House Hunting

10 years ago, fresh out of University, I accepted a job in a city that I’d never been to and was told I needed to be moved in and ready to start in two weeks.

Scrambling to find a place to live, I settled on one of the first apartment buildings to get back to me because it was near my office and the rent was… decent. I had no one warn me about the neighbourhood, I had no one help me find a place and I made a quick decision to ensure I’d have a roof over my head in time to start work.

That apartment ended up being a nightmare. About six months after I moved in, the apartment building was actually raided by swat. Apparently, one of the tenants living at the other end of the third floor I was on was quite the drug kingpin.

I should’ve taken it as a sign to get the hell out of that apartment. But, I was only six months out of University, I was working for practical pennies and I didn’t really have the resources to move. So I stayed.

Did I mention the apartment was horrible? Because it was. It was built in the 60’s, so a lot of the structure was aging. The heating system sounded like it was going to explode each time it turned on (it was a broiler-based heating system). The upstairs neighbour lived his best life between the hours of midnight and six in the morning. One night I actually had to call 911 on him because he was beating up his girlfriend in the middle of the night and I woke up to her screaming ‘Help me, he’s going to kill me!’

I called 911. I gave a statement. She ended up being okay, from what I was told. After this fateful night, I wanted to move. Still being paid practical pennies for the work I was doing, I didn’t have the resources to move. I was barely paying my bills each month and I was worried that the psycho who lived above me knew that it was me who called the cops on him and that he’d be coming for me next.

Three weeks later, I received a summons from the Crown Prosecutor to be a witness in court at his assault trial that was scheduled for six months down the road.

I was terrified.

My upstairs neighbour didn’t know I was the one who called 911. If I had to stand up in court and say that it was me, could he come for me next? I needed to move. But I couldn’t afford it.

I remember how low I felt the day I called the Crown Prosecutor to beg him to not make me take the witness stand. He didn’t really seem to care about my fears. Apparently, he believed I was being over-dramatic about it.

I needed to move.

I ended up spending a few weeks sleeping in the basement of one of my coworkers. About two weeks after I called the Crown Prosecutor, he called me to let me know that he had a change of hard, that he was able to prosecute my upstairs neighbour without my being a witness and that he was being a bully in forcing me to be a witness when he knew that I felt it could put me at risk. Whilst he didn’t think this man would come after me, he understood that I was a single-white-female who lived alone and he would know what door to knock on the moment he saw me.

So, I didn’t have to take the witness stand and I decided to put off moving.

The man upstairs ended up getting evicted after prolonged absence from the building do to his being locked up on a drug charge.

A few months later, I got a raise at work. I thought it was an incredible moment for me because I was going to have a few hundred extra dollars each month and if I put them aside for three months then I could move.

A few days after I got my raise, the apartment building raised my rent due to ‘increased demand in the city for rental units and the prime location of our building’. I was crushed. Here I was thinking I was going to be able to save money to move an the apartment building had just given me a big ‘fuck you, sucker’.

I could go on and on about the stories that plagued me whilst in that apartment. Or other apartments I’ve lived in (I always seem to make horrible decisions with respect to living situations… refer to stories of roommate Derek from 2019 if you’re curious), The bottom line is, it wasn’t a happy place for me to go home to each night. And now that I’m looking to move and find myself an oasis in the city, I would really like to make sure that I don’t just accept the first thing that comes along because it came along.

I want to do this right.

I want to find a place that I’m happy to come home to each night.

I want to find a home that, if COVID 19 strikes in a second wave, I am content with spending a lot of time in.

I’m counting my lucky stars right now that I’ve landed a job that I am able to work from home due to this pandemic, but I would still like to move sooner, rather than later. For my sanity. For tax purposes. Because I want to be a city girl. Because this past year and a half has been really hard on my mental health and well being, and I’d really like to move onto a new chapter.

I’m loving my job, by the way. It’s been amazing so far. I know I’m still new to it, but it’s different from anything I’ve ever done before so it’s all exciting and there’s so much to learn and so many new ways to grow and get better.

The trouble with house hunting is… finding a place during a pandemic. Most places aren’t booking walk-throughs. Which I completely understand. But many places have really shitty pictures, or misleading pictures, online. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across at least three scams already. And I’ve also come across a lot of places that are really, really overpriced for what they are.

I thought I’d found a really incredible place for a really reasonable price but the landlord just does not respond. So that’s kind of a bummer. But I’m not going to let it stop me.

I’m going to do this right.

I want a place to call home. My home. A place to feel safe and welcome and like I belong. I’m not going to settle this time around.

I’m going to do this right.

Racism is ruining us

Watching the video of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight, by police officers, made me sick to my stomach.

I cried.

Watching the video of Amy Cooper borderline strangling her dog as she weaponized Christian Cooper’s race during a 911 call that she worked herself into a literal frenzy as a means to blatantly lie to dispatchers because she was asked to put her dog on a leash really pissed me off. She knew exactly what she was doing when she made that fucking phone call. What she was hoping for in making that call? I don’t know. But she knew the moment the words ‘African American Male’ came from her mouth, the law was ‘on her side’ so to speak.

