregnant!)
On Getting Married
It’s funny how Ed and I spent like 14 months putting ourselves in bizzare, stressful situations in exotic, far-away lands, yet planning a wedding was way more testing on our relationship. Maybe it’s just that we had lots of time to figure out how to backpack together but by the time we felt we understood how to wedding plan as a couple, it was over.
Neither of us are big party type people, so we originally just did it to please our families. In the end, though, I think it was worth it. It was special, after all, to have our families and some close friends with us to celebrate saying our vows and taking this step in our relationship. Plus everyone (except my parents and the people helping out) came from out of town (Ed’s brother came all the way from Taiwan!), so it was a solid three days of shuttling people to and from the airport and partying till all hours of the night. Going to bed at 4 am and waking up at 8, too excited to sleep any longer. Looking back, the days before and after are blurry but happy, and the wedding itself was a lovely evening.
After planning a wedding, I think I understand the meaning of tradition. Tradition is for when you don’t care enough about something to come up with a personal way to go about it, so you have something to fall back on. For example, you don’t care about the structure of the dance portion of your reception. So you look up traditions thinking “well, what will everyone expect?” I’ve never been one for traditions, but I’ll admit they helped us poor non-big-party-people a lot with the stuff we couldn’t make up our minds on!
Also, in case anyone is wondering, our outfits are authentic. Ed is wearing my family’s kilt (and socks). The rest of the outfit was rented from the kilt maker’s shop. My dress is a qi pao (pronounced chi pao – I have no idea of the tones), made by a professional dressmaker in Taiwan. It was the best wedding dress shopping experience ever. I showed up without warning at an artist’s tiny workshop in Taipei. The seamstress took my mesurements, asked a few questions about my preferences and took my money. Three weeks later I had a gorgeous custom-made dress for my wedding. (And if anyone was wondering whether we felt any glee at the thought of perhaps upsetting some disturbed internet slacktivists by appropriating each other’s culture, the answer is, yes, yes we did.)
On Moving and House Hunting
Once the wedding was over, well… once I recovered enough from my pwvs (post-wedding-viral-syndrome – where after being exposed to germs from all over the world while your body is way too exhausted to use its immune system, you get really, really, really, REALLY sick), we packed what belongings we had with us into our cars and drove for 8 consecutive days. I had planned to camp along the way, but I was still too sick from my pwvs for that to be an option. Even in warm, dry motel rooms, my constant, violent, barking cough seriously interfered with my sleep. The worst thing, though, about being sick during a cross-continent drive? Not being able to sing in the car. Now that’s torture.
Otherwise, the drive wasn’t too bad. We had to do it in seperate cars (which, given how badly I was coughing, was probably a blessing to Ed), but we had walkie-talkies to stay in touch.
Nova Scotia has a lovely but not scenic highway. New Brunswick had awful roads, AWFUL, but the drivers were pretty nice. Southern Québec was perfect. From Montréal northwards, the scenery was great but the other drivers were assholes. Like, they go out of their way to be assholes. Northern Ontario was boring as heck, empty one lane highways through the woods with speed limits of 90 km/h. That’s really freaking slow.
Around Thunder Bay, the scenery gets better. We had to spend an extra morning in Thunder Bay getting Ed’s windshield replaced. Luckily, the company we found was awesome. Like, highlight of our trip awesome. Epic customer service. Thunder Bay as a whole was a pleasant surprise. I’d always been prejudiced against that part of Canada, but everyone was so outgoing and kind, and the areas surrounding the city are so beautiful that I’ve definitely realized the error in my ways.
Then once you hit Manitoba, the highway opens up to two lanes per direction, the speed limit rises to 100 and it’s smooth sailing. Regina has shitty traffic and poor highway layout, Saskatoon had sketchy speed limit changes (we were super careful but we’re still fearing photo-radar tickets showing up in our mailboxes) and Edmonton’s roads are all ripped up for construction, but outside the cities the drive is boring but simple. Also the stretch of highway between Regina and Saskatoon is unexpectedly pittoresque.
Since arriving in town, we’ve been living at a hotel. Everyone takes pity on us, although it’s actually pretty nice. We get big, seperate beds so that I don’t bother Ed while coughing up my lungs at night, someone cleans our room every day, breakfast is served in the morning, I get unlimited baths and the shower is fantastic. However, the costs aren’t exactly conducive to saving for a house…
The house shopping, to my greatest surprise, has proven to be extraordinarly fun. It was intimidating at first because we were worried about saying the wrong things, offending someone or getting ripped off, but as we figured out how the game worked, I discovered I loved playing it. It’s so exciting to visit homes and discover what you like and don’t like about potential living arrangements. We also visited a few owners selling independantly, which was a great learning experience, and, as I found out, a lovely way to meet interesting people (sadly, though, these people are moving so we’ll probably never see them again). After visiting a few of different price ranges and, um, levels of habitability… we fell in love with a house. So now, it’s the pre-approval waiting game with the bank to find when we’ll be able to make an offer.
On Looking to the Future
Soon the next step to live as an adult is starting work. I’m nervous, but looking forward to it. After two years without commiting to a regular schedule, I’m ready to get back in there and try again. I’ve taken extra courses and read up on potential projects so I’m quite eager to jump in. I’m also really looking forward to getting involved in the community. I’ve already resumed hanging out with dogs and cats at the SPCA (and dragged Ed along with me!) and I’d like to volunteer at the local Learning Center with ESL students. Maybe actually get some use out of that TESOL!