Tag Archives: England

I am scared.

I am in England right now and the other night as we walked home from dinner a passing glance in a pub window made me stop. A news program was showing scenes of police and ambulances. I knew something bad had happened somewhere in the world.

I avoid the news. Years ago I realized that the news is less a source of information, and more in the business of capturing our attention, to commodify and sell the harrowing and gory details of tragedy. Reading or watching the news leaves me feeling hopeless, helpless, and angry, all emotions I’d rather avoid. It’s not that I don’t care about the troubles of the world. I do feel a strong responsibility to keep myself educated and informed, but I do not feel that consuming large amounts of daily tragedy is the best way. I prefer to find a way to take action, or at the very least, I try to gather information from multiple sources.

Sometimes the news can’t be avoided. Last winter while I was in England, the Charlie Hebdo attack occurred. Here I am again in England, and once again Paris is under attack. Tonight I am supposed to do something that many people in Paris were killed for doing, I am attending a music concert. In two nights I am supposed to do something else people in Paris were killed for doing, going to a soccer game. I’ll be watching the same team, France, who was playing, while outside their stadium a suicide bomber detonated a device. While I am certain there will be increased surveillance and security, and I understand that this is England and not France, I am not mollified. I am terrified.

My immediate thought was “I’m not going.”

I want to stay where it is safe. I want to remain alive. I am not certain I love Frank Turner’s music enough to die for it. I certainly do not love soccer/football enough to risk my life, (even if is a small risk). Many people are saying we need to stand resolute and defiant in the face of terrorism. I think it’s a great sentiment until one is forced to face it. It’s all fine and dandy to say these words across the ocean, in the safety of Canada, but when the decision is staring one in the face, it’s not so easy. I have a gazillion reasons to stay home.

I have one single reason to go.

When the flood of refugees poured out of Syria, I expressed frustration. “If these are truly the good people why did they not stay and fight? Why are they running rather than trying to change their country?”

I think I have my answer. I am faced with only the slightest possibility of coming face to face with murderous terrorists and I want to avoid… I want to run. These people were faced with actual beheadings, amputations, public executions, forced military enslavement, and many other acts of violence. It’s so much easier to ask others to be courageous and brave while we get to sit in safety as smug armchair critics.

In June of next year, I have a trip to France planned to watch three European Championship football games. Tonight I have a concert. In two nights I can watch England versus France, at Wembley Stadium. It is more likely than not, that I will be facing anxiety rather than violence, should I choose to do any or all of these events. I will probably be safe but there are no guarantees. I know rationally that death and violence can come at any time from many directions, not just terrorists. I also know from watching the news that violence is occurring nearby. England could very well have terror cells lurking too.

I have always know the world has evil. Human beings determined to destroy other human beings is my definition of evil. I want us all to work against evil. I want to be strong in the face of evil. I also want to live. I want to keep living the life that I love so much. Most of all, I want to live in a world where people learn to stop fucking harming each other.

A Change in Direction

Life changes, and in surprising directions sometimes.

Writing about writing, book sales and promotions wasn’t my cup of tea as evidenced by my lack of posts. I’ve all but abandoned my blog in the last several months but as I sit in a formal dining room in Warwick, England looking out on a cobblestone street, instead of gazing across my snow covered field in Alberta, Canada I’ve found a new reason to blog.

My husband and I decided to expand our definition of family and one of our newest family members is a middle-aged Englishman who after experiencing Canadian hospitality with us, asked to return the favour by inviting us to his home in England once he returned from a stint working in Fort McMurray. It took some creative solutioning but after deciding to homeschool my daughter, and finding a house/dog sitter, I find myself living abroad. I never dreamed such an opportunity would ever come my way or that I would ever have the courage to make such a move.

It was hard to leave. I had been buoyed by the excitement of planning and preparation for weeks but when I backed my truck out of my garage for the last time for four months, leaving my wonderful home and almost everyone I care about wasn’t as easy as it seemed. I had tears in my eyes and I reminded my daughter and myself that this wasn’t permanent. We would be coming back.  We both looked back at our house with a new appreciation and longing. We glanced at our field as we drove by, in a way we never had before. We had only just begun our journey and already we were different.

My husband is the adventurous one. He worked for nine months in Africa several years ago. In July of this year he returned again to Gabon, this time working offshore on a platform. Now instead of my youngest daughter and I being left behind while he globe trots, we are off having our own adventure. We are making new friends and expanding our definitions of home. We have been very welcomed, and made to feel comfortable.

In the airport waiting to fly.

In the airport waiting to fly.

I spent the first four days recovering from jet lag which knocked me off my feet pretty hard. My daughter and I did a little bit of exploring and then we had to get back into some learning before Christmas preparations began. It has been a whirlwind of activity here which makes me feel very much like I am still at home. There hasn’t been much time to sight see. We’ve done a bit of exploring with plenty more to come.

Shopping in Leamington Spa.

Shopping in Leamington Spa.

It’s Christmas Eve and I am thousands of miles away from most of my family and friends. While there is sadness and loneliness, my daughter and I are also enamored with all that is new and so very, very old. We are enjoying our trip tremendously. Every time we step out the front door we see and learn and experience something new.

Its hard not to like a place that lets kids and Pugs into pubs.

Its hard not to like a place that lets kids and pugs into pubs and was built long before Canada was even a country. The Punch Bowl was built in 1806.

I am surrounded by history and a whole new country and culture to explore. My head is filled with ideas of things i want to experience and write about. that is encouraging. The home of Shakespeare is just down the road from me. If I can’t find something to write about here… there’s no hope for me.