That is white privilege.

That is deeply rooted, systemic racism that exists and is rampant in our society today.

What happened to George Floyd could have very well happened to Christian Cooper all because he was out watching birds and he wanted a woman to put her dog on a leash.

Lately, I find myself getting more and more angry with the human race. We’ve become so accustomed to hearing stories like Ahmaud Arbery being murdered while out for a jog because, and I cannot make this shit up, ‘he looked like a thief’, that people are becoming immune to caring. They’re becoming immune to giving a damn.

Breonna Taylor was an EMT who was shot eight times in her own fucking apartment by police officers. She was at home. At home. Home is supposed to be where you’re supposed to be safe.

So much has happened this year. So much has happened this week alone that it’s becoming so easy for people to just let this information go in one ear and out the other. And it’s easy for people to quickly forget. Because next week, there’ll be another story. There’ll be another Stephon Clark, Botham Jean and Trayvon Martin next week, next month, next…

It sounds fucking awful when I say it, but it’s true.

I’m a Caucasian female who is fully aware of the privileges that the colour of my skin has awarded me in this life. I’m also fucking sick of this culture built around racism. I’m fucking sick of white people teaching white people to fear anyone of a different race. I’m sick of white people teaching white people that anyone who is not a white person is not worthy of basic human decency.

Stephon Clark was not holding a weapon, he was holding a cell phone when he was gunned down by police in his grandmother’s back yard. George Floyd was not resisting arrest, he was not holding a weapon he did nothing to warrant four police officers pinning him to the ground. Trayvon Martin’s crime? There wasn’t one.

I know that people don’t like it when I complain about Donald Trump but I need to add in a point here that the fish stinks from the head. The United States of America has had deeply rooted issues with racism for decades, I am aware of this. But Donald Trump, he emboldens racists. He gives them platforms for which to believe their behaviour is acceptable, just and moral, when it is not.

Last month we watched hundreds of people storm the capitol building of various states across the United States protesting stay at home orders that were established to keep those very people protesting safe and healthy. Did they do it with signs and sit-ins in a peaceful protest? No, the brought their assault rifles and bullet proof armour putting each of their own lives, and the lives of every essential work at risk. Donald Trump touted them as very fine people who wanted to go back to work.

This month people are protesting the murder of a man in broad daylight by a police officer and Donald Trump is touting them as ‘thugs’ and threatening to send in the National Guard. I’m not excusing the behaviour that is going on in Minneapolis right now. I’m not saying that burning buildings is correct. But I am saying that I understand it. And I am saying they’re not thugs. Justice is not on their side. Justice is not on the side of an unarmed black man who was not resisting arrest and just needed the fucking police to not be crushing his wind pipe.

The underlying difference between these two months and the protests ensuing? The demographic of protestors.

Why does being black make you a thug? Why does being black make you become someone that the world should fear? Why are people teaching that the colour of your skin determines your value in this world? And why are there so many fucking people avoiding the subject?

My heart breaks for George Floyd’s family. My heart breaks for the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Stephon Clark, and every innocent life that has been lost due to deep, systemic racism rooted in a society that values your life based on the colour of your skin.

We shouldn’t be this society. We should be so much better than this. We need to educate one another and instill better values in one another. We cannot continue to tolerate this as a society. No one race is superior to another.

This is unrelated to what’s going on in the United States right now, but there’s been a sharp spike in hate crimes against people of Asian descent here in Canada in recent months. When I say a sharp spike, I mean it’s one of the top stories on the news each and every night. Property vandalized, people bullied, assaulted or worse, racial slurs popping up what feels like everywhere. It’s alarming. It’s alarming because it’s such a slippery slope. We sat at the dinner table tonight and my mom naively said ‘that’ll never happen here because we’re not American’, to which I replied ‘Racism is racism, regardless of the scale to which it’s being executed, and you should be careful what you say because it’s a very slippery slope from someone assaulting a 91 year old Vietnamese man out for a walk around the block, to what the United States is presently dealing with’.

Dinner was abruptly ended.

Am I sorry for what I said to her? No.

Difficult discussions need to be had. People need to realize that sweeping generalizations are crushing our society and sending us into a deeper spiral of racism, vitriol, hatred and violence.

I’m angry at the news lately. I’m angry because of the people causing the news lately. I’m angry that a woman damn well knows that if she works herself into a frenzy on the phone with 911 and uses the term ‘African American Man’ then the law will be on her side.

I’m just angry with it all.

I haven’t wanted to talk about it because I don’t want to argue with people. But at the same time, part of me feels as though discussions are more important than sweeping it aside and waiting for the next occurrence to happen. Because lately, it seems like it’s day by day, sometimes hour by hour, that these things are coming to light.

And I’m so fucking thankful that people are filming these incidents now.

As hard as it is to watch, I think that’s important for our world to see just how bad it’s gotten, just how low we are. I think it’s important for it to be on record, for the footage to be right in front of our eyes.

As much as I know so many people will just let it go in one ear and out the other, I really hope that these types of videos serve as a wake-up call.

Be kind to one another, please

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell each and every one of you to please be kind to one another. This is a tough time for the world over and the last thing we need to do is turn on each other.

Show compassion, empathy and care. Ask someone how their day was and genuinely listen for the answer. Call your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa just to tell them you love them. If you’re financially able, buy the next person in line their morning coffee. Kindness goes a long way in this world and we desperately need more of it. So give kindness. Spread love, not hate. And please, please, please do it from a safe social distance.

Remember: you cannot do all of the good that this world needs but this world needs all of the good that you’re able to do.

I got a job!

The tectonic plates have shifted and I got a job. A really good job. Dare I say… a great job!

I just finished my first day of work. I am working remotely until COVID calms down.

I am the Marketing/Digital Marketing Coordinator for a tech company. I’m going to start their blog, ramp up their social media profiles and take control of branding and graphic design.

I’ll be looking to move in the nearish future. Once COVID calms down, I’ll join them at the office (their office is closed now and all employees are working remotely for the time being). Then, once travel is safe again, I’ll be joining their sales team as they travel around the continent so that I can help them ‘do their thing’ with professional presentations and my charming personality. Okay, I might not be serious about that personality part.

I am really excited about this job. So… here’s to new beginnings.

Quarantine day: I’ve lost count

I dyed my hair today. It looks absolutely terrible. That’s okay though. We’re trying to accept change for what it is and move forward, even if the top of our head resembles that of a fire hydrant. Yes, we’re referring to ourself in third person now. Ourselves?

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was considering cutting my hair myself. Well, I never really gathered the guts to do that, so I decided that dying it was a much better idea instead.

Perhaps I’ll dye it again? I’m good at a lot of things in this life but logic is definitely one of my strong suits.

It’s been an eventful week. The tectonic plates beneath my feet have shifted and life will no longer be the same. As I stare at the chaos around me, waiting for the dust to settle, I realize that I have a choice to make. Do I live in the wreckage and pretend that it’s the home I remember, or do I crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild elsewhere? I’ll have to get back to you on that one because I really don’t have any answers. At least not right now. That seems to be par for the course in my life, though.

I’m beating up on myself tonight. I don’t want to be, it’s just the mood that I’m in. I was in this exact same room ten years ago today. Ten years ago. It’s crazy to me that, as much as has changed over the past ten years, nothing has seemingly changed. Did I really accomplish anything at all? Not likely. Time plays tricks on us. It really does. One minute your whole life is in front of you and the next minute it’s ten years later and you’re in the exact same place. Sure people have grown, some have even gone grey. But, for the most part, nothing has really changed. Everyone’s still the same they’ve always been. I guess I shouldn’t really judge. I’m not exactly the poster child of accomplishment. I always just assumed I was meant for so much more.

Perhaps it’s the quarantine talking… whatever it is, though, maybe it’s time I start adjusting to the world and stop waiting for it to adjust to what I desire. Because if the past is any indication of the future, I’m definitely not going to get what I want and hard-work plays absolutely zero factor in that.

Never underestimate the power to adapt

One thing that I hope continues after self-quarantine is over is birthday parades. Watching oodles of people parade down the street with balloons and stuffed animals and birthday signs all over their vehicles with a steady stream of honks and waves and strangers screaming ‘Happy Birthday’ just to put a smile on neighbours faces, to celebrate kids birthday’s who cannot have a party, to make loved ones smile, that is a true indication of the human spirit.

In a local town there’s actually a ‘Parade Group’ online. For people that have wanted birthday parades the past couple of months, if they posted on the local community webpage, not just the friends and family show up, but sometimes 20 or 30 extra cars of people show up with their cars decorated to the max. It’s just been a past time for some people to deck out their cars and take part in birthday parades. All you have to do is post the date, time and location of the parade and everyone shows up to make the parade that much longer and that much louder.

I love that.

Oh chocolate, how could you do this?

Yesterday I was cleaning out a desk that belonged to my brother before he moved to Denmark in 2009. This desk was filled with old homework from his university days, pictures of his friends, some random bits and bobs (including a pocket knife, some drill bits, etc) and a stash of chocolate.

I got scared when I found the chocolate.

I needed to clean out this desk so that my parents could sell it. I genuinely don’t believe anyone has touched it since my brother left for Denmark.

There was a stash of chocolate in the desk that included Kit Kat Bars. The wrappers of one of the Kit Kat Bars was open as though he’d taken a bite out of it and then never finished it. The wrapper said that the expiry for the Kit Kat was November 2010.

There was no a speck of mould on this chocolate bar. It wasn’t even dried out. I touched it thinking that it would be rock hard because of how long the package had been open. Nope. I held my fingers against it and it started to melt from the warmth of my fingers, but otherwise, it was pretty much just a regular chocolate bar, even though it had expired ten years ago.

Nothing was wrong with it.

It looked like a brand new, perfectly good chocolate bar.

I could have broken off a piece and given it to one of my family members and they could’ve easily believed I’d just gone to the store and bought it.

10 years expired and looks brand new. Think about that next time you eat chocolate.

P.s. I showed a piece of it on my Instagram story if you want to see it. lol